By Day 4, I was totally over my love-affair with the resort. The repetition of participating in uninspired activities and drinking weak drinks from small plastic cups and swimming in suspiciously yellow pool water and avoiding patchy sunburns and eating the same lukewarm food over and over and over, all the while holding back from showing any affection towards Juan during his working hours, was mind-numbing. Although it was the same elements that had composed the most amazing trip of my life a mere 4 months before, they didn't fit together in the same way. Now they just jammed up into annoying roadblocks standing in the way of being with Juan.
I told myself that this boredom was a good sign. When I'd returned to Canada after the first trip I had worried that I was just infatuated with my memories of Cuba, that Juan was merely a symbolic body-double for the country itself. I feared that the combination of rum and sun and uninhibited fun had tricked me into thinking I felt more for this man than I really did. But here I was, back in the same place, going through the exact same motions, already losing interest in all of it, except for him. I still wanted him. It was no longer Cuba that had my heart, it was Juan...and I could only sneak it to him in tiny, incremental pieces between heavily monitored split-shifts.
I was not in a good mood for morning activities. My mood fouled even more in the afternoon when I was put in charge of entertaining and translating for Ming, the newly arrived guest from China. Despite the fact that most of the entertainment staff were fluent in about five languages, I was the only person around who could speak Chinese. Ming, who had actually been getting by quite well with her English vocabulary of about 7 and a half words, was overjoyed to discover a white girl speaking Mandarin on a beach in Cuba. I merely resented her for cutting into my Juan-time. But as soon as she recognized me from my glory days of TV-stardom in Beijing, I knew I was screwed; I had a new best friend and my few moments alone with Juan were now group-time.
After a full day of this I was nearing something that was either total heartbreak or breakdown...or possibly both. But I knew there was still the dancing before the show and going out to the club after and then sneaking back to my room and holding each other close all night, so I tried to hang on to my sanity. I got two Spanish coffees from the bar before heading over to the stage, figuring a double dose of caffeine and alcohol might perk me up. Then I sat, on edge, through the kid's show, waiting for the moment when Juan would pluck me out of the crowd and dance with me and make all this stress and anxiety disappear.
As the music piped up and he walked towards me, I started to get to my feet...as he walked right past me and asked some gawky woman in an ugly floral dress to dance. I felt an angry fire rip through me from my toes right up to the top of my head. I started shaking and sweating. I could feel him avoiding my eyes, which was quite difficult considering they were shooting hot beams of hate onto his face. When the song ended he immediately was at my side, pulling me towards the dance-floor.
My body was stiff and non-reactive with rage as he tried to manoeuvre me around to the music. I still hadn't removed my angry-laser-focus from his face and he was starting to look scared.
'What's wrong? Why are you looking me like that?', he asked nervously.
I just huffed and sighed and said nothing, figuring I did not need to explain his obvious crimes to him. When the awkward dance was over, I walked away from him without saying a word and went and sulked on a lawn-chair beside the pool. I committed fully to my anger and stayed there for the entire show, not moving even when the mosquitoes found me and started in on their biting. That's the thing with dramatic sulking, you have to be willing to stick with it til the end or it's not worth it at all.
|The general look I was sporting during the evening show|
So there I sat until 11, when the show finished and Juan came looking for me. I saw him wandering through the crowd, growing more and more anxious but I wasn't willing to meet him halfway. Finally he located me, came and crouched by my side and whispered to me...
'I'm sorry I've been ignoring you. But the security guards have seen me coming in and out of your room. They told my boss, he says it's ok but I can't do it any more. I can't be with you when you're here. They said if they catch me again, I'll lose my job.'
All the anger slid out of me and was replaced by pain and shock and the distinct feeling that I was going to vomit. I'd come all this way to be with him and after four days it was over. I jumped up and started running to the beach. I heard him call out my name but I just kept running.
He caught up with me on the sand, in the darkness with nobody around he tried to hug me but I just wiggled out of his grasp.
'What's wrong? Why are you so upset?', he asked
'What do you mean why am I upset? I came here to be with you, you know that, I didn't come to party at a resort and pretend I don't know you. I thought we were in love or seeing if we were or could be or something. But just never mind, forget it, it's fine, I made a mistake. Just go back to your friends or whatever, I'll leave tomorrow or change hotels or I'll just go to Havana by myself, it's fine.'
I tried walking away from him again, wanting to make a cool exit before I started crying. But he grabbed my arms and wouldn't let me go.
'What are you talking about? That's what I was trying to tell you...I can't be with you here, at work, so that's what I meant, let's go already, let's leave here together. Tomorrow morning, let's just go to Havana.'
I didn't make a cool exit, the tears started flowing, but I wasn't angry anymore and I wasn't sad and when he pulled me towards him this time, I didn't try, not even for one second, to get away.