February 17th, 1992

February 17th, 1992

Hotel InterContinental, Nairobi, Kenya

Taking my jump seat this morning for landing, all I could think about, as I looked down over the vast Kenyan plain, was the theme music to one of my favourite films; “Out of Africa.” I’d say Mum and I have seen it at least a dozen times and after I surprised her with a ticket to join me on this trip, we watched it again!

Mum got caught up in the throng of arriving passengers and Ian, the Captain, suggested the crew go ahead to the hotel, while he waited with me. At least an hour went by before Mum appeared, gushing over the “fantastic flight,” and how much she enjoyed being on the flight deck for landing.

Once in the taxi, headed to the hotel, I rested my head against the window and finally gave in to my weariness. Mum and Ian continued to chat like old friends while I dozed on and off, the symphonic sounds of John Barry’s romantic soundtrack floating through my head.

 

January 26th, 1992

January 26th, 1992

At home, England

Had I written this a few hours ago, I’d be crying, commenting on the huge pit in my stomach and how conflicted I feel but now the tears have subsided and my stomach is free of the flock of birds I felt sure were flying around, but the conflict, ah, the conflict remains.

It poured all day, which only seemed to compound the sense of loneliness I’ve been feeling knowing I can’t talk to William since he’s somewhere out at sea. By late afternoon, Mum had clearly had enough of my moping.

“Fancy going out for a wee drive?” She said, her perky tone matching her expression.

“Not really,” I pouted.

“C’mon,” she said, slapping my leg. “Dad’s watching some war film on the telly and I could do with getting out for a wee while.”

“Where would we go in this weather?”

“The pictures?”

The thought of eating and not talking was more than appealing. “Yeah, ok,” I responded. “I think Frankie and Johnny is still playing.”

“Is that the one with Al Pacino?”

I nodded, adding, “And Michelle Pfeiffer.”

“Och, don’t tell Dad that,” Mum chuckled. “Otherwise he’ll want to come with us!”

The film was great and like the sap I am, I cried at the end, then we followed the throng of moviegoers out, in the direction of the lobby, which is when I spotted Ben and Mandy heading in our direction. Mum was in full animation mode, cooing over Al Pacino, her hands moving in time with her speech as I locked eyes with Ben, whose pleading expression mirrored my sentiment.

Stopping abruptly, Mandy thrust the giant tub of popcorn into Bens hands and disappeared into the loo. I knew I should sail past him and ignore him but with his back to the wall, one foot resting against it, he grinned and literally stopped me in my tracks.

Mum, still clearly caught up in her off-screen romance with Al, continued walking and talking.

“Hey you,” Ben uttered once Mum was out of earshot.

“Hello,” I croaked. “What’re you seeing?”

He held my gaze and spoke slowly. “A love story.”

“Oh, I haven’t heard of-” I stopped, quickly catching his drift. “I think you’ll like it.”

“Did you?”

“Uh-huh. The music’s beautiful.”

He tilted his head back in a way I remembered all too well. “What’s this I hear about you getting hitched?”

A nervous sounding laugh escaped me and I felt my cheeks flush. “Yep! Five more weeks!”

That grin again. “Here?”

“No. America. Very excited,” I gushed, glancing nervously at the loo door for any sign of Mandy.

He leaned in so close our cheeks brushed. A sensation of pleasure and guilt shot through me and my pulse began to race. “I miss you,” he whispered. “A lot can change in five weeks.”

My stomach somersaulted and I felt hot and cold, all at the same time. Mandy’s imminent return and Mums wrath combined to make me step back but all I really wanted to do was fall into him and allow nature take its course.

“I..I have to go,” I stuttered.

“Ok,” he smirked. “I’ll ring you tomorrow night. We need to talk.”

I didn’t tell him I’ll be in Argentina.

 

May 16th, 1990

May 16th, 1990

Flight from LHR – MIA

Hotel InterContinental, Miami, Florida

Great flight today with Bob Geldof onboard, who sounded much more Irish than he does on tv and had us in stitches in the galley. He’s no stranger to the F word, that’s for sure! His hair is wild and he has a tendency to toss it about quite a bit, so much so in fact that he almost knocked himself out when he lost his footing (mid toss!) and whacked his head on one of the metal storage containers!

When I got to my room (gorgeous hotel, right on Biscayne Bay) the message light was flashing, with a message from David saying he’d ring me at eight his time (eleven pm here.)

Because I knew I’d be talking to him, I drank only soft drinks at dinner with the crew and couldn’t wait to get back to my room. I got into bed and David rang right on the dot (he always does.)

“Are you serious?” he said, when I told him about our celebrity passenger.

“Yeah, he was really cool. Did you like the Boomtown Rats?”

“Sure, sure I did, awesome band.”

“What’s your favourite song of theirs?”
I was so hoping he wouldn’t say, “I don’t like Mondays.”

“Rat Trap,” he responded, not missing a beat.

“Oh wow, me too,” I gushed.

“You were like what, five when that came out.”
I laughed. “Not quite. I’m only a few years younger than you, you know.”

“But so much wiser,” he laughed.

“Yup,” I giggled. “You got that right.”

I don’t know what else we talked about but whatever it was I thoroughly enjoyed it and even though we’re thousands of miles apart, it’s nice to know we’re going to bed in the same country.

 

May 11th, 1990

May 11th, 1990

Hilton Hotel

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

I awoke this morning, to Suzi waltzing around, singing; “Everybody loves somebody sometime, everybody falls in love somehow.”

All I could do was smile. “You’re obviously feeling better.”

“Something in your kiss just told me. My sometime is now…”

“Suzi!”

“Arrrggh!” She squealed, spinning in my direction.

“Eh, what are those?” I asked.

“Headphones,” she said, removing the tiny buds from her ears.

“No, not those,” I said, getting out of bed. “The gleaming things.”

“Oh, these?” She said, fingering the emerald and diamond drop earrings. “They eh, came into my possession last night.”

“Where?”

“At the disco.”

“Who gave you them?”

I watched her cheeks flush. “A man at the bar.”

“What man?”

“A man I was talking to while you lot were boogying.”

“Do you know who he was?”

“Well, they weren’t actually from him. He said they were from one of the Princes in the VIP area.”

“Suzi!”

“I know, gorgeous, right? You can borrow them if you want. They came in a velvet lined Cartier…”

I waved my arm dismissively. “You can’t keep them!”

“Why not?”

“I forgot it’s your first time here. I should’ve told you.”

“Told me what, doll?”

I sighed a deep sigh. “Let’s just say there’s a price for everything.”

“Oh,” she said, suddenly looking concerned.

 

After a day at the beach club, baking in the sun and wilting in the humidity I really wasn’t in the mood for another night at the disco but I wanted to make sure Suzi returned the earrings, so I went with her. We stayed at the bar for a while, looking around for the man who delivers what some girls refer to as “the goodies,” but he was nowhere to be seen and the VIP area was vacant.

 

“Guess I get to keep them,” Suzi cooed, removing the earrings from the box.

“Let’s go,” I suggested, hoping she’d agree.

“Ok, but only if I can spend the night in your room again? I don’t want anyone coming after me.”

“Oh, so you get it now.”

“Yes,” she said, looking coy. “You have to admit though, my new sparklies are simply dee vine. You can borrow them if you want.”

“No thanks and lucky for you, this is a short trip.”

 

Suzi is now strutting around the room, admiring the earrings every chance she gets. And she’s still singing with her headphones in, which means her pitch is much higher than it needs to be.

“Don’t you just love Dean Martin?”

I nodded yes.

“Something in my heart keeps saying, my someplace is here. Oh my God I love this song, it was my Dad’s favourite. Dontcha just love it?” she screeched.

I smiled.

“Hey! Karen!”

“What?” I mouthed.

“Let’s order tabbouleh and apple pie on room service. Do you want any anything?”

Peace and quiet, I wanted to say, but it came out as “Chocolate mousse.”

 

April 27th, 1990

April 27th, 1990

Kingston, Jamaica

Met Julia and two of the fitties first thing for a quick breakfast before Morgan, our driver for the day, showed up to whisk us off to Ocho Rios.

It was just about a two-hour drive to reach Dunn’s River Falls, through tiny towns with not much in them. Along the way, people stopped and watched as Morgan wound his way through the makeshift roads, honking the horn, waving to everyone, laughing heartily at all kinds of banter, returning the same before honking the horn again and speeding up.

The waterfalls were absolutely stunning and reaching the top felt like a major achievement. Several people commented on how “crazy” we were to attempt such a thing in bare feet but the truth of the matter was that none of us had thought to bring footwear suitable for climbing on slippery rock!

Morgan chuckled when he heard we made it all the way and suggested we stop at his cousin’s bar on the way back to, “cell a brate.” About half an hour later, we pulled up to what looked like a garden shed, but was actually the bar! With only three drinks to choose from it didn’t take us long to decide what to have and within minutes, we were surrounded by kids whose smiles were infectious. Needless to say, neither of the two fitties had any sweets on them but I don’t go anywhere without sugar (!) so between the stash Julia and I had in our bags, we left the kids very happy!

Several rum swizzles later, we piled into the car and didn’t hold back when Morgan played his Bob Marley cassette. We sang “One Love,” at the top of our lungs and each time the song ended, one of us would shout; “Play it again, Morgan!” He cracked up laughing and rewound the cassette at least two dozen times before we pulled up outside the hotel.

Ah, Jamaica…“Let’s get together and feel alright.”

 

April 19th, 1990

April 19th, 1990

At home

Hangovers are no fun but as bad as I felt, Ben seemed worse, so much so in fact that he rang in sick for work, after which, we lounged around for the remainder of the morning, drinking tea, attempting to eat tiny bits of toast, listening to the new Seal cd.

“What’s your favourite track so far?”

“I really like the Crazy one and the one about Paradise.”

“Yeah, me too, it’s called Future Love Paradise. Really excellent cd.”

“Is actually, can you play it again?”

He grinned. “Of course, ‘til you know all the words.”

“Ah,” I sighed. “You know me so well.”

 

When I came home, mum looked slightly frazzled, due, I suspected, to mini monster’s antics. She soon pepped up when I suggested taking Alistair to the pictures, where we saw, “Uncle Buck,” which was actually quite amusing but more importantly, it kept the little nipper quiet for a couple of hours.

Fun chat tonight to Stephen, who invited me to go to Germany this weekend.

“Hmmmm, I told Jean Jacques I might go to his for a couple of days.”

“Oh darling,” he cooed. “You really are a dark horse. Who’s this Jean Jacques character?”

“Didn’t I tell you about him?”

“No, you did not!”

“Actually, there’s not much to tell and I was only thinking of going to Paris because he won’t be there.”

“He lives in Paris?”

“Yeah, he’s Parisian.”

“So why won’t he be there?” Stephen asked.

“He’s flying to Vietnam tonight.”

“Wait, he’s cabin crew? Let me guess, Air France?”

I laughed. “No, he’s a journalist.”

“Ok I’m totally lost now.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll fill you in on the flight to Dusseldorf.”

 

March 16th, 1990

March 16th, 1990

At home

Seriously regretting my decision to sleep all day after last night’s horrendous flight with grumpy, demanding passengers and eleven babies in the Economy cabin, all vying to outdo each other in the crying category!

Woke up at four this afternoon feeling groggy and a bit disoriented after too much sleep. Mum and dad were going out and the thought of sitting home alone, listening to the rain battering against the windows was too much so I quickly got dressed and timed it so I showed up just as Ben was finishing work.

“Hey you,” he said, looking up from behind the counter.
“Hey yourself.”

“If you’re here to buy music, miss, you better hurry up. We close in five minutes.”

“I’m not here for the music,” I said, returning his grin.

We tried to get a table at several places but the wait times were getting longer so we gave up.

“Why do you think everywhere is busy?”

“It’s Friday night.”

“It is?”

He laughed. “What day did you think it was?”

“I had no idea.”

“Is this what I have to look forward to as crew?”

“This and so much more,” I laughed. “Wait, if it’s Friday, isn’t Mandy coming down for the weekend?”

“Nah, she’s not talking to me.”

“Again?”

“Again,” he smirked.

“What’d you do this time?”
“She’s still upset about the whole flying thing, she’s dead set against me being crew.”

“Maybe she’s concerned you won’t know what day it is,” I said, trying not to laugh.

“You’re funny,” he said, playfully swiping my arm. “Wanna get a pizza and go to mine?”

Susan and Stan were out so it was just the two of us. We watched “Throw Momma from the Train,” while we munched on pizza and commented afterwards on how much we loved the film. But before we did that we did a few other things that I know we probably shouldn’t have but if it’s wrong then why am I still smiling?

 

March 12th, 1990

March 12th, 1990

At home

Just read David’s most recent letter, whilst listening to Tanita Tikaram crooning “Twist In My Sobriety,” through my new headphones, which are bigger than my Walkman and sound amazing. At this rate, I expect the cassette is about to snap, from the amount of times I’ve rewound it.

I saw the video on MTV in New York the other day and wish I had even a quarter of Miss Tikaram’s smoldering good looks, she really is stunning.

Went to look at new houses with dad but all the developments looked the same and I had to laugh when one of the real estate agents described what I thought was a broom cupboard as “a possible nursery.” Honestly, lady, do I look like I’m about to have a baby any time soon? The search was really discouraging and I just can’t imagine living in a little box that looks the same as everything else. I think my next step is to start looking in the North of France and I believe I know just the guy to help!

David’s letter is really lovely; mostly about Los Angeles and his favourite places in the city. “I don’t have any work-related trips coming up for at least another month,” he wrote. “It’d be awesome if you could get out here. I’d love to show you around.” I do believe I’d like that too (slight understatement) but I have zero leave and a full roster so I guess it won’t be happening.

All God’s children need travelling shoes,

Drive your problems from here.

All good people read good books.

Now your conscious is clear.

I hear you talk, girl.

Ah, sing it Tanita.