December 17th, 1990

December 17th, 1990

Night flight from PHL – EWR – LHR

A few hours after our first kiss, Richard rang and asked if I was, “Interested in eating.”

“Definitely, I’m starving. I’ll meet you in the lobby in half an hour.”

“Excellent.”

On our way through the lobby, we bumped into the Captain, who gave me the up down several times. I noticed he did the same to every female in sight last night, which didn’t bode well with me. After licking his lips (whilst still staring at me) he asked Richard if he had had, “an eventful evening.” I watched Richard’s cheeks flush and hated the way the Captain looked at him, waiting for an answer.

I linked my arm through Richard’s and flashing my best fake smile, chirped, “I have to confess, last night was the most memorable night I’ve ever had.” I watched as creepy Captain inched closer and when I knew I had his full attention, I purred, “Seniority in the cockpit is clearly, very overrated.”

I knew if I dared look at Richard, we’d both lose it so I kept my eyes and my fake smile fixed on slimy Samuel, who, clearing his throat sputtered, “Yes, indeed, yes, but of course,” as he shuffled away.

Once outside, Richard and I cracked up laughing.

“Well done you!”

“Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. I didn’t like what he was insinuating so I thought he deserved to hear something that’d shut him up.”

“I didn’t appreciate his tone either but I have to work with him.”

“Ugh, I feel sorry for you. What’s he like to fly with?”

“He’s living up to his reputation as the biggest dickhead on the fleet.”

In a dodgy looking place with amazing pizza, Richard said, “The only thing missing is a cold beer.”

“I thought the rule was no drinking within eight feet of the aircraft,” I said, trying miserably to maintain a serious tone, to which Richard laughed heartily, even although I’m sure he’s heard the joke a million times before (the rule is no drinking within eight hours of a flight.)

Only three and a half hours to go before we land at Heathrow, where, according to Richard on his most recent visit to the galley, the weather is absolutely dreadful.

 

December 16th, 1990

December 16th, 1990

Flight from LHR – PHL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The flight over was made all the more pleasant by Richard’s visits to the rear galley, all of which were met with raised eyebrows from our fellow crew members and no doubt got a few tongues wagging, which I imagine continued when Richard grabbed the seat next to mine on the crew bus.

Speaking out of the side of his mouth, he uttered, “Seems the Captain is insisting we make our way to his so called favourite sports bar.”

“Ugh,” I replied, not looking at him. “Not exactly my cup of tea.”

“We don’t have to follow the crowd.”

“I know but if we don’t make an appearance, I imagine tomorrow’s flight will be rather unpleasant for you.”

“Yes, I do believe so.”

“Ok, in that case, let’s just go.”

He turned to me and mouthed, “Thank you.”

Richard perched his slim frame on the stool next to me and as is typical in such a setting, we each carried on several conversations with other members of our crew but as the time wore on everyone split into groups, leaving just the two of us.

“There’s something I’d like to ask you,” he said.

“What’s that?”

“No pressure to answer if you don’t feel comfortable.”

I motioned for him to continue.

“What happened with your chap in LA?”

“He told me he’s gay.”

Richard’s head dropped in an expression of disbelief. “You’re serious?”

“Deadly.”

“Good gracious! What happened?”

“He came to the room to pick me up, or so I thought and instead he broke down and told me he met someone else.”

“Gosh, I really wasn’t expecting that.”

“Nor was I.”

He stared at me and reached his hand over to cover mine. “I’m so sorry. That must have been a dreadful-”

We were interrupted by Fiona, who, by the look of it, had clearly imbibed a tad more than us.

Standing behind Richard, she pressed her ample bosom into his back then draped her arms over his shoulders, dangling them over his chest. He shot me a look that screamed, “Help!” as she swayed and whispered something in his ear. His eyes darted in my direction again and I was both amused and thrilled by his obvious lack of interest in her.

“Actually,” he stated in his pilot PA voice, peeling Fiona’s arms off him as he turned. “Karen and I are about to go for a brisk walk.” He threw a pleading look my way.

“Yes, yes, we are,” I said, standing up. “Needless to say, Fiona, you’re welcome to join us. As long as we bundle up, we shouldn’t freeze too much.”

Fiona slurred something in her plummy accent about, “Ree main ing he are,” then slithered her way over to join a group of what looked like college age guys, sitting around a table.

“How do you feel about country and western music?” Richard asked once we were outside.

“I have mixed feelings, why?”

“There’s a super little place not far from here, they usually have a band and I thought perhaps we could have a bit of a boogie.”

I cracked up laughing. “Richard, you do know it’s nineteen ninety, don’t you?”

The bar reminded me of the place I went to in Florida with Gabriel last year but this time I didn’t mistake my drink for a soft one and down it in one. The band consisted of a dark-haired singer with a smoky voice and sultry look, accompanied by two pale men in Stetson’s.

We danced several times but when the music kicked up it seemed we were the only two people who hadn’t mastered line dancing, so we gave up and continued talking and drinking.

We walked hand in hand back to the hotel in the bitter cold and had our first kiss in the lift. The kiss was tender but purposeful and with my eyes shut, I wanted more but when I opened them, I longed to see David’s face, which is why I didn’t invite Richard to my room for a night cap.

 

 

December 15th, 1990

December 15th, 1990

At home, England

London is a magical place to be at Christmas, with twinkling lights everywhere, carol singers, the smell of roasting chestnuts on every street corner and the heavy bustle of shoppers, laden with gifts.

“Are you enjoying our day?” Richard asked as we meandered our way through Covent Garden.

“Very much so.”

“I hope you don’t mind but I took the liberty of making a reservation for something I expect you might enjoy.”

“Ooh, I’m intrigued.”

“Would you like to know what it is?” He asked.

“No, just surprise me.”

He looked doubtful. “Are you sure?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Ok, well we’ll go by taxi but I’ll discretely inform the driver of our destination so as not to spoil the surprise.”

“Do we need to go now?”
He looked at his watch and nodded. “Yes, we probably ought to head in that direction.”

“You’re taking me to a hotel?” I teased, as the hackney cab pulled up outside Claridges.

“Yes, but nothing sinister,” he smiled. “I promise.”

“Aw, that’s a shame,” I joked, making him laugh.

Over the most scrumptious array of afternoon tea delights I’ve ever seen, we discovered much about each other, including the fact we’re both operating the same flight to Philadelphia tomorrow!

 

December 14th, 1990

December 14th, 1990

At home, England

Awoke to a bright, sunny morning, feeling a little more hopeful than I have been. I think talking to Pamsy and seeing mum and dad happy lifted my spirits somewhat and reminded me that regardless of whether you’re ready or not, life changes. You can choose to “Go with the flow,” as Florence is fond of saying or get stuck somewhere in the midst of it all.

I want to be the type of person that’s open to new experiences, so, with that thought in mind, I picked up the phone and dialed Richard’s number, all the while hoping the answering machine would pick up.

“Rothschild residence.”

“Richard?”

“Karen! What a wonderful surprise. How are you?”

Impressed you know it’s me!

“Fine thanks. I just thought I’d ring to wish you a Happy Christmas.”

“And the same to you. Will you be home?”

“No, I leave Boxing Day for a Bangkok, Aussie adventure.”

“Nice, although I suspect you’d rather be spending it with your chap in LA.”

“Actually, that’s all over.”

“Well, well, well,” he uttered. “I shan’t lie and pretend I’m sorry but I do hope you’re not terribly upset?”

“I’ve had a few, let’s say, moments.”

“Perfectly understandable,” he said. “I have to say, I’m absolutely thrilled and most surprised to hear from you.” His tone sounded so sincere it made me smile as he continued. “So, now that the bright lights of Hollywood are no longer shining, would you perhaps like to go on a date with me?”

“You have a way with words,” I laughed.

“I’d love to hear you say yes to a date,” he continued. “This being the season of goodwill and all that rot.”

“Yes!”

“Excellent! Would you like to choose where, or shall I?”

“You pick.”

“Is London too obvious?” he asked.

“Not at all, I love London.”

“Will you be driving?”
“No, I’ll take the train to Euston. I can be there just before noon.”

“I’ll be driving but I can meet you on the platform?”

“That’d be great,” I said. “See you tomorrow.”

“Marvelous.”

I hope so.

 

 

 

 

December 13th, 1990

December 13th, 1990

At home, England

Mum and dad are going to Spain for Christmas and New Year, a decision they made tonight after I reassured them I’ll be fine without them.

Talking about New Year’s Eve reminds me of last year, when I went to the party in Notting Hill with Sebastian. I really must make an effort to catch up with him but it’s so difficult to keep in touch when I’m away so much of the time. Having said that, with David no longer in the picture, I’ll have more time on my hands, the thought of which alone makes me sad.

 

December 12th, 1990

December 12th, 1990
At home, England

The best thing about today was an extremely long, overdue chat with Pamsy.
“Why didn’t you ring and tell me about David?”
“I’ve been too sad. I just find it easier not to talk about it.”
“You always do that.”
“Do what?” I asked.
“Retreat.”
“I know. It’s probably not the best way to deal with stuff but I’m so sick of being let down. I just want to be happy!”
“You will, I know you will,” she said her soothing tone prompting water works.
“Aw, don’t cry,” she said. “Everything is going to be fine. You just need time.”
“It really hurts,” I sniffed. “I thought he was the one and I feel so foolish saying that but I truly thought he was.”
“I could throttle him,” she said, in a way that made me laugh. “Do you think it’d be different if he’d met another girl?”
“I’ve asked myself that a million times and I still don’t know the answer. Either way, it doesn’t matter. It’s over. Over, over, over.”
“I hate that word.”
“Me too, unless it means no more dieting!”
She laughed. “You had better not be on a diet!”
“Quite the opposite actually.”
“Good girl,” she said. “This is not the time for deprivation. Anyway, what else has been happening?”

I filled her in on Christopher’s upcoming proposal and my quick jaunt to Paris.
“Another one off the market,” she sighed. “I always liked the sound of Christopher. I secretly hoped you’d come to your senses and end up with him.”
“You should know by now that sense and moi do not go together!”
She laughed. “We’ll get back to that in a minute but how was Johnny Jacks girlfriend?”
“Ugly!”
Pamsy cracked up laughing. “Nooooo.”
“Seriously, she was like the ugliest woman ever, verging on hideous actually.”
“Stop it!”
“I do have to say though,” I uttered in my best cockney accent, “She did possess a lovely personality!” Pamsy kept laughing while I continued. “I mean don’t get me wrong, he’s no Sting but he’s charming and he has oodles of sex appeal, but this woman-”
“What was her name?”
“Veronique.”
“Pretty.”
“Yeah for a, a, oh, I can’t even think of what to say!”
Pamsy cracked up again.
“But you know what’s amazing? He’s totally gaga about her. I mean utterly, head over heels, which is a funny expression because she towers over him.”
“Well he’s only, what, five two?”
I laughed. “Not quite that short but she’s five ten, at least. They make a very odd couple, yet somehow it works and they’re kind of perfect together. It was quite something to witness.”
“Were you a bit put out?”
“It’s so funny you should ask that because initially I did feel that way which made no sense, I mean it’s not like he was the love of my life but it just seems everyone around me is starting to settle down in one way or another and I’m still out here, very single.”
“As am I,” Pamsy sighed. “Love is confusing.”
“Or in Jean Jacques case,” I giggled. “Blind. Love is blind.”

 

 

December 11th, 1990

December 11th, 1990
Night flight from PIT – IAD – LHR

Going against my better judgement, I rang David’s office number late last night. I desperately wanted to hear his voice, but instead of voicemail, battle axe picked up!

I knew she’d recognize my accent, so I waited for her to bark a few demands of, “Who is this?” before hanging up, immediately regretting my stupidity.

I won’t be doing that again.

December 9th, 1990

December 9th, 1990
Flight from CDG – LHR as a passenger
At home, England

As wonderful as it was to be in Paris again, I vowed not to return until the next time I’m in love, which, at the rate I’m going, might be a while!