The Cruise Ship- a short story
Ted opened the door to his cabin and walked in. Anna had been annoying him lately and he needed a break from her incessant nagging. It was hard to get away on a cruise ship. There were only so many places he could hide until she eventually found him. He messaged her and suggested they could meet in the Caribbean lounge that afternoon, though he had secretly decided to go back to their room instead. There, he could escape for a while to plan his next move.
Japan was a different kind of place to where they normally travelled. Usually it was Europe or the US which enticed the aged cruise set though this year they’d decided to try somewhere different. Friends since high school, cruising was an easy, relaxing way of catching up annually, and tour the various locations around the world.
Ted and Anna had missed one year when Ted was ill. His heart had gone into AF suddenly and his surgeon said it was an urgent mitral valve repair needed though at least he was able to do it through keyhole, unlike his friend who had is ribs sawn open and became a member of the classic zipper club.
The annual trips allowed the friend’s memories to linger. After updating each other on what their respective families were up to, they loved the fact that the cruises stayed much the same each year and they could revisit old memories. Dances were typical of their sixty’s era when they wore low heels and danced the jitterbug. Their teenage years were revisited through these fun moves and though Anna’s arthritis prevented her from hitting the dance floor these days, Ted could still do a mean dip and would flirt with the girls on the dance floor as he showed his moves. Eventually Anna would retire to their room, tired of his flirtatious ways, an ignoring the fact that she knew he might end up in one of their beds instead of hers.
Each member of the group had brought along other friends they’d met, at various stages throughout their cruising life, though none really fitted well. The group was tight knit and didn’t really allow others to enter their unique socially connected close group. Usually other couples only went on one cruise. This time though, Anna and Ted had brought along Rose and Mark who seemed to get along well. Rose was quiet, though she like Ted’s quick sense of humour which only encouraged him to make more outrageously funny comments than usual, keeping the normally tight group in hysterics.
Marriage had been trying for Anna. She felt the belle of the ball when ted had first swept her off her feet at the age of sixteen. He was in year twelve and she, year eleven and their high school ball was the talk of the school as they danced their way into the night. All the girls swooned over Ted and Anna knew she was lucky he had picked her. Though she wasn’t overly, pretty she could hold her own, but it was her quick wit that won him over. Anna could mix with any of the boys. Growing up with three older brothers had taught her that football and cricket were good conversation starters and her sense of humour always charm won them over. By the time Ted noticed her, she had dated a few boys and was wily enough to know how to get what she wanted without having to go too far. One boy had tried to push her though and he learned the hard way that you didn’t mess with Anna and her brothers. They would arrive on the boys’ doorstep with some pretense and were menacing enough to give warning without physical contact being needed. It was something about their height and size that intimated sufficiently to know you would be in trouble.