‘Tales from the Orient’ Ch. 06
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Rashoman 6 — Singapore to the UK — Part Two
When I finally arrived in the evening at Heathrow Dee was there to meet me. I hired a car and the hotel was about 30 minutes from the airport. We booked in and as soon as we got to our bedroom it was like a second wedding night — but without any of Rod and his ‘Mickey Finns’, when he spiked Dee’s orange juice at our wedding reception and ruined our wedding night in Singapore! Dee was soon removing her dress and she fulfilled every young man’s erotic dreams; a vision of loveliness in the sexiest set of black stockings and suspenders imaginable;
This was the first time I’d seen her like this. Singapore dress for European women was more cotton dresses, minimal underwear and bare legs. The sight of her was like a whiplash to my senses and the next couple of hours passed in a haze of champagne, unbridled sex, lots of talking then more unbridled … you get the idea. Eventually we were satiated and as we recovered we started catching up on what we’d been doing since we’d last seen each other.
I didn’t really have much to tell her about my adventures in Malaysia. All I can really remember were the sand flies, mossies, leeches, working eighteen-hour days and how the odd letter from her that made its way from UK really cheered me up. I was especially interested in her earliest letter which she’d written soon after arriving in England. In it she said that en route back to UK her aircraft had to divert and refuel at Tehran airport in Iran instead of Bahrain because of bad weather in the Arabian Gulf. They’d been there for a couple of hours and she’d had a bit of an adventure at the airport … but left it at that. That, of course, intrigued me and I couldn’t wait until she’d told me more.
After our initial burst of enthusiasm Dee was now sat on the edge of the bed, smoking a cigarette and looking quite radiant. So, I asked her what had happened at Tehran airport. She paused for a moment as though collecting her thoughts and smiled broadly before going on;
‘Ah yes… Well, I have to say it was all very unexpected and all a bit of a shock. It’s going to sound far-fetched and you probably won’t believe me – but here goes. Anyway, a few hours after we left Singapore we were told that we wouldn’t be stopping at Bahrain because of bad weather and would have to refuel at Tehran international airport instead. I’d been given the sleeping pills as usual and when we arrived at Tehran I was just waking up. I actually felt a bit spaced out, almost like the night of the party Jo’s place with those US marines. But don’t worry — I hadn’t been smoking ‘funny fags’ and there were no US marines on board this flight!’
‘We disembarked and were told wait in the airport terminal. There would be food and drink provided if we wanted and as soon as the aircraft was ready we’d be called forward and we’d be off again — they thought we’d be there about two hours. We could wander around the shopping concourse but listen for announcements about our flight.’
‘We went through Iranian immigration control and were given temporary visas to get back to the departure lounge. I wandered around the shopping concourse for a while but soon found it wasn’t much to talk about although there were some beautiful Persian carpets I admired in one of the shops. The concourse itself was very busy with locals and after a while I noticed that some of them were watching me in a way that made me feel distinctively nervous. I was still wearing that white sweater and red skirt so I knew it was a bit eye catching – and I decided to go back to the departure gate.’
‘Rather stupidly I’d put my in-flight bag down while I was looking at the carpets but when I turned to pick it up it was gone! It was only out of my sight for a few seconds and in addition to my personal stuff it had my passport and all my money and travel documents in it — and now I was in a foreign airport, on the esat escort wrong side of the immigration control and I knew the aircraft could be going at any time!’
‘I couldn’t see any airport officials or any of the other passengers on my flight and to my mind some of the local men now looked distinctly predatory. I started to panic and didn’t know what to do next. Then I heard a voice behind me saying something loudly in English — but with a strong Glasgow accent. I literally spun round … and there was ‘Scottish’ John smiling at me – and carrying my bag!’
‘I mean to say… I was stunned, flabbergasted… call it what you will. The last time I’d seen him was in Singapore when I had that attack of tonsillitis. I thought I’d never see him again so what was he doing here in Tehran…? But I didn’t care – all I felt was an overwhelming sense of relief at seeing him and that everything would be OK. I just rushed at him, flung my arms around him and burst into tears. He held me for few seconds and then there was an announcement on the airport tannoy system for my flight. I looked at him and he grabbed my hand and said ‘Let’s go’ and we almost sprinted for the immigration control.
‘When we arrived other passengers from my flight already waiting to go through to the departure lounge. John and I joined the queue and as we did he explained that he’d been stuck at Tehran for two days as his aircraft from Borneo had broken down there and he and some others on the flight had been off loaded and re scheduled on to my flight. He’d seen me wandering around the terminal and was about to come across and speak when he saw me put my bag down and go and look at the carpets in the shop. He’d seen a couple of locals eyeing up the bag but nipped in before them and claimed it for himself. As you know, John can look quite formidable when he wants, so they didn’t argue with him.’
That I could believe. John wasn’t all that tall but he was powerfully built and from Glasgow; he’d grown up in the Gorbals. As a result, he had a real charisma — and also black belts in judo and karate.
‘We passed through the immigration control and walked across the tarmac to the aircraft. I was still shaking like a leaf and just clutching on to John’s arm so when we entered the aircraft it was such a relief and it seemed quite natural for me to lead him to my original row of seats and get ready for take-off. The aircraft was still half empty so we had the row all to ourselves. We soon took off and settled back for the rest of the journey’.
As I listened to her at first it all seemed so implausible, but when I thought about it … yes, it made some sort of sense. John’s aircraft had left Borneo a few days before Dee’s left Singapore and if it had broken down in Tehran… and Dee went on;
‘As we were chatting John was looking and smiling at me and said he thought my eyes were beautiful — they were so huge! He was always saying things like that so I didn’t think much more of it at the time. Then I found out later on that the travel pills they’d given me after Singapore were a new type containing something called scopolamine. It was very effective for travel sickness but apparently scopolamine acts a bit like belladonna – you know, the stuff ladies in the past used to take to make their eyes look bigger and more alluring’.
Yes, well, I knew Dee had very alluring eyes — they were one of the things that had first attracted me to her. Then I remembered from my military background that scopolamine had also been tried in the past by Gestapo and Russian NKVD interrogators as a ‘truth drug’ on their prisoners. Later on, it was also found to be very effective as part of anti-motion sickness medication but depending on the patient could also make people lose their inhibitions… and I already knew what Dee was capable of if when she lost hers.
‘So, we took off without incident and continued etimesgut escort chatting for what seemed hours. It must have been about midnight when John looked out of the window and said we were flying over Egypt and he could see Pyramids below us. I had to reach across him to look… I thought they were almost shimmering in the moonlight — it was so romantic although that might also have been a side effect of the travel pills. Then I suppose we cuddled up together… and the next thing I knew we were approaching UK.’
I just smiled at her quizzically but didn’t say anything… and she tried not to blush before she went on;
‘OK… I suppose we did a bit more than just cuddling up. I still felt ever so grateful to him for rescuing me and somehow, what with that incredible view of the Pyramids… I suppose we started kissing and … well, you know… But before you ask we didn’t have sex, honestly! I know there were only the two of us on our row of seats and it was dark but there was still the odd passenger or air steward coming past us along the aisle and it would have been too embarrassing if…’
Hmm…her story sounded remarkably like her adventures with Tom, her US Marine knight in shining armour in Singapore… her reaction to strange substances … the way she was rescued … but I just said;
‘OK — I’ll believe you — thousands wouldn’t!’
‘No — it’s true! Anyway, eventually we fell asleep and stayed like that all the way until we arrived at Heathrow. I said goodbye to John before we left the aircraft as I knew daddy was probably waiting at arrivals for me and I didn’t want to give him the wrong idea if I came off the aircraft on the arm of strange man… and that was that. Daddy was waiting for me and I’ve been in Harrogate and Bradford ever since’.
‘Ok… you cuddled up with John on the aircraft… Did you still have the same feelings towards him as when we were in Singapore?
‘Ah… Well, I’ve told you before I think John’s very attractive, he’s funny, makes me laugh and I suppose there was a physical attraction between us. But deep down I always felt there was something missing. I know he’s a rogue — as Jo said that’s what makes him so attractive to women, but I don’t think I could ever trust him. I know other women find you attractive and I’m never sure if I can trust you but even so with you I still feel comfortable and safe — something I don’t think I could ever feel with John’.
Hmm… I thought about what she’d said and we left it at that, carried on with our delayed honeymoon and drove off the following day on leave, visiting friends and relatives. A few weeks later we moved on to live in Newcastle from where I commuted daily to Durham university to do my language course. What happened then will be in the next Rashoman story.
But before I start on that I’d better explain a bit more of how I’m able to recount these stories from more than one point of view, especially with ‘Scottish’ John’s version of events. I’ve already told you how Jo’s husband Pete and I met by accident on a train in England and he told me all about Dee and Tom, her US Marine, and Jo’s party in Singapore.
In John’s case, however, he and I had been close friends since we joined the army together in 1964. In Singapore I knew about Dee’s flirtatious relationship with both John and Rod, and in fact we stayed with Rod the following year, (this will be another Rashoman story). But despite what Dee said about ‘something missing’ in their relationship there was still obviously something between them, as it actually developed into on/off relationship which lasted over the next forty years or so as our paths crossed at various times around the world.
During all this time John didn’t realise how much I knew about him and Dee until he and I met at a reunion in Germany in 2008, long after etlik escort we’d both left the army. Over many beers we finally had a very frank and heart to heart conversation — and at the end all he could say was that that he wished he’d known I knew about him and Dee years before — it might have eased his yearning for her. This was despite marrying a girl called Deborah — who he always used to refer to as Dee! They eventually divorced and he said even when he was married he’d been carrying a torch for my Dee ever since they’d first met in Singapore. Over the years I’ve been pretty sure that Dee sometimes felt the same about him, despite her protestations, especially when she and I were apart when I spent long periods working alone overseas.
So, as a result of this reunion we started an email correspondence which continued until eventually he felt willing to tell me what had actually happened between them. I already knew some of it from Dee but John quite cheerfully filled in all the details in a very descriptive way as he remembered them. The first one is as follows, when he recounted what happened after he first met her Singapore and then on the aircraft back from Tehran. So, in this first email he said;
‘As you know now I suppose I was first attracted to Dee when I saw her at your wedding. But she and you were just married and I could see from the way she behaved with you I didn’t stand a chance. But I suppose I still looked on her as a bit of a challenge. I mean, we were all randy single soldiers in those days so that’s how we looked on any beautiful woman, married or not — and I seem to remember you were no different before you married Dee!’
‘Once I got to know her better she seemed to enjoy flirting and teasing me. She was like that when she was dancing with Rod as well, and when he and I compared notes we realised that she was enjoying herself with both of us but very adept at keeping us at arm’s length. She wasn’t your normal prick teaser – she was much too classy for that — so after a while I think we both accepted that’s how things were.’
‘I suspected you seemed to know what was going on but didn’t seem to mind and just let her enjoy herself. Also, after a while I really liked her just as a friend and didn’t want to embarrass her. So, we sort of played a game where I’d pretend to seduce her… we’d play around a bit but she’d only let me go so far.’
‘Anyway, this went on until that first jungle exercise when you and Pete went away for a few weeks, leaving Jo and Dee behind. Rod and I dressed up as pirates for that Club beach party, while Dee and Jo played the part of club bouncers. Jo was wearing some of Pete’s military kit and Dee was wearing a lovely white top and sarong’.
‘So, when Rod suggested all four of us go for a walk in the gardens I just hoped Dee would agree. I hadn’t expected that she would but she did – and now I had her on her own would you believe I wasn’t sure what to do? I mean, we’d danced closely on the dance floor but having her on her own for the first time…’
‘Anyway, going through the garden I took her hand. She seemed quite happy about that — the grass was rough and uneven as we went down the hill and she was wearing flimsy sandals. Jo and Rod disappeared and Dee and I continued wandering down among the trees until we came to the visitors’ Nissen hut. I suggested we go in but for some reason she didn’t seem all that keen. I couldn’t understand why as it was very hot and muggy and the mosquitoes were very annoying. I said more comfortable in the hut, but eventually she agreed to sit down with me on that garden bench behind the hut.’
‘So, we sat down and shared a cigarette and chatted for a bit. The night air was very still and quiet and we could just hear the music from the Club up the hill. I wasn’t at all sure what to do now — I wanted to put my arm around her but it was as if she was waiting for something else to happen. Then suddenly we could hear noises from inside the Nissen hut. Two people were giggling and then I thought I recognised Jo and Rod’s voices. Dee looked at me, smiled and then her voice seemed to go all throaty and she said;’
‘Well… Jo took her time…’
(to be continued)
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