~Friday, October 07, 2011

Last Call

I got up what I assumed was a couple of hours later and made my 8 a.m. breakfast in the dining room. And then I went back to my room and slept. I hadn't slept the entire trip and I was finally exhausted. I crawled back into bed and joined Katie in Slumberland. The windowless cabin make the room pitch black and inviting.

Around lunchtime, Harvey knocked on our door. It was the last full day of the trip and apparently everyone had slept in.

"How are you?" she asked with a hint of mischief in her eyes. I assume her husband told her I blatantly left with Tallahassee the previous night.

I leaned against the door frame, still tired. "I slump busted," I whispered.

It was cool if Harvey and the boys knew, but I didn't want it getting around to Katie and Swayze and Jenna. I don't know why. I guess despite my singleness, I didn't want to live up to the expectation of me. The expectation being exactly what I did the previous night: get drunk and hook up with a stranger on a cruise ship. Spending time with the kickballers this year has ignited some college-level wildness in me. But I stand alone in this group of people. The girls are coupled up and Swayze is hopelessly in love with Katie. I mean, I spent my vacation partying with married brothers. Harvey knew me from college, when she would be the one to instigate the wildness.

She looked puzzled. "What's slump busting?"

I guess she's been married for longer than I thought.

"Doing what it takes to end a dry spell."

"Oh. Oh!" She turned around to her husband, "Sarah slump busted!" she laughed down the hall.

Well, so much for that.

I grabbed my bikini and towel and headed with them to the pool. We largely sat in silence, either reading or listening to music with periodic dips in the water.

I recognized the girl in front of me. She was the date of Tallahassee's roommate the previous evening. He had gone back to her room before we had gone back to his. She turned around. I waved.

"Have you seen the boys?" she asked me.

"I haven't. Tallahassee asked me to wake him up this morning, but I thought that would be weird so I just came out here instead."

Just then the two boys came walking across the deck. I froze. My night life had been very separate from my day life; I didn't want them intermingling. But it was too late: Harvey was already looking at me curiously to see how I knew this older woman to whom I was talking. Now the boys were approaching me. And Harvey's mother-in-law is a few chairs away and will learn very quickly about my vacation sex.

To avoid any uncomfortable conversation, the woman and I got up from our lounge chairs and crossed the deck to meet the boys. Tallahassee hugged me and scolded me for not waking him up.

"I didn't want to look like a stalker," I shrugged.

"You don't look like a stalker when I ask you to do it."

"You want to get together later?" Yes, I was asking him in code for sex. The seal had been broken so I may as well get it while I still could.

"Sure. What time?"


"Okay. Five o'clock. My room," he said. He gave me another hug and continued walking with his roommate.

I returned to my lounge chair. Harvey eyed me but didn't say a thing.

At four o'clock I conveniently disappeared without telling anyone where I was going. I showered the sun and salt water off me and put on fresh clothes. I mixed a rum and Diet. We had all of this liquor left and I didn't want to carry it off the boat.

I knocked on his door. Tallahassee answered. He and his roommate were sitting on their respective beds. I was surprised to see the roommate here. Didn't he understand the code for sex? I basically said, Come over. We could watch a movie.

I sat on Tallahassee's bed hours after I had left it the first time. The three of us made small talk. Then the roommate got up and filled a 20-ounce water bottle with vodka and announced he was going on a walk.

Tallahassee made his move. It was pretty mechanical on both of our ends. Buttons unbuttoned. Zippers unzipped. It wasn't romantic; it was two people who decided to be together.

Tallahassee had stamina. And I didn't know where my next sex was coming from.

This time the roommate started calling when he was ready to return to the room. After the 16th ring, I looked at Tallahassee. "You better get that," I said.

"Yeah I think I should."

He got up and mumbled into the phone about needing more time. We got the 10-minute warning again.

Afterward I dressed and laid across his lap. He ran his fingers up and down my back and into my scalp. I groaned. There was a difference in the way he treated me. Tallahassee was nurturing and a caretaker. I learned why: he's a father.

He pulled out his phone and showed me pictures of his daughter. I said the obligatory Isn't she beautiful.

His roommate stumbled back into the room without the water bottle. He drank the entire thing in whatever time we used. He was shitfaced and decided he needed to pack immediately. I didn't get up from Tallahassee's lap. He didn't stop caressing me.

"What are your plans tonight?" he asked me.

"We have dinner at 8:15. That'll last until 10. Then we're going to a piano bar before we go to the closer bar at the discotheque." I automatically tapped my wrist with the baseball closer signal. "Why don't you meet us at the piano bar at 10?"


I left the boys to do their packing and headed back to my room to change again for dinner. I slipped in my chair at the table.

"Where have you been?" I was asked.


After our final dinner, we headed to the piano bar. By now I had finished most of the liquor I brought and I was able to fit my fun flask in my purse, which meant no more returning to the room. I periodically turned around and looked for Tallahassee. He didn't show.

At midnight, the piano bar closed. I still had a bottle of wine in my room and I wanted to share a toast with my friends at the front of the boat. I wanted to tell them how much I loved them and how much fun the trip had been. We made it through unscathed.

I poured my bottle into 10 glasses collected from everyone's bathrooms and we headed outside. Only the places where I wanted to toast were closed again due to the high winds. As we stalked the boat, we lost Katie. Jenna went to go find her.

We chose the very end of the boat instead. In the darkness we watched the boat churn through the water. We were almost back in the States.

We waited several minutes. Katie and Jenna had not returned. Swayze then went to go search for them. Then Swayze never returned. We must have waited at least 20 minutes. Harvey wanted to toast without them, but I refused. This was a group thing and we were going to do this as a group.

The winds swept higher. The Boston Brother's wife began to complain; she didn't want to be there anymore. This wasn't what I imagined. I didn't think it would be so difficult to tell my friends that I loved them. I just wanted a moment. Everyone knew this. But Katie and Jenna and Swayze couldn't be bothered.

The Boston Brother's wife complained a little more loudly.

This is ridiculous. I said as much. I walked off the deck of the boat and headed straight to the discotheque. Whatever happened with Tallahassee earlier in the night, I knew he would be there.

The roommate's date saw me and squealed. "I love your dress! Where have you been? Tallahassee thinks you blew him off and he's been sulking all night!"

"What? He was supposed to meet me and he didn't."

The roommate saw me and ran up to me. "You're here! Where have you been?"

"I don't know! But I'm here now!"

The dichotomy between this moment and the the previous ten minutes was odd. My long-term friends were not available; my short-term friends cheered at my presence.

"Tallahassee's been upset. He hasn't even been drinking. I'll go get him." The roommate ran out of the discotheque.

"Yes! Tell him I'm here!" I called after him.

I sat down next to the date and pulled my flask out and refilled my drink. I'm glad I make friends easily. I always have options.

Tallahassee returned to the discotheque and waved at me. Then he started dancing with someone else.

I frowned. "For someone who was so upset about missing me, he sure isn't acting like it," I commented.

She leaned into me. "He thinks you ditched him so he's getting back at you. Giving you a taste of your own medicine."

By Jesus, she was right! I turned to her wide eyed. She was Yoda. She was Dating Yoda. "How do you know that?" I asked exasperated.

"I'm older than you. I know what's going on."

"Will you be Facebook friends with me?" I asked. I have much to learn from her. She wrote her name on a napkin.

Tallahassee returned and we talked. Turns out there is more than one bar with a piano on it. And he went to every one but the one I was in looking for me.

My new Facebook friend stood up and we all posed for pictures: Tallahassee, his date, the roommate, and his date. These people wanted me.

"Let's get out of here," Tallahassee whispered in my ear as he grabbed my waist.

This time we didn't close down the discotheque. We didn't go to the 24-hour pizza restaurant. We went straight to his room.

As we were laying in bed, the roommate opened the door. "It's your turn," he announced. "Time to go for a walk."

Tallahassee and I stood up and got dressed. The roommate led in his date. we were kicked out of his room. I didn't want to take Tallahassee back to mine. I couldn't do that to Katie.

We wandered the boat hand in hand and ended up in the exact spot where my toast was supposed to take place. We lied down in the wooden lounge chairs and watched the stars. You could see the Milky Way from the ocean. I don't know that I've ever seen the Milky Way before. You can't see any stars in the city.

I told Tallahassee at my failed attempt at the toast. He said he was sorry that things turned out like that. He reached his arm across the chairs and comforted me.

"They have to be done by now," he announced.

We got up and headed back to his room. He opened the door and quickly shut it again.

"Nope, they aren't done yet. All of his sheets are on the floor," he laughed. Tallahassee called the 10-minute warning to his roommate and this time we headed to the computer room and sleepily cuddled while waiting them out. It felt good to get a taste of our own medicine. We owed the roommate this.

The roommate opened the door and walked the date back to her room. Tallahassee and I climbed back into his twin bed. I swear, they were the most comfortable beds alive. He spooned me and we drifted off to sleep. I was tired; both boys snoring didn't phase me.

The next morning came. We were back in the States. The roommate picked up his phone and began sending and receiving texts from his bed. It was the first time I heard a phone chime in five days. The spell was broken.

"I better go pack," I said.

"Meet us for breakfast?"


I headed back to my room. Katie was asleep. I didn't ask her what happened the night before and she didn't offer. I pulled out my suitcase and began packing. The announcer called that our floor could disembark the boat at this time.

There was a knock on the door. It was Tallahassee and the roommate. "We decided to skip breakfast. I think we're going to head on."

"Yeah, okay." I was disappointed.

The roommate hugged me and disappeared. Tallahassee pulled out his phone. "Can I get your number?"

"Yeah, but I haven't turned on my phone yet."

"I'm going to text you before I get off the boat."


He hugged me and kissed me. I knew I would never see him again. He lives four hours from me in a small town in South Georgia. I have my life in the city. It was what it was.


treacle said...

I feel sorry for your friends, they missed out.

Amanda Braz said...

It seems like Katie slept through the whole trip.... I mean, I love sleeping too, but I would never pay for a cruise and waste that money snoring in bed. Specially accompanied by all my friends.
Just... wow.

Also, your friends must've been very tired or something. But if I were you, I'd ask what happened. That wasn't cool of them to disappear on you guys.

It's too bad you can't see Tallahassee anymore. Well, maybe you can. You never know, right? But it was fun while it lasted, it's important to remember that. :)

Anonymous said...

4 hours away isn't a bad thing. Seems he's treated you better than ever.

J said...

He seems like a good guy but I agree it's best to just leave it as a vacation fling.

Your "Will you be Facebook friends with me?" question made me laugh :)

Lilly said...

"It was what it was." I don't think it was what you're thinking it was, but I understand. He doesn't sound like that kind of guy. He sounds like the kind of guy that is going to continue talking to you and at the very least, become a new friend on one level or another, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if you do see him again.

But either way, I'm glad he was your slump-busting guy, it could have been much worse.

Maura said...

Vacation love, sigh...

Red Stethoscope said...

Well yes, it was what it was, but it's still a little sad--especially without the goodbye breakfast.

j said...

Sounds like it was an awesome trip!

Bathwater said...

Four hours away is not that far, I wonder if we have seen the last of him.

nuttycow said...

"Slump buster" - fantastic phrase which I intend to spread 'round Europe.

Thank you America.


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