a vacation to remember by phoenix.writing

14 Nov

Marsha couldn’t believe that she’d let her mother talk her into this.

“It’ll be fun,” her mother had assured her.  “You’ll get to meet lots of singles.  Get to know people.”  Marsha was nudged in the ribs.  “You know how you never get to meet people in that library of yours.”

Actually, Marsha met lots of people at the library, given the purpose of the institution, but there were so many times where it was simply so much easier not to argue with her mother; Marsha had given in to the inevitable.

At twenty-eight, it was likely about time that she stood up to the other woman, and Marsha knew it, but it seemed that every time push came to shove, Marsha found that she simply didn’t care that much, that the effort involved was so great—her mother could employ tears and guilt trips more effectively than anyone Marsha had ever met—that it never seemed worth it.

Only now Marsha wasn’t so sure because she was stuck on the Carnival Splendour, and she was about ready to kill someone.

First off, who named a ship the Carnival Splendour?  It sounded cheap and tawdry, and that should have been Marsha’s first clue.

Her mother had said that she’d meet people, and that should have been Marsha’s second clue; her mother normally went on in exhaustive detail about the men she set Marsha up with, their profession, their background, their house, their car, their pets.  Hell, she’d probably get to their dentist and their eyeglass prescription if Marsha let the woman get that far.

On this particular occasion, she’d only said that Marsha would meet people.  Marsha had been so relieved to be spared the boring information overload that she’d just assumed that her mother didn’t personally know too many of the people, had maybe decided that that might have a better chance with her daughter when nothing else had worked so far.

But no, what her mother had carefully not been mentioning to Marsha was the fact that every single person on the cruise was at least three decades her senior.  At least.  And while it was true that there were whole groups of them that were still willing to hook up, what the hell had her mother been thinking?

Marsha had spent money on this, had managed to convince herself that maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea, that even if she didn’t find her one true love—or a really rich husband who would make her mother happy—she would at least get a proper vacation well away from work, would be in the Caribbean, and could enjoy herself.

She should never have trusted her mother when she said that she would take care of all the details.

It would be one thing if she could just have normal conversations with everyone, but no sooner did she sit down for a meal than four or five gentlemen were trying to sit down with her, offer her drinks, tell her all about their mutual funds or whatever the hell it was they were talking about….

She couldn’t go swimming in the pool because putting a bikini on was like throwing gasoline on a flame.  She had no interest in being ogled by men who could be her father, never mind her grandfather, thank you very much.

It was like they were all drowning men, and she was the life preserver.  She wasn’t ever going to forgive her mother.

Just dodging all the men who wanted to take her around town anywhere they stopped was an adventure; she spent most of her time trying to get lost and avoid everyone—not just the men, but also the women who were glaring daggers at her for distracting their men or their prospects.

She honestly wasn’t sure what her mother had been thinking, unless she’d imagined that Marsha would be simply overwhelmed with the numbers and her inability to get away from them.

The Carnival Splendour had lived up to its name in every way, too, all gaudy and glitzy with an entertainment director she wanted to kick in the teeth—it was getting pretty close to literally—because he was intolerably loud, intolerably grabby, and intolerably amused by her attempt to get out of every possible event that she could.

The dances were the worst.

Marsha wasn’t just at her wits’ end, she was so annoyed with her mother and the Worst. Cruise. In. The. History. Of. Ever. that she was determined that not only was she not going to give in, the next time she saw her mother, she was going to tell the woman just where to shove it and let Marsha get on with her own life.

It was the only choice that she had, the only thing that was fit and proper because her mother had signed her up for ten days of hell.

The entertainment director that nightmares were made of came over the P.A. system to announce that shuffleboard would be starting at 1400.

How far a swim to shore would it be, really, and how expensive could a plane ticket from there be?

And he was sure that everyone would want to participate.

Marsha’s head hit the wall with an audible thump.

Six more days of this.  She didn’t know how she was going to stand it.

Lots of alcohol, probably.

But she did know one thing for sure, as it happened.

This was a sure-fire way to grow a backbone.


One Response to “a vacation to remember by phoenix.writing”

  1. ingridfnl November 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    I enjoyed every word. 🙂 Poor Marsha. Maybe she’ll become a shuffleboard queen. 😛

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