November 8th, 1989
Flight from LHR – CDG – LHR
Excelsior Hotel, Heathrow
Lorna reappeared at three this morning.
“Where have you been?” I whispered, so as not to wake up Jill.
“Downstairs at the bar,” she slurred, in a huffy not so quiet tone.
“Shhhh,” I said, gesturing to Jill, asleep in my bed.
“Wit the hell is she doing in your bed?”
I started to say, “Keep your voice down,” but Lorna’s expression was so comical looking that I cracked up laughing.
Jill promptly woke up, shot out of bed and made a mad dash for the bathroom.
“Ugh,” Lorna said, contorting her face when we heard Jill vomiting.
“That poor thing,” I said. “She’s really going to regret this.”
“So she’s in your bed because she got drunk?” Lorna asked.
I nodded my head, yes. “She seemed fine at the pub, didn’t she?”
“Aye, I didn’t even see her drinking much.”
“Nor did I but shortly after we came back here, she got absolutely legless.”
“I know how that feels,” Lorna laughed, swaying in an exaggerated fashion.
“But,” I stated, “I digress. So, getting back to my question, where have you been?”
“I told you, I was at the hotel bar.”
“And I bumped into an old eh, pal.”
“Uff,” she sighed. “It’s a long story. Can we get room service? I’m bloody starving.”
“It’s three in the morning.”
“What are you? The food police?”
I rolled my eyes. “Will tea and toast suffice?”
“Brilliant,” she said, making her way to the bathroom. “Jill honey, it’s me, Lorna, let me in.”
Jill let out a series of guttural sounds that I interpreted as “Go away and leave me alone.” Lorna clearly didn’t understand any of it.
“Let me in honey, I can give you a wee hand.”
“Go away,” Jill groaned.
“That’s it,” Lorna shouted, twisting the door handle. “I’m coming in.” She barged through the door and I tried to keep a straight face while I ordered room service.
Lorna somehow managed to coax Jill away from the porcelain throne and I watched as Jill shuffled her way past me.
“There you go, honey,” Lorna said, tucking Jill into bed.
“I guess I’ll be sleeping on the couch,” I whispered.
“Actually,” Lorna said, “I was going to ask if I could stay here.”
“Why? What’s wrong with your room?”
“Uff, it’s a long story,” she huffed.
“Uh, sure, ok. Do you want the couch?”
“Aye, that’d be brilliant honey, thanks,” she said, making herself comfortable.
After we’d scoffed down the toast and two pots of tea, I got myself situated at the opposite end of the bed to Jill and tried to ignore the awful stench coming from the bathroom. When I turned off the light, the phone rang.
“Hiya, it’s Daniel. Sorry but I think my ID might be in your room, did you see it anywhere?”
“No,” I whispered.
“Shit, pick up’s in ten minutes, I can’t go to Paris without my ID.”
“You can’t go anywhere without your ID. Hold on a sec while I have a look around.”
I turned on the light and scanned the room. Lorna was asleep with her legs dangling over the arm of the couch and Jill was snoring.
The absurdity of the situation hit me when I found myself crawling on the floor to look under the bed. I let out a chuckle when I spotted Daniel’s ID and reached my arm as far as it would go, just enough to grab the lanyard. When I got back on the phone, I sounded slightly out of breath. “Got it.”
A few minutes later, Daniel was at the door.
“Here you go,” I said, handing him his ID.
“Thanks. What’s that smell?”
I yawned. “I’m too tired to talk, I’ll tell you tomorrow.”
He peeked into my room. “Is that Lorna on the couch?”
“Yes, shhh, please.”
Shut up and go to Paris!
I closed the door and for a split second I imagined sliding my body down the door like the people you sometimes see in films; the ones in deep despair, on the edge, the ones who can’t take it anymore. Once again, I found myself chuckling at the absurdity of it all and climbed back on top of the bed.
I tried, to no avail, to sleep and when the sun came up, I had to contain my laughter at the sight of Jill, sprawled across the bed with her hair plastered across her face, which reminded me of Frankie, in Christopher’s apartment in New York.
Lorna woke up demanding more tea and toast, which I, of course, ordered. And when Jill eventually stirred, the first thing she said was, “It smells putrid in here.” All I could do was shake my head.
When the pair of them eventually left, I took a shower, put my uniform on and went to Paris (and back!)
When I got back to my room, the bed was made and the room smelled fresh again.
Thank you and sorry, housekeeping! I collapsed on the bed and woke up, thanks to the alarm, three hours later. I quickly got ready and headed down to the lobby to meet Jon, as planned.
“McGarr,” he grinned, coming towards me. “How the devil are you?”
“Slightly knackered,” I laughed, feeling his kiss on my cheek, “but fine.”
“You don’t look tired, you look great.”
“Thank you for lying, I need that right now.”
He tilted his head to the side. “It’s true. You always look great.”
“As do you,” I said, stepping back to admire the dapper looking tailored jacket he’d paired with jeans.
“Nice get up,” I said.
“Thanks for noticing, McGarr.”
We chatted easily, while Jon drove us in his new VW Golf (really nice, might have to get one!) to London. Had dinner in Covent Garden then popped in and out of various wine bars. Jon asked a slew of questions about Ben and after I was done filling him in, he shook his head.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Sorry McGarr,” he sighed, “but he sounds like a prize prick.”
“Don’t hold back,” I laughed. “Tell me what you really think.”