April 12th, 1991

April 12th, 1991

Pacific Shore Hotel, Santa Monica, California

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start (sorry, high on LA!)

Thanks to the eight-hour time change, mum and I were up before the crack of dawn, so we walked to the Santa Monica Pier, then popped into Café Boulangerie and devoured pancakes doused in syrup (oh my!)

On the way back to the hotel, I chuckled when mum said, “I’ve yet to see an ugly person!”

“It’s illegal here,” I joked (kind of!) “And I doubt they eat what we just had.”

“Och well,” mum said. “You only live once.”

I was surprised to see a few fellow crew waiting for the tour bus, the first stop of which was the hotel where the Virgin Atlantic crew stay. I was so hoping Ben wouldn’t be one of them. Any sign of him would have completely ruined mum’s day!

Mum was beside herself with excitement as we drove through Beverly Hills and said she couldn’t believe she was so close to so many of her, “Favourite Hollywood stars.” The tour guide was (wait for it!) an aspiring actor, who, upon request, did impressions of pretty much everyone, which was highly entertaining (and garnered plenty of tips!)

Spent the day at Disney, under the brilliant California sun that I doubt I’d ever tire of. Mum mentioned umpteen times how much she was enjoying herself and even though I’ve done all the touristy stuff before, it was nice to enjoy it through fresh eyes.

Back to the hotel for showers and a change of clothes, followed by a quick drink with a bunch of crew who didn’t appear fit for much other than holding up the bar! With such a huge time difference, I usually feel the same but with mum in tow, resting was not an option!

Being mum’s birthday dinner, I didn’t want to chance a new restaurant, so I took her to the cool Italian place I used to frequent with David. I quickly scanned the room, half hoping he’d be there, the other half relieved he wasn’t!

Mum loved watching the sunset from the roof terrace and declared, “Life begins at fifty!”

 

 

 

April 11th, 1991

April 11th, 1991

Flight from LHR – LAX

Pacific Shore Hotel, Santa Monica, California

I love New York like there’s no tomorrow, but LA pulls at my heartstrings like no place else.

One of the many amazing perks of working for an airline is staff travel. Both my parents qualify for staff travel concessions, so mum’s ticket was just over a hundred quid, which, considering the upgrade to First Class, is pretty incredible. We crew look out for our own and make sure accompanying family members receive the best service in the best cabin, as witnessed by mum’s beaming smile after landing.

Felt pretty nostalgic on the crew bus as we whizzed our way past the palm trees, to beachy Santa Monica but mum’s incessant chatter kept me from dwelling too much on that dreadful morning last November, when David came to my room and told me he’s gay.

I can’t deny the pang of sadness I felt walking into the hotel lobby but I pushed it aside and wasted no time changing and meeting the crew in the bar, where we enjoyed the hotel’s legendary Long Island Iced Teas (a further reminder of the countless times David met me here.)

In an effort to shake off any lingering memories, I suggested we take a walk to Venice Beach. The light is one of my favourite things about this place and tonight was no exception, with pale pink streaks painting the sky as mum and I strolled down the beach, oohing and aahing at the sight of the Pacific (and the gargantuan bodybuilders!)

“What do you think, mum?” I said, taking her arm.

“It’s some place, isn’t it? I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Stunning,” she smiled. “Are you ok?”

“Uh-huh,” I nodded, breathing in the balmy air, another vivid reminder of the magical nights I spent with David, on his rooftop terrace.

 

April 7th, 1991

April 7th, 1991

At home, England

Millie rang to apologize for her ridiculous ranting last night about Antigua and how she felt, “put out,” by the fact I’m going sooner than I thought.

“If you’re so upset,” I said, in a newfound bold tone, “Then don’t bother coming. I’m not forcing you to.”

“I’ll get there a few days after you arrive. Will that be ok?”

Only if you lose your deplorable attitude, I wanted to say. “Yes, that’ll be fine.”

“I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.

I resisted the urge to respond with the standard, “Me too,” and changed the subject.

We stayed on the phone for about an hour, mostly talking about my upcoming trip to Los Angeles.

“Is your mum excited?”

“She’s beside herself!”

“I can just imagine,” Millie laughed, sounding more like herself again. “You two will have a great time. Right?”

“I believe so.”

“It won’t upset you, you know, being there again?”

“I hope not,” I sighed. “I just want to show my mum around and celebrate her birthday.”

“So you don’t plan on seeing David?”

“Absolutely not!” I blurted, my words not quite matching how I felt.

“What would you do if you bumped into him?”

“Millie! I’m not going to be bump into him, he doesn’t live anywhere near where we’re going.”

“I thought you didn’t know where he moved to?”

“I might have done some, eh, some snooping.”

“You mean stalking?”
“No, I mean investigating,” I said, trying not to laugh.

“And what did Miss Marple discover?”
“Where he lives, as well as a phone number.”

Millie made a sound of disapproval but it wasn’t very convincing. “Well,” she continued, “Tell your mum to have a lovely time and I guess I’ll see you in Antigua.”

“You’ll see me before I leave. I’m leaving my car at yours, remember?”

“Oh yeah, I forgot. Ok, great, so I’ll see you then. Have fun in LA and don’t be sad.”

“I won’t,” I uttered, not quite believing it.