September 8th, 1991

September 8th, 1991

At home, England

Sarah is married! The day started out with a few sprinkles but by the time we were ready for pictures in her mum and dad’s garden, the sun was out in full force.

“Look at you lot,” Sarah’s dad said, discretely wiping a tear, as the photographer barked, “No squinting!”
“Bleeding ‘ard not to,” Suzette, the other bridesmaid uttered, while I made a poor attempt at sucking in my stomach.

“You’re not crying, are you, dad?”

“Me? No. Think I’ve something in me eye.”

“Aw, bless,” Sarah and Suzette cooed in unison.

“No talking! Please!”

“He’s a bundle of laughs, where’d you find im, Sarah?”

“And three, and two, and one,” the photographer shouted, above the sound of the shutter, snapping what I imagine will be amusing pictures.

“He’s a mate of-”

“And silence!”

“He better not keep this up all day!” Suzette huffed, making me laugh.
“And we’re quiet! And we’re still!”

“Still annoying,” Suzette hissed, as the photographer waved his hand. “Bridesmaids, step aside! Parents, step in!”

Suzette shook her head and pulled me aside. “We’ve time for some happy juice, before we go to the church,” she winked.

I gave her a questioning look. “Listen,” she whispered. “If we ‘ave to be stuck in these frothy frocks all day, we’ll need a drink. Or three.”

Ah, a girl after my own heart!

 

September 1st, 1991

September 1st, 1991

At home, England

It’s hard to believe that this time next week, Sarah will be married and the pastel, puke inspired dress, she’s insisting I wear will be rolled into a ball and stuffed in the back of my wardrobe.

She caught me off guard when she asked who I’m bringing to the wedding, something I hadn’t given any thought to.

“You can bring anyone you want,” she said. “Just not Ben!”

“Like I’d invite him!” I said, much too defensively.

“You should invite Jon.”

“Nah.”

“Why not? He’s really nice to you and-”

“He is…was, but he’s heavily involved with someone.”

“I bet he’d come if you asked him.”

“I just told you he has a girlfriend!”
“I still think you should invite him.”

“No, absolutely not. I guess I’ll be coming alone.”

“Well in that case I’ll get my husband to be on it and he can fix you up with one of his friends.”

“Ehm, thanks, but no thanks,” I stuttered remembering several occasions where Sarah thought it’d be a good idea for me to meet “someone they already know.”

“You say that now,” she smiled, “but you know after you see me getting married you’ll feel all romantic and want to snog somebody. That’s what happens at weddings!”

All I could do was roll my eyes as she continued. “Where is it you’re going tomorrow?”

“Delhi.”

“And when are you coming back?”

“Friday morning.”

“That’s cutting it a bit close, don’t you think? What if you get delayed or something?”

“I won’t,” I said, inwardly chuckling at the thought of not having to wear “the dress,” but knowing she’ll kill me if I miss her wedding.

 

 

August 27th, 1991

August 27th, 1991

Pacific Shore Hotel, Santa Monica

With the eight-hour time change, I was wide awake before five am and stuck a note under Josephine’s door, asking her to ring me when she woke up. No sooner was I back in my room when the phone rang.

“How’s this for a speedy response,” she chirped, making me laugh.

“Impressive. Oh, and morning.”

“It’s still dark out.”

“Which means we still have time to watch the sunrise.”

We met in the lobby shortly after and with only a spattering of cars on the road, we shuffled across the street, down towards the beach.

“Should we sit, at least until the sun comes up? Might be a bit dodgy otherwise.”

“Good idea,” I said, my mind thinking back to the amount of times David and I watched the sun come up while we canoodled on the couch on his rooftop deck

“Penny for your thoughts?”

“Ah,” I sighed. “Lost love and all that.”

“Oooh, I love a good love story, do tell.”

“This one doesn’t have a happy ending.”

“When do they ever? What was his name?”

“David,” I uttered, as she motioned for me to continue.

“I met him on a flight. I was working in Club, he was a passenger. A gorgeous one at that. We chatted and I really liked him, so I left my contact info in his jacket pocket.”

“You did not?”

I nodded. “A few days later, on the same trip, I bumped into him in the market in Delhi.”

Josephine’s mouth fell open. “Then what happened?”

“We spent the day sightseeing, then I had to leave but we stayed in touch.”

“That’s amazing. Where does he live?”

“About thirty minutes from here.”

“No way,” she shrieked. “That’s mental! Will you be seeing him?”

I opened my mouth to speak but it was easier just to shake my head.

“Not this time, or not ever?”

“Never,” I uttered.

“It ended that badly, huh?”

I nodded again.

“Sounds really sad. Can I ask what happened or is that too much?”

I dug my toes deeper into the sand. “He’s gay.”

Josephine’s hand shot to her mouth.

“Yeah,” I nodded. “It was a shock for me as well.”

She swore. More than once. “You were obviously in love with him?”

“Very much so,” I croaked.

She swore again. “Sorry, I’m just really shocked. Are you ok?”

“I think so, yes. I used to absolutely love coming here and I thought it would never feel the same, but here we are, sitting on the beach and, oh look.”

Josephine threw her arm around my shoulders. “Here comes the sun.”

 

August 25th, 1991

August 25th, 1991

Somewhere over America

Oh, the irony! Got called out on standby for a four day Los Angeles, which, this time last year would’ve sent me straight to cloud nine. But now, I’m not really sure how I feel about returning. The last time I was there was with mum, back in April, when I surprised myself by ringing David. He, in turn, shocked me by suggesting lunch and came to the hotel to pick us up. That afternoon, talking freely with him, definitely gave me a sense of closure but knowing we’re only a few hours away from landing where he lives, has me feeling a little out of sorts.

Crew seem nice and for several of them, it’ll be their first time in the city of angels, so I might end up playing tour guide, so who knows where that may take us!

 

August 19th, 1991

August 19th, 1991

At home, England

One of the best things about having my own place is the luxury of spending as much time as I want on the phone without anyone (mum, for example) hovering, pretending to “dust this wee table,” just as the conversation’s about to move into juicy territory. So, with that said, I spent most of this rainy day on the phone;

“I’m sorry, who?” Sebastian teased.

“Very funny, you know what trolley dolly life’s like.”

“Oh, don’t I just,” he hollered. “My feet are still killing me, having just walked from L A to London. How’s the sparkler?”

The mention of LA made my mind wander. “How’s the what?”

“Your ring! Do you still get chatted up?”

“Actually, I’m not wearing it.”

“Oh my bridal gowns! That must be the fastest engagement ever!”

“Well…firstly, we didn’t actually get engaged and secondly-”

“You shagged Ben then felt guilty?”

“Something like that.”

“Ah, don’t worry, just blame it on a severe bout of jetlag and get the ring back on!”

 

Carl was next.

“I heard a rumour you’re no longer engaged.”

“Who told you that?”

“Somebody.”

“Somebody who?”

“Somebody we trained with. Maybe.”

“Her name wouldn’t happen to start with L by any chance now, would it?”

He chuckled. “Might do.”

“Argh, Lorna. I told her that in confidence and just so you know, William and I didn’t actually get engaged, we-”

“Wait, let me get this straight, when a bloke buys a girl a ring it’s not an engagement?”

“There’s much more to it than that,” I huffed.

“Good to know. So, I take it Ben managed to inch his way back in?”

“Did you seriously just say that?”

Carl cracked up laughing.

“And no, Ben is notback in the picture.”

“Let me guess, he came round, smelled great, there was wine, there was music, it got late and-”

“Wow Carl, sounds like you were there.”

“Basic moves darling, basic moves.”

 

August 17th, 1991

August 17th, 1991

At home, England

It’s not often we get two nights in New York so I made the most of it by doing some sightseeing (Empire State with Deidre, who’d never been) window shopping at Saks and Bloomingdales, eating and lots of walking, but the best part was seeing Christopher.

He met me at the Lex (crew hotel) the first night, then we headed out into the crowd. For some reason, we always seem to land in some dodgy bar, which, considering his breeding I find amusing. We talked nonstop about life and love, the usual. He and Laurie are getting married next year and he said he wishes they could “just head down to the islands somewhere and make it official.” Christopher isn’t one for crowds, another aspect of him I find interesting, considering where he lives!

“What’s happening with you?” he said, peering over a hearty pint of Guinness.

“Where to begin?” I laughed.

“David?”

“Done and dusted.”

“Ben?”

“Ongoing. Not in a good way.”

“Uh-oh,” he uttered, licking froth from his top lip. “You still got it bad for him, huh?”

“I’m trying hard to shake him off.”

He raised an eyebrow. “By sleeping with him?”

“I know, I know,” I said, throwing my hands up. “What can I say? I get lonely!”

“Understood. And William?”

“You might need another pint for that.”

“That crazy, huh?”

“It’s not so much him, it’s just, I…I don’t see myself living where he’s stationed.”

“Massachusetts?”

I nodded. “You know I went, right? Did you get my postcard?”
“I did, yeah. Mass is awesome, I think you’d be good there-”

“I’d be better here.”

He shook his head. “The city isn’t great for raising kids.”

“Who said anything about kids?”

“You know what I mean.”

“Anyway, it feels like a barrier. A huge one.”

“When are you seeing him again?”

“Probably not for a while. I’m going to Spain with my mum, then I’m a bridesmaid at my friend Sarah’s wedding.”

He lowered his voice. “Ugly dress?”

“The worst.”

We cracked up laughing.

“How many bridesmaids is Laurie having?”

Christopher took a long draw of his pint before placing it on the table. “Ten.”

“Seriously?”

“Yup, which means I gotta come up with ten guys to kinda even it all out.”

“Phew, that’s a lot.”

“Sure is. I only got a few close buddies and you’re one of ‘em. How do you look in a suit?” “Probably better than I do in a frumpy frock.”

He laughed. “More wine? Or..” He tilted his head and grinned. “You ready for some tequila?”

“Ahhhh,” I smirked. “You know me so well.”

 

August 14th, 1991

August 14th, 1991

Halfway across the Atlantic

Heading to the big apple with a plane full of obnoxious passengers! The New York flights are hit or miss and this one is without doubt, the latter. Due, in part I imagine to the two-hour delay on the ground, which really makes the day feel so much longer.

Regardless, I’m sticking to my plan and meeting Christopher tonight for a long overdue catch up. Perhaps, now that he’s engaged, he’ll have some words of wisdom about my love life.

Fingers crossed!

August 10th, 1991

August 10th, 1991

At home, England

I can’t seem to get out of my own way at the moment. I keep thinking, “tomorrow, I’ll do that tomorrow,” then I get up and within a few hours, my energy is zapped. Pamsy said it’s only natural for us to occasionally feel knackered after so much flying and different time zones but I have a sneaking suspicion my lackluster mood is more related to my love life, or lack thereof!

Two nights ago, I spent a couple of hours on the phone with William, who talks as if we’re about to get married! I keep telling him I don’t want to live in America but he either isn’t taking me seriously or thinks I’ll change my mind. I suppose in one way it’s good he acts so “normal,” but in another, I envision a life where I end up living somewhere I dislike, with someone who doesn’t relate to me.

Pamsy said I have, “a slight tendency to over analyze everything,” but that as long as I’m not with Ben, she’s happy! Speaking of…he spent the night here last week, all so fantastic, until he left, after which I spent the rest of the day wandering around in a daze, so much so that when I went over to see mum and dad, mum pounced on me the second dad took Tini out.

“Something’s bothering you,” she stated. “Wit is it?”

“I think I’m just tired,” I said, not daring to look at her. As much as I try, I can never hide anything from my mum.

“Maybe you need a wee holiday.”

I laughed. “The last thing I want to do during my time off is get on a plane.”

“We could go up to Scotland on the train.”

“And see Nana,” I was about to say, quickly catching myself as a wave of sadness swept through me.

“I miss her as well,” mum uttered, reading my mind.

“I know you do, I’m sorry mum. And yes, maybe we could go up to Scotland for a few days, that’d be nice.”

“We could go to Edinburgh,” she said, all smiles. “Something different.”

“Oooh, I like the sound of that. Let’s go the first week of September.”

“Is that no a wee bit close to Sarah’s wedding?”

“With any luck, I’ll be taken prisoner in Edinburgh castle,” I laughed. “That way I won’t have to wear that awful bridesmaid dress!”

“Och,” mum tutted, stifling a giggle. “Yer an awful lassie!”

 

August 3rd, 1991

August 3rd, 1991

At home, England

Spent the morning with Sarah, at “the final fitting,” for the bridesmaid dresses she chose for Suzette and I.

“How it feels?” the seamstress said, jerkily zipping me into the dress.

“Fine,” I lied, continuing to suck in my stomach, whilst attempting to hold my breath, which I have to say is not an easy combination!

“Leetle tight,” she said, her heavy Russian accent doing nothing to mask her disdain.

“Uh-huh,” I uttered, afraid the zip would give if I dared say anything more.

“Heeps,” she stated, smacking my right hip, before undoing the zipper in one fell swoop.

“Yes,” I said, quickly stepping out of the dress. “I have hips.”

“Tut tut tut,” she clucked, staring me down. “Too much heeps.”

“Too much tongue,” I hissed, under my breath.

Sarah smiled in my direction. “What was that you said?”

“I was just saying how much I love my dress.”

“Aw, do you really love it?” Sarah cooed.

“Truly,” I smiled.

About as much as I can love something that clings to me and looks like regurgitated pastel crayons!

 

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.