Roaches. Thousands… no, MILLIONS of roaches came streaming out from under the old refrigerator, the rusty stove, and the broken-down cabinets. They scuttled over the countertops, and from beneath the peeling wallpaper. We looked on in horror and absolute disbelief as the tide of insects swept unerringly in our direction.
”EEEK!” I squealed in horror, dropping my almost full Big Gulp on the floor. Out of the back of my head, I saw the roaches headed to the brown pool like a magnet. The dark sugary mess was just what the horrid creatures needed for spending their afternoon swimming, complete with floats, umbrellas, and a few Pina Coladas.
We looked at each other, and high-tailed it through the dusty sheet covered furniture in the living room, past the dark wood carved staircase, and finally past the big wooden door into the heavily overgrown yard. I didn’t stop until I was in safety, on the concrete sidewalk where we had parked the car. Daniel was right behind me, saying something about "ladies first."
”I told you not to listen to my Aunt Maude. I told you she didn’t know what she was offering for a honeymoon hideaway. I’ve never seen. . . my skin is still crawling.” I let out a scream at the top of my lungs, just because I could. There were no families about on the old residential section of Galveston, Texas. I wouldn’t have cared if there had been.
Daniel stood, hands on hips, shaking his head, speechless, looking at the open door of the old Victorian two-story house.
”You know our luggage is still inside that house, and I’m not going to get it, love of my life.” The last part only came out sounding a little sarcastic, but acceptable under the circumstances.
Daniel walked slowly across the yard, summoning up courage it seemed. He entered the house, staying longer than necessary to retrieve luggage. When he didn’t return immediately, I got in the car and locked the door. He was the man, and he could be the one to save us. I’m not that liberated. Soon my tears broke through.
He reemerged through the big wooden door with our three suitcases, took the old skeleton key from his pocket, and locked the door of the Nineteenth Century two-story house. I was in full choking sob when he returned to the car with the suitcases.
“Where did you go? I thought they got you!”
”I turned the light off,” Daniel said with a small smile on his face. “I didn’t want Aunt Maude to get after us about the electric bill.”
That was enough to change my gasping sobs into laughter. “You should’ve seen yourself!”
”I’ve never seen you in that white a shade of pale,” he chuckled. “Your Uncle Henry is really a great guy.” Daniel acted as if the terror and tragedy were behind us.
"Great guy?" I started to cry again.
”Baby, you don’t understand.” He tried to hug me, but I was busy snuffling on my pink embroidered going away frock. There were even spider webs in Daniel’s hair, which I eventually began to pick off as he drove away from the roach castle.
We drove in silence, except for my sniffling, and soon reached the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico. Beautiful blue water with a few waves, and people walking, riding bicycles built for two, and skateboarders leisurely made their way down the concrete walk above the seawall. It was breathtaking.
Within ten minutes, Daniel pulled into the grandest hotel on the whole drive, the Flagship, the hotel that stretched like a long pier over the water.
”Your Uncle Henry gave me these papers for just in case,” Daniel winked at me. We have the honeymoon suite for the weekend, compliments of Maude, Henry, and all the roaches in Galveston.” Daniel laughed, and finally I hugged him back.
”I love you. We already have a story to tell our children,” I said taking his hand, and walking into the lobby of the greatest hotel on earth. He carried me across the threshold, into the lobby, and told the first and often repeated story about the start of our honeymoon. The rest of the story, erotic as it was, didn’t happen in the dark.