Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Lovely Cruise--Buffett Inspired fiction

(Author's note: This story is crap. Whatever idea I originally had evaporated.)

The first thought Jim had when he awoke in the darkness of his cruise ship cabin was that he figured the worst episode of emotional turmoil in his life had to be over. The pain from the dual gut wrenching body blows of embarrassment and heartbreak he received the day his fiancee left him at the altar seemed to be fading. He stilled remembered the looks of pity and concern on the faces of his parents and the pastor as he opened the small note Emily had wrote explaining what had developed between her and his now former best friend, Robby.

The note was the expected mish mash of apologises and rationalizations that the two of them could not fight the overwhelming desire of what their hearts told them was real. Standing in the pastor’s office it was then that Jim realized that over the years of their mutual relationships the two had always seemed at each other’s throats over the smallest things.

You’ll find someone else,” Jim’s mother whispered continuously a couple of hours later as she sat next him in the backseat of his dad’s car. Truthfully, at that moment Jim didn’t care, he felt that way mostly because he was in shock but another part of his mind realized it was far better for them to go their separate ways before things like a mortgage, joint bank accounts, and kids made everything extremely complicated.

Son,” his dad said from the driver’s seat, “I know you won’t appreciate this question but what are you going to do about the honeymoon cruise? You and Emily were supposed to catch a plane to Miami in the morning and board the ship that afternoon.” It didn’t take Jim more than a second to decided.

With Amanda’s naked body still entangled with his, Jim felt no hurry to move or disturb her sleep. He had meet her two days into what was supposed to have been a week long honeymoon cruise in the Caribbean for him and Emily. By chance, Jim and Amanda had met each other at a late night deck party and started talking. Both quickly recognized that there was chemistry going on between them with Amanda soon after telling her former college sorority sisters that they were going off to one of the quiet bars on the ship to continue their conversation. Amanda’s girlfriends all squealed in delight wishing Jim good luck as the two headed off on their own.

The rest of the evening was nothing more than them sitting together in a lounge sipping wine and telling their life stories. Both refrained from saying much about the status of their current relationships fearing it might scare the other away. It ended in the early morning hours with Jim walking Amanda back to her cabin, exchanging a deep kiss with her, then making plans for dinner together that night.

Things went by a lot faster that night with them ending up in Jim’s cabin. “This is an awful big cabin for just one person,” Amanda said as Jim opened the door for her to enter.

Yeah,” he said trying to think of someway to explain without having to admit he was suppose to be on his honeymoon, “this cruise was supposed to be a anniversary gift for my parents. Something came up and they couldn’t go and a refund for the tickets was out of the question.”

Oh I wasn’t complaining,” she said with a coy smile while shrugging off her loose fitting sun dress. “This just gives us some uninterrupted privacy away from my friends and plenty of room to have fun.”

The rest of the cruise went by in a blur, Amanda became a bit of a running gag to her friends who only saw her in passing, while Jim bathed himself in the restoring powers of wanton lust and carnal activities. Jim could have went on this way indefinitely, except the cruise line had other plans. As Jim lay on his bed still holding the sleeping Amanda he heard click of the ship’s intercom and then a series of soft chimes.

Good morning passengers,” the senior cruise director said through the speaker, “we will be docking at the Miami terminal in two hours. Please have your bags outside your cabin as soon as possible so they can be collected and processed. We will be disembarking and going through customs by deck numbers to speed the process along. We hope you had a lovely cruise and will sail with us again.”

Oh crap,” Amanda said upon waking up, “I’ve got to get back to my cabin and get ready. My friends are going to kill me if I hold them up. We have a long drive back to Tampa.”

Jim just smiled as she jumped out of bed, quickly gathered up her clothes from the previous night. “It’s been great,” she quickly said to him while leaning over the bed, “we’ll have to do it again.” They kissed one last time and then she was gone like a sudden gust of wind.

It only took Jim a few minutes to prepare for his own departure, an unfortunate circumstance of being alone. In the final minutes of the trip Jim opened the curtains covering the cabin window and watched the harbor lights draw ever closer. He had no plans for the future other than returning to his job and dealing with the all the sickly sincere pity and compassion that was sure to come his way from friends, family and coworkers.

Jim knew that what Amanda and him had was just a romance of convenience, but there was this nagging little voice in his head saying that maybe it was something more. When Jim’s time came to disembark he bullied his way through anxious crowds all wanting to get back to their normal lives as fast as possible. Jim’s plan was to get inside the terminal building and locate Amanda before she disappeared forever.

While not as claustrophobically crowded as the hallways of the ship the terminal building was still awash in humanity all going in different directions. For close to twenty minutes Jim ran around the building like a madman almost drawing the attention of security before finally seeing one of Amanda’s friends who was heading out the door.

Fearing he would be too late, Jim cut a different but quicker path through the building to exit out a different door. The morning sun was incredibly bright allowing Jim to see Amanda and her friends off in the distance handing a man about his own age their bags which he placed inside a minivan. From Jim’s vantage point this unknown man’s smile and familiarity with the ladies suggested he was more than just friend there to take them back to Tampa. Amanda’s friends climbed into the vehicle leaving her and the man standing outside, it was then that Jim caught a glimpse of the gold ring complete with a nice sized diamond she was now wearing. The final confirmation of their relationship was when she threw her arms around the guy and passionately kissed him the same way she had done Jim in his cabin a few hours before.

Feeling strangely unhurt but satisfied, Jim drifted back inside the terminal to await the bus that would carry him to the airport. A couple of hours later Jim meets his dad at the airport. “How was the trip son,” he asked hoping the trauma of the botched wedding had faded somewhat.

Jim smiled in way that both relieved and caused his father some concern. “It was a lovely cruise dad, I might try and have another just like it real soon.”

(Author's note: Was doing my usual over abundance of daydreaming the other day when I heard this song. It reminded me that on one of the Disney cruises my family has been lucky enough to enjoy I saw this guy who seemed to be alone. Now on most cruises this would not be an issue, its just that on the boats owned by Mickey you have newlyweds, families with kids, older couples, and single parents with their children. A Disney cruise is not a place a guy by himself would normally be found. So, in the spirit of a wannabee writer my overextended imagination came up with this story. I hope you enjoyed it.)


Pixel Peeper said...

Ha - was it Dolly Parton who said it? The best way to get over a man is to get under one. I guess this advice goes both ways.

I like to play your game at airports - watch people and make up some fascinating story about them, why they are at the airport, where they are going, what they are doing, etc.

Rose L said...

I thought this was sad and I felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for the Phantom and I said I would have chosen him! I am odd.

Beach Bum said...

Pixel: Not exactly happy with this story. But after two science fiction posts I wanted to do something based in reality.

Rose: One of the elements I wanted for my character "Jim" was to have him a realist to a certain degree. Now in hindsight I think that was a mistake.

As for the single guy on the Disney cruise, I talked to him once at one of the bars. There was clearly a bad reason for him being alone but he never mentioned it.

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

GR8 Line, Pixel Peeper!

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Liked the story, Beach! (You'll have email in a few minutes!)

Doc Häagen-Dazs said...

Liked the video, too, of course!

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