December 26th, 1990

December 26th, 1990

Flight from LHR – BKK

Presently on crew rest as we wing our way to Bangkok, and if my first impressions of the crew are accurate, I foresee a boozy trip, laced with several helpings of drama!

 

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 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 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 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.

 

November 11th, 1990

November 11th, 1990

Flight from LGW – CAI

Somewhere over Greece

 

Woke up with the phone ringing. Hoping it was David, I made a grab for it.

“Karen?”

“Yes.”

“Morning. This is Stan from crewing, I have a trip for you.”

Please say LA, please say LA!

“Hold on a sec, please,” I said, reaching for the pad and pen on the bedside table. “Ok, go ahead.”

“Report for the BA one five five at-”

“Cairo, right?”

“Yes. Report time is-”

“I already know, thanks.”

“Righty-o.”
Working in Economy with an on the ball purser called Carmel. The rest of the crew seem super friendly, pretty typical for TriStar crew. It’s the jumbo gang that tends to be more senior and somewhat snooty.

During the three-hour delay Carmel maintained her pleasant, professional demeanor, which emanated throughout the cabin, consequently leading to fewer passenger complaints, which I’m all for!

So far, the flight is going swimmingly, albeit in the wrong direction!

 

November 10th, 1990

November 10th, 1990

Excelsior Hotel, Heathrow Airport, England

 

Woke up with David on the phone.

“Hi honey, sorry to call so early.”

“It’s ok,” I croaked. “What time is it?”

“I’ll give you a clue, it’s dark.”

“Dark here too,” I laughed. “Six o four, which means you’re still a day behind.”

“Crazy, huh?”

“Hmmm, is everything ok?”

“Yeah, I just got home and I’m lonesome without you, so I figured I’d call.”

“I’m glad you did.”

“Is Lorna still there?”

“No, she’s already back in, as she calls it, the land of the clogs.”

“That’s funny. How’d the visit go?”
“Great. She certainly knows how to keep me on my toes, which you’ll see for yourself next March.”

He paused before saying, “Refresh my memory.”

“Lorna and Klaus’s wedding? In Bermuda? Did you forget?”

“Ah, that, no, no, I hadn’t forgotten about it.”

Clearly, you did!

“That’s when you’ll get to meet a handful of my cast of characters.”

But only a few, I don’t think you’re ready for all of them yet!

“Awesome. What’s your report time today?”

“Oh, I didn’t get a chance to tell you about that, it all changed.”

“What happened?”

“The aircraft went tech in Harare so I start standby at two this afternoon.”

“At home?”

“No, they put me on ninety minutes notice so I have a room at the hotel.”

“This won’t affect your trip out here, will it?” I loved the concern in his voice.

“No, that’s a request trip, should be fine.”

“Cool, that’s cool. It’d suck if you couldn’t come.”

“That’s an understatement. Did you say you just got home?”

“Yeah, I was out to dinner with a client from the Tokyo office.”

“Another day, another dinner.”

“Yup.”

“How was it?”

“Tedious. The dude has the personality of a snail. Or maybe a gnat.”

I laughed. “Poor you. Did you at least have a decent meal?”

“Sushi.”

“I no longer feel sorry for you.”

He laughed. “It was nothing like our sushi place. I was thinking, maybe we can go there the night before Thanksgiving.”

“Oh, I’d love that.”

“Cool, I’ll make a reservation. I’m sure it’ll be, what’s that expression you use?”

“Chock-a-block.”

 

I have a dinner date!

In LA!

And I have a dress to wear to Thanksgiving!

In San Diego!

In the meantime, I’m alone on Saturday night in a hotel room, waiting for a call that could take me closer (yay!) or farther away from the one I want to be with.

 

October 25th, 1990

October 25th, 1990

Night flight from SIN – LHR

After a few hours of nothing resembling slumber, I awoke with a full blown, “Aha, you did it again!” hangover.

“Uggggghhh,” I groaned, into the pillow, just as the phone rang. “Go away!”

The piercing shrill did nothing to help my head, so I picked up the receiver then promptly dropped it but when it rang again, I thought I’d better answer.

“I’m dying Andy,” I croaked. “And all this time I thought you were my friend.”

I heard him clear his throat. “Ehm, actually, it’s Richard.”

“Shit, sorry Richard!”

“Terribly sorry to hear of your impending death,” he said, in such a matter of fact tone that it made me laugh.

“How are you feeling?” I asked.

“Much better off than you from the sound of it.”

“I don’t know what I was thinking. Oh, why, oh why did I drink so much?”

“Do you have water?” he asked.

“What?”

“Water. You need water. And some Resolve. I have both. I’ll leave them outside your door.”

“Ehm, no that’s ok, but thanks.”

“I insist. Don’t worry, I shan’t disturb you. Is there anything else you need?”

“A new head.”

“That may prove a tad more difficult but let me see what I can do.”

I cracked up laughing as he continued. “How about food? Do you need food?”

“I can honestly say this is the one and only time in my life when I haven’t wanted to eat.”

His turn to laugh. “I shall leave everything outside your door in five minutes or less.”

“Ok, thanks Richard, I really appreciate it.”

“Get some rest,” he stated. “We have a long night ahead of us.”

Inside the plastic bag the hotel provides for dry cleaning items, Richard put three litre sized bottles of Evian, a box of Resolve, a granola bar, a banana (slightly bruised) and a Hello! magazine with Joan Collins on the cover. On a note scribbled on hotel stationery he’d written;

Karen,

Drink the water, go easy on the Resolve, eat the food and enjoy the magazine (I thought perhaps it might be your cup of tea.) Don’t hesitate to ring if you need anything, room 2302. Otherwise, I’ll see you on the crew bus.

Richard

PS; Personally, I blame it all on the lychee!

 

October 11th, 1990

October 11th, 1990

Cairo, Egypt

Planned on meeting the crew for breakfast but when the alarm went off, I chose to ignore it and go back to sleep.

It’s been a lovely, relaxing day reading and writing, fueled by Greek salad and a double helping of chocolate mousse from room service.

Ah, the glamorous life of a hostie!

 

October 10th, 1990

October 10th, 1990

Flight from LGW – CAI

Cairo, Egypt

 

I felt so sad when I dropped David off at terminal four this morning.

“Til we meet again,” he said, grabbing his suitcase out of the boot.

“I hate this,” I groaned.

“Me too honey but I’ll see you soon.”

“Maybe not ‘til next month.”

“We’ll figure something out before then,” he smiled. “We always do.”

“I’m so looking forward to seeing your new place.”

“I should be in by next week, I’ll send pictures.”

“No, don’t, I want it to be a surprise.”

“Deal,” he said, giving me a peck on the cheek. (No kissing whilst in uniform!)

“Have a good flight,” I sighed.

“You too, honey. I’ll call you this weekend, ok?”

“Ok.”

And now Cairo, where it’s hot, humid and seven and a half thousand miles away from Los Angeles.