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The Love Show #3: Dreaming in the City of Sorrows

Standing at the BizJet Terminal, I saw Andy walk up the steps and blow me a kiss.  I silently cried harder as I already missed the guy that I loved in many ways so soon after meeting him: his respect and care for me manifested within a minute of me arriving at the altar in the Up and Down.  He deepened my respect for him when he had playfully tried it on at the kiss: he showed that he was attracted to me but also respected me, as I was to him.  But the deeper message he had conveyed was How do you feel and how to do this?

I loved his intellect, even if he did sink the vows I’d planned.  We had spent the week gently getting to know each other, feeling gently around personalities, likes and dislikes, though not feeling around! We knew that this would happen, but when we were ready for that. It was too soon to be In Love.

My phone pinged: Andy: Miss U

I replied: You are needed there.  Counting down til we hold each other xxx

I saw the plane’s engine’s spool up and quickly, it taxied off.

A waiter-uniformed guy came up to me and said, “Please come with me,” and placed his hand on my suitcase.

Still crying, I followed The Uniform around the corner to an area of plush banquettes.  He motioned to one and said, “Red or White?”, then pointed up at a large TV.  He had a device in his hand and the TV turned from off to showing a white bizjet: NX4235 – Andy.

I stifled my cry and whispered, “Red please.”

On the TV, I saw the plane move down the taxiway, briefly stop at the turn on, then the powerful turbofans accelerated the Montreal-made jet down the runway and quickly into the sky.  My tears resumed: we were no longer on the same ground.

The waiter returned with a tray containing a half-glass each of red and white and a small cheese platter.  There were labels on the plate advising what was before me,

I drank half of the red.  It was a Central Otago Two Paddocks Pinot.  Its rich silkiness slid down my throat, bathing and soothing my soul like a warm blanket, or Andy’s embrace, I smiled.  The sweet brie and the salty mature cheddar settled my stomach, then I took the rest of the soothing Pinot. My soul was at peace, my eyes dry.

The waiter reappeared with a menu saying, “Vegetarian?”.  I shook my head and he continued, “You’ve just seen a good friend go away, Lamb Shanks?”

I replied, “Friend? Yes to the Shanks.”

He smiled and said, “We have three types of associations here: colleagues, family and friends.” You two are No.3,” smiled, tapping the order into his device. “You are deep in thought. Its not busy here: I can sit until Shanks are ready if you need to bounce ideas?  When patrons leave, I forget everything about them,” he smiled a knowing smile.

I smiled wanly and told him how we had met, the Honeymoon and that he’d been pulled away to help those in true need, which I understood immediately and had near-completely accepted.

He said, “So you’re supposed to get a taxi to a hotel where there are some randoms also on TLS?  You’re thinking that maybe your known, comfy house and maybe a hug from your mum is a better bet?”

I nodded and he put out his hand.  I placed my passport in it and he made a call, “Fred from BizJet Terminal here: There is a taxi waiting for a Sarah and Andy at International.  Can you nab him and send him here.”

I had an emergency mobile number for the TLS crew.  I sent a brief text advising what had happened, that we were still In but I would be at home for the week and that they could ring me tomorrow.  I asked them to email me the JPEGs and RAWs from the shoot as I wanted something to occupy myself. Doing this, I felt in control of The Pests as we called them.

I texted mum: Come to my place, 3hrs. NQA [No Questions asked}. AOK My phone pinged: Mum AOK:3 xxx

The Shanks arrived and I ate slowly.  The softness of the meat and the red wine jus settled my stomach, sating my soul. The soft polenta gave me a final, soft embrace, like Andy’s, I happily realised. 

I understood when I was down, remembering Up and Down and our embrace would soothe my soul and I could look forward to them in a week.  The sorrow pages had been written, for my anticipation ones the pen was on the paper.  I knew that Andy’s pages would be going hard and fast over the week, hopefully with side-notes to and from me.

The taxi arrived surprisingly fast and I drank the zingy Awatere Sauvignon which cleansed my palate and freshened my soul. Upon entering the taxi, I muted the phone, then quickly collapsed into a deep slumber, though missing one thing: Andy’s cushioning.

I woke just as we entered my town.  I noticed an OMessage from a new ID: Wing (Annie).  It said, I work with Andy and the group: he asked me to call you asap. Please call me when you are free.

The ledger says I owe him, I thought.

I called Wing (Annie), and she said that Andy’s flight was now heading to Mojave outside of LA where he’d board another plane with extra kit and that he’d then head straight down to the base they’d got. I picked up that she referred to him as Bat, rather than Andy but let it slide. He’d asked Wing to setup [his] breakfast and dinner times in my calendar so we could have time to speak. She said he was keen to chat during his brief layover at Mojave and had put that in my diary too and concluded saying firmly but reassuringly, “We are all in this, together,” with the emphasis on Together.

I cried gentle, happy tears from how, despite how busy he was likely to be, he’d already made time for me.

After exiting the taxi, I opened the door, seeing mum.  Seeing just me, her face dropped like a brick, and she enveloped me her warm, loving embrace that until last week, I had known of nothing better.

I explained to mum that we’d had a very happy honeymoon, but he’d been called to support people with affected by the Quake and that I’d likely be heading over for his off week.  I set my alarm for five hours for his layover call.  I made the decision that, on our calls, I would never say explicitly that I missed him as that would distract him from his duty, but there are other words that express appreciation for our time together.

Our first calls were brief as he was rushing and we were both tired.  He explained that they’d got sign off for a place to base themselves and the authorities definitely needed the assistance, despite being a reasonably wealthy country. The Falcons as he called them were already mid-flight down and that they’d borrowed a hangar which would make his Day 1 somewhat easier. Soon it was time for him to board his next plane and both of us to sleep, apart and in different countries.

Over the next day we exchanged a number of Messages and grabbed several, very welcome, brief voice calls. We concluded them with words such as “nice”, “valuable” and “appreciated” acknowledging meaning and dodging the Miss You elephant.

I decided that I would work from home until Thursday, then head down to my sister Ellie’s house which is near the studio for The Dinner. Mum left later on, knowing that I was relatively good, but my happiness would return when I embraced Andy.

Thankfully, the crew emailed me the wedding shots the next day. Typical ones, I thought: formal and stiff: mostly close-up and all on a tripod, perfectly lit.  My wedding style is a few formals, then free hand and a mix of zooms and exposures as I want to capture the atmosphere as well as just the couple. My friends loved this and preferred them to the paid pro’s shots. Our shots didn’t capture our fun we had with the funnies, but probably Thew Pests’ attitude to our attitude.

I suggested that I would make some videos of us while I was away, in part to save having Pests around us and the families.  They sent over a small, but expensive Steadicam and one of the operators showed me how to use it.  I wasn’t too impressed by it as it seemed simpler than my Z-50 or Andy’s R-50 and, a few play shots later, I got the hang of it rather too quickly for my liking.

I decided when I had some spare time, I would make up some shorts and OMessage them, but I would keep very busy the week to occupy myself.

The second breakfast Video call, Andy introduced me to the people he was with: Sarah aka Weasel, and Pete aka Dog were the Pilots and looked to be about 10 years’ older than Andy, Fred and Steve were their respective First Officers. There was a Maintainer nicknamed Gopher who when not occupied, Andy delegated tasks to.

I saw that Sarah/Weasel seemed very distracted but was politely engaging in the call.

My phone pinged.  The sender was Weasel: Stay on for a quick 1:1?

I replied: OK

On the 1:1, she leaned in, smiling, and said, “Straight up?” I nodded and she continued, “We NEED your guy: without him, we don’t fly, we don’t find and we can’t help. That idiot Dog and I know we have the best looking after us.” I smiled at the reinforcement of what I already knew, but what hadn’t quite sunk in.  We had a brief, friendly chat before it was time for her to don her wings. Like Wing, she referred to Andy as Bat. They all have nicknames!, I thought.

I was at peace now with where he was and what he was doing.  With them, with him and with myself as I had a plan to get through the remaining days.

I called the producers and chatted to them about what I had decided, but they wanted regular videos of us chatting and one of their idiots firing questions at us.  I told them bluntly that I would do No.1 but he would be too busy to do No.2.

My OMessage started going hot with family members introducing themselves.  David, Weasel’s husband, was the first off and very helpful.  We discussed the Filming Problem, as we called it and set some logical parameters which I later told the producers of in a polite but Take It Or Leave It manner.  David agreed to film our meeting at the airfield but warned me that like his wife and the others, Andy would be emotionally shot but, definitely happy to see me.

David and I linked up with Andy to arrange out meet shoot: it wouldn’t be staged, but we wanted to be prepared and make a decent job of it as David would do it quickly.  Andy arranged for our plane to park away from the hangar so that we would meet halfway between the aircraft and the hangar and have the amazing mountain-backed lakefront, rather than the utilitarian Apella Project hangar, as a backdrop.

Unfortunately, the next day, they managed to call Andy and coerced him into agreeing on a post-[his] breakfast link-up on Dinner Day as it would work for then and the whole TLS.  I was dead against this as I knew that it was possibly the worst time for him as him and Gopher would be prepping ‘Bringing Up the aircraft for the day which had to be done quickly and thoroughly so the aircraft could head out.  We discussed this, but he thought that he could manage it, so we went ahead. I tried and failed to get the linkup moved back 30 minutes so that the birds would be airborne and him somewhat freer.

I got regular updates about the Family Trip as we called it: it was very likely that Andy’s team would do a second stint, so the families would go out during the down week, rather than the crew flying home.  Wing sent me a list of clothing to bring: Formal, beach, casual, hot/cold and run/bike if I had those.  She said that, as she had a key, she would go to Bat’s [Andy’s] house to get more clothes for him and put the bag on the plane out.

In our chats and messages, he explained that a lot of his work was interfacing between the survey planning and the flying teams: he had the crews’ backs, like Weasel had told me and discussed what he was seeing on the planes’ feeds: it was essentially the unedited version and more of, what was on the TV.  I was impressed but with his candour given we had known each other so briefly.

Our [his] bedtime calls were brief, but sweet.  He would ask how my day had gone, and we wound chat about random things, then we would reminisce about snuggling up, cyber-kiss goodnight and end the call.  A pale imitation of the real thing, but an honest, appreciated one.

Unfortunately, not content with their big win, The Pests carried on wanting more interviews and videos.  By Wednesday night, they had really fucked me off and called Ellie and mum for a grouse which helped to lighten my mood.

I then called Wing to blow off more steam and get some more info on the family trip as planning was fast and dynamic. She had a few rather nasty and, apparently not hypothetical, suggestions about Pest Control as she referred to it. Our chat had settled my mind on a few things.

The Dinner is where TLS assembles everyone in their finest.  I decided to make a Fuck Them All (except for Andy!) point.  I dug out the dark blue Pub Run Year 29 T-shirt, black jeans and my grey 24.2 retired runners.  Andy had said I looked hot in them when I wore them on our first night: I knew this was a slight, but much appreciated exaggeration. The jeans would be needed as, despite mobiles being banned during filming, it would be in my pocket paired with my watch so I could be contacted by Andy or Wing if needed.  I had told the crew about this, and they OK’d it, not that they had a choice.

Ellie agreed to them filming The Dressing scene at hers, but I hid the contents of my bag even from her and mum.

They set up the camera in her spare bedroom and I made a play of briefly going through the wardrobe, pulling out dresses, unknown to them, all Ellie’s: even she would be in the dark on this.  Keep the bastards sweet, I thought, and I hoped Andy would see this: he’d be killing himself as he would know a Have was up, like with our Camera Have, but the payload would be very different.

I pulled out my makeup and placed it on the side table, then the HKT hanging bag and smiled at the camera, laying it on the bed and opened it, showing a floral dress that on arrival at Ellie’s, I’d discretely pinched from her wardrobe and secreted in the bag.  They turned off the camera and exited, so I could dress.  The agreed signal to re-commence was three bangs on the door, then count to at least 20 and I would then open it and walk out to the car.

I dressed, then banged three times, waited a minute and opened the door. Ellie was behind the crew, and I saw her mouth open in shock, like the crews’, but she started killing herself as she had realised how her sometimes stubborn sister had kicked back hard against The Pests.  I stood there makeup-free, glaring at the camera and strode purposely past them to the waiting car: Gotcha!.

I knew at in a hotel near the far-away airfield; the sharer of my love was in bed, alone and asleep.  One more sleep and we’ll be entwined, I thought, wondering if it would be the first time we’d entwine naked.

We were supposed to do a filmed segment in the car, but I feel asleep quickly and happily.

To dream in the City of Sorrows, is to dream of hope is a recurring proverb in one of my favourite TV shows. My Hope awaited me tomorrow at a cold, lakeside airfield surrounded by snowy Patagonian mountains, and I dreamed of feeling his embrace tomorrow.

Arriving at the venue, I was going to be the last in.  This was my decision, so I wouldn’t have to repeat and get really pissed at dumb questions. The Pests had achieved that already.

Who are you? What do you want? Where are you going? was an oft-used challenge in the same show. If you couldn’t answer all cogently, you invariably ended up badly screwed, or dead, sometimes with your whole planet.  If you could answer cogently, you and your species were invariably safe. I was dead safe as I was certain about all three, but I knew that especially tonight, I was definitely going where I wanted to go, but maybe not some others wanted me to.

I walked through the doors to the Sofa Room and surveyed the view.  It was the usual: most of the ladies had more colour on their faces than a Chagal painting, and I could see more visible tits than in a milking shed.  Most of the guys had longer hair than my mop, and several I could see had bigger tits than mine.

I didn’t need Up and Downs as I felt the same as when I made speeches, but I did them solely to remember my love for who I would see tomorrow.  I was confident tonight, but felt no inclination to arrogance, as I had a man who I loved in many ways, and I knew he loved me deeply and widely too.

In their finery, they looked at the solo, au-naturel, T-shirted, alien presence in the doorway that moved towards them purposively.

I decided to Shoot the Hostage as IT developers say. I was going to Andy It (like his vows, mostly from the heart).

“I’m Sarah, Andy is my lovely match. We had a wonderful honeymoon. Sadly, on our way back a lot of people suddenly became in desperate need.” I saw a few blank faces in the couples at this remark, and realised that there were I could see a few, very shallow bowls on the sofa.

“He’s been called to help them, so isn’t here with me in body at least. Our wants still want but can wait a week. Out of respect for him, I’m not going to put words in his mouth about us.” My tongue for a long time was my unspoken ending.

Thankfully, the producers motioned to the screen and activated the linkup. 

The face that filled the screen was the one that turned me on intensely and often: Andy’s reading glasses framed his dark eyes which were focussed tightly and concentrating intently, as when our bodies and minds united with the newspaper. In front of the paper, periodically, his face would turn into mine and our lips connect, causing a pleasurable sensations to wash over us.

Sadly, I saw that tonight, it was encased in a thick, hooded jacket and in the background were aircraft windows. He wasn’t concentrating on the Surface’s camera, but his eyes moved from its screen and one off to the side. My heart sank as I realised that we’d been fucked over hard yet again by The Pests: I knew either that Bring Up was early or the filming was running late. Regardless, The Pests’ selfishness and inflexibility had poked its nasty, ugly head up again.

My watch vibrated and scrolled: Andy // Love U. AOK.

Typical him: caring and looking out for me, despite everything. I felt. More I Owe Hims!

The producers fired a few of the usual inane questions about relationship and honeymoon which he answered honestly and concisely but distractedly as he was understandably giving most of his attention to the plane and its complex sensors as he performed the necessary and complex pre-start tests and we both knew that the pilots would be coming aboard soon. 

Sally, one of the least dressed and most painted brides asked the Sex Question.  He distractedly and sarcastically replied “Babe, did we get any sleep on the honeymoon?

On our honeymoon, we had both experienced the other’s acid tongue.  But it was immediately followed by soft lips, a warm embrace and the acid tongue turned sweet, soft and tasty.

He didn’t fire a shot across the bimbo’s bows.  He snapped her keel, I realised, smirking.

Before I could reply, I heard BEEEEE in the background. My heart dropped and I replied, “APU?” (Aircraft stater motor) and got a grunt in reply. “FUCK,” I replied, and the other couples looked quizzically at me.

I’d heard the APU fire on our Day 1 chat.  He’d quickly explained that a pilot was now aboard and started powering up for take-off.  He had to finish up and get off immediately to enable take-off. I had replied, “Call you later. Gratefully as always,” and closed the call. 

Fuck it: he’s been fucked over enough, I thought angrily. I stood up, calling out sternly “Cut. Him. Off. NOW” and stormed off, trailed by several of the brides.

My watched vibrated: Andy again IOU XXX.

I smiled at the scroll, whipped out my phone and tapped out, 4 days. But IOU xxx, referring to the days kissing owing comment that he’d made at the Bizjet terminal.

Another vibration: This this time from Wing: DTA25: 0725. C U Ellie 0430. They’d got the families on an earlier outbound flight. Bummer, NOT, will have to skip half of dinner. I thought, smiling.

The brides caught me and hugged me asking what the row was about.  I explained it tersely to the painted dimwits, but they understood about as well as Parliament had understood the Holidays’ Act when they got it through Third Reading! (It is a real, incomprehensible shit-show of legislation).

I decided that I would try to politely enjoy the rest of the evening, but I knew that this was duty to those who had selfishly, greedily and repeatedly fucked us both over, rather a time for pure enjoyment.  Pleasure would come when I wrapped myself around Andy tomorrow.

Re-entering the room, dinner was called. It was now 7pm and I told the producers bluntly that I wanted a taxi at 9:30. Or else was inferred and received!

The chat at dinner was tedious and boring. There was a lot of asking about who was having sex and comparing progress. Andy’s sarcastic response to Sally and my subsequent storm off, thankfully prevented any such questions to me.

The couples had got to know each other in the hotel that week, but some seemed to have scores to settle already. I had hoped to glean hints and advice with my food from the couples, but I found the advice was like the food: superficially attractive, but boring, unappetising and only edible in small bites.

What advice I took from the evening was the inverse: how not to do things. I knew that to an extent; we were playing by our own slightly different rules anyway.

I ate my dinner, and was tiredly relieved when at 930, I was called for the taxi, in which I then slept until Ellie’s.

What had fed my soul for those two, tedious hours was the anticipated taste of tomorrow.

Leaving, I realised that a lot of if a number of the people at the inner were challenged to answer to Who are you ..  was either incogent or incomplete.  My sleep awaited and felt still and relaxed

At hers, we quicky chatted about the evening as she laughed at my blunt evaluation, then I headed for the spare room for more zzzs until it was time for Wing to pick me up. 

 

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