Thursday, March 26, 2009

Unexpected Surprise

Before we left on the cruise, we knew it was Spring Break time for many Texas schools and there would likely be many kids. We learned once we got onboard that several high schools had planned senior trips, and the ship was full of teenagers and their parents. Although there were a few "singles activites," I didn't go. I didn't think I'd meet anyone I'd be interested in, and I decided I'd rather spend the time with my family.

On Monday night, our first formal night, I entered the Karoake competition. I know it doesn't sound modest, but I can sing well. Their list really sucked, and the one song I wanted to do had already been sung. They wouldn't let me repeat it. I decided to sing La Bamba, but the organizers suggested R-E-S-P-E-C-T. When my turn came, I couldn't hear the music and asked them to turn it up. They decided to also change the key. While I continued to sing, trying to adjust to the new key, they changed it again. It was a disaster. I was really embarrassed, and asked them to just put on La Bamba. I did passably well, but I had lost my confidence. I didn't make the cut for the competition, but there was another opportunity on Wednesday.

After that flop, I said goodnight to my parents and went and talked to one of the karoake organizers for a bit, and then I went with a couple of the other participants to the disco/club across the way. I was just standing there, trying to compose myself but still fuming and humiliated, when this really good-looking guy came up and started talking to me. Turns out he works for Royal Caribbean as an IT project manager and was onboard to implement a new scheduling computer system for staffing. Besides being cute, I also found out he loves to dance and is pretty good at it! He's a widower in his 40's and has two kids -- a daughter in college and a 16-year-old son. He lives in Florida, and he has a happy looking face, always ready to smile. We had a lot of fun dancing and talking, and I asked if I'd see him again. He said he'd be pretty busy with the computer system but might see me at the end of the cruise.

On Wednesday, I was determined to sing my best at that Karoake competition tryout. I got there early and signed up for the song I wanted: Bonnie Raitt's Something to Talk About. I had been warming up my voice for about an hour and practiced the song all day. I was the fifth or sixth person to sing, and I was really pleased with my performance -- it was probably one of the best times I've done that song. Since it was late, my family had all turned in for the night, but several strangers in the audience complimented me afterwards. I sat down for a bit, shaking from the adrenalin of performing, and Cruise Guy shows up, telling me he just had a few minutes for a break and decided to come hear me sing. I was flattered. I think he complimented me and stuff, but I was just so surprised to see him, that he remembered I had mentioned it the other night and made a point of being there. I walked out with him -- he had to get back to work -- and we agreed to meet again the next night at the disco/club place where we had met on Monday.

So Thursday, we danced and danced. The cruise was having a 70's disco theme, and we danced to all the classics. It was fun but tiring, too. He kept pulling me back out to the dance floor! We also had a great time talking, and it was just easy to be around him. He asked me to meet him on Friday night at the club they were creating around the adult pool.

Each of these evenings, by the time the dancing was scheduled and Cruise Guy was done with his work for the day, it was usually 11 p.m. My family had all gone to bed, and while I would stay out late dancing until 2 a.m., I still got up early with them around 7-8 a.m., not wanting to miss out on the fun.

Friday night felt like a date. Each time I saw Cruise Guy, he was dressed impecably in a suit or at least a nice shirt. Friday had been a formal night for dinner, but I changed out of my sparkly gown to a black-and-white strapless dress. He showed up late, admitting he went to the Karoake competition, which I had not been a part of. He said only one of the singers could rival me (who knows if he was telling the truth or just being courteous, but it was nice). Again, we danced and danced. Then we took a walk around the deck, and he kissed me. It felt so nice to be in someone's arms. I could feel myself kinda falling for this guy, and I fought against it. I try to steel myself against liking anyone too much...guess I'm afraid to get hurt again. But he was so consistently nice and respectful and complimentary and CUTE!

I only saw him briefly on Saturday night, as my niece Anna, my bro-in-law Anthony and I were headed back to our cabins. I was absolutely exhausted by this time anyway, but he said he couldn't leave his colleagues, mentioning he had gotten into some trouble by staying out with me so late the night before. I had given him my business card and tried to be casual, saying "if you ever come to NY, let me know." He squeezed my hand and whispered in my ear that he was sorry he couldn't kiss me but with his colleagues there, watching him...I told him I understood and said goodbye.

And I was hoping by the time I wrote this, I'd have at least an electronic communication to tie it all up, but nothing. I'm disappointed, and disappointed in myself for letting my guard down. But it was fun.


Vetmommy said...

"Cruise Guy!" I figured it wouldn't last, but I'm glad you had a little romance on your vacation. It balances all the family time, eh?!?

Love, exciting and new, come aboard, we're expecting you... the LOVE BOAT, soon we'll be making another run. The LOVE BOAT promises something for everyone. Set a course for adventure, your mind a a new romance. And love won't hurt anymore. It's an open smile on a friendly shore. Welcome aboard its LOVE!

(sorry, couldn't resist)

paula said...

At least he was a nice distraction, you gotta have a little lurve on a cruise haven't ya!

Jenn, can't believe you can remember all those lyrics ...

Anonymous said...

EMILY!! remember my description of your 'man to meet yet'? I like the look of him and who says that's the last you will hear from him..have some Faith,Lady! :) yes,looks promising to me (sorry Blog Readers but I write what I feel to Emily) and as for 'letting your guard down' rubbish! you were yourself and that is how it should be..why put on an act? why draw back? be yourself everytime because you are Lovely. xx

Aunty Norma.

Anonymous said...

You never know--you may hear from him yet. For some reason, many guys don't understand the importance of making contact after a date as quickly as girls do.
On the other hand (forgive me for being 'Debbie Downer'), who knows if he was on the up and up. It wouldn't be the first time a guy claimed to be a 'widower' when he's out of town. It also seems a tiny bit suspicious to me that his colleagues would care whether he was out late or had met someone that he may want to kiss. As long as he took care of his day job, why would they have a say in what he did in his free time?...Perhaps because they knew his wife/girl friend back home? Again, sorry about the negative thoughts.
In the end, like others have said, he was a fun addition to your vacation even if nothing else comes of it.

jman said...

You had a good time and it added a little spice to your holiday, so where's the harm in that. Maybe he decided that a long distance relationship was not a wise course to pursue given all the logistical headaches and he still has one child at home.

Seems like a strange karoke competition in that a) they had a band rather than a karoke machine and b) you were limited to what you could sing. Besides karoke is meant to be fun not a competition.

And last but not least, you look fabulous in your photo. Rivals the one you use on your site, which is a great photo. Maybe you should go "cruising" more often!

cameronsharpe said...

Your story was extremely touching. Your expressiveness demonstrates what an incredible connection you had with this other person and I can sympathize and relate to every word.