Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What Clinched It Was the Valentine’s Day Buffet

Two days ago I left the low-key, easy-going, laid-back opulence of Necker Island and returned to reality. It was still Gleaming, Glinting, Tropical Island reality, but it was a jarringly long step down from where I had been.

I was on Necker until the last boat out, which I shared with the bride and groom, because they, too, were not leaving for home but rather going to adjacent Virgin Gorda for several days. They were staying at posh Little Dix Bay for a honeymoon week, and that's where the Necker boat took us. I was put into a taxi for Fischer's Cove Beach Resort, just down the road, which is a lovely, vintage, beachside, garishly Caribbean-colored establishment. Did I say vintage?

I was already feeling a bit sad to be off on my own, after a gorgeous weekend of luxury and romance and fascinating interaction, and I was also feeling that I'd sunned enough for the cold season what with the southern hemisphere in the fall and Hawaii just a few weeks ago (I do have a lovely tan, though), and my blood sugar level happened to be low, making me tend slightly toward weepiness—which the sight of my Pepto-pink, ancient, pilly, polyester bedspread did nothing to assuage.

When I had checked in at Fischer's Cove, the nice lady had given me a stack of information, including a flier for the Valentine's Day buffet ("Special Drink: Sunset Kiss By The Sea!") that their seaside restaurant was going to be hosting the following night, complete with live band, and that would I please make a reservation if I was going to attend. I thought, with a tinge of hysteria, about attending, solo, a romantic dinner on The Romantic Holiday in one of the classic locales—the British Virgin Islands—of honeymoons and couples getaways. I would get all dressed up in one of the nicer outfits I'd brought, wear my leather sandals instead of my rubber ones, maybe even use my tinted Burt's Bees lip balm instead of just the normal one. And I would be the poor, alone, crazy lady with the wildly unmanageable hair who made everyone else's romantic dinners uncomfortable. The image kept making me laugh.

At the same time, it made me think—who is keeping me here? And the answer was unequivocally ME. I was. And I could change that! And so, using the remaining minutes on the roaming program I'd bought for my cell phone, I called American Airlines and changed my return trip from the 17th to the 14th. I'd be able to see my very own sweetie-pie on Valentine's Day!

I instantly felt better about my whole existence, ate my last stale food bar, and went down to the beach for a last swim and lounge. The ladies in the office kindly employed their behind-the-scenes networking and got me a place on the next morning's "guests only" shuttle boat from Little Dix to Tortola so that I could catch my plane. Even though I had BOTH my carryon and checked bags "randomly" searched at the Tortola/Beef Island airport, and my third flight (itinerary was 1: Tortola-Puerto Rico; 2: Puerto Rico-Dallas; 3: Dallas-Seattle) ended up being Dallas to Dallas instead of Dallas to Seattle, meaning that I got to have a fourth flight—this one successful—Valentine's Day was a good day for me, because at the very tail end of it, 21 hours after awaking in my pilly pink bed, I was hugging my shocked husband. I somehow managed to not let him know I was coming home, which was a profound achievement considering my superpower of Full Disclosure, and due largely, I'm sure, to Ian's superpower of Credulity and Trust. Yay Seattle!

more pictures posted, and captions added here.

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