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.

 

October 9th, 1990

October 9th, 1990

Penta Hotel, Heathrow Airport, England

Just when I thought David couldn’t be more perfect, he rang first thing (like six this morning first thing!) to say he’d changed his flight from Germany to LA so he could spend the night in the UK.

“I’ll be in class all day, did you forget?”

“No, what time will it be over?”

“I should be done by five at the latest, which unfortunately won’t give us much time at my house.”

“I took the liberty of booking a room at the hotel.”

“Wow, what time did you get up?” I laughed. “So, is it safe for me to assume I’ll be spending the night?”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Ah, be still my beating heart.

“Sounds great, I should be at the hotel by about five thirty.”

“Tell me where you’ll be, I’ll come pick you up.”

“Are you sure? Will you have a car?”

“I already reserved a rental car.”

Oh my!

 

I couldn’t wait for class (annual certification for Safety, Emergency Procedures on the Boeing 747) to be over but when the instructor said we were done at four thirty I inwardly groaned, thinking of the wait I’d have ‘til David arrived. Of course I should’ve known he’d already be outside, waiting.

“Didn’t I just see you in Germany?” he grinned, holding the car door open.

I laughed. “Hurry up and get in, I can’t be seen kissing you in uniform.”

 

A few seconds later, he leaned over and kissed me. “Better?”

“You tell me.”

“Much, much better,” he smiled. “Hey, you wanna go to London for dinner?”

“Yeah, that sounds fab but I need to change first. My car’s on the other side,” I said, pointing.

“Cool,” he smiled. “Show me the way.”

 

Amazing night. Amazing guy.

In every way.

 

October 7th, 1990

October 7th, 1990

Flight from DUS – LHR as a passenger

At home, England

 

I don’t quite know where to begin so I guess I’ll start by saying how much I’m missing David after such an incredible time in Germany.

It was raining this morning, so we had breakfast inside, but with the balcony doors open.

“I had the best sleep I’ve had in a long, long time,” David said, stretching enough that his t-shirt rose, revealing parts of him I find irresistible.

“Glad to hear that,” I smirked. “Can you just do that again?”

“Do what?” he asked. Such innocence!

“That stretch thing,” I said, waving my hand. “Only this time reach higher and slow it down a bit.”

“You’re bad,” he said, leaning over to kiss me.

“Did you have the dolphin dream?”

He looked surprised. “No, did you?”

“I did, actually,” I said in a cocky voice.

“And?”

“There were seven dolphins swimming around us.”

He cracked up laughing and I loved that he got it without me having to explain. “Seven, huh?”

“Actually,” I continued, in the same vein. “It might have been nine.”

“Hmmmmm,” he said, rubbing his chin, in an exaggerated way.

I glanced at the clock and sighed.

“I wish you could stay”, he said, echoing my thoughts.

“As much as I want to ring in sick for the Paris flight tonight, if I do, it’ll mess everything up and I’ll lose the trip I requested to spend Thanksgiving with you.”

“That’s not an option.”

All too soon, we were on our way to the airport.

“You don’t have to come in, just drop me off.”

“No way,” David said. “I’m coming inside with you.”

The desk agent had a stern look to her that didn’t exactly scream Customer Service and with a well- practiced eye roll, she uttered the words one never wants to hear whilst travelling on a staff travel ticket; “The flight is full.”

“Are you sure?”

“Very,” she stated, her tone falling somewhere between stern and evil. “You vil not be travelling to London today.”

“Shit!” I exclaimed, followed with a quick apology as she practically tossed the ticket at me. I looked at David. “I can’t ring in sick, I really can’t.”

“Can you take a flight out of another airport?”

“I, I don’t know,” I stuttered.

He gave me a look that said, “Allow me?”

I nodded yes and stepped to the side as he cleared his throat. He leaned slightly over the counter and said something in German to battle axe lady that actually made her laugh, which in turn made him laugh but I could tell he was faking it. All I understood from the quick exchange was “Dusseldorf.”

Battle axe turned sex kitten hit the computer keys in a frantic fashion, all the while making sounds confirming the reason why German isn’t considered a Romance language.

“Ja,” she breathed seductively, gazing at David as though I had vanished into thin air.

“Danke,” he smiled, followed by words that made her cheeks flush slightly.

“What exactly is happening?” I snipped.

“I’ll tell you in the car,” David said, looking at his watch. “We gotta move it!”

Fortunately, due to the fact David flew into Dusseldorf just the other day, he remembered the way.

“Don’t worry honey,” he kept saying as he bombed down the autobahn. “We’ll get you home in time for work tonight.”

For a myriad of reasons, my insides were churning as we neared the terminal so I told David just to drop me off.

“You sure?”

“Uh-huh,” I nodded, fearing I might cry. “There’s no time to linger.”

He grabbed my bag out of the boot, we kissed and I ignored the immense sadness welling up inside as I quickly made my way towards the entrance. Just as I was about to step inside, David called out. “Nine dolphins, huh?”

I spun around to see him standing with his elbow resting on the car door.

“Actually,” I yelled. “I think it was ten.”

He smiled and blew me a kiss.

Inside, the terminal was packed and I fought my way to the Lufthansa check-in area and joined the long queue. When I finally got to the counter, the desk agent typed in all my information, all the while making small talk (I think!) with the man working next to her.

“Are there many people on standby?” I asked.

“About twenty too many,” she replied in a Northern English accent. I refrained from asking where she was from, but just knowing she spoke the same language was enough to make me continue. “The woman in Cologne said there was space on this flight.”

“There was, until about ten minutes ago. We had a huge group of VIP’s check in, now we’re juggling everybody about to accommodate them.”

“Ugh, so there’s no way I’m getting on this flight.”

She gave me a sympathetic look. “Sorry. The best I can do is put your name on the list for the Air Europe flight. To Gatwick.”

“That’s the only other one today?”

“There’s one to Manchester later.”

“My car is at Heathrow,” I said, feigning a smile.

“Sorry, I wish there was something else I could do.”

The thought of losing the request trip to LA was enough to make me come up with Plan B, so with a freshly paid for phone card, I rang mum and asked her to ring crewing. “Tell them my car broke down but make sure whoever you speak to knows I’m not ringing in sick. I can’t let David down at Thanksgiving.” I knew the mere mention of anything David related would be enough to guarantee mum’s utmost attention!

The prospect of waiting for the flight to Gatwick was depressing so I concocted a fantasy (what else can you do in the airport with three hours to kill when you’re too distracted to read?) in which I made my way back to Cologne. David opened the door. Stretched! Took one look at me, fell to his knees, told me he couldn’t live without me and asked me to marry him! Of course, I said yes and we lived happily ever after (in LA!)

Fine tuning the fantasy details took up a lot of time and before I knew it, I was on the flight, vowing never again to rely on staff travel to get me home in a timely fashion!

I got a crappy middle seat but I knew two of the girls on the crew from my days working with Air Europe so I moseyed to the back galley, where I enjoyed several glasses of Champagne, all whilst giving Ally and Emma the condensed version of why I was in Germany.

Reality once again set in when we touched down at Gatwick and I had to leg it to catch the Gatwick Express to Victoria train station. From there it was two tube rides to Heathrow then finally to the crew car park, where I sighed a deep sigh of relief. Even the thought of a two-hour drive home felt like nothing compared to the eight hours prior.

Rang mum to let her know I made it. She said the woman she spoke to on the crew desk was really helpful, and assured mum that none of my other trips will be affected. I do have to ring crewing in the morning though, so hopefully I won’t be in too much trouble.

I put on some music, made hot chocolate and pondered whether I should unpack or wait ‘til tomorrow but I felt too wired to sleep, so the bag won. At the bottom of it, was a postcard of Cologne Cathedral, attached to a small box, tied with white ribbon. On the back of the card, David had written; “Here’s the first of many. Thank you for the best time ever. I absolutely love you x”

And inside the box, was a Swarovski crystal baby dolphin.

 

September 28th, 1990

September 28th, 1990

Flight from LHR – EWR

Newark, New Jersey

With my head still reeling from spending time with David, I walked into the briefing room this morning and was surprised to see Millie.

“Where the hell have you been?”

“Morning to you too!” I said, tossing my cabin bag under the seat beside her. “What are you doing here?”

“I got called out on standby,” she said quickly. “I’ve been trying to get hold of you since last night.”

“I wasn’t home.”

“I gathered that,” she said, in a tone that told me I should do everything possible to avoid working alongside her on the flight.

“Where were you?”

Out looking for Primrose Oil, I wanted to say.

“It’s a long story,” I sighed, with zero desire to share any details, like how sad I felt after dropping David off not even twenty minutes before as we once again set out to travel in the opposite direction.

Thanks to my lack of seniority I worked in Economy while Millie, with a total of three passengers, got to swan about First Class!

On the crew bus to the hotel, the Captain suggested we go to TGIF’s, that he jokingly referred to as TFIF, which, after a serious lack of sleep, took me a minute to figure out why everyone was laughing.

Prior to meeting up with the crew, Millie showed up at my door.

“Here,” she said, pushing a brandy miniature into my hands.

“Do you have something we can add?”

“Nah, just swig it.”

“I don’t think I can.”

“Stop being annoying and just knock it back.”

“Ugh,” I said, shaking my head after one mouthful. “That’s vile. Here, you have the rest.”

“You’re pathetic,” she said, grabbing the tiny bottle. “By the way, Richard fancies you.”

“Who the hell is Richard?”

“The first officer, dummy. He fancies you. That’s why he sat behind us on the crew bus and kept barging into our conversation.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. He was just being friendly.”

“Yeah, right”, she said, downing the last of the brandy.

To get to TGIF’s, we had to cross the motorway, which on a Friday night during rush hour was perilous to say the least. Richard was on my right-hand side and when he held out his arm in a “Don’t go yet,” gesture, Millie rolled her eyes and mouthed, “Told you.”

Safely inside (the Economy purser suggested we return to the hotel in taxi’s!) I headed for the loo and when I came out, Millie was nowhere to be seen so I started chatting to some of my crew. Richard joined the conversation and before long it was just the two of us talking about how long we’ve been flying, where we live, the usual. I was enjoying my wine and the atmosphere of the crowded bar, when out of nowhere I felt a kick on the back of my leg that made me lose my balance. Richard quickly reached over and caught me before I had the chance to fall.
“You alright?” he asked, his hand on my elbow, steadying me up.

“Too much to drink?” I heard Millie slur in a tone I can only describe as venomous as she sidled up beside me and said, “You had better stop what you’re doing.”

“Cut it out,” I hissed, through gritted teeth, hoping Richard wouldn’t hear us.

“Calm down,” she sneered. “I’m only joking.”

“Everything ok?” Richard asked.

“Fine,” I smiled, not meaning it, as I watched Millie making her way to the other end of the bar, where, thankfully, she remained.

 

September 22nd, 1990

September 22nd, 1990

Night flight from NBO – LHR

Heading home, which means I’m only hours away from talking to David on the phone.

Went to the market with Molly and Anita this morning but refrained from buying anything. I need to see how much money I have left after I pay the mortgage this month! Besides, I already have a lot of the hand-crafted items they sell, my favourite being the soapstone chess set.

We parted ways this afternoon in the hopes of getting some rest before flying tonight, but when I turned the telly on, “Sandy” was strutting her stuff in tight leather trousers, telling “Danny” he’s the one she wants.  “Oo oo oo, honey!”

Grease is, indeed, the word!

 

September 15th, 1990

September 15th, 1990

Night flight from LHR – JNB
After hanging up with Ben yesterday I was sorely tempted to ring in sick but my next trip is with Millie and my life wouldn’t be worth living if she found out why I wasn’t on it.

So, here I am, on crew rest as we wing our way to one of my least favourite places.

I guess I’m still learning how to take the good with the bad.

Ugh!

September 14th, 1990

September 14th, 1990

At home, England

I was so engrossed in reading Maeve Binchy’s “Silver Wedding,” this afternoon, that when the phone rang, I ignored it. Until it kept ringing.

“Arghhh,” I grunted, attempting to unravel myself from the blanket I keep on the couch.

“Hello?” I said, still untangling the lower half of my body.

“Hey you.”

“Shit!” I exclaimed, noticing that I’d kicked over the mug of tea I forgot to drink.

“Eh, my name’s Ben!”

I laughed. “Yes, I know that!”

“Sounds like I caught you at a bad time, I can…”

“No, no, not at all,” I lied. “It’s a fine time. How are you?”

“Excellent, and you? How’s the house?”

“I’m really enjoying it. It’s lovely.”

Except for the tea stain spreading across the off-white carpet mum warned me against buying!

“Has lover boy moved in yet?”

Choosing to ignore the comment, I asked. “How’s flying?”

“Brilliant! I love it.”

“I thought you would.”

“Yeah, it’s something I should’ve done a long time ago. So, how’s tricks? I thought you’d be married and commuting to LA by now.”

“Very funny.”

“You’re still seeing him, right?”

“If you’re referring to David, yes, I’m still seeing him.”

“Does that mean I can’t come and see you?”

“Ehm, no, it doesn’t mean that at all.”

It just means I probably shouldn’t end up in bed with you!

“Good, I’ll be at my mum and dad’s late tomorrow afternoon. Can I come over tomorrow night?”

Yes please, yes please!

“Sorry, that won’t work, I’m flying to Jo’Burg.”

“You don’t like it there.”

“No, but I still have to go.”

“You could throw a sickie.”

One phone call is all it’ll take!

“Not with a mortgage I can’t.”

“Ah, the perils of being a grown up.”

“I’m not complaining.”

“Are you sure tomorrow night won’t work?”

Stay strong! Don’t cave in!

“’Fraid not.”

“If you throw a sickie, you’ll get a better trip when you ring in fit.”

“I see you’ve already figured out how to manipulate the system.”

“Has to be done. Listen, I’ll be about all weekend, so if you change your mind…”

“I won’t. I’ll be flying to Jo’Burg tomorrow night.”

Right?

 

September 7th, 1990

September 7th, 1990

Flight from LHR – AMS, as a passenger

Leeuwarden, Holland

I thought I’d be staying with Lorna and Klaus tonight, but when they picked me up at Schiphol Lorna asked if I’d mind coming to visit Elmer, a friend of theirs who attends culinary college.

“Twelve hours, eh?” Lorna snickered, from the front seat of the car, after I told her about David’s stopover.

“Yep.”

“I’m surprised ye can still walk!”

“Lorna!”

“Uff, I’m just playing,” she said. “By the way, do you remember Elmer?”

“Have I met him?”

“Aye, I think so, then again, maybe no. Anyway, he’s interested.”

“In what?”

“In you!”

“Lorna, I just finished telling you about David!”

“When did you become a nun?”

“You’re awful! Isn’t she Klaus? Isn’t she just absolutely the most awful person ever?”

“The worst,” he chuckled.

“Listen doll, all I’m saying is that you’re here, he’s there. Elmer’s here, he’s good looking, he’s available and, well, you know”

“Well just so you know, I’m in love with David.”

She spun her head so fast I thought it might snap off. “D’ye really?”

“Yes!”

“Och, well that’s nice. Isn’t that nice, Klaus?”

“Very.”

“Is that all you’ve got to say, Klaus?”

“Lorna, I’m driving.”

“Yer a bloody pilot! Driving a car should be easy peasy.”

Klaus cracked up laughing. “You are correct, Karen. She is the most terrible person.”

“And that’s why you’re marrying me, honey,” she cooed.

I cleared my throat. “Ehm, I hate to disturb the love fest but does this mean you have a wedding date?”

“Aye, did I no tell ye?”

“Eh, no!”

“Uff, I thought I did. We’re planning on getting married next March.”

Klaus glanced at Lorna, she smiled and squeezed his shoulder. “Tell her where,” she said.

“We’re getting married in Bermuda.”

“Wow, oh wow. Bermuda is sooo beautiful.”

“Aye, so make sure LA Dave is available. Yer no showing up to ma wedding by yerself.”

“I have no intention of coming alone,” I said, smiling at the thought of attending their beautiful island wedding, with David.

 

September 5th, 1990

September 5th, 1990

At home, England

Another overnight guest, this time Carl. I picked him up from the bus station this afternoon and we drove over to see mum and dad, who, after hearing about Carl’s antics, were looking forward to meeting him.

I love how friendly and easygoing mum and dad are with my friends. As mum said, “It’s always nice to put a face to the name.” Carl kept us amused with what I later referred to as, “The parent version of your sordid life in the sky.”

From mum and dad’s, we went to Houston’s for dinner, after which Carl coaxed me into seeing “Die Hard II.” Not exactly my first choice but it wasn’t as bad as I expected, although the airplane scenes were (especially for cabin crew!) pretty disturbing.

Toyed with the idea of having a drink afterwards but decided to come back here, which was lucky because while we were looking through a bunch of trip pictures, David rang.

“This is a surprise! Where are you?”

“Still in Tokyo but I’m getting ready to leave.”

Thinking of the cost I said, “I guess this’ll be a quick call.”

“I already tried getting hold of you a few times but…”

“I don’t have an answering machine set up yet.”

From the couch, Carl mouthed, “Is that the yank you’re shagging?”

“I have good and bad news,” David continued, as I waved my hand dismissively at Carl, trying not to laugh.

“Give me the good news first,” I said, trying to ignore Carl as he pranced around the living room, clutching his hand to his chest in an exaggerated fashion.

“I’m flying to Heathrow.”

I felt the smile spread across my face. “Seriously?”

“Uh-huh, I’ll be there tomorrow. You wanna take down the details?”

“Wait a sec, let me grab a pen.”

I gestured for Carl to pass me the pad and pen on the table.

“Ok, go ahead.”

“It’s the BA six. Arrives at..”

“I know the flight, I’ll be waiting for you when you arrive in T four.”

In my excitement, I forgot to ask what the bad news is.