Sometimes when life happens to you, it’s like in the movies and it leaves you thinking: Are you for real!?!
ABP hunting is a game some crew play. ABP really stands for Able Bodied Passenger – that passenger you want working with you in an emergency. This has been corrupted to be Attractive Bodied Phemale – that female you want to hit on in-flight, and maybe take home afterwards. They are categorized: ‘Bye, take care’ (I won’t mind if I don’t see you again); ‘See you around’ (I will call you, but only on those cold and lonely nights) and ‘See you soon’. It’s the ‘See-you-soons’ that you want to be hunting.
So maybe now you will understand why I was grinning like a Cheshire cat when she handed me her boarding card. She was definitely a ‘See-you-REALLY-soon’. I pointed her in the direction of her seat, and every chance I got I took a walk through the cabin.
After the meal service I invited her to the galley and we got talking. She was going on vacation for three weeks touring Europe, beginning with England. I asked if she had plans for when she got to England, and from her response I understood that whatever her plans, they were not carved in stone. So I added one of my own: a date with me. She was all for it and we agreed to meet up the next day in central London. The date went like a breeze. We had lunch, went bowling, gambled a bit then caught a movie, and not wanting the day to end, we went to my hotel. When she left the next morning it was with more than a little reluctance. I promised to stay in touch, knowing I never would. After all she was just another ABP.
Sometime later in the year, I was on a flight from the UK and was sat next to this beauty. I completely ignored her during the boarding process, but when I got offered an upgrade I turned it down. Reason? At night on a six-hour flight, people fell asleep, If we developed a rapport, when she fell asleep she’d need a shoulder to rest her head and when that time came I wanted to be there.
After takeoff we talked about random things. I learnt she had just graduated and was returning home. Meals were served then we took in some in-flight entertainment. A movie for her, music for me and then it happened. She reclined her seat and said goodnight. I just sat there and waited. With all my being I willed her to lay her head on my shoulder. I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew, we were descending!
“Any chance I will see you again?” I asked her trying to act nonchalant. “Maybe not”, she replied. “Are you on facebook?” I had to try one last time. “Yes, but I doubt you will remember to look”. Are you kidding me? She gave me her ID – a long and unusual name – and I understood why she felt I would not remember. But then she doesn’t know me. First thing I did on my way home was log onto facebook and type her name before I forgot. One week later and we had been exchanging messages via fb and bb; another week and she was ready to visit me. We agreed on dinner at my pad as it was midweek and she had work.
Five years of catering school and all those movies were about to be put to the test. I prepared a three course meal, chilled a bottle of sparkling wine, opened a bottle of red and let it breathe, got out my box of scented candles and bought fuel for the generator. I was not taking any chances. Then I waited. When she arrived I took her coat and offered her a glass of Four Cousins red. Then I spread a blanket on my living room floor and laid out dinner, picnic style. With the room lit only by candles and Michael Buble playing in the background, the atmosphere was magical. At 10:30pm, she begged to leave and I reluctantly let her go. I did not want to rush things, so I let her go. We kept in touch and it was beautiful. For once I was not looking at anyone else. That was before Easter.
I remember asking myself who travelled on Easter Sunday, as I reported for my flight. I was walking past the check-in desks when I heard my name. I turned in the direction of the voice with the beginning of a smile curving my lips, but it died when I realized two people had actually called my name. There they stood, both looking at me. I recognized her straight away. The other lady looked vaguely familiar. “I see you don’t recognise me. Remember London? Tour of Europe?” I could have died that instant. I looked from one to the other and the longer I looked, the more alike they looked.
They had come to see their mother off, she was leaving for Accra. She has exed me from fb; she won’t take my calls, or return them. I do not blame her. How do you explain ABP hunting to a girl who had always thought cabin crew were promiscuous?