made it to the tropical island ..But the cost of love can be quite high!

Submitted into Contest #83 in response to: Write about someone who goes to extreme lengths to get themselves to a tropical island.... view prompt




Sometimes the cost of love comes very high;

The days dragged out to weeks and now the weeks to months. I’m into my second full month without her. I thought it would get easier and easier to get her out of my mind but the progress is so slow. I see her face everywhere I go. Stupid little things in my home remind me of her. I miss her eyes, her smile, the way she flipped her ponytail. I pull her long blond hair off of everything. How long will it take to get all those hairs out of here, probably awhile? We were together for three very long years.

My work has been so bad. My boss has decided to be an asshole at just the wrong time. How do they intuitively know when to pile on the asshole? I’ve been at odds with my family all Spring. I just need a break.

That’s it! A break, a trip, a vacation, an adventure! Where can I go? Hmm. A cruise? That’s it a cruise!

But I hate boats and don’t want to spend time on the water. I did hear of a cruise out of Miami that only stops in two places, San Juan and Cancun. Maybe that’s for me. I called my favorite lady Jill at the travel agency in Cary, NC. I told her, “get me outta here ASAP!”

The boat leaves Monday, so I’ll fly out of Raleigh/Durham on Saturday, direct to Miami. I know my way around Miami like it was my home town. It will be fun seeing my favorite sites and eating my favorite sushi. Oh God, the sushi.

I’ll lay on the beach all day Sunday, my South Beach is phenomenal.

OK taxi to the dock. I’m off on my adventure. I’m still not sure I want to do this but I really need something new.

I checked into my cabin. I decided to go first class so it was very nice with a balcony! The captain, at least I think it was the captain, announced a get-to-know-everyone luncheon in the main dining room. That didn’t appeal to me very much but what the hell. This was an adventure! I sat at a second-level table so I could observe the people below. The lunch was amazing; fresh fruit and fresh crab with amazing avocado. It truly was some of the best I have ever had. Suddenly I felt someone looking at me. I glanced around the room and then our eyes met.

She was beautiful. Beautiful like a Spring day. Dark tight curled hair that just seemed to flow. She smiled gently at me. We exchanged glances more and more frequently. After a while, she started to walk out. As she did she glanced back at me. Was that an invitation to follow her? It seemed it but I’m a dummy when it comes to reading women.

Oh, what the hell I’ll bite. As I walked out onto the deck I saw her standing at the rail. Her hair blowing beautifully in the breeze. She looked like an angel with an aura with the wind, the sun, the reflection off the water. I approached cautiously. She smiled when she saw me. Told me her name was Hannah. I always loved the name, Hannah. When I was with Annie twenty-three years ago we always talked of having a kid and calling her Hannah. Oh well, that didn’t quite work out so well. I still miss Annie after all these years.

We talked, it was easy and so amazing how we just seemed to flow together so easily. She challenged me to shuffleboard and I said: “Sure I’ll go easy on you.” She asked, “you always that confident?” We laughed, we had fun and we drank some weird colored rum drinks. Occasionally she’d get close enough for me to smell her. I don’t know what it was but no woman ever smelled that. It was heaven, and flowers, and babies and Springtime all in one smell. I know you think I’m crazy but it was the most amazing smell I have ever smelled. I wanted more.

I suggested that the balcony right above us is mine, let’s grab a few drinks and go sit up there. She happily agreed. We went up we talked just about everything. She grew up in North Carolina and was now living in Miami. How she loved to travel and next she was going to Paris and all through France into Italy and then on to Greece. A truly amazing woman. She was only 24 but we didn’t feel an age difference. She was so smart, so curious. We talked nonstop we hugged, we kissed. Then we heard that familiar voice calling us to another get-to-know-you dinner. I didn’t know about her but I had gotten to know just about everyone that I wanted to get to know. But we were starving so we went down to dinner. We sat across from each other and that’s when I noticed the sparkle in her eyes. I was taken back for a minute because I hadn’t seen that sparkle in a woman’s eyes since I was with Annie a long, long time ago. I didn’t think there would ever be another woman’s eyes that would sparkle and change colors.

We enjoyed our dinner she asked me if I would slow dance with her. We did. I just drank in her smell, her hair, her soft skin. When I inhaled her scent it was like I was paralyzed, helpless. We went out on the deck and watched the moon sparkle on the shimmering water. It’s when she whispered to me, “I want to stay with you tonight.”

That next morning we arrived in Puerto Rico. Another place I knew well. I said we have three days let’s head to Rincon with a few stops on the way. I took her up to the jungle and some of the prettiest beaches anywhere. We swam in the phosphorescent waters. When we arrived in Rincon and I hadn’t told her there aren’t too many American speaking people here, at least that show themselves. Rincon is a hideout for, I wouldn’t say, criminals, just people that need to drop out of the USA. Disappear for a while. The funny thing is you do not see them by day and you have to know someone local, which I did, to find them. I called Larry. Larry was an oil rig cowboy from Louisiana with a big southern drawl. He hid out in Ricon for some reason that I never asked. He was happy to see me again and was delighted I brought along a pretty friend. He took us to places that you would never know existed. Places, where they have a special, peek slide so they can look and see who was knocking. He added to what was already an intoxicating evening.

The next day we had a ball in Rincon. I took her up the mountain to a hidden restaurant. We swam in the huge waves. The same waves that I almost drowned in a few years back. Rincon in the late Fall is host to many a surf championship. We ate in little huts, danced in the sand, and just enjoyed each other. Tomorrow we would head back to the boat.

That night as we laid in bed together she told me about her mother in Raleigh. “Raleigh,” I said? That’s amazing I live in Raleigh!” We were both shocked because I had been living in Raleigh for about 27 years now. What a coincidence. She told me that her mother never married and what a sweet and wonderful woman she was. “Tell me about your dad,” I said. “I never knew my Dad only what my mother told me and it wasn’t much. He was a sweet and gentle guy and that they had loved each other very much. I never did get to meet him. My mother said she lost track of where he ended up. She said he probably moved to Miami, he talked about it often. I asked, “what was your mother’s name?” She said, “Antoinette, most people call her Annie.” I asked, “ ANNIE? Tell me exactly where you grew up in Raleigh?”

She told me about growing up and described the home and where it was in Raleigh.

The blood rushed out of my head. I felt dizzy. I felt like I was being strangled. I could not breathe. I told her I needed air on the balcony. I had to hold the rail for fear of failing.

She fell asleep as I wildly went through the scenario. Annie was her mother. Annie was the only woman I have ever met that had eyes that sparkled and changed colors. Hannah had eyes that sparkled and change color! Same hair. Same sweet, easy personality The same Annie that wanted to name our daughter Hannah? Annie that I last saw 23 years ago or so, with a daughter almost that same age.

I never went back into the room. I stayed out on the balcony all night. When Hannah woke in the AM I told her we had to rush to the boat. She kept asking, “what’s wrong? You are different? “ I had such a beautiful time here. So glad I saw it with someone that knows it so well.” She had a worried look on her face. We rushed out of the cab and got our bags on the boat just in time. I told her “go take them to the cabin. I have to do something. I’ll catch up with you there.”

I ran off the boat. I hailed a cab and I told the driver, “Hotel Paradiso-San Juan.” I wasn’t going on that boat I wasn’t going on to Cancun. I checked into the hotel, which I was very familiar with.

Once I got into my room I immediately pulled out my phone. I amazingly still had Annie’s number in my contacts. I called. She surprisingly picked up quickly. “Annie, this is Gene, remember me?” Of course, she said, “ how have you been? It’s been a while.” I said, “Annie the truth!” I could tell she was taken back, “Gene, what’s wrong?” “Annie did we have a child together? A girl” She was quiet. “Annie? Yes or no? Did we have a girl that you never told me about? A girl you named Hannah?” “Yes,” she whispered. My heart was racing, my head was pounding. “Why didn’t you tell me? I could have helped raise her with you. I could have had a relationship with her.” “You always said you wanted to move to Miami and travel the world. I didn’t think you’d want a child. We had split so I didn’t want to burden you.” “You denied me knowing my own daughter?” “ I, I’m, I’m so sorry Gene. I am truly sorry. I was young and stupid and confused. I’m so sorry Gene.”

I just dropped the phone on the floor and fell backward onto the bed.

February 26, 2021 23:23

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