After checking into the cute boutique hotel, we went directly to the room to unpack and change. The king-size bed was a welcome treat that silently screamed: touching was optional. The ocean breeze filled my nose with the scent of jasmine. The breathtaking views and crashing waves were close enough to taste a hint of salt.
My frosty heart momentarily warmed, remembering what once was. It had been twenty years since Marc and I had honeymooned on the island of Kauai. Here we were again, this time older, but none the wiser. At least when it came to each other.
This time around was a do or die, a sort of second chance for us, but I couldn’t help but wish the girls were here. I built my world around my babies, who now tower over me, and are living their college years 200 miles away from us.
Marc’s smile had beamed when our therapist, Kathleen, announced that I was a major contributor in the decline of the marriage for always putting the girls first. She had said they were the buffer that stood between us having a strong relationship. Buffer maybe, but I knew they were the glue that kept us coming home night after night from jobs that we marginally enjoyed and the monotony of a marriage that grew cold.
“See, I told you,” he arrogantly had said with hardened eyes and folded arms.
“Marc, it’s not helpful to say I told you so to Jana,” Kathleen had said. “She acknowledged her part, now it’s time you do the same.”
Of course, Marc wouldn’t acknowledge much of anything, such as the late nights and the near daily silent treatment whenever he was annoyed. But he did surprise me, and Kathleen, a few sessions later when he brought up the idea of going on a second honeymoon. Kathleen thought it was a great idea, but I was, still am, not fully sold. But, here I am.
While I stood on the balcony, I heard Marc complaining aloud about the television (too small), the bathroom configuration (too awkward), and that there wasn’t a ceiling fan.
‘Distract, distract’ Kathleen’s words replay in my mind. “Let’s get a drink,” I announce, shutting the balcony door.
“Don’t you think we should ask for a different room? We are paying a small fortune and I’m not completely satisfied,” his eyebrows mushed together with the angry eye squint.
“No, I think we should have a Mai Tai.” Remembering the first time we tasted the sinfully strong, delightfully sweet, smoky rum concoction. It made our heads spin and our bodies meld.
He pursed his lips, about to overrule, but instead his face softened. “Well, okay. A Mai Tai it is.”
He grabbed his wallet, while I quickly seized the room key before he changed his mind. We stomped down the flight of stairs and straight to the pool bar without a word between us. We sat at a table topper for two, exchanged a weak smile, but the awkwardness was apparent.
The pool was filled with happy looking couples swimming and talking. The couple sitting next to us were laughing and holding hands. They were older, possibly early-sixties, but I instantly envied them. The ease emanating from their body language was of a couple that had gone through many trials and came out on top and still in love.
The waitress sauntered over, and Marc ordered our drinks.
“Will this be a room charge, Sir?” I almost laughed out loud. Marc never keeps a room tab, it’s pay as we go all the way. His father always did the same.
“Sure,” he says, nonchalantly. “We are the Taylors, room 208.”
I’m suddenly dumbfounded and I’m positive my mouth is hanging wide open.
“Very good,” she says.
“Oh, and Miss,” he says rather loud. She turns toward him looking irritated. “This is our second honeymoon. Please keep those drinks filled at all times.”
As the waitress strolls away not giving a care, he turns to me smiling. And, for that moment, I see my old Marc, shining blue turrets for eyes. A little more weathered from 20 years before, but just as jarring.
“What was that? No, who was that?”
“I figure, I may as well change things up a bit. You know, like Kathleen says, ‘if you want something to change then you have to change some things’.” He gently grabs hold of my hand and squeezes.
I knew the man I married, only to not know the man who sat before me. But, as the cool, smoky flavors of the rum started flowing down my throat, I thought, maybe I should start getting reacquainted all over again. Later, perhaps for starters, we can start by meeting in the middle of the king-size bed.