June 24th, 1990

June 24th, 1990

Flight from MAN – JFK

Lexington Hotel, New York

After clubbing ‘til the wee hours, I fantasized (all the way across the Atlantic!) about a quiet night in but I already told Christopher I’d be returning to the city, so I rang him to firm up the plans.

Caught a cab to Greenwich Village with Jane and Amanda (Caroline wanted to stay in and ring her new French beau.) Christopher and his friend Issac were already seated and no sooner had we sat down, when Issac ordered not one but three bottles of Champagne.

“One for each British beauty,” he said with a wink then began regaling us with tales of his work on Wall Street, most of which involved some type of what I’ll call, “Excess.” I couldn’t help but notice Amanda hanging on his every word and the fact that their bodies grew ever closer with each passing hour.

With Issac dominating the conversation, I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to Christopher, so once we were outside he asked if we’d like to continue on somewhere for a nightcap.

“That’s sweet of you, thanks,” Amanda said. “But Issac wants to take me to a jazz club so I’ll see you in the morning girls.”

Jane’s mouth fell open and I loved the smirk that flashed across Christopher’s face.

“You guys have a good night,” he said, as Issac and Amanda piled into the back seat of a yellow cab.

“Wow,” Jane uttered. “Didn’t she tell us just the other day how much she hates men?”

“Apparently not all of them,” I laughed.

“Should we follow them?” Christopher said, cracking up.

“If I wasn’t so tired I’d say yes but…”

“I’d say the same,” Jane said, “if last night hadn’t been so late.”

Christopher gave me a questioning look.

“We went out clubbing, long story, short sleep. By the way, thank you for dinner, Christopher.”

“Yes, thank you,” Jane said. “That place was amazing.”

“You’re welcome,” he said. “I’ve been coming here for years. So, are you guys heading back to the hotel?”

I looked at Jane. “Eh, yes, I am.”

“Me too,” she said, attempting to stifle a yawn.

“What time do you guys leave tomorrow?”

“Call time is four,” I said.

“Wanna grab some lunch before you head outta town?”

“I’d love to, where?”

“You pick.”

“Ehm, how about someplace in or around Central Park?”

“Sure,” he nodded. “And Jane, you’re welcome to join us.”

“That’s ok,” she said. “I think you two have some catching up to do.” Fortunately, Christopher was too busy hailing a cab to notice her comical expression. The cab pulled up and Jane and Christopher said their goodbyes.

“So,” he said, kissing my cheek. “When and where are we meeting?”

“By the Sophie Loeb fountain,” I said, sliding into the back seat beside Jane.

Christopher nodded his head and closed the door.

“At noon,” I said, sticking my head out the window, just as the cab pulled out.

 

June 23, 1990

June 23rd, 1990

Chester Grosvenor Hotel, England

I’m really enjoying this trip. Having even just a few people on the crew you want to spend time with makes all the difference.

After last night’s food fest, I didn’t meet up with the girls until this afternoon, which gave me plenty of time to ring Pamsy and wish her happy birthday.

“Saturday is most perfect day of the week to turn twenty-four!”

“Yes it is,” she laughed. “How’s the weather up North?”

“It’s been nice, looks sunny again today.”

“Aw, I wish you were here to enjoy the barbeque later. We have sooo much food.”

“Have a sausage for me,” I laughed.

 

Went to Muswells with the girls and bumped into Martin, a guy I did a night stop Detroit with a while back.

“Lady Caroline,” he said, kissing my cheek. “Fancy meeting you here.”

“Oh, I’d forgotten about Lady Caroline. How are you Martin?”

“Really well, thanks. This is my partner, Michael.”

“How do you do,” I said, shaking Michael’s hand.

Amanda pulled out a chair and Michael made himself comfortable.

“What are you girls up to?” Martin said.

“We wanted to go and see the film about the prostitute who goes shopping in Beverly Hills but it was sold out.”

He let out a hearty laugh. “You mean Pretty Woman?”

I nodded my head yes. “So instead, we’re here deciding what to do.”

“Come clubbing with us!”

“Call is early tomorrow morning…”

“New York?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Love it. My fav American city. Are they a nice bunch?” he said quietly, gesturing towards the girls and Michael who seemed to fit right in.

“They’re all lovely, yeah, really nice.”

Martin looked at his watch. “It’s still a bit early for clubbing but we can make our way there after a few more drinks. You can be Lady Caroline again.”

“No, no, no, she’s out,” I laughed. “I have a new one.”

“Oh, what’s her name?”

“Madison Frazer.”

 

June 21st, 1990

June 21st, 1990

Night flight from JFK – MAN

Met the girls (Jane, Amanda and Caroline) for breakfast, over which we talked about love, men, love, men and eh, love!  Jane is pretty cut up after breaking up with her boyfriend of seven years, Amanda is very single and has no desire to ever get married because, in her words; “Men are total dicks.” And then there’s Caroline who just started seeing a French guy she met in Los Angeles on a recently holiday.

The “Men and Love,” conversation continued in Central Park, perched on benches, trying our best to eat rapidly melting ice cream. We were all in agreement that of all the places we travel, New York on the East Coast and Los Angeles on the West, have the best-looking guys.

Speaking of hunky guys, I left a message on David’s answering machine and also tried him at work but his secretary, Crystal (aka valley girl) said he was; “Like, outta town, until, like, I think, like this weekend or like mun day.” I really must have a word with David about her!

Now winging our way to sunny Manchester (!) where we’ll spend two nights in Chester before returning to my second favourite American city.

 

June 20th, 1990

June 20th, 1990

Flight from LGW – JFK

I’ve been up for twenty-six hours and feel I could sleep for a week but wow, it’s great to be back in The Big Apple. Flight was seriously delayed, enough so that we almost went out of hours, which on a trip with a quick flight time is unheard of.

My room is located on one of the executive floors and the view from the bathroom is utterly insane. Ah, how I love this city with the yellow taxis and the tall buildings and the crowds and the noise. Oh, the noise!

With the lengthy delay, I expected a quiet night in but the mere sight of the skyline rejuvenated me. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the same effect on anybody else so there was nobody to go out with. I rang David but couldn’t get a hold of him so I thought I might go for a walk but it was one of those evenings where the air felt balmy and I really fancied watching the world go by, preferably with a cocktail in hand, so I rang Christopher.

He was still at work (I reminded him that it was half eight!) but said he was happy to hear from me and would come straight to the hotel. Twenty minutes later, I met him in the lobby and was, as always, thrilled to see him.

“You look tan.”

“Remnants from Antigua,” I laughed.

“You got paid to go to Antigua?”

“Yup,” I said, stepping into the revolving door.

We found the perfect spot to sit and people watch at a little bar just up the street from the hotel. Christopher ordered his signature drink; “Margarita, rocks, no salt,” and I ordered a pomegranate Martini (which was delish!)

As usual, we fell into an easy conversation about where we’ve been and what we’ve been doing.

“So,” he said, a few sips into our third drink (oops!) “Give me the latest in the BK saga.”

“Ah, let’s see. There’s actually not much to report on the Ben and Karen saga, he moved away, which is probably a good thing.”

“Interesting. And nobody else has showed up and swept you off your feet?”

I made a little disapproving sound and opened my mouth to speak but before I could, Christopher raised his hands in a gesture of surrender.

“I know, I know,” he laughed. “You can stand on your own two feet, I just meant it as a figure of speech.”

“Well in that case,” I laughed. “No, I don’t believe so.”

We started talking about the Antigua trip and for some reason I mentioned William and before I knew it, I was telling Christopher all sorts about my time with William, which is weird, because he really wasn’t my type.

“I seem to prefer blondes,” I said, suddenly changing the subject.

Christopher pulled on a strand of his thick, dark hair. “Guess I’m out,” he chuckled.

 

 

June 16th, 1990

June 16th, 1990

At home

We landed just after seven am, at which time Ben Two (as Hilary called him)  made one last attempt to get me to give him my phone number.
“The statisti, er, the numbers for long distance relationships are shit you know,” are the last words he uttered before I grabbed my Samsonite and turned and bumped into Sam, from training.

“Well, lookie what we have here,” he said, kissing my cheek.

“Hello darling, you’re looking well.”

Sam took an exaggerated step back and gave me what we refer to as, “The Up Down.”

“And you! From where did you hail?”

“Jo’Burg.”

“Ugh.”

“I know,” I groaned. “And you?”

“Rio.”

“Oooh, brilliant.”

“Was actually,” he said, glancing up ahead at the customs agent. “Do you think we’ll get stopped?”

“Nah, they rarely stop us. Why? What’re you hiding?”

“Keep your voice down,” he whispered.

“Sorry. Did you buy too much booze?”

“No but I have a suitcase full of frocks and a very expensive headdress I bought from some old tranny down by Copacabana Beach.”

I laughed. “I don’t think it’s illegal to carry women’s clothing through customs.”

“It is when said headdress is encrusted with jewels and worth a small fortune.”

“Ooh,” I uttered. “Then you better hope you don’t get searched.”

“Just keep talking,” he urged as we fake laughed our way through customs with thankfully no interruption.

Mum was still in hysterics over Sam and his headdress, when the phone rang.
“I’m not in the mood for talking to anybody,” I groaned.

“Neither am I,” mum said, heading to the bathroom.

I counted eleven rings before giving in.

“Hello?”

“Hey you,” breathed the all too familiar voice.

“Ben, hi, how’s it going? Did you get your Wings?”

“I did, I did.”

“Congratulations. You must feel relieved.”

“Very. Got my first flight tomorrow.”

“Oh wow, already? Where to?”

“The Big Apple.”

“Aw, fantastic. You’ll absolutely love it! I’m sooo excited for you!”

“Yeah I can’t wait. I’ll send you a postcard,” he laughed.

“Please do.”

“Listen, I might come home in between this trip and my next.”

“That’d be cool,” I uttered, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible.

“If I do, I’ll give you a ring and maybe we can go out for a drink and swap flying stories. How does that sound?”

“Sounds good,” I said, sensing the subtle change in my breathing.

“Great, well I better go so I can pack and all that.”

“Ok, enjoy your first trip, hope it all goes well.”

“Thanks, I’m sure it will.”

I have no doubt.

 

June 15th, 1990

June 15th, 1990

Night flight from JNB – LHR

Three hours of crew rest tonight, as we wing our way back to London.

Relaxing last day in Jo’Burg, where I met Hilary for breakfast. We talked about going outside but we’re briefed to use extreme caution in that area so rather than risk anything we just stayed in the hotel. After a few hours of people watching in the lobby we went to my room, ordered room service and I was halfway through my second cake when the phone rang.

“Hi Karen, how’s it going?”

“Who is it?” Hilary mouthed.

“Ben,” I said, with my hand over the mouthpiece.

Hilary rolled her eyes in a very dramatic fashion and grabbed a pillow off the bed.

“I’m looking forward to heading home tonight.”

“Yeah, me too,” he said. “And very much looking forward to working onboard with you again.”

Trying to avoid Hilary’s actions, I mumbled something about the flight being busy and hopefully a short flight time.

“We still have a few hours to kill,” Ben said.

“Eh, yes, call isn’t for a while yet,” I said, turning to see Hilary, prancing around the room Mandy style, with the pillow stuffed under her top.

“So,” he continued. “Can I come to your room?”

I covered my mouth but I was laughing too hard not to be heard.

“What’s so funny?” he asked.

“Oh, eh, sorry, I’ve got the telly on, some mad film.”

“Can I come and watch it with you?”

Hilary stood in front of me swaying her pillow chest for all it was worth.

“I don’t think so,” I said, unable to stifle my giggles.

“That must be some film you’re watching,” he said, in not such a friendly tone.

“It’s too good to miss, sorry, I have to go.”

Hilary proceeded to parade her hefty chest around the room, which had me in stitches.

“Hi, I’m Mandy,” she purred. “Fly me.”

With the pillow safely back on the bed, Hilary proceeded to tell me that Tony rang her last night and asked if he could go to her room. Honestly, what are these boys like!

 

June 14th, 1990

June 14th, 1990

Johannesburg, South Africa

“Hello,” I said, sounding groggy after being woken from a deep sleep.

“It’s Dex.”

“What’s the matter,” I said, quickly glancing at the clock; 3:27 AM.

“I think I drank too much.”

“Sounds like it. Are you alright?”

“Yeah, just a bit, you know, down.”

“That’s just the booze talking, you’ll be ok in the morning.” Or afternoon, I thought.

“Can I come to your room?”

“No. You need to go to bed and sleep it. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it. I’ll ring you later, ok?”

“Yeah, cheers darling.”

“Bye Dex.”

A few hours later, Hilary came to my room for tea and toast and apparently Valerio got absolutely paraletic last night and ended up passing out on the couch in the party room! Hilary also told me that Mandy ended up leaving with Ben right before he and Tony almost got into a fist fight in the corridor!

Hilary and I were in agreement that we couldn’t cope with another mad night, so we had dinner at the hotel coffee shop then sat at the bar enjoying a few civilized glasses of wine. On our way back to our rooms, Mandy came gliding out of the elevator, wearing the shortest skirt ever, arm in arm with Valerio! No sooner did the elevator doors close when Hilary and I uttered, “Tart,” in unison and cracked up laughing.

Thinking about Ben (not the one on this trip!) and if everything goes to plan, he’ll be getting his Wings tomorrow. It’s amazing to think I’ve survived six weeks without seeing him, the longest ever, except for when I went to Florida last year. He hurt me so, so much and I honestly felt like I’d never get over him and I don’t think I have one hundred percent yet but I’m closer than I’ve ever been.

 

June 13th, 1990

June 13th, 1990

Flight from JNB – DUR – JNB

Early morning call time and off we set, on a very quiet crew bus (due in no small part I imagine to last night’s shenanigans.) Fortunately, the flight time to Durban was just over an hour.

Spent the day at a very swanky hotel, where a shared room was assigned to the three of us, which allowed Hilary and I to witness Mandy’s transformation from Cabin Crew Member to, as Hilary said, “The Polka Dot Prancer.”

Mandy’s bikini was beyond itsy bitsy teeny and weeny, leaving nothing to the imagination. She used every opportunity to prance around the pool, talking not only to the boys on our crew but to every other male in sight!

While Ben was vying for a spot on my sun lounger (that boy is definitely not fluent in body language) Mandy leaned over us and practically took my eye out! Honestly girl, Put Them Away! Dex was in stitches and said it was a shame none of us had a video camera to capture my expression.

Valerio didn’t take his eyes off Hilary and Mandy and Tony (aka Victim Number One) made their way into the hotel together. Prompted by Hilary whispering; “Valerio is getting on my f’ing nerves,” the two of us headed to the room, only to find the door locked! Stifling our giggles, we made our way back to the pool and waited for the lovebirds to show their faces.

About an hour later, Tony came back to the pool, looking more than smug. I pretended to read, which was funny in itself because the entire day I read about three pages in total. Ten or so minutes later, Mandy reappeared, sporting a different bikini.

“That one’s even smaller than the last one,” Hilary mouthed, rolling her eyes as Mandy took her place on the lounger next to her. I avoided all eye contact with Hilary as Mandy seductively stretched every inch of the shiny, fuchsia coloured fabric.

“I was so tired I had to take a nap,” she purred, stretching the fabric dangerously close to its limit. “I think I might have locked the room door by mistake. That’s how tired I was.”

Yeah, right.

Tonight, back in Jo’Burg, we went to the French restaurant just around the corner from the hotel (the name of which I don’t recall.) More amazing than the food was the fact I only had one glass of wine.

We ended up in the crew room again and when I left, Hilary was deep in conversation with Valerio, Mandy was dancing on the table with Tony and Dex and Ben tried to follow me out but I made it clear I was coming back to my room. Alone.

 

June 9th, 1990

June 9th, 1990

On the train!

I’m on the last train home (aka “The Drunk Train”) from London, after a super fun Saturday with one of the funniest (and snobbiest!) girls ever; Annabel.

One of the things I love about Annabel (and there’s so much to love about her) is the number of questions she asks and how she wants to know about everything, which some people might interpret as nosey but I like to think she’s just curious (if only because I’m the same way!)

“Miss McGarr,” she said, greeting me in the wine bar in Covent Garden where we arranged to meet.

“I see you’ve already started,” I said, gesturing to the bottle of Dom Pérignon sitting in the ice bucket.

“But of course,” she said, with a wink. “Do fill me in.”

“On what?” I said, trying to get comfortable on the too trendy wiry stool.

“Everything of course!”

I laughed. “Pick something, or someone.”

“Ben,” she said, pouring me a glass of Champagne.

“Hmmm, thank you. I had a feeling you’d start with him. He’s just about done with training at Virgin Atlantic and will be flying very soon.”

Annabel’s response was a deep throaty sound that covered an entire sentence and needed nothing more.

“Moving swiftly along,” I said, trying not to laugh.

“What about the randy little French chap?”
“Ah, Jean Jacques. I’ve talked to him a couple of times on the phone but I haven’t been back to Paris since he helped me look for a house in the countryside. I do still have a key to his flat though.”

“Montmartre, correct?”

“Yes,” I said, taking a sip of the perfectly chilled Champagne.

“Oh, good girl,” she said, clinking her glass to mine. “I shall keep that in mind.”

“You should come with me sometime when Jean Jacques away on a work trip, which is quite a lot.”

“Sounds marvelous,” she said, refilling her glass. “What about this chap you just met in Antigua?”

“Ehm, well you know I met him under a false name and identity?”

“Ya, ya,” she said, waving her hand dismissively. “Nothing that can’t be rectified.”

I shrugged my shoulders as she continued. “What? You have no desire to see him again?”

“Not really. We didn’t have much in common, I mean, don’t get me wrong, he’s a nice guy but not really my cup of tea.”

“Understood.” She put her finger to her lips. “Ooh, what about hunky chap? The one who dropped you off the first time I met you?”

“Jon?”

“Ya, gosh I have to confess, I did rather fancy him myself.”

“I’m not surprised, all the girls love Jon.”

“All except you.”

“I already went out with him. Time for someone else to have a turn,” I laughed.

“So, nothing more with him?”

I shook my head. “Just friends.”

“Have I covered everyone?”

“I don’t know, have you?” I teased.

“Who am I missing?”

“David!”

“David?”

“California dreaming. Ring any bells?”

“Oh gosh, of course, of course, the chap from LA you met on the flight!”

I nodded my head enthusiastically and drained the last of my Champagne.

“So?”

“I have a trip to LA next month, I’ll see him then.”

“I say Miss McGarr!”

“What?”

“You’re blushing. Which tells me you really like him.”

 

June 7th, 1990

June 7th, 1990

At home

Picked mum up at LHR this morning and I swear I could make that drive with my eyes shut (not recommended!) I could tell right away that mum’s visit to Scotland to see Granda had taken a toll on her, poor thing, she’s really upset. Apparently Granda has lost a lot of weight and is very confused.

Mum said she was exhausted and went to bed so I took Tini for a lovely long walk then I made a pot of tea and spent most of the afternoon on the phone.

Carl – Can’t believe it’s been so long since we last chatted. Told him about showing up unannounced on David’s doorstep (was that really only last month?) in LA, when he thought the letter I’d written was to tell him I’m pregnant. After Carl stopped laughing, he said, “You’re not in the pudding club, are you?” Eh, no! I filled him in on the Antigua trip which he suggested we request together.
“Sorry, I can’t go back there.”

“Why not?”

“I met a guy who’s stationed there under false pretenses.”

Carl laughed. “Did you tell him you’re quiet and innocent?”

“No, cheeky, I did not.”

“What’d you tell him then?”

“That my name is Madison Frazer and…”

Carl was laughing so hard I had to wait before telling him the rest.

“Oh sis, you really are too much, that’s brilliant.”

“So now I have to avoid the entire island.”

“What if you get called out on standby for an Antigua?”

“Shit, I never thought of that.”

“Well if it happens, you’ll have to spend two weeks holed up in the hotel or hope that, what’s his name again?”

“William.”

“Or hope that Willy isn’t…”

“It’s William, not Willy.”

“And hope that William has left the island.”