I cleaned up the mess left in my cabin after the tirade. I had thrown the torn photos away, but then pulled the pieces out of the trash and taped them back together. It is hard for me to stare at those fist-sized holes in my wall and door and then look Gino in the face with the same loving eyes. I don’t know what will repair that damage.

For better or worse, we are leaving the ship after this trip, two months early. I’m told the cruise line is replacing the three of us with a single magician to save money. I wonder if that’s the truth or if my parents asked to be let out of our contract so they could separate me from Gino. Or, maybe the cruise line didn’t want to put up with any more trouble from the two of us. In any case, it is over, and I’m packing to go home.

Gino apologized, yet again, this time for the scene in my cabin. He gave me a beautiful Italian gold chain that he always wears. He wants me to run away with him to his home in Canada and get married, and then come back when I’m 18 so he can work in the States. He is convinced my parents are responsible for me having to leave the ship and insists that we only have each other to count on. I don’t see it that way, but it isn’t worth arguing the point. I frankly don’t think my parents have done anything unreasonable and are just looking out for me to not get hurt. I’ve taken a few hits from swords in the magic act, but I’ve yet to be really hurt by anything in life.

It’s not like I want to be seen as perfect, but I just don’t want to hurt my folks, or see that disappointed look in their eyes again. My mom does whatever she can to keep my father from getting upset about anything. She’s quite easy, but the cardinal rule in my life is basically, “Don’t piss off Daddy.” I’ve done quite a good job at that until now. I probably held the record for worst attendance when I was in school; I stayed home as often as possible with the slightest of excuses, and my mom and I played cards and board games and hung out all day. In the half hour or so before she had to drive our lone family car across the bridge to the plant to pick my dad up from work, we both ran around the house to tidy up, get rid of any evidence that I had been home all day, and make their bed. Always, the bed had to be made. My mother has no interest in being a good homemaker, which is why she loves being out on the ships, even though she gets seasick. My dad is tolerant about the messy house and the ever-growing piles of dirty dishes and laundry, but always insisted that their bed be made so he could comfortably lie down and take a nap after work.

I really don’t think either one of them would have voluntarily gotten off this ship early. I would never do anything to hurt them, and can’t believe Gino doesn’t understand, and feels betrayed.