This coming from a guy who'd just chugged 5 mini bottles of Jack Daniels and was wearing a shirt that said "Guns don't kill people. Crazy people kill people. Occasionally they use knives or something."
I raised an eyebrow at him from the empty seat between us in row 19. I was a lot of things at that moment--excited, sexually-frustrated, antsy, exuberant--but nervous wasn't one of them. He pointed to my leg that was bouncing a million miles a minute.
"Oh, that's not a nervous thing." Although maybe I should have been nervous about being thousands of miles in the air with the drunk in the crazy-people T. "I'm just so ready to get off this plane and start my vacation."
"What's the occasion?"
I looked down at ring and couldn't help but to smile. The deep blue of the sapphire almost matched the blue ocean out my window.
He eyed the empty seat between us and it was his turn to raise an eyebrow. The look he gave me said, "Great, I'm stuck next to the crazy woman who married an imaginary husband. I bet she has a knife."
"He's meeting me there," I said, and then offered the cliff note's version of our story, which led to the 60 Minutes version of our story because there's no easy way to explain why someone would go on their honeymoon before their wedding to someone who wasn't allowed in your country. It was especially hard to explain why his visa might have been refused without saying "9/11," "military background," and "they're trying to make sure he's not a terrorist." I didn't feel like an airplane was an appropriate place to make those references.
"So marry him in Cozumel!" His slightly drunken eyes lit up. "Seriously, you have to do it. It's beautiful there."
I'd day dreamed about that a million times. But unfortunately, dreaming about it was all I could do.
"I wish. If we did that, our Fiance Visa would be void and I'd have to reapply to bring him over as my spouse. It would start the whole process over because that's a different kind of visa. So we'd have to do all of the paperwork again and spend all of the money again, and it would only go into additional processing AGAIN."
The thought of starting over and waiting another 6-12 months to be with him made my heart sink.
"But, you don't have a fiance visa..." he pointed out. For being five drinks in, he was pretty observant.
"...yet," I said, finishing his sentence. That one word was so filled with hope it seemed to float between us in the empty seat that should have been Cayden's.
"I still think you should get married in Cozumel."
Join the club.
To change the subject, I asked him questions about himself. Who was he? What was his story? Why was he sitting alone on a flight to Cozumel throwing back shots of Jack Daniels like they were shots of Gatorade?
His name was Chris. He was with a group of 15 friends and coworkers who were sitting farther back in the plan. He'd paid extra for an aisle seat, which just so happened to be in my row. He worked at a small consulting firm in Colleyville and he'd been to Cozumel every year for the past 10 years. He was divorced with a 4-year-old, who was the reason he was staying in Cozumel only 6 days while the rest of his group was staying for 10.
"I just feel like I shouldn't be away from him for that long, you know?"
I nodded sympathetically. Although I didn't have a snotty 4-year-old to worry about, I knew exactly what it was like to be away from someone you loved with all your heart, and it wasn't a good feeling.
Chris leaned across the empty seat as we looked out the small plane window.
"We're flying over Cancun right now. And down there a ways is Playa del Carmen."
I looked down at the treetops, sand and water, and a huge smile took over my face. I pictured me and Cayden down there as two specs on the sand. We were lounging in sun chairs and holding hands as we looked out across the blue-green water. A third spec in the sand, a waiter in khaki shorts, brought us frozen margaritas with fresh limes grasping the salt-rimmed cups.
"So, do you have anything planned while you're here? Besides not getting married?"
Chris's voice and the scent of Jack Daniels brought me back to reality.
"Nothing at all. It's exactly what we need."
I thought back to the last time I was in Cozumel. I was on a cruise with three of my girlfriends the summer after we graduated college. Dawn and I had opted for the Twister Boat excursion, which was a speedboat with safety harnesses like a rollercoaster and the driver flew across the water at full speed and then slammed on the brakes and spun the boat as fast and dangerously as possible. I'm pretty sure he was trying to kill us. The Twister Boat dropped us off at Isla de Pasion, a small private island with an open bar, buffet, shops and a trampoline in the water. They left us there for six hours, during which we proceeded to get completely shitfaced, and then they put us back on the Twister Boat. Or the Boat of Death as I like to call it. Dawn later threw up whole french fries. We're still stumped on how she managed to eat that many fries without chewing them.
Don't get me wrong, that vacation was a fucking blast, but that wasn't exactly how I wanted to spend my eight days with Cayden. I envisioned lazy days drinking by the pool, afternoon sex and wine with dinner at oceanfront restaurants.
The plane touched down and it took everything I had not to race down the aisle, knocking over elderly and small children and anyone else who got in my way to get to the front. I don't know why I was in such a hurry considering the fact that Cayden's plan wouldn't land for another three hours, but I felt like my vacation wouldn't officially start until I was at the resort with a drink in hand.
Chris stayed with me as we went through immigration.
"I'm going to hang out with you so all of my friends see it," he joked. But I could tell he just wanted to make sure I got to my resort in one piece. He helped me pull my black and white checkered bag off the conveyor belt and he made sure I bought the right shuttle ticket. Although I'm sure I could have done it myself, I was grateful for his help.
"A drink to start your vacation off right?" Chris asked. There was a Margaritaville bar conveniently located next to the shuttle pick up. "I'm buying."
Oh, what the hell. I had time to kill. Chris's friends trickled out and joined us as they got through immigration and baggage claim.
"Why is it that I always fall for the married women? Or the almost married women?" Chris asked his friends as he winked at me. I would have chalked him up to a creepy old man, but I could tell he was a good guy just trying to be a creepy old man in front of his friends. I winked back and thanked him for the beer.
"One more for the road?" he asked, and ordered two more Dos Equis before I could answer.
"The road?" I asked. "I can't take that thing on the shuttle. Don't they have open container laws here?"
Chris laughed and handed me another cold, sweaty beer can. "Open container laws? Babe, you're in Mexico!"
I was in Mexico with a drink in hand. My vacation had officially begun.
|Me and Crazy Chris|