Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snow flakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things
– Barbra Streisand
I was on a ship in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico dancing and drinking fruity drinks as 2014 faded away into the distance.
I rang in the new year mostly drunk and by myself at a roulette table trying to feel my way around the risks. Black and red bets filled the first few hours of my 2015. The clinking of a tiny white ball on a wheel, green felt, and white chips. I won fifty dollars that night. Or something like that, at least…
Mr. Big went back to our cabin shortly after kissing me at midnight. Our day had been a long one. We docked in Cozumel earlier that afternoon, boarded a ferry for Playa del Carmen, and taken a bus to the Tulum ruins for the evening. Our bodies were worn out. The seven hour tour was long. The better half of our last week in 2014 had been spent traveling, and walking, and seeing, and doing.
Why do vacations never seem to be as relaxing as you hope, or want, or need?
I didn’t mind spending the night wandering the ship alone. I would have preferred to spend the evening with him but I am comfortable by myself. Often times, he would sit at the card tables and I would be around the corner warming a bar stool listening to live music. And dancing. By myself, of course.
Is this what we’ve become?
A couple comfortable spending our lives together… separately.
Last year was hard for us. We spent most of our ninth year apart. His hobbies and mine do not mesh well. Things I find important now aren’t necessarily a priority for him. For the first time, I seriously felt the two of us going in separate directions. And despite all of my efforts, nothing got better.
I kept calling our Christmas vacation the “Re-connection Trip.” We were going to be spending an entire week with each other. No phones, no work, no friends, family, or Facebook. We haven’t done that in a long time. Honestly, I can’t even remember the last time we spent just a weekend alone together. But this trip – this trip was just going to be Mr. Big, me, and 80 degree weather…
Our trip started off pretty rough. Actually, it started off shitty. Just plain shitty. Mr. Big – being the habitually late individual that he is – caused us to miss our flight to Florida. I have never missed a flight before in my life. My stomach churned as I sat on the side walk outside of the airport. We had just thrown away hundreds of dollars. Maintaining an uneasy type of calm, I looked up at Big and muttered, “I told you, if we missed our flight, you were going to figure out how to get us to Miami. So, figure it out.” I walked off through the parking lot rolling my zebra-printed luggage behind me.
We drove up to our hotel in Miami 14 hours later. Lucky for him, I slept most of the way… only getting up for the occasional pee, food, and beverage break. Lucky for me, the hotel accidentally upgraded us to an ocean view room right on the beach. We went to our respective beds (again… another happy accident) and fell asleep.
On Sunday, I tried my best to put all of Saturday’s bullshit behind me. I had given Big Miami Dolphin/New York Jets tickets for his thirtieth birthday. As some of you may remember, he is a die hard Dolfan. The game was at one, so we grabbed some Popeye’s and headed over to SunLife stadium.
It was a beautiful day. Like, we were wearing shorts and t-shirts in December. At one point, I even had to put my hair up because it got so hot. Our seats were awesome. I’m talking front row, thirty yard-line, see-everything-but-the-individual-blades-of-grass kinds of seats. Right after all the boys ran out on the field, and they sang the National Anthem, and we were on our second 25-ounce… we saw Dan.
The Dan Marino.
He walked right under my seat. All tan-skinned, blue-eyed, and suited up, Dan literally strode off the field right under my butt. And Mr. Big didn’t say a word. He couldn’t even manage a “Hey,” or “Dan!” Nothing. Homeboy just sat there stunned and sorta pissed off. “That’s not how I imagined our first encounter would go,” he finally said. I laughed. Yeah, me either.
It was a nice day. I got drunk and Big watched football. The Dolphins lost, but who the hell cares?! We had bangin’ tickets, saw Dan Marino, and got all those extra ounces of Bud Light. To top off our afternoon of loosing and boozing, we dined at an Ale House close to the hotel and went to bed at 6:00 p.m. I know, we’re lunatics.
Monday morning we ate breakfast at a little place on the beach. I was excited about the idea of getting to eat on the beach in December. Big, on the other hand, was convinced we were leaving HIV positive. I’ll have to admit, the food was weird and the waitstaff were weirder, but we were in South Florida. What did he expect?
After our meal, we took pictures on the sand, and then hightailed it to our ship.
I could tell you every detail about our cruise but it would most likely get pretty monotonous. We ate, and drank, and gambled, and ate, and drank, and drank, and went to silly shows, and drank, and drank some more. All in all, we spent four nights and five days on the Carnival Ecstasy. I came home with $100.00 from gambling, three t-shirts, and a bunch of Mexican trinkets for the family. No one was left on an island or captured by dirty Mexican drug lords and hacked up for black market organs.
We both arrived back in the states rather whole and fully intact, actually. Well, with the exception of the dent in Big’s leg. He got drunk on the first night, “sleepwalked” into the bathroom, and woke up on the floor of our tiny cabin. According to him, I stayed completely unconscious as he writhed and whined on the floor claiming to have broken his leg and bitten off his tongue. His “broken leg” prevented us from parasailing in Key West the next morning. Which is ironic, considering he had argued with my parasailing idea since I had booked the trip in October.
Needless to say, I found his “fall” slightly coincidental.
Anywho, by Wednesday we were sick of the ship. We were sick of the people on the ship. We were sick of the constant movement, and the watered-down soft drinks (that is… when we weren’t boozin’ it up), and the weird food, and the short stops, and the god forsaken accents. “I mean, I like the butter,” Big said to me at dinner Thursday night, “The butter is damn good.” But that was about it. We made a pact right then and there never to go on another cruise again.
By 11:30 a.m. on Friday morning we were ordering $20.00 worth of food at a Taco Bell in South Palm Beach. We had been to Mexico and back, but damn if that Quesarito wasn’t the best thing I’d put in my mouth all week long. I even filled my cup up with Mt. Dew. Can a person even get more American than that?
I walked into my house at 13 hours later.
And then, I couldn’t sleep.
Last year took a lot out of me. Looking back, I probably should have clocked how many miles I spent in a car… road-tripping to California, heading off to bachelorette parties all over the southeast, beach vacations, concerts, work, and missed flights to Miami. I spent so much time away in 2014. I spent so many weekends with friends, and family, and laughing, and seeing, and doing, and going, and checking boxes off of lists, and being adventurous.
But I don’t have very many memories of me and Big…
Hopefully 2015 will bring us back together.
Maybe we can learn to compromise, listen, and love more often. Maybe we will find better ways to communicate. Maybe we will become a better team. Maybe 2015 will be the rainbow to 2014’s thunderstorm.
When I laid in bed the other night, I thought back through all of my accomplishments over the last five years. In 2010, I graduated college and got my first job (which I hated). In 2011, I accepted my first position (which I loved) at Big Blue Box. In 2012, I bought a car. In 2013, I bought a house. In 2014, I was promoted at the BBB.
I am proud of those things. I am proud of where I am and how far I’ve come; although, I can’t help but look back and think about how sterile that list seems. It’s just stuff. It’s money. It’s my day job – what I do to maintain a certain type of life style. It makes me look nice on paper…
So maybe my main goal for this year will be to figure out us – Mr. Big and I. Maybe it’s time I work more on myself, my happiness, and my own well-being. Maybe I should shelf that list for a while and just see what happens…
Happy New Year!