Eric is dropping me off at work. His Audi sneaks its way through traffic as we head towards my office. What a weekend this was! My stomach growls. I should’ve eaten breakfast. I glance over at Eric – he seems fine despite his earlier swigs of scotch. The bottle is on the back seat; he hasn’t touched it since we left my house. Let’s hope it stays that way.
“Where are you flying to?” I ask. He has a flight in the evening.
“Amsterdam,” he replies.
“The life of a pilot must be so exciting!” I say.
He is quiet for a few long seconds, and then he sighs. “Your schedule is your life, when you fly,” he explains. “I work over Christmas, Easter, weekends. It’s not a big deal now but how about when I marry? When I have kids? How many birthdays will I miss? How many school events? How many milestones?”
He looks over at me. “An airline operates 24-7. You can’t take a late lunch or duck out of the office early. Is that what you consider exciting?” he asks.
“Is that why you drink so much when you are off duty?” I ask.
“I don’t drink much!” he snaps. “Why do you keep going on and on about that?”
So says the man who came to my doorstep yesterday drunk as a skunk, blacked out and started drinking again this morning to 'stabilise'. But I hold my tongue.
“Look Samantha. There is a period known as bottle to throttle. I must go a minimum of eight hours before I fly without touching a drink,” he says. “I’m flying at 9pm, it’s now 8am, do the math. I can drink till 4pm and still fly.”
I still say nothing. He continues. “Because of the bottle to throttle rule, I will not touch a drink all week because of my schedule. So no, I’m not an alcoholic. I just drink when I can,” he concludes.
I decide to change the subject. “I’d love to see you in a pilot’s uniform. There’s something about a captain’s jacket that makes women go crazy,” I say flirtatiously.
He laughs. “Ain’t that the truth!”
We have reached my office. I thank him for the ride. I’m just about to lean over and kiss him goodbye when I see Mr N’s range rover drive in. I reach for my bag instead.
“Have a safe flight,” I say, hoping he does not try to kiss me. He has other ideas. He leans towards me.
“Not here, this is my work place,” I say jumping quickly out of the car. “Call me,” I say with a smile to soften the diss.
He looks a little hurt but shrugs and starts the car. With a rev of his powerful engine, he is gone.
“Who is that?” Mr N asks coming up from behind me.
“My cousin. I ran into him at the matatu stage and he was kind enough to give me a ride,” I lie. “How was your weekend?” I ask trying to move the conversation away from questions about Eric.
“Good,” he says eyeing me with amusement. “Who’s your daddy?” he asks and bursts into laughter.
I feel my face becoming warm with embarrassment. I had forgotten about that. The last time Mr N and I spoke, we were engaging in a little bit of phone sex. He asked me who my daddy was and I responded with my dad’s name. He was so put off, he hang up on me.
“Sorry about that, looks like you need to teach me a few things,” I say, owning up to my ignorance on some of these matters.
“Come to my office at lunch time,” he says. “I will show you who your daddy is.”