May 24th, 1991

May 24th, 1991

Flight from LHR – JFK

Lexington Hotel, New York

Los Angeles was my favourite place in the world, until David showed up at the hotel and smashed my heart into smithereens. So now I’m back in love with the big apple, where I stayed out late with my fantastic crew and drank perhaps a tad too much. The only reason I know that is because I ordered two helpings of chocolate mousse from room service that I doubt I’ll be awake long enough to eat.

 

May 23rd, 1991

May 23rd, 1991

At home, England

I honestly don’t know how people can put in a full day of work, after sitting in traffic for hours on end, only to be faced with the same at the end of the day. That life is definitely not for me. I get really tired from flying and the time changes we constantly experience, but even that seems like nothing, compared to the dreaded commute.

As planned, I got to class early, even before the instructor showed up! I positioned myself in the middle of the back row, which ended up being a terrible idea as it meant I was last to get out!

Millie arrived late, looking utterly frazzled. I actually felt sorry for her, thereby confirming what a sap I am. She sat close to the front and looked very distracted for the remainder of the morning. At lunchtime, I avoided her by sitting in my car (ridiculous, I know) but at the end of the day she made her way to the back of the room.

“I’m glad that’s over, aren’t you?” Her smile looked genuine but I knew to keep my guard up.

“Definitely,” I muttered, feigning distraction, packing my stuff away as she casually plopped herself on the desk.

“Do you think there’s a chance we could be friends again?”

Not looking at her, I shook my head no.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, her voice cracking. “I really am sorry for everything that happened.”

“You should be,” I said, surprising myself. That all too familiar look of rage flashed across her face but quickly changed to another sweet smile, reminding me how calculated she can be. There was nothing left on the desk, so I picked up my bag.

“You’re not going home now, are you? It’s rush hour. Maybe we could go for a drink and let the traffic die down.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Fine, suit yourself,” she hissed. “And by the way, I hate your ring.”

I cried much of the way home, which sounds ridiculous but I know for sure we’ll never be friends again and that makes me sad. Instead of packing for tomorrow, I’ve been drowning my sorrows in tea and biscuits but it’s only a New York trip, so I won’t need much.

 

May 22nd, 1991

May 22nd, 1991

At home, England

Feeling more knackered than I do after a fourteen-hour flight, all thanks to the alarm going off at five so I could get to Heathrow on time for yearly SEP (Safety & Emergency Procedures) course.

I sat in the front row and almost keeled over when Millie walked in! I mumbled a “hello,” but she just glared at me and made her way to the seat directly behind me.

All morning, I felt her eyes boring into the back of my head and could barely concentrate. At break, she smiled sweetly then halfway through asking how the rest of my time in Antigua was, she spotted my ring, quickly putting an end to any pleasantries.

“You’re engaged?” Her screech was loud enough to garner attention.

I nodded but failed to explain my ring isn’t an engagement ring, even although William insisted on paying for it, which is amusing considering I bought it in England and he’s yet to see it!

“You’re so stupid,” she hissed, before storming out of the room.

Sadie, the girl I’d been sitting next to, came over and asked if I was ok. I muttered that I was but I really didn’t feel that way. I felt like finding Millie and calling her out for all of the horrible ways she treated me and for the pity filled letter she sent, as well as the appalling way she treated not only William but also Scott, who had been nothing but kind to her.

“Jealous old cow,” Sadie said, lightening the moment.

When class ended, my stomach was churning, thinking Millie might have another go at me but she left without saying a word.

“Good riddance,” Sadie said, echoing my sentiments exactly.

I have the alarm set for four tomorrow so I can get a seat in the back row!

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 29th, 1991

April 29th, 1991

Scott’s House, Antigua

I was supposed to fly home yesterday but William made it quite clear he wanted me to stay so I went to the airport and rang in sick! Needless to say, the connection was awful, with the time delay a dead giveaway, well that plus the flight announcements! It was pretty obvious from the questions Tom on the crewing desk asked that he knew exactly what I was up to.

“What seems to be the matter?”

I’m following my heart, is what I really wanted to say but I made up some nonsense about a stomach problem.

So, tomorrow, instead of going to Delhi, I’m going to the island of St. Croix with William!

 

April 12th, 1991

April 12th, 1991

Pacific Shore Hotel, Santa Monica, California

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start (sorry, high on LA!)

Thanks to the eight-hour time change, mum and I were up before the crack of dawn, so we walked to the Santa Monica Pier, then popped into Café Boulangerie and devoured pancakes doused in syrup (oh my!)

On the way back to the hotel, I chuckled when mum said, “I’ve yet to see an ugly person!”

“It’s illegal here,” I joked (kind of!) “And I doubt they eat what we just had.”

“Och well,” mum said. “You only live once.”

I was surprised to see a few fellow crew waiting for the tour bus, the first stop of which was the hotel where the Virgin Atlantic crew stay. I was so hoping Ben wouldn’t be one of them. Any sign of him would have completely ruined mum’s day!

Mum was beside herself with excitement as we drove through Beverly Hills and said she couldn’t believe she was so close to so many of her, “Favourite Hollywood stars.” The tour guide was (wait for it!) an aspiring actor, who, upon request, did impressions of pretty much everyone, which was highly entertaining (and garnered plenty of tips!)

Spent the day at Disney, under the brilliant California sun that I doubt I’d ever tire of. Mum mentioned umpteen times how much she was enjoying herself and even though I’ve done all the touristy stuff before, it was nice to enjoy it through fresh eyes.

Back to the hotel for showers and a change of clothes, followed by a quick drink with a bunch of crew who didn’t appear fit for much other than holding up the bar! With such a huge time difference, I usually feel the same but with mum in tow, resting was not an option!

Being mum’s birthday dinner, I didn’t want to chance a new restaurant, so I took her to the cool Italian place I used to frequent with David. I quickly scanned the room, half hoping he’d be there, the other half relieved he wasn’t!

Mum loved watching the sunset from the roof terrace and declared, “Life begins at fifty!”

 

 

 

April 11th, 1991

April 11th, 1991

Flight from LHR – LAX

Pacific Shore Hotel, Santa Monica, California

I love New York like there’s no tomorrow, but LA pulls at my heartstrings like no place else.

One of the many amazing perks of working for an airline is staff travel. Both my parents qualify for staff travel concessions, so mum’s ticket was just over a hundred quid, which, considering the upgrade to First Class, is pretty incredible. We crew look out for our own and make sure accompanying family members receive the best service in the best cabin, as witnessed by mum’s beaming smile after landing.

Felt pretty nostalgic on the crew bus as we whizzed our way past the palm trees, to beachy Santa Monica but mum’s incessant chatter kept me from dwelling too much on that dreadful morning last November, when David came to my room and told me he’s gay.

I can’t deny the pang of sadness I felt walking into the hotel lobby but I pushed it aside and wasted no time changing and meeting the crew in the bar, where we enjoyed the hotel’s legendary Long Island Iced Teas (a further reminder of the countless times David met me here.)

In an effort to shake off any lingering memories, I suggested we take a walk to Venice Beach. The light is one of my favourite things about this place and tonight was no exception, with pale pink streaks painting the sky as mum and I strolled down the beach, oohing and aahing at the sight of the Pacific (and the gargantuan bodybuilders!)

“What do you think, mum?” I said, taking her arm.

“It’s some place, isn’t it? I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Isn’t it beautiful?”

“Stunning,” she smiled. “Are you ok?”

“Uh-huh,” I nodded, breathing in the balmy air, another vivid reminder of the magical nights I spent with David, on his rooftop terrace.

 

April 7th, 1991

April 7th, 1991

At home, England

Millie rang to apologize for her ridiculous ranting last night about Antigua and how she felt, “put out,” by the fact I’m going sooner than I thought.

“If you’re so upset,” I said, in a newfound bold tone, “Then don’t bother coming. I’m not forcing you to.”

“I’ll get there a few days after you arrive. Will that be ok?”

Only if you lose your deplorable attitude, I wanted to say. “Yes, that’ll be fine.”

“I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.

I resisted the urge to respond with the standard, “Me too,” and changed the subject.

We stayed on the phone for about an hour, mostly talking about my upcoming trip to Los Angeles.

“Is your mum excited?”

“She’s beside herself!”

“I can just imagine,” Millie laughed, sounding more like herself again. “You two will have a great time. Right?”

“I believe so.”

“It won’t upset you, you know, being there again?”

“I hope not,” I sighed. “I just want to show my mum around and celebrate her birthday.”

“So you don’t plan on seeing David?”

“Absolutely not!” I blurted, my words not quite matching how I felt.

“What would you do if you bumped into him?”

“Millie! I’m not going to be bump into him, he doesn’t live anywhere near where we’re going.”

“I thought you didn’t know where he moved to?”

“I might have done some, eh, some snooping.”

“You mean stalking?”
“No, I mean investigating,” I said, trying not to laugh.

“And what did Miss Marple discover?”
“Where he lives, as well as a phone number.”

Millie made a sound of disapproval but it wasn’t very convincing. “Well,” she continued, “Tell your mum to have a lovely time and I guess I’ll see you in Antigua.”

“You’ll see me before I leave. I’m leaving my car at yours, remember?”

“Oh yeah, I forgot. Ok, great, so I’ll see you then. Have fun in LA and don’t be sad.”

“I won’t,” I uttered, not quite believing it.

 

March 27th, 1991

March 27th, 1991

Night flight from SIN – LHR

Crew rest as we wing our way back to the UK, with Richard at the helm.

“He sounds much posher on the PA, dontchathink?” Andy asked, while I was in First Class pinching some chocolate biscuits.

“He does, actually.”

Andy’s cheeky grin filled his face.

“What?”

“Nowt,” he said, holding up his hands in a gesture of surrender.

“I know you better than that. What is it?”

“At the risk of stating the obvious, I have to say, Richard really likes you.”

I felt the flush rise in my cheeks. “That obvious, huh?”

“How many times has he gone down the back to see you?”

“Twice,” I mumbled, not daring to look at him.

“Once is serious, twice is unheard of and-”

I swiftly kicked Andy’s foot as Richard came through the curtain into the galley.

“Karen’s already nicked all the good biscuits,” Andy laughed.

“I can see that,” Richard grinned.

“I’m happy to share,” I said, holding out the plate.
“Actually, I was going to grab some and bring them down to you,” Richard said, matter of factly. “Seems you beat me to it.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Andy trying to get my attention but there was no way I could look at him without laughing.

“Do you mind if I join you for a cup of tea?” Richard asked.

“Not at all,” I said. “But I need to get back so we’ll have to slum it in the economy galley.”

“Of course,” Richard uttered, holding open the curtain. I turned to Andy and gave him a, “Don’t you dare say a word!” look, to which he responded by holding up three fingers.

 

 

 

March 26th, 1991

March 26th, 1991

Flight from MEL – SYD – SIN

Westin Hotel, Singapore

The last thing I wanted to do after a fourteen-hour duty day, was go to a room party but Andy felt we should at least, “Show our faces for one drink then make our excuses and leave.”

“Fair enough,” I said, stepping out of the lift. “See you in Ali’s room in half an hour.”

“Ta ta, gorgeous,” he said, blowing me a kiss.

Once inside my room, with my shoes kicked off and a much-needed bottle of water guzzled, I looked longingly at the bed and thought how nice it would be to take a bath before succumbing to its comfort, but I knew if I did, Andy would come knocking on my door.

The room party was fun but halfway through a glass of wine, I felt myself fading, so I told Andy I was going back to my room.

“I’m just getting started,” he chuckled, shaking his almost empty glass. “Ring me in the morning. Not too early!”

“Night,” I said, pecking him on the cheek before saying bye to everyone.

Waiting for the lift, my mind wandered back to the huge, inviting bed and my desire to crawl into it, so when the lift dinged and the doors opened, I was stunned to see a familiar face.

“Hello, Karen.”

“Richard!”

“Up or down?”

“Eh, which floor is this?”

“Twenty-three,” he said, a look of amusement.

“Up, please. Thirty-seven. What’re you up to? When did you arrive?”

“Yesterday. You?”
“About an hour ago,” I yawned. “I take it we came from different directions?”

Nodding and smiling widely, he said, “You look well.”

“Thank you. You do too.”

“Are you calling it a night?” It came out sounding suggestive, which really isn’t his style so I attributed it to either his new cool haircut or that he met someone.

“Not necessarily,” I said, in a flirty tone, if only to gauge his response.

“It’s just that I’m meeting the crew at the Compass Rose, under duress of course, so I was only planning on staying for one drink.”

Inwardly, I chuckled at our common intention, as he continued. “I’d love it if you’d join me.”

Hmmm, so maybe no to him seeing someone.

“Love to,” I smiled. “But just one.”

Famous last words!

 

 

March 24th, 1991

March 24th, 1991

Flight from MEL – ADL – MEL

Hilton Hotel, Melbourne, Australia

Flight time to Adelaide was only seventy minutes, but in between, we went to a hotel for several hours, the usual set up, one room for the males, another for the females, neither of which got much use as we all ended up in the coffee shop!