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 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 4th, 1990

December 4th, 1990

Night flight from JFK – LGW

 

Forced myself out of bed to meet Sally and Rowena for breakfast.

“Ohhhh,” whistled Rowena, shaking her head. “I feel a story coming on.”

“Do I look that bad?” I asked.

“It’s not so much the look as the smell. Tequila?”

“Shit! Do I reek of tequila?”

“Nah,” she giggled. “I just had a sneaking suspicion.”

“Who is he?” Sally asked. “And is he the reason you were so excited on the crew bus?”

“Oh no,” I uttered. “He’s just a friend.”

“You don’t get that drunk with a friend,” Rowena said.

“I did with this one.”

“Stop keeping us in suspense, who is he?”

“We met last year, while I was here on a trip with my friend Frankie. He’s absolutely lovely, what I’d call a proper gentleman as well as a cool New Yorker.”

“And?”

“And he’s about to propose to his girlfriend.”

“Nooooo,” they sang, in unison.

“It’s a good thing,” I said. “She sounds great.”

Rowena smirked. “You don’t sound very convincing.”

“I agree,” Sally said. “I think you secretly hate her.”

“I don’t even know her!”

“But you’re connected to her,” Rowena said.

I gave her a questioning look.

“Since you’ve both slept with him,” she continued. “Shared experience and all that.”

“Whoa, wait, no, no, no! I never slept with him!”

“As in you didn’t sleep with him last night or never, ever?”

“Never ever.”

“Why not?”

“Well, we had a bit of a snog the first night we met but after that nothing happened because neither of us wanted it to.”

They both rolled their eyes. “If you hadn’t told us he’s getting engaged I’d say he was gay,” Rowena chirped, as Sally nodded in acknowledgement. “I agree,” she said. “Men and women can only be friends if one of them is gay.”

“What a ridiculous attitude,” I said, thoughts of David swirling around my head.

Rowena held her hand up. “I’ve heard enough,” she sighed, feigning boredom. “I was hoping for something a little juicier.”

“Me too,” Sarah groaned.

“You’ll have to find it elsewhere,” I said, resisting the urge to tell them what happened with David, if for no other reason than the opportunity to talk about him.

 

December 3rd, 1990

December 3rd, 1990

Flight from MAN – JFK

Lexington Hotel, New York City

Air traffic and weather problems combined to make landing at JFK difficult so we made a stop first in Boston, where we refueled, before trying again, this time successfully.

The sight of the skyline as the crew bus drew closer to Manhattan filled me with the usual excitement and unlike Rowena and Sally who were shattered from a late night in Chester, I felt energized and raring to go.

Not relishing the thought of another night, where I couldn’t talk to David, I rang Christopher, who sounded more than keen to meet up. I arranged to meet him in the lobby, where, even in the huge crowd, he stood out and I couldn’t help but notice the extra glances he garnered as we made our way outside.

“You got it going on, boy,” I drawled, stepping into the revolving door.

“Right back atcha, girl,” he grinned. His slow mock drawl putting mine to shame.

 

Outside, in the bitter cold, he offered his arm and when the wind smacked us as we rounded the corner, he motioned to the Irish bar we happened to be walking by. I nodded yes and we dashed inside.

“Brrrrrrrr,” I said, my teeth chattering. “It’s brutal out there.”

“But toasty in here,” he laughed. “What do you want to drink?”

“How about a sparkling water, with lime, please.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Nope.”

“Why aren’t you drinking?”
“I’ve had my fill of booze for the year. Maybe next as well!”

“I don’t know you,” he said, making me laugh.

With our coats off and drinks ordered, I asked how life was treating him.

“I’m planning on proposing to Laurie,” he smiled. “I’ve already asked for her Father’s permission.”
“Wow, that’s fantastic news!” I exclaimed, sliding off the bar stool to hug him. “I’m so happy for you.”

“Thanks. I hope she accepts.”

“She’d be stark raving mad not to!”

His smile was wide. “You have the best expressions.”

“Tell me about the ring.”

“What is there to tell?”

“Honestly,” I said, rolling my eyes. “You men are hopeless. Tell me where you got it. What it looks like. How you felt choosing it. How you knew which one to pick. Tell me how you plan to propose. And are you nervous about doing so? Is that enough, or do you need me to be more specific?”

He cracked up laughing. “I guess that’s good for now.”

Just so I don’t forget, here are his answers;

The ring came from Tiffany’s (of course!)

Princess cut, set in Platinum, which he knows is Laurie’s favourite because whenever she comes across such in any of the many bridal magazines she subscribes to, she lets out a little sigh (how lucky is that girl?)

He felt nervous purchasing the ring, “I want her to love it.”

All he would say about the proposal is that it would take place over, “the holidays.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to tell you, I just don’t want to jinx it. Does that make sense?”

“Yes, that makes perfect sense.”

“Ok,” he said. “Your turn.”

“Let’s see… my favourite is an emerald cut, set in platinum, with-”

The look of bewilderment on his lovely face threw me into a fit of laughter. “I’m just kidding, I assume you’re looking for an update on my love life?”

“You had me there,” he chuckled. “And yeah, fill me in but let me get another beer and are you sure you don’t want as you would say, ‘a proper drink?’”

“No thanks. This water is incredible. I had no idea how great water is! Especially when you add a slice of lime. Really kicks it up a few notches.”

“You are cracking me up.”

“If I have one more sip,” I continued. “I’ll throw up! Let’s get some shots.”

He gave me a look that I can only describe as adorably quizzical. “For real?”

“For real,” I declared. “We need to celebrate your upcoming engagement.”

“I’m all for that, what do you want?”

My boyfriend back.

“Tequila.”

“Ohhhhh,” he smiled. “Is that where this is going? Last time we drank tequila together, you and Frankie almost missed your flight home.”

“Exactly! So, get the good stuff please. I need something smooth that’ll go down easier.”

“You got it,” he grinned.

 

We downed a couple of shots of tequila, then Christopher asked how things were going with David. I got a little choked telling him, but managed to share most of what happened. He kept shaking his head in a gesture of disbelief. “Are you sure he’s gay?”

“He dumped me for a guy!” The shots were clearly taking effect.

“But you two were, together, together, right?”
“Yes. I did sleep with him on more than one occasion. That’s the first question everybody seems to ask.”

“I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. This is crazy. Do you think he might be…experimenting?”

“I don’t think so. Shit,” I nodded, my voice cracking. “It’s so confusing.”

“Oh, sweetie,” he said, sliding off the bar stool. “Come here.”

He circled his arms around me and pulled me into a tight squeeze that felt sooo good. The tequila was telling me to kiss him but I knew that was a bad idea. We held onto each other longer than we probably should have and when we drew apart, he cleared his throat and placed his hands on my shoulders.

“It’s gonna be fine,” he said, reassuringly. “I’m always here if you need me.”

“Thank you, I appreciate that.”

“What is it your friend Stephen always says?” he asked, sitting on the stool.

“Love is a bitch?”

“That’s the one,” he nodded. “Let’s get some more shots and talk about that bitch we call love.”

 

December 2nd, 1990

December 2nd, 1990

Chester, England

Slept for twelve hours straight!

Ridiculous waste of a day, where all I did was take a short walk and devour lots of overpriced, crap food from room service.

Hotel life can sometimes be the loneliest of all.

 

November 30th, 1990

November 30th, 1990

Night flight from JFK – MAN

Met the girls this morning and walked to the Rockefeller Center for breakfast, where we paid a small fortune for the privilege of watching a combination of overweight tourists and wannabe Torvill and Dean’s ice skating.

I ate pancakes (couldn’t help but compare them to David’s) slathered in syrup, with a side of bacon. I’ve decided I don’t give a shit about my weight anymore. I intend to eat to my heart’s content and my uniform no longer fits (which won’t take long!)

The girls headed back to the hotel but I was enjoying the hustle and bustle so decided to stay out. I thought about ringing Christopher to see if he wanted to meet for lunch (part of my new weight gain program!) but figure I’ll do that when we return, a few days from now.

Spent hours browsing in Barnes & Noble, where I found a beautiful book about the Taj Mahal I knew David would love but no sooner had the thought entered my head when the reality of the situation took over and that’s when I knew it was time to leave.

 

November 29th, 1990

November 29th, 1990

Flight from LGW – JFK

Lexington Hotel, New York City

As much as I love New York, the weather at this time of year lets it down and I can’t help but compare it to LA. However, my tummy is full of stodgy potato skins and pizza so I guess it’s not all bad.

I could tell Sally and Rowena were kindred spirits on the crew transport from LHR to LGW. There are some people you just click with right away and feel you’ve known for longer than an hour! We’re all twenty-three, in our second year as Cabin Crew, enjoying the lifestyle and freedom flying affords.

Shortly after checking into the Lex, we braved the elements as we made our way downtown to a bar Rowena and I got a recommendation for, from one of the passengers. “It’s the place to be,” he’d boasted, but all we found was an overpriced dive bar with crap music. Halfway through the watered-down drinks, I suggested one of my favourite places.

The Iguana bar was hopping and as one well-oiled (that was just his hair!) guy at the bar slurred, “Thursday is the new Saturday.” He went on to offer, “drinks for you hot chicks,” which we politely declined then cracked up laughing when we heard him repeat the same to another group of girls.

As usual, the conversation turned to love and Rowena asked if I’m seeing anyone, to which I shrugged, “Nope.” I was slightly tempted to share what happened with David but I knew if I brought it up, it’d only make me sad.

Seems strange to think that merely a week ago, I still thought David might be, “the one,” yet here I am in the same country, no longer able to ring him for one of our signature lengthy chats that I’d smile over, long after we hung up. I really miss the sound of his voice. Actually, I miss everything about him, however, I have to get my head around the fact he’s part of the past, no longer in the present and definitely not the future.

The reality of “over,” feels harsh.