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Nada's Continuing Blog Part II
Nadanother blog...sheesh, I guess I DO blog. Completed.
|It was day nine of the cruise, and she sat on the rear deck, sheltered from the blazing sun, the first sunny day, and coincidentally the last port. It was odd, last night the paper delivered to their cabin, stuck in the oversized clip outside of their door, had given the prediction of rain for today. It would not have been a surprise, considering the dearth of sunshine so far.
Sitting at a shady table she had a clear view of the Aft pool, and an unwelcome seat at the end of the ping-pong table. Only moments before two youngsters had played a spirited game, frequently knocking the small ball off of the table, sometimes smacking her in the face, or the leg. The odd thing was the young man, Ben, never even apologized, instead chasing the ball down like it was some prize, yelling back at his sister that he deserved a replay. It was not surprising, youngsters seem to be void of the manners her own mother had ingrained in her, through “dirty looks” and reproach.
Sitting here she felt small, so small it was as if she were invisible, a mere blip on the screen of life, which I suppose she is. The last day of 2008 was here, looming over the passengers with all of its unsavory days. A sad cruise, yes that is what her husband has called it the first day. She didn’t know why he said it then, it was more like a group tiredness she thought. Sure, the travel to get to the ship had been a rough one; rain, snow, cancelled flights and hours spent waiting, but now the cruise was well under way, and still the pervasive sadness she had tried to deny was still evident.
Maybe it was the weather, but not likely, as most passengers were well beyond the age, or need to find themselves sunburned or bronzed at the end of a day. There was no smell of suntan lotion, just the collective groans of old people trying to dry out some of the dampness it had taken a lifetime to accumulate. Once and awhile she caught a fleeting glimpse of an oiled body, but knew immediately it would be one of half a dozen gay men, the only ones still vain enough to care how they looked in a bathing suit. Still, she always looked. She wasn’t dead yet, it just felt that way sometimes.
Off in the distance she saw a brightly colored jellyfish-shaped object in the sky, hovering with the faint outline of a human dangling beneath it, tethered by a cord to a motorboat. Yes, she remembered her own youthful days spent dangling in excitement from such a contraption, snapping photos of the gleaming white palace, a disco, below on the outcropped cliff of Mazatlan. Her husband asked if she intended to parasail today, as if it were a reasonable thing to ask. “No” she answered, “not today.”
The pool lounge-chairs were covered in blue and white striped towels, all facing the the rippled, empty blue water in the pool. A pool which at one end was occupied by an pair of absurdly, abstractly painted cows. Both were topped with a set of orange horns, both laying there wondering what could they possibly have done to deserve this? She knew though, they were tossed aboard during a violent storm in InstanBULL. The thought made her laugh aloud, but nobody took notice of her laughing alone in the corner underneath the stairs. Such was her invisible presence. She was growing accustomed to it. Not happy about it, but what can you do? The alternative did not seem very attractive.
An elderly man tried desperately to cough up some phlegm...his cane casually strewn on the table, his hearing aid turned off. Did he know how horrible it sounded? Did he care? She didn’t think so.
Tonight is New Year’s Eve she thought. What a year it had been. It began with the ending of another cruise, she laughed again as she thought of the creepy old guy from New York that she had despised; the one her husband felt the need to defend her from. At least he was not discriminating, eventually annoying all people he had come in contact with.
Just then the loudspeakers began playing Hawaiian music, at a volume unnecessary, but welcome, as it drowned out the deep rumbling coughing of the old man sitting in front of her...if only he could time the cough during the solos, and to the bobbing of the parasail. Ahhh, he grabbed his cane and hobbled off towards the Lido buffet, no doubt to grab a tray and have it filled with something they called sushi but was really just a dollop of canned tuna rolled up in seaweed and rice. She knew this because her husband had gotten fooled the one time they ate from the buffet. He was appalled, rightfully so. The economy had taken such a downturn the substitutions were probably taken as a cost cutting measure, but to anyone with a decent palate, it was entirely unacceptable.
Like just last night as they sat in the bar, listening for the umpteenth time to the Romanian singer doing her own old gramophone sounding imitation of Billie Holiday singing “Hello Dolly”. (As if Billie ever heard, much less sang that song.) Her husband wondered where the hot pupus were, and he was not speaking of the fried cheese-balls or ground up salmon balls they had been serving, but the ones of old, the smoked duck quesadillas, or...even the barbeque chicken wings. All things of days gone by. “Lovely Hula Hands....” the canned music played on.
So what else had happened this past year? Quite a few deaths of people she felt like she knew, Paul Newman, Charleton Heston, William Buckley, Suzanne Pleshette, and the list went on, according to a memorial on CNN she had seen this morning. Oh yes, there was the open heart surgery her husband had in March. And the long, hot summer which wasn’t. The house hunting, the birthday trip to London...quite possibly the highlight of the year.
The year is going out with a fizzle, like the economy. Well, at least Obama had a nice vacation, well a sunny one. Nice knowing the only rainy day in Honoluu happened while she was in port.
Okay, I’m past my sad observations and ready to don a festive gown and sit with other festively dressed guests and party down until my charriot turns into a pumpkin at the stroke of midnight! Happy New Year my friends!
PS...note to self: I have to quit reading these sad novels!