February 1st, 1992
At home, England
Home late last night from an amazing trip to Buenos Aires, a city I found to be joyful and refreshing, filled with suave men and sensual women who dance the Argentine Tango like there’s no tomorrow. The food was incredible and the crew mostly young, so all in all it was a great trip.
Woke up to a blue-sky morning and my first thought was of William and where he might be. I know the Coast Guard boat he’s on is somewhere around Haiti, a place I’ve never been. I can’t imagine rescuing people from the sea is any picnic but he never talks about his work so I don’t know how he really feels about it.
Over breakfast, I asked Mum if anyone called while I was away. Typically, I don’t get a chance to ask as she usually gives me a rundown within ten minutes of me walking through the door. I don’t think anyone realizes how exhausting life as crew is. Flight time home was just under fourteen hours, plus two hours before the flight takes off, then a two-hour drive home, after finally locating my car in the staff car park!
The second I asked if anyone rang, Mum stuffed a large piece of toast in her mouth, a sure indication that there was something she wasn’t keen on telling me. I busied myself with the eggs on my plate and talked about the trip but as soon as Mum got up from the table, I asked again. With her back turned to me, she uttered, “Ben.”
I made a feeble attempt at feigning surprise. “Oh, when did he ring?”
“The day you left on your trip.” She said, practically tossing her plate into the sink, filled with soapy suds. I watched her shoulders rise and fall and knew I should leave it at that but I had to know more.
“Did he leave a message?”
“Aye, something about you getting back to him.”
“Oh, ok,” I stuttered. “Ehm, did he say anything else?”
“Just that he was surprised you were away.” She turned and waved her hand in the direction of the table, my cue to clear the dishes and stop asking questions.
Mum washed, I dried and we didn’t speak until everything was put away.
“Thanks, hen,” she smiled, her usual demeanor back in place.
“No problem,” I said, wondering if I could get away with just one more question. She took my hands and squeezed them. “Are you nervous?”
She laughed. “Did you forget you’re getting married four weeks from today?”
I shook my head, a wave of sadness washing over me that I still can’t explain.
“C’mon upstairs,” she urged, “I’ll show you what I’m thinking of wearing to your wedding.”