June 16th, 1990

June 16th, 1990

At home

We landed just after seven am, at which time Ben Two (as Hilary called him)  made one last attempt to get me to give him my phone number.
“The statisti, er, the numbers for long distance relationships are shit you know,” are the last words he uttered before I grabbed my Samsonite and turned and bumped into Sam, from training.

“Well, lookie what we have here,” he said, kissing my cheek.

“Hello darling, you’re looking well.”

Sam took an exaggerated step back and gave me what we refer to as, “The Up Down.”

“And you! From where did you hail?”

“Jo’Burg.”

“Ugh.”

“I know,” I groaned. “And you?”

“Rio.”

“Oooh, brilliant.”

“Was actually,” he said, glancing up ahead at the customs agent. “Do you think we’ll get stopped?”

“Nah, they rarely stop us. Why? What’re you hiding?”

“Keep your voice down,” he whispered.

“Sorry. Did you buy too much booze?”

“No but I have a suitcase full of frocks and a very expensive headdress I bought from some old tranny down by Copacabana Beach.”

I laughed. “I don’t think it’s illegal to carry women’s clothing through customs.”

“It is when said headdress is encrusted with jewels and worth a small fortune.”

“Ooh,” I uttered. “Then you better hope you don’t get searched.”

“Just keep talking,” he urged as we fake laughed our way through customs with thankfully no interruption.

Mum was still in hysterics over Sam and his headdress, when the phone rang.
“I’m not in the mood for talking to anybody,” I groaned.

“Neither am I,” mum said, heading to the bathroom.

I counted eleven rings before giving in.

“Hello?”

“Hey you,” breathed the all too familiar voice.

“Ben, hi, how’s it going? Did you get your Wings?”

“I did, I did.”

“Congratulations. You must feel relieved.”

“Very. Got my first flight tomorrow.”

“Oh wow, already? Where to?”

“The Big Apple.”

“Aw, fantastic. You’ll absolutely love it! I’m sooo excited for you!”

“Yeah I can’t wait. I’ll send you a postcard,” he laughed.

“Please do.”

“Listen, I might come home in between this trip and my next.”

“That’d be cool,” I uttered, trying to sound as nonchalant as possible.

“If I do, I’ll give you a ring and maybe we can go out for a drink and swap flying stories. How does that sound?”

“Sounds good,” I said, sensing the subtle change in my breathing.

“Great, well I better go so I can pack and all that.”

“Ok, enjoy your first trip, hope it all goes well.”

“Thanks, I’m sure it will.”

I have no doubt.

 

June 15th, 1990

June 15th, 1990

Night flight from JNB – LHR

Three hours of crew rest tonight, as we wing our way back to London.

Relaxing last day in Jo’Burg, where I met Hilary for breakfast. We talked about going outside but we’re briefed to use extreme caution in that area so rather than risk anything we just stayed in the hotel. After a few hours of people watching in the lobby we went to my room, ordered room service and I was halfway through my second cake when the phone rang.

“Hi Karen, how’s it going?”

“Who is it?” Hilary mouthed.

“Ben,” I said, with my hand over the mouthpiece.

Hilary rolled her eyes in a very dramatic fashion and grabbed a pillow off the bed.

“I’m looking forward to heading home tonight.”

“Yeah, me too,” he said. “And very much looking forward to working onboard with you again.”

Trying to avoid Hilary’s actions, I mumbled something about the flight being busy and hopefully a short flight time.

“We still have a few hours to kill,” Ben said.

“Eh, yes, call isn’t for a while yet,” I said, turning to see Hilary, prancing around the room Mandy style, with the pillow stuffed under her top.

“So,” he continued. “Can I come to your room?”

I covered my mouth but I was laughing too hard not to be heard.

“What’s so funny?” he asked.

“Oh, eh, sorry, I’ve got the telly on, some mad film.”

“Can I come and watch it with you?”

Hilary stood in front of me swaying her pillow chest for all it was worth.

“I don’t think so,” I said, unable to stifle my giggles.

“That must be some film you’re watching,” he said, in not such a friendly tone.

“It’s too good to miss, sorry, I have to go.”

Hilary proceeded to parade her hefty chest around the room, which had me in stitches.

“Hi, I’m Mandy,” she purred. “Fly me.”

With the pillow safely back on the bed, Hilary proceeded to tell me that Tony rang her last night and asked if he could go to her room. Honestly, what are these boys like!

 

June 14th, 1990

June 14th, 1990

Johannesburg, South Africa

“Hello,” I said, sounding groggy after being woken from a deep sleep.

“It’s Dex.”

“What’s the matter,” I said, quickly glancing at the clock; 3:27 AM.

“I think I drank too much.”

“Sounds like it. Are you alright?”

“Yeah, just a bit, you know, down.”

“That’s just the booze talking, you’ll be ok in the morning.” Or afternoon, I thought.

“Can I come to your room?”

“No. You need to go to bed and sleep it. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it. I’ll ring you later, ok?”

“Yeah, cheers darling.”

“Bye Dex.”

A few hours later, Hilary came to my room for tea and toast and apparently Valerio got absolutely paraletic last night and ended up passing out on the couch in the party room! Hilary also told me that Mandy ended up leaving with Ben right before he and Tony almost got into a fist fight in the corridor!

Hilary and I were in agreement that we couldn’t cope with another mad night, so we had dinner at the hotel coffee shop then sat at the bar enjoying a few civilized glasses of wine. On our way back to our rooms, Mandy came gliding out of the elevator, wearing the shortest skirt ever, arm in arm with Valerio! No sooner did the elevator doors close when Hilary and I uttered, “Tart,” in unison and cracked up laughing.

Thinking about Ben (not the one on this trip!) and if everything goes to plan, he’ll be getting his Wings tomorrow. It’s amazing to think I’ve survived six weeks without seeing him, the longest ever, except for when I went to Florida last year. He hurt me so, so much and I honestly felt like I’d never get over him and I don’t think I have one hundred percent yet but I’m closer than I’ve ever been.

 

June 13th, 1990

June 13th, 1990

Flight from JNB – DUR – JNB

Early morning call time and off we set, on a very quiet crew bus (due in no small part I imagine to last night’s shenanigans.) Fortunately, the flight time to Durban was just over an hour.

Spent the day at a very swanky hotel, where a shared room was assigned to the three of us, which allowed Hilary and I to witness Mandy’s transformation from Cabin Crew Member to, as Hilary said, “The Polka Dot Prancer.”

Mandy’s bikini was beyond itsy bitsy teeny and weeny, leaving nothing to the imagination. She used every opportunity to prance around the pool, talking not only to the boys on our crew but to every other male in sight!

While Ben was vying for a spot on my sun lounger (that boy is definitely not fluent in body language) Mandy leaned over us and practically took my eye out! Honestly girl, Put Them Away! Dex was in stitches and said it was a shame none of us had a video camera to capture my expression.

Valerio didn’t take his eyes off Hilary and Mandy and Tony (aka Victim Number One) made their way into the hotel together. Prompted by Hilary whispering; “Valerio is getting on my f’ing nerves,” the two of us headed to the room, only to find the door locked! Stifling our giggles, we made our way back to the pool and waited for the lovebirds to show their faces.

About an hour later, Tony came back to the pool, looking more than smug. I pretended to read, which was funny in itself because the entire day I read about three pages in total. Ten or so minutes later, Mandy reappeared, sporting a different bikini.

“That one’s even smaller than the last one,” Hilary mouthed, rolling her eyes as Mandy took her place on the lounger next to her. I avoided all eye contact with Hilary as Mandy seductively stretched every inch of the shiny, fuchsia coloured fabric.

“I was so tired I had to take a nap,” she purred, stretching the fabric dangerously close to its limit. “I think I might have locked the room door by mistake. That’s how tired I was.”

Yeah, right.

Tonight, back in Jo’Burg, we went to the French restaurant just around the corner from the hotel (the name of which I don’t recall.) More amazing than the food was the fact I only had one glass of wine.

We ended up in the crew room again and when I left, Hilary was deep in conversation with Valerio, Mandy was dancing on the table with Tony and Dex and Ben tried to follow me out but I made it clear I was coming back to my room. Alone.

 

June 12th, 1990

June 12th, 1990

Johannesburg, South Africa

Continuing with the tradition established in Antigua, Hilary from my crew joined me for tea and toast this morning, which at the equivalent of two quid is a heck of a lot cheaper than it was on the island.

Hilary’s favourite place in the world is Los Angeles so we compared notes on the places we’ve been as well as the other spots we want to see. It was great being able to talk so freely about David and I find the more I talk about him, the more the need to see him grows. When I showed Hilary his picture she did a pretend swoon that made me laugh.

Met the rest of our crew for dinner and walked over to the Steakman, where I devoured the most delicious tuna steak. Seems most of the guys on our crew are straight and one in particular, Ben (ugh!) made a complete nuisance of himself when he kept trying to squeeze in next to me. Yep, another good looking, full of himself guy called Ben. Gee, how unusual!

Tony, a good friend of Carl’s, pulled Ben aside and had a few worlds with him to the effect of, “Knock it on the head!” I did an Abu Dhabi trip with Tony ages ago where most of the girls fancied him but as good looking as he is, he’s not my type.

“I can see why my mate Carl loves you,” he slurred, while we were finishing up desert.

“Carl’s like a brother to me,” I said. “One of the best for sure.”

“Top bloke,” Tony muttered, before downing the last of his beer.

The hotel has a designated crew room, which is where we ended up after dinner, with Dex as the entertainment. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so much, he is absolutely spot on with the timing of his jokes and should definitely be on tv.

While I was sitting on the couch, Ben meandered over and attempted to sit in my lap but I managed to push him off, after which he found his way to Mandy, the token trip tart!

The females are heavily outnumbered, which is great news for Mandy because she’ll have her pick of the bunch. My prediction is that she’ll end up in bed with Ben (ah, Ben and Mandy, I know it so well!) and possibly Tony, if he manages to stay off the booze, which after tonight seems highly unlikely.

Like I said before, dangerous trip.

 

 

June 11th, 1990

June 11th, 1990

Flight from LHR – JNB

Very youthful crew on this trip, which usually spells DANGER!

Flight time was just under eleven hours but with an hour and a half on crew rest it didn’t seem so long. Typically, with that amount of rest time, I’d stay awake and write but today I got into the bunks and actually fell asleep. Of course waking up and having to get back into uniform was no fun but I obviously needed the sleep.

Johannesburg is only one hour ahead of UK time, so in the unlikely (clears throat) event that I drink too much, I can’t use the jet lag excuse!

 

June 10th, 1990

June 10th, 1990

At home

I was scheduled to fly to Jo’Burg tonight but crewing rang first thing to say the flight would be delayed until tomorrow (!) which, after a day of bubbles with Annabel, was music to my ears.

Used the extra day to find a new estate agent, one who actually appears to know what he’s doing.

Met with him this afternoon and he offered to show me a few houses tomorrow but I told him it’ll have to wait ‘til I return from South Africa.

There are so many positive aspects to getting paid to fly around the world, but when it comes to relationships or trying to buy a house, it’s not so good!

 

June 9th, 1990

June 9th, 1990

On the train!

I’m on the last train home (aka “The Drunk Train”) from London, after a super fun Saturday with one of the funniest (and snobbiest!) girls ever; Annabel.

One of the things I love about Annabel (and there’s so much to love about her) is the number of questions she asks and how she wants to know about everything, which some people might interpret as nosey but I like to think she’s just curious (if only because I’m the same way!)

“Miss McGarr,” she said, greeting me in the wine bar in Covent Garden where we arranged to meet.

“I see you’ve already started,” I said, gesturing to the bottle of Dom Pérignon sitting in the ice bucket.

“But of course,” she said, with a wink. “Do fill me in.”

“On what?” I said, trying to get comfortable on the too trendy wiry stool.

“Everything of course!”

I laughed. “Pick something, or someone.”

“Ben,” she said, pouring me a glass of Champagne.

“Hmmm, thank you. I had a feeling you’d start with him. He’s just about done with training at Virgin Atlantic and will be flying very soon.”

Annabel’s response was a deep throaty sound that covered an entire sentence and needed nothing more.

“Moving swiftly along,” I said, trying not to laugh.

“What about the randy little French chap?”
“Ah, Jean Jacques. I’ve talked to him a couple of times on the phone but I haven’t been back to Paris since he helped me look for a house in the countryside. I do still have a key to his flat though.”

“Montmartre, correct?”

“Yes,” I said, taking a sip of the perfectly chilled Champagne.

“Oh, good girl,” she said, clinking her glass to mine. “I shall keep that in mind.”

“You should come with me sometime when Jean Jacques away on a work trip, which is quite a lot.”

“Sounds marvelous,” she said, refilling her glass. “What about this chap you just met in Antigua?”

“Ehm, well you know I met him under a false name and identity?”

“Ya, ya,” she said, waving her hand dismissively. “Nothing that can’t be rectified.”

I shrugged my shoulders as she continued. “What? You have no desire to see him again?”

“Not really. We didn’t have much in common, I mean, don’t get me wrong, he’s a nice guy but not really my cup of tea.”

“Understood.” She put her finger to her lips. “Ooh, what about hunky chap? The one who dropped you off the first time I met you?”

“Jon?”

“Ya, gosh I have to confess, I did rather fancy him myself.”

“I’m not surprised, all the girls love Jon.”

“All except you.”

“I already went out with him. Time for someone else to have a turn,” I laughed.

“So, nothing more with him?”

I shook my head. “Just friends.”

“Have I covered everyone?”

“I don’t know, have you?” I teased.

“Who am I missing?”

“David!”

“David?”

“California dreaming. Ring any bells?”

“Oh gosh, of course, of course, the chap from LA you met on the flight!”

I nodded my head enthusiastically and drained the last of my Champagne.

“So?”

“I have a trip to LA next month, I’ll see him then.”

“I say Miss McGarr!”

“What?”

“You’re blushing. Which tells me you really like him.”

 

June 8th, 1990

June 8th, 1990

At home

Spent the afternoon with Sarah, who demanded a full run down on the Antigua trip.

“You need to stay away from the Americans and get yourself a proper, English boyfriend,” she uttered, more than once.

“I tried that already,” I sighed. “Didn’t work.”
“I’d hardly call Ben proper.”

“That’s true.”

“Have you heard from him?”

“My dad said he rang while I was away but he didn’t leave his number.”

“Is he flying yet?”

“No, not yet, he’s still on his training course but he’ll be done soon.”

“Imagine if you end up in the same place at the same time!”

“Now that’d be interesting.”

“What would you do?”

“I honestly don’t know.”

 

June 7th, 1990

June 7th, 1990

At home

Picked mum up at LHR this morning and I swear I could make that drive with my eyes shut (not recommended!) I could tell right away that mum’s visit to Scotland to see Granda had taken a toll on her, poor thing, she’s really upset. Apparently Granda has lost a lot of weight and is very confused.

Mum said she was exhausted and went to bed so I took Tini for a lovely long walk then I made a pot of tea and spent most of the afternoon on the phone.

Carl – Can’t believe it’s been so long since we last chatted. Told him about showing up unannounced on David’s doorstep (was that really only last month?) in LA, when he thought the letter I’d written was to tell him I’m pregnant. After Carl stopped laughing, he said, “You’re not in the pudding club, are you?” Eh, no! I filled him in on the Antigua trip which he suggested we request together.
“Sorry, I can’t go back there.”

“Why not?”

“I met a guy who’s stationed there under false pretenses.”

Carl laughed. “Did you tell him you’re quiet and innocent?”

“No, cheeky, I did not.”

“What’d you tell him then?”

“That my name is Madison Frazer and…”

Carl was laughing so hard I had to wait before telling him the rest.

“Oh sis, you really are too much, that’s brilliant.”

“So now I have to avoid the entire island.”

“What if you get called out on standby for an Antigua?”

“Shit, I never thought of that.”

“Well if it happens, you’ll have to spend two weeks holed up in the hotel or hope that, what’s his name again?”

“William.”

“Or hope that Willy isn’t…”

“It’s William, not Willy.”

“And hope that William has left the island.”