“Virgin No More”

“Knickers Abroad; a multiple journey”

by

Rose D. Kaye

A Heartfelt Dedication

To whomever it was that created the trauma in a scared little boy, thank you. Without your cruelty and abuse none of us would ever have been born. Thank you for giving me my life.

Rose

“I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am.”
“I think, therefore I exist.”

Rene Descartes
(1596-1650)

“Know thyself.”

Plato
(428 BC-348 BC)

The usual Acknowledgements…

Where do I start? Thank you Brian for your generous spirit and sense of humor and for believing in my dreams even when I didn’t.

Thank you Diane for sharing your soul with me and showing me the proper way for a lady to behave. Although, don’t tell Brian that.

Thanks boys for keeping our house clean. Little Brian, anytime you want a hug let me know. Sable, the horse stays outside. Bernard, your time will come. PB, thanks for watching my back.

Ann, my darling sistah; thanks is superfluous, but I know without your passion, love and respect I couldn’t have written this.

Drizel my chicky, good luck with your writing career. Luffies.

Jo a special thank you for your advice, but most of all your unquestioned love and friendship.

To all my many blogging friends around the world, a sincere thanks and (((((((hugs))))))).

Madd, thank you for all that you’ve done and all that you’ve given to me with love.

Carol, I love you and am hopeful of the future.

Lana, my galpal, keep writing and dreaming.

All photographs in this book were taken by Brian A. Fowler and are used with his permission.

“His Voice” and “The Only Way” written by Ann Raven and are used with her permission.

“Ode To The Underground”, “Self___?”, “Hummingbunny had a blog” written by Brian A. Fowler and used with his permission. References to “Real Magic” also used with his permission.

“To Khotsofalang, the face of the hills” and “The bonfire” written by Rethabile Masilo and are used with his permission.

“Ekstase lê hier/Ecstasy lies here” written by Drizel Burger and used with her permission.

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For a complete list of chapters in numerical order please go to this page.

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Chapter One

‘Virgin No More’

Our Airbus 340-600 awaited us. Silver wings were glistening in the hot and steamy Florida sun that October day in 2007: red and white livery that proudly proclaimed our bird to be a ‘Virgin’. You have to admit that Virgin Atlantic is a strange name for an airline. A long firm silver tube with powerful throbbing engines that produces enormous amounts of thrust. Gives me hot flashes thinking about riding all that naked power.

Virgin shares the terminal with the primary carrier at Miami, American Airlines. Most outgoing flights on American were to the Caribbean and Central America, thus the waiting passengers were an eclectic mix of nationalities and cultures. Our flight to London was filled primarily with British citizens headed back home from holiday, many returning with Disney souvenirs in hand or, in the case of the many children, on their heads. The area leading to our gate, once we passed through security, was fairly typical of a major airport. The individual gates lined both sides of the carpeted concourse, but at intervals, hanging from the ceiling were large-scale models of airplanes. The neatest plane displayed was a Pan Am Clipper complete with running propellers. There were also several small shops and kiosks selling magazines, snacks and drinks. Including bottled water. The obvious question being if security would not allow drinks through the checkpoint were the liquids for sale here safe? Were all goods in the post-checkpoint area scanned before being brought through and if they were by whom?
pan am

Our boarding was delayed by twenty minutes because the flight crew was held up in traffic jams trying to get to the airport. I guess Brian was right after all to be so early because we could see the nearby ‘expressways’ filled with slow moving traffic. No matter the location it seems that airports are difficult to access and surrounded by development that precludes any future expansion. Despite increasing traffic volume each and every year with the resultant long delays, the public is unwilling to allow new airports to be built. The obvious solution to South Florida’s transportation problems would be to do what both Japan and Hong Kong have done. Build a new offshore airport between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami turning the two existing airports into free trade zones with part of the land being dedicated to low-income housing. Add a dedicated highway system with no exits until connecting with the current grid and expanding the existing light rail line stretching both north and south along the coast and you have the means of future growth for the entire area. [Both Japan and China have typhoons as well, so hurricanes can be weathered.] Then again, the beach lobby would shoot down any offshore construction so it would never happen.

Nevertheless we climbed aboard the jet way only a half an hour late and found our seats with no problem. Very tight quarters, I was surprised at the lack of room in economy. They do offer premium economy with roomier seats and upper class with beds, but for a steep price. Upper class is nearly ten times the price of economy. Despite that though, the plane was sold out and from the looks of things, it was going to be a merry flight. The captain announced a flight time of eight hours and ten minutes to London via the North Atlantic route past Labrador and then Ireland. Passengers continued to find their assigned seats as the crew hustled to prepare for an on-time departure and everyone was barely seated when the permission to leave was granted. Each seat has its own individual seat back monitor and we watched a mildly entertaining video on safety procedures while the plane was pushed away from the gate on time. I know it’s important to know where the exits and the life jackets are, but does anyone really think that if the plane spirals in from altitude, it’s going to help in any way? If a full plane crashes on landing or take-off, luck plays the major role in survival. If the flight crew is well trained and calm, then your chances of exiting alive are greatly enhanced. Considering that flying is statistically the safest mode of transportation, after scoping out the emergency exits, I settled down and eagerly awaited the commencement of our flight.

A short taxi to the runway and a very brief pause to rev the four engines to near full power with the brakes on and then, when released, we shot forward. With a full load of passengers and crew with baggage plus fuel, the engines were roaring loudly as the large plane hurtled down the bumpy concrete runway. Gaining speed quickly, the captain waited until the plane wanted to leap into the tropical night air and without a quiver or protest, she rose swiftly into the dark sky above the Atlantic Ocean. Below us the shimmering lights of Miami gleamed in regular orange patterns and the limpid bay was outlined with the bright masts of thousands of pleasure boats. Off to the west, as we turned north up the coast, powerful thunderstorms lit up the Everglades in a brilliant display of nature’s renewal and promise.

Diane had the window seat and this was normal procedure when she flew as she gets a wee bit nervous on takeoffs. She explained later that if they were going to crash, she wanted to see where! The view from the starboard side, once we were over the water, was basic black and she had the window shade drawn for most of the flight. Once Brian got the feeling back in his right hand, from her clutching hard, he asked me how my ‘virgin’ flight was going. In fact I was bouncing in my seat with excitement. The whole concept of flying fascinates me and the physics involved makes you realize how amazing it really is to feel something this large defy gravity and actually fly through the air. I had to try to relax though, because I wanted to get up and walk around and watch everything that was going on. Or at least get on the intercom and entertain my captive audience. Brian shut down that idea quickly.

The first half of the flight up the East Coast was rather bumpy. The captain changed altitudes several times, but the turbulence continued. It was not severe by any means and did not affect the serving of dinner or drinks. I wasn’t looking forward to hot tea in my lap, so I was quite happy that the cabin crew was able to work without interruptions. Brian mentioned quietly to me, that nothing seemed to have changed through the years he’d been flying. This marked twenty-eight years since his first flight and he was curious to know what I thought about flying. Peering around at the travelers in our area, after dinner had been served, many of them appeared to be asleep. Most of the rest were either reading or watching the seat back screen entertainment. A small percentage of passengers were very active, walking up and down the aisles and engaging the cabin crew in conversation.

We tried the entertainment as well and scrolled through the selections, but weren’t enthused. The boys did like the neat feature where you could actually see where on the route the plane was flying at that very moment, plus how long until arrival. Our seat was too small for my rounded assets, my shapely legs too long and despite earplugs and an eye-mask, we failed to fall asleep. Then shortly after dinner the screamer started. Every flight must have a screamer. The one child who won’t be quiet: the frantic and embarrassed parents trying to shush him or her.

Cabin lights were brought up promptly at five o’clock in the morning London time halfway through the flight. With the five-hour difference from Florida time, it was actually midnight, but breakfast was now ready only two hours after dinner had been consumed. We gave up any hope of rest and spent the few remaining hours of the flight with a growing sense of anticipation. We all agreed that no matter the discomfort we felt, it would all be worth it once we arrived. We took off, we ate, we tried to sleep, we ate, we walked around, we landed, a pretty mundane night in truth. I wrote in my travel diary about the flight as it unfolded, but we were all so anxious to meet our friend Ann that nothing else really mattered.

So who am I? Who are Brian and Diane and Ann? Come along with me and let me introduce the vast cast of characters who revolve around me. Only kidding! It’s not like I’m a diva or anything, I’m just plain Rose. This is the story of my life so far.

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