My cabin-mate, Jill, screwed me over good. Technically, she screwed a Russian. Everyone understands the rules: the Americans are not to fraternize with the Soviets. It’s fine to hang out in the clubs with the officers but going to a cabin alone with one of them is definitely off-limits. The most I have ever fraternized with a Soviet officer was on the crew change trip to Cuba last year when we had a mixed staff and officer cabin party/wake in honor of the cruise director who had just died. I played Monopoly with one of the Russian officers, and after my game-winning move, he abruptly pushed back his chair, stood tall, and called me a damn capitalist, loud enough to make the others in the room quiet and turn to look. Perhaps that was for the benefit of those listening on the other side of the light fixtures, but I found it funny. Since Jill speaks fluent Russian, she regularly socializes much more than that. On the night she screwed me, Jill had doubled locked the cabin door from the inside, so I could not get in, even with my key. From the hallway, I could hear Jill having sex in our room. I left, irritated by the thought that she was probably in my lower bunk bed; I came back later, but it was still double-locked. I called from Gino and Nicky’s cabin next door and could hear the phone ringing though the wall, but she would not answer, nor would she answer the door when I knocked again and again. I eventually gave up and went to sleep with Gino in his upper bed while Nicky slept on the bottom bunk.
The first thing in the morning at breakfast, I saw my parents, who wanted to know exactly where I had been all night. I simply told them that I was locked out of my cabin, so I just slept in Nicky and Gino’s room. It was a truth I should not have told; they were pissed. I explained that Nicky was there too and that nothing had happened. They said I should have gone to their room to let them know what was going on, but I explained that it was late and didn’t want to wake them to go through the other side just to interrupt an awkward situation. Apparently, they were already awake and knew very well what was going on because they heard her as well. My dad had gone through the adjoining bathroom and opened the door into our cabin to find Jill and the Russian in my bed. They listened to that action all night, wondering where I was.
Later that morning, my mom cornered me alone and said that my father was so upset that he was going to have a heart attack, and that I needed to tell him I was still a virgin. I did talk to my dad, apologized for making them worry, and swore nothing happened that night, which was the truth. I did not claim I was a virgin, and he didn’t ask outright. Then, he wanted to have a talk with both Gino and me about sex and responsibility. I give Gino credit for listening respectfully to my dad.
For the first time in my life, I am grounded, which means that my parents need to know where I am at all times, and I cannot see Gino alone. I’ve managed to talk to him a few times out on deck, but that is about it. I feel like everyone is mad at me, although my parents are more disappointed than angry. They have given me a lot of freedom and now they are wondering if that was a mistake. My mom tells me that it is going to be a long time before they will be able to trust me again. That hurts more than any punishment they could impose.
Gino is pissed at my parents for keeping us apart, and at me for not defying them. He feels I should stand up for him and go against their new rules. When we got a chance to talk out on deck, he said that when it comes down to it, there really is just us two alone in this world, and that everyone else will let me down. My family, my friends, everyone else I know will disappoint me and turn their backs, and that only he will be there for me in my life. But because I won’t just ignore my parents, he now questions if I will be there for him. He says my betrayal of him is like one of the Al Jarreau songs, You Don’t See Me. A while ago, I made him this little booklet based on songs on the Look to the Rainbow tape. My book quoted the lyrics that meant something special, and I illustrated each page. He, on the other hand, selected the one negative song on the whole cassette to throw in my face to illustrate that I’m not supporting him. He got so pissed off that he ripped off the vintage white dinner jacket, balled it up, and hurled it overboard. I’m lucky I didn’t tumble in myself trying to stop him and catch it. But I missed, and watched it fall and then disappear into the black ocean.