September 13th, 1990

September 13th, 1990

At home, England

Even although it was only one night, I loved having Rachel here.

We attempted to have breakfast in the garden, but halfway through, it started bucketing down.

“Ugh,” I groaned, scrambling to clear the table.

“Nothing like soggy croissants!” Rachel said, helping me move everything inside.

“I hate British weather, it drives me batty! We were outside for all of what, fifteen minutes?”

Rachel nodded. “One thing I enjoyed about being in New York was eating outside. I loved the restaurants with the huge windows that open to the street.”

“Me too but you can’t do that in January.”

“Oh yeah,” she giggled. “That’s true.”

“Unlike in LA”, I said. “Where you can eat outside year-round.”

“Sounds blissful. You really love it there, don’t you?”

“I love where David lives, the beach is amazing.”

“Sounds incredible, I must get to California.”

“Yes! You! Must!”

She laughed. “I’ll wait ‘til you move out there.”

“Who said anything about me moving?”

“I think it’s inevitable.”

“You do?”

“Uh-huh, your face lights up when you talk about David and after seeing pictures of him last night I can see why.”

“He’s not too shabby, is he,” I smiled.

“I need to find a guy like that.”

“They’re ten a penny in LA!”

She cracked up laughing. “Quick! Help me pack!”

“Kidding aside, I think you would really enjoy the West Coast, it’s very laid back and has kind of a magical quality to it.”

“I need some magic,” she sighed.

Don’t we all.

 

September 12th, 1990

September 12th, 1990

At home, England

Tonight’s overnight guest is Rachel, who stepped off the train today looking no different from the last time I saw her five years ago, on our last day at secondary school.

“Shall we go on a little tour first before we go to my house?”

“Oh, I’d love that.”

“I don’t think too much has changed except for more houses.”

“It looks much more built up,” she said, peering out the window as I reversed out of the parking spot.

Our trip down memory lane lasted much longer than I’d expected after we bumped into Sarah in what used to be my favourite place to go with Ben whenever we had a hankering for Indian food. Sarah and her friends from work accompanied us to Vaults, where it seemed half the people we went to school with, were at the bar.

“It’s as if they knew you were coming, Rachel!”

“It’s so lovely,” she chuckled. “I’ve really missed being here.”

Two things surprised tonight about Rachel; She smokes. And she’s still a virgin.

“You are?” I asked.

She nodded and took a sip of wine. “You look surprised.”

“I just figured now that we’re in our early twenties, we’ve all…”

“Well, we know you have,” she laughed. “You and Ben could barely keep your hands off each other, even at school.”

I felt my cheeks flush. “Were we really that bad?”

“Yes! You were both so in love. I always thought you’d stay together.”

“Me too,” I uttered. “Top up?”

“Yes please,” she smiled, holding out her glass as I refilled it.

“Thank you. Do you still miss him?”

“Not as much as I used to, I mean I still think about him more than I probably should but…”

“Makes me sad,” she sighed.

“Why?”

“Because as much as you two loved each other, it wasn’t enough.”

“I think we were too young. It was too intense for us to know what to do with it.”

“Perhaps if you met now for the first time, it’d be different, right?”

“Maybe, but listen, enough of that. Can I ask you something?”

“Of course you can, lovely wine by the way, is this our second bottle?”

“Yes, but I have plenty more!”

“Oh dear,” she said, with a mock expression of shock. “What did you want to ask?”

“Are you saving yourself for marriage?”

She laughed. “No! I’m saving myself for someone I’m in love with. It just hasn’t happened yet.”

“It will.”

She looked pensive. “I worry it won’t.”

“Are you kidding? Look at you! You’re so beautiful. Added to which, you’re intelligent, creative beyond belief, ridiculously cool and..”

“Oh please,” she said, waving her hand dismissively.

“You are!”

“I disagree. I think I’m awkward and shy and unsophisticated and…”

“You’re looking in the wrong mirror,” I said.

“Things I need to work on,” she said. “Come outside so we can keep talking while I have a ciggy.”

My reaction prompted her to ask, “What’s so funny?”

“I can’t get over you smoking!”

 

August 26th, 1990

August 26th, 1990

Home sweet home, England

“You’re officially grown up!” Lucy (my first visitor!) said, handing me a bottle of wine and a house plant.

“Don’t be fooled,” I laughed.

Very nice,” she said, looking around. “You sure you just moved in? Looks like you’ve been here for ages.”

“It’s all due to my mum and dad’s help, they’ve been amazing.”

“I’m sure they’re really excited for you.”

“Let me give you the grand tour then we’ll have some wine. Don’t worry, it won’t take long.”

Within five minutes of Lucy’s departure, I rang David.

“Is this a good time?” I asked.

“Sure. I just got home from work. It’s pretty late for you isn’t it.”

“Yeah, Lucy, my old school chum just left.”

“Did you guys have fun?”

“We did. It was lovely to see her and hopefully I drank enough wine that I’ll be able to sleep tonight.”

“You didn’t sleep good last night?”

“Not ‘til the sun came up.”

“How come?”

“All I could think about was the mad axe murderer lurking outside the back door. I was so scared, it was awful.”

“Oh honey, that’s horrible. Maybe you could have your dad install a sensor light or something to make you feel safer.”

“That’s a good idea but it’d be better if you could come over. When can you get here?”

He laughed. “If I catch the red eye out of L A X tonight I can be there sometime tomorrow.”

“Noooooo,” I whined. “That’s too long.”

“Sorry.”

“That’s ok, I’m just being a baby.”

“So, my boss broke the news to me today that I need to go back to Tokyo.”

“Shit, when?”

“Thursday.”

“That’s when I leave for Boston.”

“I know, I have your roster right here. Your mom is going with you, right?”

“Yup and it’s all she can talk about; Lizzie’s big return to America!”

“I hear Boston is pretty cool.”

“You haven’t been?”

“Nope. I’m relying on you to tell me all about it.”

“I wish you could join us.”

“Me too. Hey, I just had a thought.”

“That’s dangerous,” I laughed.

“Yeah, right? Maybe I could hit London on my way back from Tokyo.”

“Ooooh, I could come and pick you up and whisk you back here to my lair.”

“Let me see what I can do.”

Fingers crossed.

 

August 25th, 1990

August 25th, 1990

Home sweet home, England

First night in my new house and I have carpets!

In my absence, dad managed to contact someone from the flooring company’s head office and with the help of Florence and her husband’s work van, they were able to salvage the carpets I paid for, which (especially financially) is very good news.

“Will you be ok there tonight by yerself?” Dad asked, as I was jamming the last of my stuff into the car.

“Of course I will.”

“You know you can phone us anytime, right? Day or night.”

“I know, thanks dad,” I smiled. “Don’t worry I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Dad, I spend half my life alone in a hotel room!”

“Aye but that’s different.”

“Trust me, I’ll be ok.”

“Do me a wee favour and give mum a phone in the morning when you wake up.”

“Will do.”

I just had a bath, overflowing with bubbles and I’m getting ready to ring David for a chat nobody else will hear.

Pure bliss.

 

August 16th, 1990

August 16th, 1990

At home (mum & dad’s)

Went with dad first thing, to the carpet showroom, only to find the entire building secured with huge padlocks! There wasn’t a soul about, so I guess I’ll have to find another company, which means spending more money on something I already paid for.

The fridge was delivered this afternoon, as scheduled, but the bed didn’t show up, so I rang the company, in Italy, in the hopes of finding someone that spoke English.

“Buon pomeriggio, comme posso aiutarti?”

“Oh, eh hello,” I stuttered. “Do you speak English?”

“Yes.”

“Great, ehm, I’m ringing about a bed I ordered.”

“Bid?”

“Bed. B. E. D.”

“Sleeping?”

“Yes. I ordered a bed from your catalogue.”

“The book?”

“Yes.”

“Number?”

“C1984436.”

“Too fast. Again.”

“C 1 9 8 4 4 3 6.”

“One min eet pleeze.”

While on hold, I fanned myself with the invoice and ignored the outrageous amount of money I spent on something I bought because I liked the glossy picture.

“Ok,” she said, the sound of papers rustling in the background. “Tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow for what?”

“For the bid.”

“No, it’s supposed to be delivered today.”

“Not today. Dee lay.”

“I need it today. It’s supposed to be here today.”

“Tomorrow.”

“I won’t be here tomorrow,” I stated.

“So, you want today?”
“Yes!”

“One min eet.”

More fanning with a few deep breaths thrown in for good measure.

“Ok, so tonight.”

“Tonight? I can get it tonight? What time?”

“Ten or more o’clock. It is ok?”

“Eh, I suppose that’s ok, yes, that’s fine. I’ll be here.”

“Ok tonight for the bid.”

I now have a bed and a fridge. And bare floors.

 

August 15th, 1990

August 15th, 1990

At home (mum & dad’s)

Shot over to my house first thing to meet the flooring guys, who didn’t show up ‘til late this afternoon when a burly, gloomy looking guy knocked on the door and told me the company had gone into liquidation, therefore no carpets I already paid for! Dad said he’ll see what he can do tomorrow and in the meantime mum helped me clean the house from top to bottom, which, with the music blaring wasn’t so bad.

I’m so glad I didn’t buy a house in France!

 

 

 

May 20th, 1990

May 20th, 1990

At home

With the prospect of having my own place,  I spent much of the day looking at furniture and came to the conclusion that I basically want everything for sale in Habitat.

No word yet from Harvey on whether the owners accepted my offer but hopefully by the time I leave for Antigua it’ll all be sorted. I’d hate to leave with that in limbo, especially since I’ll be out of touch for two weeks.

Tried ringing David but no reply so I left a message on his machine saying it’d be great to talk to him before I leave the country again!

By tonight, I felt utterly restless so mum suggested we go to the pictures, where she drooled over Richard Gere and I did the same over Andy Garcia! I think the film was called “Internal Affairs,” that’s how little attention I paid to it, but it passed the time.

Just tried David again but this time I didn’t bother leaving a message. Ugh!

 

May 19th, 1990

May 19th, 1990

At home

Very exciting day!

Went out early this morning with dad and while we were driving around, dad spotted a For Sale sign on a building he knows I’ve long admired. The agency advertising it was just around the corner so we popped in. The woman at the front desk was very intimidating looking and said I wouldn’t be able to get in to view it until Monday at the earliest, but fortunately at that moment, a young chap appeared and said if we came back in an hour, he’d walk us over.

I liked it the minute I stepped inside and saw the French doors leading from the living room out to a small patio, strewn with terra cotta pots that reminded me of the stairway at David’s place. Harvey (the estate agent) urged us to look beyond the vast array of toys practically covering every square inch of the floor in the living room, hallway and two bedrooms.

“What do you think?” Harvey asked.

“I quite like it,” I said, trying not to give too much away.

“Enough to make an offer?”

“I’m not sure, I have to think about it.”

“Don’t wait too long,” he said, sounding like an estate agent. “Something like this won’t last, especially on this street. I’ll be in the office all day if you decide to do something.”

The second Harvey was out of earshot, I asked dad what he thought.

“I like that it has that secure entrance to the building. And the parking is close so you wouldn’t have far to walk with your suitcase.”

“Hmmmm, that’s a good point. Do you think I should make an offer?”

“It’s a nice wee place but you’ve talked about getting a house.”

“I know but I can’t afford a house in this area so maybe I start with a flat and work my way up?”

Twenty minutes later, Harvey looked like the cat that got the cream when he looked up and saw us.

“So?”

“I want to make an offer.”

“Good decision,” he said, practically rubbing his hands together. “But first, we need to talk about financing.”

“I’m already approved for a mortgage,” I stated.

Careful you don’t choke on that cream, Harvey, I thought, as a smirk took over his chubby face.

So, now we play the waiting game and see where it goes. Harvey cat said if the offer gets accepted, I could be moving in, in as little as four weeks!

 

March 26th, 1990

March 26th, 1990

At home

“Och, I forgot to tell you,” were the first words out of mum’s mouth this morning. “Jon phoned while you were in Paris and apparently, you were supposed to phone and let him know if you were going to see him or not.”

“Shit, I completely forgot.”

“Don’t swear.”

“Sorry. Did he sound annoyed?”

“Does he ever?”

I laughed. “No, never. I really hope he meets a great girl who absolutely adores him.”

“Aye so do I, he deserves it.”

“Oh, so you’ve given up all hope of us being together?”

“Aye, well I heard a wee bit of your conversation with David last night.”

“Mum!”

“Uff, I couldnae help it when I was going in and out of the kitchen and it’s no as if you were in your room and I was outside the door listening.”

“Which is probably what you’d do if I had a phone in my bedroom.”

Her smirk gave her away.

“Mum, you’re so nosey!”

“I cannae help it,” she said. “You’re my lassie.”

“I know,” I said in a huffy tone, “But I’d appreciate at least some level of privacy. Especially when I’m on the phone.”

She chuckled.

“What?”

“You,” she smiled. “You sound more American every time you talk to David.”

Lovely evening with Sarah and Lucy at The Swan, one of my favourite pubs. Sarah was talking a million miles a minute but Lucy was much more subdued. Of the three of us, Lucy is definitely the quiet one, so much so in fact that I sometimes feel I don’t know her as well as I should after almost ten years of being friends.

It’s interesting witnessing the various directions our lives are moving in but I love that no matter where we end up, we’ll always have the shared experience of our school years. Even if we do have three different versions of all that happened!