Monday, July 23, 2012

Forbidden Love

The next few days were...well...heavily scheduled. I knew that Juan would have to work for the first week of my holiday but I hadn't really thought through the implications of that. I had had so much fun the first trip with my co-worker and the other guests we'd become friends with that I didn't consider what it might be like when I was there on my own. Also not taken into consideration was the fact that I can get really awkward in uncertain conditions. I've always felt that I have a lot in common with a goldfish. In my usual waters, I'm a fearless, fast-swimming, leaping, wiggling, air-bubble-making fiend. But put me in a plastic bag and throw me in a new tank full of even newer fish and I will stay in the comfort zone of my bag as long as possible. There is actually a very good chance that I will never come out of that bag.

This is not what I actually look like, just a photo of an over-extended metaphor
As it turned out, the end of April was not exactly a hopping time for travel to Cuba. The resort was half-empty and the half-full part was not filled with very fun people. The tattooed Windsorites provided a little bit of companionship, until they both got food poisoning on the second day and retired indefinitely to their room. I settled for trailing Juan from activity to activity, feeling nothing like the exciting, vivacious woman he'd met in December.

From 9-12:30, I would participate half-heartedly in morning beach activities - stretching, bocce ball, aquacize, merengue...I would do it all, except for beach volleyball...there are some lines I just don't cross. From 12:30-3:00 we would leave the resort for lunch with a side of kissing and hand-holding at the Commercial Centre next door. 3:00-6:00 was pool-side darts, Spanish lessons, salsa, steppercize, ring toss, beer barrel balancing, throwing of balls through holes, throwing of suntanning people into the pool. From 6-6:30 the entertainment staff would have their daily meeting in front of the stage, I'd creep around the area, trying to act like I actually had some purpose in life besides counting the moments between Juan's breaks.

Through all of this Juan would try to throw me what scraps of attention he could - little surreptitious glances, a hand grazed across an arm, a wink, a foot against mine underwater, a quick pat on my head as he walked past my chair. But he was working and there were bosses everywhere. The entertainment boss, the restaurant boss, the head of security, the manager of the resort, they did not approve of inappropriate mingling between guests and entertainers and they were always watching. I tried to reason with Juan, we'd been flirting and touching up a storm on my first trip, why was he so scared to come near me now? He said it was different now, that he couldn't hide the fact that he had real feelings for me, that he couldn't act playful with me without it being obvious that it was not play.

Sometimes he could sneak off with me from 6:30 until 9, which is when the evening show began. Unless during that time he had door-opening duty at the main restaurant, in which case I would eat alone...or sometimes with a table of seniors who felt sorry for me. After the kids' show, and before the cabaret, there was social dancing, Juan's first dance of the night, every night, was with me. Of course the next dance was with a 13 year old girl going through an awkward phase, next up a cougar divorcee wearing her teenaged daughter's clothing, after that an extremely sunburnt woman on her honeymooon...but the first was always mine!

When the show was over and Juan had changed from his actorly clothes into some bedazzled evening wear, we'd sit around by the DJ booth with the other entertainers, all of them speaking rapid, slang-filled Spanish. I suspected even if I hadn't have dropped out of Spanish class after the 5th class, I still would have understood nothing. As it was, I would simply paste a fake smile on my face and try not to look as out of place as I felt.

Finally, just as I would be hitting a wall of exhaustion, the group would all stand up at once and start walking to the resort gates, heading to the one decent club in town. My heart would race in anticipation as we neared the exit, knowing as soon as we turned the corner past the last security guard, Juan would pull me towards him and hug me tight and kiss me and touch my face sweetly and tell me that it wouldn't always be like this between us, that someday it would actually be real.

1 comment:

  1. I so relate to the goldfish personality, and this sounds like such a difficult situation! You obviously handled it amazingly!