~Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Good People/Bad People

I really didn't get any better on the cruise. Every morning I'd get up, tiptoe into the bathroom, turn on the shower to hot water to get a good steam and hack and spit for the first half hour of every day. I had such a violent, horrible cough that lining of my throat would tear until I would bleed. And then my throat would be irritated from the tear and I would continue to hack. I would have been the worst roommate ever to Katie, but she slept with earplugs to block me out.

Eating also exacerbated my cough. Not just dairy, but eating any food. So these glorious, fancy sit-down dinners were interrupted by me throwing a lung into my napkin every night. People would stare. The conversation at our table would stop, "Jesus, Sarah. That sounds awful," Harvey proclaimed.

The Boston Brother sat next to me at this dinner. He laid his arm across the back of my chair and faced me.

"How long have you had this cough?"

"Two weeks."

"Is it getting any better?"

"No, and I did a round of antibiotics."

The Boston Brother was asking me these questions because he was a doctor. "You know, if you go see the ship's doctor and he deems you contagious, he could make you wear a mask for the rest of the trip. Or worse, he could confine you."

"Then I'm not going to see the ship's doctor."

"I travel with drugs. I brought an extra z-pack (short course of antibiotics) that was prescribed to me just in case anything happened. If you are okay with taking drugs that aren't prescribed to you, then you're welcome to them."

"I am absolutely okay with taking your drugs. And thank you."

"Let's go get them then." We got up in the middle of dinner and walked back to his room. He gave me the antibiotics and gave me the typical warnings of excessive exposure to sunlight (too late) and excess exposure to drinking (too late).


I had never met the Boston Brother before this trip. He seemed geeky (He corrected my pronunciation of Merida and taught me the phrase, Your foot is dead, in Spanish), but he also had a kind heart for giving me his drugs and he was a good sport in keeping up with Harvey's Husband and me at the club.

I had never met his wife either, but I had heard stories. And actually, it was the reason the Boston Brother was sitting next to me in the first place. Everyone else had taken his/her turn sitting near her and they dubbed it my turn. During dinner she announced what her stripper name was, what incurable STDs she had and how many times she threw up before dinner. The rest of the table exchanged glances. Growing up where we did, we didn't know these people existed in real life. We thought they were characters meant to balance a TV show.

After dinner Jenna and Harvey wanted to gamble, so half of the group walked upstairs to the casino. Only just standing in the smokey haze of the casino was enough to activate my cough. I'm allergic to cigarette smoke on even the good days. I wandered around to the penny slot machines on the periphery of the casino to try to find some fresh air. I noticed that the Boston's Brother wife also wandered off and found the casino bar, aptly named the Drama Room.

When I couldn't stand the air anymore, I found Jenna and Harvey seated by the roulette table. I was going to say my goodbyes and perhaps see if I could find Tallahassee and his roommate. Only when I opened my mouth to speak, I felt a presence behind me. I turned around.

It was the wife, and she was pissed.

She angrily jabbed her finger in the Boston Brother's chest. Her voice was cold and began low, but soon she began screeching. Scared, I met Harvey's Husband's glance. Screaming still puts me in an anxious panic from my days spent with S. "Don't make eye contact," he whispered to me. "Look down."

I looked down. In front of me was a pack of Winston Salems someone had left next to the slot machine. It was the green label. The green on the pack was more of a green-yellow in my opinion. A friendly green, appropriate for marketing a cigarette company. The lid of the pack was ajar and I could see the crumpled foil peeking out. I remember this. I stared at that pack of cigarettes and tried to remain calm as she screamed.

He embarrassed her, she hollered. She raised on her tiptoes and tried to scream in his face.

We were that group. We were the group of people who created a scene in a casino. We were the drama in the Drama Room. The poetry of the situation was not lost on me.

The Boston Brother did exactly what he should have done, which only angered her more. The louder she got, the quieter he spoke. He whispered while she screamed. He used his body language as his force, leaning into her personal space and standing powerfully. He responded in whispers, but he seemed to grow two feet.

By the reaction of the Boston Brother and Harvey's Husband, I knew this wasn't the first time she created a scene. Eventually she bored of screaming at her husband and fled the casino. He didn't chase her. I raised an eyebrow at him.

"She's drunk and nothing I say will reason with her. It's best to just let her go and talk to her in the morning," he shrugged.

I asked him what happened. Apparently she was upset that she wandered the casino alone and that the Boston Brother didn't follow her. Instead of asking for his company, she went to the bar and got wasted. What people didn't know was that she didn't want to disembark the boat in Mexico, so she stayed aboard. And he stayed with her. Even at the casino, he was still in the same room with her.

I scrunched up my face. I had done the exact same thing: wandered off alone. I was one of two single people on a cruise with 7 other couples, including a threesome. I knew what it was like to be alone. But there was so much to do and so many people and I make friends easily so it didn't bother me.

The Boston Brother, Harvey's Husband and I returned to my room so I could mix a drink before we went to the discotheque for the evening. I had pulled the bladder of contraband rum out of my dresser and was mid-pour when I felt the presence again.

She was standing in my doorway.

She looked crazed. Her hair was frazzled and hung away from her face. Her skin was paler than it normally was. It was like looking at someone who was possessed.

"What's up?" The Boston Brother asked nonchalantly, as if the first scene never happened.

I knew the drill now. I stared at my rum and slowly poured as if a spilled drop would burn a hole in the dresser.

She drew each word out in an exaggerated breath. "Do.. you... know... what... I've... been... through... the... last... two... hours?!?!" Then she screamed and ran down the hallway towards their cabin.

No one dared move in case she came back. I took my rum and poured a shot into a shot glass and handed it to the Boston Brother without making eye contact.


He took the shot glass and swallowed without a sound. Harvey's Husband laughed. The spell was broken.

We found Tallahassee and his roommate pretty quickly. With practice, I was getting much better at dancing with a person as opposed to dancing alone.

"I really like Tallahassee," remarked Harvey's Husband every drink or so. "He's good people."

Really it was Harvey's Husband that made me warm up to Tallahassee. Harvey's Husband has never approved of anyone I brought around the group, notably S and Christopher. He was a good judge of character.

I out-danced Tallahassee, forcing him to retreat to the bar to sit with a drink. So I turned around and danced with Harvey's Husband and his Boston Brother.

Tallahassee's roommate came up to us and tapped Harvey's Husband on the shoulder.

"Y'all have the same last name as Tallahassee, right?"

"Yeah," he confirmed.

"They are paging someone on the intercom with that name."

We stopped dancing and listened. The announcer was asking for the Boston Brother by name, even including his cabin number.

He stepped outside the discotheque and was surrounded by three security guards who escorted him away.

The next morning, I asked Harvey for her version of what happened:

She was standing in the bathroom brushing her teeth and getting ready for bed. There was a knock on the door. She closed her bathrobe and peered in the peephole. It was the Boston Brother.

She opened the door. Just as he had leaned over his wife earlier in the casino, he leaned in the door frame towards Harvey. His eyes stung with hot, angry tears. Behind him were three security guards.

"I need you," he whispered.

She still had her toothbrush in her mouth. She spoke garbled, "Hold on, let me spit."

She followed him to his room next door. Sitting on the bed wide-eyed and scared was his wife. She was loosely wearing a $7 cotton print dress. Apparently she took all the drugs the good doctor kept in his room ("I travel with drugs," he had said to me at dinner when he provided me with the antibiotics) and she was so strung out that she took off all her clothes with exception of her thong and wandered in the crew's section of the cruise ship. The crew's section was several floors below us. She claimed she had an allergic reaction and blacked out.

"And you know there are cameras everywhere so that moment is on video somewhere," Tallahassee later explained to me.

"They didn't just page the discotheque; they paged the entire boat looking for y'all," said his roommate.

"She was totally faking," Harvey had said. "She knew what she was doing."

Obviously this wasn't the image the cruise line wanted to portray. They were pissed. Her options were either to be locked up in some padded drunk tank (seriously what else is on this boat?) or she had to be escorted for the rest of the trip by a member of our group. She was not allowed to be unattended.

The Boston Brother was angry and embarrassed over his wife's behavior that had slowly escalated throughout the night. He couldn't do it. He couldn't be alone with her. He asked Harvey if she could stay with her.

Harvey put her sister-in-law in her room. She got the side of the bed furthest from the door so she would have to crawl over Harvey if she wanted to leave the room. The brothers would bunk together.

He met us back at the discotheque, that champ. He danced with a short curly-haired brunette and Harvey's Husband brought him shots of tequila. We made a pretty good night of it, once again shutting down the discotheque and moving the party to the 24-hour pizza restaurant. I made Harvey's Husband stand up and tell the room an entirely inappropriate joke.

At second dinner, the Boston Brother explained that school was different. He went to the same undergrad university as the rest of us, but he moved once for medical school and again to Boston for his residency. His circle of friends shrank with every move.

"I don't have this," he said, gesturing to the group of us. "I don't have 17 friends to go with on a cruise. I don't have the strong support system that y'all do. If I had, I wouldn't have gotten married so quickly," he said.

My heart bled for him. The married man envied my life. I guess I really am lucky.

And then there were five. Harvey's Husband, me, Tallahassee, the Boston Brother, and the short curly-haired girl. We headed back to our cabins. The Boston Brother quickly ducked away to walk her to her room. And then Harvey's Husband quickly disappeared down the corridor. It was just Tallahassee and me.

He walked me to my door. I stuck my card in and unlocked it. He leaned in and gave me an appropriate kiss. It was much better than the last one we shared the first night on the boat.

"See you tomorrow," he said as he turned on his heel and walked the 100 rooms that separated us on the floor.

"Have a good night," I waved.

Harvey's Husband was right. He's good people.


Angela said...

I had the same problem with moving, only I was younger (from babyhood onward), so I get it. I was looking at the childhood photos of one middle school friend last night, and envying the fact that they all grew up together, and were still in each other's lives. I know them, but we aren't as close as they are.

I'm not going to comment on his wife, because I know someone close to me who has become a,most that dramatic when drunk (no stripping, though), and she drinks that much when she's unhappy/worried, generally. She's usually mortified afterwards, because she can't always remember what happened, and she's since cut back.

Anonymous said...

what a hot mess she is!

does this mean T passed a test? "Harvey's Husband has never approved of anyone I brought around the group, notably S and Christopher. He was a good judge of character."

Bathwater said...

Okay after THAT story I'm thinking of changing my vote.

heisschic said...

some bodies really can't process alcohol. yeeeikes. how has the wife been in the mornings? that would be a huge indicator... does she think her behavior was funny? lock herself in the room? apologize sincerely, but do it again?

Anonymous said...

I feel so awful for Boston Brother...poor guy. So far in this tale I like Tallahassee too.

J said...

This is like a soap opera! MORE!

(It's moments like these that make me thankful to be single. Like the time my friend's husband decided he was going to take a job in Iraq for a year without consulting his wife. Thanks, I'm glad I'm single now!)

Sarah said...

Harvey told me they traded back rooms at 9:30 a.m. and she heard a lot of yelling and screaming. The wife even went so far as to accuse Harvey of blacking out as well from the seasick pills, which wasn't a possibility. The wife later admitted to Harvey she did it on purpose for attention.

No one heard an apology, but that was the only incident for the remaining few days.

AmericanBridget (Jones) said...

I feel for BB. Marriage on the rocks? Or rather a wavey marriage? Poor dude.

Anonymous said...

It really breaks my heart for him. I am sure she is absolutely strikingly beautiful. On top of that bat shit crazy. It just goes to show, when you rely on looks alone, well, it does not always work out. This chick is insane.

Bathwater said...

Makes the girls I get involved with look tame, except Persephone, she was like that wife and I could not deal with that.

heather said...

Poor BB, bitches be crazy! ;)

On the other hand, I totally thought those crazy scenarious only happened to me. When I read this post I thought to myself, "That would totally be my luck! Only the most bizarre drama WOULD happen to me on vaca."

Paige Jennifer said...

I'd like to buy Boston Brother a copy of Codependency No More. Also stories like this make me realize I'm way less screwed up than I sometimes think I am.


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