Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Chapter 03: Thinking it Over

I was surprised at how quickly Daise had gotten back to me. In her email she gave me her GoogleTalk address and we opened a chat session.

The first thing she told me was that she as a little uncertain about what she was doing as she had just joined the website earlier that day. Mine was one of the first profiles that she had seen and she had felt drawn to it instantly because flying had always been a dream to her.

We started chatting in earnest and I quickly determined that behind the poor grammar and spelling was a very bright and intelligent woman. She apologised about her language saying that she didn't get much chance to write in English and assured me that her spoken English was a lot better than her written. I told her that was the least of my concerns.

She seemed to be honestly modest when I complimented her on her beauty from her photos. In all we must have chatted for about an hour, before Daise excused herself saying that she had to go to bed. We arranged a time for the next day to chat again.

I had a lot to think about. Beverley had taken me from a pretty laid-back approach to looking for some sort of affair, to actually meeting someone online who seemed only too keen to consider a long term serious relationship sight unseen.

Based on my interaction with Daise, I felt that she was what she appeared to be, but I was still cautious about that. I figured though that if she had been someone that I had met locally, I would have been only too keen to go on a few dates with her to figure out whether we had anything at all in common. I thought that I should think about seeing what I could do to rectify that.

I woke up fairly late the next morning, having no real rush to get out of bed. I decided to treat myself, so I hooked up the trailer with my Gyro-Copter on it to the back of my TD5 and drove to the Hillcrest Sports Club. I had an arrangement with them that I could take off from their parking lot and leave my Land Rover and trailer there, as long as it wasn't over the week-end when they were busy.

Once there, I removed the tie-downs from the 'copter and did my pre-flight before taking off from the parking lot. It was only two hours flying time to the wonderful Hilton Hotel, just outside Pietermaritzburg. I landed in their parking lot, as I had before, and had a late breakfast on the veranda of the hotel. The waiters there knew me and knew what I liked, so as soon as I sat down they brought me my first Cafe Latte and that day's copy of the Natal Witness.

I had enjoyed my breakfast as usual and took my time flying back towards Durban, landing at the Cato Airfield. I had called ahead to arrange to have a plane ready for me so that I could do a jump. I always found that when I was in knots about some or other problem, doing a hop-and-pop at 13 thousand feet AGL and hanging under a canopy had the most amazingly soothing effect on me.

I hated the climb to altitude as usual, but at least the Pilatus Porter that they had recently acquired got there a lot faster than the old Cessna 210 that was their previous plane. As was the usual arrangement, when they had heard that I wanted to do a jump they had put a load together to fill the plane. My agreement with them was that in exchange for taking the plane up at my convenience, I would pay for the full load so all the others on the load got a free jump out of it.

We put an eight-way plus cameraman out first, and then on the second run-in I went out on my own. As usual when I did this, I got stable after exit, then dumped my canopy.

Once I had an open canopy above my head, I set the toggles at the highest that they would go so that I could have the longest descent possible, then I spent some time looking out at the scenery. Let me tell you, there is no more beautiful sight in the world to me than the Valley of a Thousand Hills from ten thousand feet above ground level. I could see some speedboats were out on the Inanda Dam and I could even see as far as the sea.

The air was crystal clear after the rain that we had had two days before. Slowly my head seemed to clear and I came to realise that I shouldn't agonise over what I was doing, I should just go ahead and take what was offered to me.

Once I was back at home, with my Gyro-Copter safely stowed in the shed on it's trailer, I returned to my computer. I went back to the bookmarked page of Daise's profile and composed a message to her:

"Daise, I have been thinking about this, and I find that I have been completely captivated by you; by the way you look and what you have to say. I know that I still have a lot to discover about you, as you do about me. I know that it is asking a lot from you at this short notice, but I have a suggestion that I would like you to consider.

Why don't I pay for your air-ticket out to Durban and you fly out here so that we can meet. I will put you up in a local bed and breakfast and we can spend some time together getting to know each other. Please be assured that there is no obligation to you and if you choose to accept this offer, you can consider it to be a holiday. If, at our first meeting, you decide that you are not interested in me at all, then you can simply tell me that and you can spend the rest of the time exploring the place before flying home.

Please let me know what you think.

I was also hoping that you could give me your phone number so that I could speak to you, as it might be a little easier to arrange this over the phone.

I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best, Rupert."

I hesitated for a second, then clicked on the send button. There was nothing I could do now, except wait for her reply.

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