March 1979-II

Ruth Fonda with the type of nice old gentleman cruise passenger who would think I look like Cheryl Tiegs

 

Just when it seemed I had hit rock bottom, I stumbled through another crevice down to new depths with Gino. Being grounded by my parents isn’t really all that bad; I still can’t go out with Gino, so I’ve just been happily and peacefully reading in my cabin.  Stowed under my bed is a bottle of Tia Maria that I bought in Jamaica, and a coffee cup that was gifted to me by an older gentleman whom I had helped to make a costume for a party; he kept coming back to me for help on different things throughout that cruise, and never failed to mention that he thought I look like Cheryl Tiegs.  Remembering his misguided compliment puts a smile on my mug every time I bring a glass of milk back to my cabin after dinner and mix it with the Tia Maria in that big coffee mug. I was reading and enjoying my evening mug when Gino came to my cabin, knocking loudly on the door and staggering in right past my ineffective attempt to nonchalantly fill the doorway.

I told him he couldn’t stay, and that my parents would be mad if they found I had let him in. I could smell the booze heavy on his breath as he got close to my face insisting we had to talk.  His eyes then looked past me to a low table in the room, and focused in on a few pictures I had from the day we had driven around the back roads of Cozumel together.  His eyes squinted into slits and his lips pursed tightly as he flat out accused me of going through his stuff behind his back. I’m pretty sure he was right there with me when I had removed that small group of photos from the envelope after we had them developed. I took ones he didn’t care about that were just photos of some alligators and monkeys and of the crumpled up blanket had we used on the beach; not a single human in any picture. He snagged the prints up from the table and held them up to me, dramatically ripping them apart, and asked if I had been in his footlocker and gone through or taken any of his other stuff.  I had no clue where he kept the key and I was not even the least bit curious about what was in that locked trunk he obsessed over. I explained when and where I got the photos and that I never touched the trunk.  He knocked everything off the table, rummaging for evidence of other stolen items, finally overturning the entire table when nothing was found.

He continued hurling nonsense accusations at me, while I just sat on the bed saying he had to leave.  He typically talked with his hands, animating whatever story he was telling or point he was trying to make. As his rant went on, his arms flailed more wildly, echoing the volume of his voice, and his tightly balled fists accentuated his angry tone.  Without any threat or warning, he hauled back and punched a hole in my wall and then turned to throw another punch breaking through the wood, hollow-core door.  At that point, my mother burst through the bathroom door at the other end of the room, commanding him to get out.  He flat out refused, claiming we had the right to see each other and that she couldn’t keep us apart.  She picked up the phone receiver giving him one chance to leave before calling the purser.  He stormed out, slamming the pockmarked door behind him. My parents made me sleep in their cabin, with me on the top bunk and the two of them sardined together in the lower twin bed. Jill enjoyed having the other cabin all to herself.

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