I awoke mid afternoon with a dry mouth and a blazing headache. My mind still churning away. Did I make the correct decision in not going with Elaine and the other princesses to shore? I missed her for sure. I longed for her company in the way I always savored something new and delightful. I wanted to jump in feet first and totally immerse myself in it. While I had no problems with this aspect of my personality, I also knew that this was not always the safest course of action. Sometimes when you took a dive off a cliff into a crystal blue lagoon you found that there were rocks underneath the surface that would destroy you. I also knew from painful experience that not giving people space pushed people away instead of bringing them closer.
There were 14 days left on our journey. Take your time. There is no hurry. That sounded right. But it conflicted with everything I was feeling at the moment. Where all I wanted to do is soak in everything that is Elaine.
Conflict unresolved. I went to the gym to work through some of the dynamic tension. Hoping the physical exercise would release emotional pressure. It did not. Have you ever tried running on a tread mill on a rocking ship? Your foot placement is completely thrown off. Sometimes your feet hit the belt too soon or when you expect to find firm footing you find none. The result is the same. You are constantly off balance. And so it was with me in the gym. I never quite caught my balance on Elaine.
Part of that might have been my choice of music. I stupidly picked Adele’s 21 to power my workout.
Listening to Lovesong:
Whenever alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am young again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am fun again
And One and Only;
You’ve been on my mind
I grow fonder every day
Lose myself in time
Just thinking of your face
God only knows why it’s taken me
So long to let my doubts go
You’re the only one that I want
I don’t know why I’m scared
I’ve been here before
Every feeling, every word
I’ve imagined it all
You’ll never know if you never try
To forget your past and simply be mine
I dare you to let me be your, your one and only
I promise I’m worthy
To hold in your arms
So come on and give me the chance
To prove I am the one who can walk that mile
Until the end starts
If I’ve been on your mind
You hang on every word I say
Lose yourself in time
At the mention of my name
Will I ever know how it feels to hold you close
And have you tell me
Whichever road I choose, you’ll go?
I don’t know why I’m…
Not the wisest choice in music. It kept me as unbalanced as the ships rocking had on the treadmill. But I managed to finish an hour-long workout and returned to the rooms with few of my demons exorcised.
I prepared for dinner that evening with great care. The shower was extra-long. Shaving more methodical and closer. The selection of clothing was designed to put my best foot forward from the perfectly pressed khaki’s to impeccable navy blue b to the crisp French blue shirt and immaculately polished loafers. I knew that I would not look “cool”, whatever that meant these days, but I would the best I could for what I was. A middle-aged man looking to find romance one more time in his life.
When I finished dressing, I looked at my watch. I must have been anxious to get to dinner because they would not be opening the doors to the dining room for another hour. To kill time, I went to the Grand Bar Rhapsody on Deck 4. Pretending that I was a sophisticate from a Somerset Maugham novel or some Bond movie I ordered a vodka Martini. While I waited for the bartender to fill my order I turned to the stage. The Brazilian duo of the bald man and tall woman with long dark hair were singing soft Brazilian songs that I had never heard but thought lovely and soothing. To my right were a group of over served Germans who were speaking too loudly in general but specifically because there were artists performing. I made a note to myself to avoid places where German tourists congregate and happily turned to my Martini for succor. It provided none. The vodka was watery and was half vermouth. Even the olives were desiccated.
I turned my attention to the room. I see the older Italian woman with the bright dyed red fauxhawk mullet styled hair. She is dressed in a very low-cut silver sequined gown and is attached to an incredibly young man who is dressed in a dark suit with matching tie. I have never seen a gigolo before. I mostly have thought of them as urban legend instead of as fact. I am fascinated by their interactions. She coo’s at him and feeds him little treats from the bowl of nuts sitting at their table. His response is obsequious and pet like and I wonder, out of personal amusement, whether she keeps a Pekingese as well.
Dinner is called and I make my way to they table. I have been anticipating this moment all day and I wait at the table in eager expectation of Elaine’s company. And I wait. And I wait. And I wait. When 20 minutes had passed I understood that all of the angst and anxiety I had been feeling all day were for nothing. I had been an idiot. My dive from the cliff had hit the unseen rocks. What I felt was not shared and that she and the other Brazilian princesses were avoiding me and avoiding dinner. I signaled our waitress Marika. When she arrived I ask her to bring me a vodka rocks and told her that I would like to order dinner. She asked pointing to the noticeably empty seats “ Don’t you think they are coming?”
Looking at my watch I replied, “I don’t know but dinner started a while ago so I think it is unlikely.”
Sensing my sadness and embarrassment she said soothingly “Well, why don’t I bring your drink. And if they are not here by then we will put in your order.
While I waited for my liquid comfort to arrive, I allowed myself to feel humiliated. I spent the whole day thinking about this woman and clearly, she had very different thoughts about me. How could I have so badly read the situation? How could I have been so foolish to believe that this Brazilian beauty would be interested in this average joe from New York. What a schmo.