July 18th, 1991

July 18th, 1991

Night flight from DTW – LHR

I’ve heard it said how important it is to know what you want but that it’s more important to know what you don’t and I can say, without a doubt, that I don’t want to live in America. In the big scheme of things, I probably shouldn’t proclaim such after only a short stay in Massachusetts and less than twenty-four hours in Detroit, but that’s really how I feel right now.

I debated over ringing William but after too much wine with my crew, I caved in and found myself dialing the number that (for whatever reason) I can’t seem to commit to memory. After a few minutes, I blurted, “I can’t see myself living there!” which I expected to throw him for a loop but all he said was, “We can figure it out.”

What I failed to tell him is that I spent the most incredible weekend with Ben but I did tell him the ring he (William, not Ben!) bought me is back in its box, stuffed in my dresser drawer. He actually laughed, which I found quite confusing. After that, we talked easily about all sorts then all of a sudden, he said he needed to go to bed.

“Oh, ehm, ok,” I stuttered.

“I love you,” he said, leaving me feeling more confused than ever.

 

July 15th 1991

July 15th, 1991

At home, England

Since Ben left this afternoon, I’ve been replaying the weekend in my mind:

“Thanks for everything,” he said, tossing the last of his things into his bag. “I really don’t want to leave.”

“I don’t want you to, either but I believe Hong Kong is calling.”

“This time tomorrow,” he sighed, “I’ll be in Honkers and you’ll be halfway to Detroit.”

“Don’t remind me,” I laughed, as he moved towards me. Cupping my face in his hands he said, “Thank you for making my twenty-fifth birthday so spectacular. I loved every second with you.”

“No problem,” I croaked. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

“Did you?”

“I think you know the answer to that,” I said, pulling away, if only to stop the tears in their tracks.

I need to ring Pamsy. Hopefully she’ll forgive me for being a day late.

 

July 13th, 1991

July 13th, 1991

At home, England

 

I picked up the phone to Pamsy. “Soooo, was it great? How’s the flat? Fill me in!”

“It was nice.”

Nice? You don’t sound very enthusiastic, are you just tired?”

“No. I’m a little sad.”

“To be home?”

“To be, shit, I don’t know-”

“What happened?”

“Nothing really, I mean, it was pleasant and we spent a lot of time together and the place is really sweet-”

“But?”

“I just can’t see myself living there.”

“But what about William? Did you enjoy being with him?”

“I don’t think we’re compatible.”

“At all? You said he was quiet, maybe he’s just shy?”

“I think so but aside from that, he doesn’t like going out much.”

“That’s odd.”

“I don’t know if he just gets stressed from his job, you know how some people are really into their work and take it home with them?”

“Unlike us,” she laughed. “You have to keep in mind how unusual our jobs are, I mean who else do you know who gets paid to fly around the world? Perhaps the normalcy of what you just experienced was all too much at once?”

“I didn’t think of it that way but you could be right. Maybe that’s why I was bored.”

“It doesn’t mean the two of you can’t find somewhere livelier to live, right?”

I sighed a deep sigh. “I really don’t know, Pamsy. I just don’t see myself living a life like that.”

“Did you tell William?”

“No, not yet.”

“Sounds like you have a lot to think about, I’m so sorry. I imagine it’ll be a quiet night for you?”

“Actually no, “I said, wondering if I should continue.

“Oh, are you going out?”

“I might be. Ehm, Ben is coming over.”

“Noooooooooooo-”

“Yeeeeesss,” I said, glancing at the clock for the umpteenth time.

“What am I going to do with you! I thought he was still with Mandy Pandy.”

“I don’t know, we didn’t get that far on the phone.”

“You better ring me first thing tomorrow with every and I mean every detail but do it before half nine, that’s when I have to leave.”

“That’s a bit early.”

“Well, tonight, after you don your long, flowing, flannel nightie, you know, the one with the ruffled neckline and long sleeves, brush and floss your teeth, climb into bed and before you shut off the light, reach over and set the alarm, then crawl under the duvet for a long-”

“A long what?” I managed, through giggles.

“You know,” she chuckled. “A long, deep, satisfying…sleep!”

 

June 21st, 1991

June 21st, 1991

Night flight from SFO – LHR

Homeward bound after a great time in San Fran, with a particularly nice crew.

Being in America made me think about living there and how I think I would fit into such a different lifestyle. The East and West Coast are like two different countries and given the choice, I’d live on the West Coast (and no, I’m not harping on about LA!) The pace is more to my liking and the people seem a lot more laid back. On the East, they seem more uptight and not as friendly but it’s not like I’ve lived in either place so I could be completely wrong.

If things work out with William, which I have to say, at the moment, doesn’t seem likely. I mean I haven’t even talked to him since I left Antigua, nor have I received anything from him in the post, so as usual I’m probably getting ahead of myself butin the event that something let’s say, transpires(ha!) then it seems with his work at the moment we’d be based on the East Coast. Hmmmm, lots to think and talk about, all of which I’ll be doing tomorrow with Pamsy.

I hope, unlike yours truly, she’s getting a good night’s sleep!

 

June 20th, 1991

June 20th, 1991

Omni Hotel, San Francisco

With the eight-hour time difference, being on the West Coast typically consists of very early mornings and not so late nights but by the time I got to bed I’d been up for 29 hours so I guess that theory’s out the window!

Consequently, I was surprised to see most of the crew in the lobby this morning, the more senior members looking somewhat bleary eyed. The first class purser, a take charge sort, had taken it upon himself to book the ferry tickets (for 19!) to Sausalito. Bloody Mary’s were the order of the day on the hour-long ferry ride and I was the only one who didn’t partake (only because I don’t like tomato juice!)

I love the different characters of crew and the various tidbits you pick up about a place from other crew experiences. Rowena led us to her favourite boutique where I passed over way too much money for a white cotton jumper I’ll probably never wear. Anton is seriously into art and took us to his favourite gallery, an art deco style building, filled with papier mache statues that cost a small fortune. “It’s only bloody paper,” Jade chirped in her cockney accent, making us laugh. From there we made our way to the restaurant on the hill, suggested by Anna, and drank Californian wine recommended by Jason.

Malcolm began telling us about Sausalito’s involvement in World War II, during which 20,000 people on each of three shifts, built a liberty vessel every 13 days! Between 1942 and 1945, a total of 93 ships were built, all in that quaint little place we spent the most enjoyable day.

Ah, the stuff we learn (and the things we buy!)

 

May 28th, 1991

May 28th, 1991

Night flight from PIT – IAD – LHR

Feeling the effect of four transatlantic sectors in five days, which, with the stop in Washington, makes tonight feel like it’ll never end. Fortunately, our purser allocated each of us an hour of crew rest, giving me just enough time to dunk biscuits in tea and recall some of last night’s onslaught of questions in the hotel bar (we were all too knackered to venture out.)

“Oh, what a beautiful ring, I didn’t even notice it on the flight, what stone is that?”

“Oh, your fiancé is American?”

“Where did you meet him?”

“How long have you known him?”

“What does he do?”

“Where does he live?”

“When are you getting married?”

“Where are you getting married?”

“Where are you going to live after you get married?”

“So, you’ll be giving up flying?”
“How long have you been flying?”

“If you move to the States, do you think you’ll like it?”

“Do you really see yourself living there?”

“Won’t you miss your family and friends?”

 

I’m astounded that the presence of a ring can generate so many questions!

 

May 26th, 1991

May 26th, 1991

Excelsior Hotel, Heathrow Airport

Had to dash home from the night flight to meet Sarah for bridesmaid dress shopping, which was a bit of a joke as Sarah had already pretty much decided what Suzanna and I will wear. The dress looks like robin egg blue met pale pink, got drunk and threw up all over each other. Yes, delightful! As if that isn’t bad enough, it hugs me in all the wrong places which is another way of saying I feel really fat in it.

Came back to the hotel, feeling pretty depressed at the thought of being seen in something so hideous and couldn’t wait to sleep. There were a bunch of people checking in ahead of me and I thought I might fall asleep standing up, ‘til I heard Annabel’s distinctive dulcet tones wafting in my direction.

She clocked my ring right away. “David isn’t gay after all?”

It took me a second to figure out what she was talking about before realizing she thought my ring was from David! Last November, on that dreaded day, I bumped into Annabel in the hotel lobby in Santa Monica and she really helped me get through the rest of the day. I told her there was too much to explain so we decided to go for a drink and ended up in Windsor, where Annabel wasted no time ordering a bottle of champagne. “My treat, my treat” she gushed. “So much to talk about!”

Annabel appreciated the antique aspect of my ring and asked if it had been passed down.
“Nope! I have no idea who it belonged to before, I just know I love it.”

She went on to ask more questions that mum does, about pretty much everything, which kept the conversation lively. I never get bored with Annabel and her rapid tongue, she really is great company and bumping into her was a lovely surprise.

 

 

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!