Thursday, March 15, 2018

A spark on the ocean

I've just returned from an 11-day Caribbean cruise and had the time of my life. I knew I would, because how could I not have an incredible time? (Assuming there are no outbreaks of the dreaded Norovirus or something). After a prolonged and intense high, boy am I crashing hard. Real life is dull and boring, and I'm fighting the urge to pick up and change my entire life in favour of something exciting like cruise ship work. But no, I can't. I gave up my life for the tropics once before in my lifetime and I just can't do it again. Which makes this post-cruise depression even harder to manage.

We stopped at five ports, all of which were new countries added to my life's travel list. I was with my mom and other family friends, all folks I get along great with. I wasn't even meant to go on this cruise, having had to sub in for my father at the last minute who couldn't go for medical reasons.

And now I have to write this experience down while it's still fresh, because I don't want to forget even the tiniest detail. Everything was fantastic for all eleven days, but it's the last 3-4 that I feel compelled to document. I'll get to transcribing the other cool stories eventually, but this one needs to be written down stat. I want to preserve the exact dialogue as it happened because it's burned into my brain now, but it will fade. So in the interest of remembering everything, fair warning - this post will be loooong.

This is one of the most amazing, romantic, passionate things that has ever happened to me and I need it preserved in tact so that when life feels boring or sad I can re-read it to myself and remember the unbelievable time I had on the ocean, and remember that when you least expect it, life can throw you a curveball that will blow your mind.

It's likely the kind of story that is once in a lifetime and I will probably never beat it. Nothing will ever come close to this, which is why I'm experiencing such a depression now that it's over. Right now it feels like a highlight of my life's narrative that will never come again. But who knows...

I should note that I have lost 85 pounds since my last blog post (another post on that coming eventually, because it was quite a journey), and so my life is very different than it was. I look like a new person, my confidence is high, and men are noticing me like never before. All of these changes definitely contributed to my enjoyment of this cruise.

So, this was a quasi-family vacation, but I still set out on the cruise kinda hoping to meet someone. Just an innocent flirtation because why not? I'm young(ish) and single, and the world is my oyster. But I knew there was a slim to none chance. Sharing a cabin (and most of my time) with my mom diminished the possibilities. Also an 11-day cruise attracts much older folks, and the odd honeymooning couple, not an abundance of single 20 and 30 somethings. Nonetheless, I had my eyes wide open in case of any potential flirting opportunities.

The ship was full of entertainment, all the time, everywhere you went. We saw the early show in the theatre (always song and dance or comedy), had late dinners, then roamed in search of anything else that might be going on. So many times in the first few days we walked through the piano bar and saw a young guy playing beautifully and singing songs at the request of the crowd. It was a lowkey scene to observe and we passed it up several days in a row. The back of my mind went "Oh, he's good, and he can really sing," but it didn't really register and we moved on.

One night, with nothing else to do, we decided to sit and watch. It was an intimate setting and I was maybe three feet from him that first night, sitting slightly behind him. He turned, we made our first eye contact, and he handed me his songbook so that I might browse and make a request. At this distance, I first registered that he had a beautiful smile, and amazing brown eyes. Okay, so this could be interesting.

I submitted my song request on a slip of paper, wrote my name and included a smiley face for good measure. I was hard to miss, being the only person under 50 in the room, other than himself, but I wanted him to really notice me. And he did. I saw my song request bypass the pile he already had in front of him. He played my song and I loved every second of it. This dude's talent was just, like whoa. The crush had officially begun to develop.