lemons by ingridfnl

14 Nov

Marsha rolled on her back and let out a huge sigh. The droning snore in the next bed keened on. Marsha stared at the ceiling tiles and swore to herself that she could see them vibrating in time with Herbert’s ear-splitting night-song.

Marsha should have had her own cabin. Marsha had paid for her own cabin. The cruise line assured her that they would compensate her but she had a hard time imagining what a reasonable compensation would be for this nightly assault, for her lack of privacy, for her ruined vacation.

***

“Mrs. Farewell?” the steward asked.

“Miss. I’m Miss Farewell,” she had corrected.

The steward flushed and repeated, “Oh.” He looked back at his list and said, “Well your father is already here,” he said smiling brightly, hopefully.

“I don’t have a brother,” she clarified.

“Oh…. Husband?” he asked.

“No. No. I’m travelling on my own. What’s going on here?”

“You don’t happened to know any Herbert Farewell? An uncle, maybe?” he asked, beads of sweat popping on his forehead.

“What’s going on here?”

***

It was then that it became apparent that there had been some sort of clerical error which was definitely not in her favor. Some one, someone incompetent Marsha believed, had decided that the same last name meant that they were travelling together. That they were family.

“I paid for my own cabin,” she insisted.

“Well, you know sometimes there are problems with the budget tour operators they make mist…”

“I … Don’t … Care,” she replied, with uncharacteristic firmness. “I want my own room.”

“The problem is…”

“I paid for my own room.”

“We, on the MS Fantasy, are committed to your holiday enjoyment and I will do everything I can to make sure that you get your own room. Everything, Miss Farewell,” he had assured with customer-service textbook platitudes. “We are quite full, but I’m sure that there is something we can do.”

In that moment, Marsha knew that there would be nothing he could do. But in vain hope, she’d waited in the hotel lobby as other holiday goers traversed through the lobby laughing and smiling in anticipation of their 21 day cruise. She watched couples and families, elderly retirees and young honeymooners all disperse to their cabins. As she sat on the uncomfortable lobby leatherette seats, she could feel her skirt sticking to the back of her thighs. She wondered who this other Farewell was and what the hell he was doing on the same cruise as her. It wasn’t as if the name Farewell was common.

For a brief moment, she indulged in the daydream that he would be tall dark and handsome. That there would be something to redeem this.

“Miss Farewell,” she heard called across the lobby. Marsha saw the steward waving, and beside him stood an very very old looking man. The steward wove slowly through the crowd holding the man’s arm and he said, “Miss Farewell, this is Mr. Herbert Farewell. He said that it is fine if you stay stay in his cabin.”

Mr. Herbert Farewell looked up at her with rheumy eyes and cackled, “When life gives you lemons, you gotta make lemonade!”

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