The Honeymoon

The Honeymoon

My wife and I are travel addicts. Were. Used to be. I’m still not sure of the proper tense.

We met on an airplane over the Atlantic. After an argument over who held the window seat, I admitted defeat and bought her an overpriced drink. We married in Paris six months later. I was the American slob to her elegantly rebellious plien de vie energy. I picked up some phrases along the way. Obviously, they’re not perfect.

Emma was beautiful. You know the type of woman that could make the whole room stare when she sashayed her way across the floor? Her dark blonde hair was dyed black, but bits of it still stuck out from her colored roots. The rest of her curly locks dripped down well past her shoulders. Her eyes were green, and she wore slim-cut tank-tops covered by semi-studded leather jackets with matching dark jeans. She smoked and smelled like Newport Reds, and said on multiple occasions that Menthol was for wimps.

The topic of where to go for our honeymoon was the first argument we shared as a couple. I suggested everything from Honolulu to Hanoi. But Emma insisted on something different. As a little girl, Emma had traveled the world with her parents. She wanted to make new memories with me. There was something exciting about that prospect, and so I went along with it.

We settled on a small, remote island in the Atlantic, hundreds of miles from any mainland. The airfare was unbelievably cheap. The exchange rate was lucrative towards US dollars, and though there was not a ton of information about the place online… it was Emma’s suggestion. So, I trusted that she did a little research.

When we landed at the makeshift airfield, it was unbelievably hot. Our taxi driver for the evening assured us that it was expected to stay above ninety throughout the night. As arranged, he had seventeen rose petals waiting in the backseat. Em was impressed by that.

Will it rain?” she asked him quietly in her accent-tinted English. The driver replied no.

Then we will go out,” she said to me with a sultry, knowing glance.

So much for staying in bed all weekend.

The nightclub she chose was probably the only one on the island. There was a band there that played all the hits for English-speaking tourists. We sat at a corner table with bar stools, by ourselves, for most of the evening.

Emma had ditched the cold-weather jackets and settled on a seething hot red dress that catered to the cool breeze pulling through the palm trees. At just the right angle, it glanced up her thigh to reveal a drastic color change on her olive tinted skin. I found my hands wandering to that spot quite a lot.

We were honeymooners, after all.

After several mojitos, Em insisted we dance. The band’s acoustic guitar was plucking out an old, familiar Springsteen song. Being a good boy from Jersey, I couldn’t say no. As we circled the floor, she mumbled the lyrics to the space between my neck and shoulder.

I know, now. Those were the last words she ever said to me.

Hey little girl, is your daddy home?

Did he go away and leave you all alone? Mhmm

I got a bad desire

Oh-oh-oh, I’m on fire

When the verse started to change, I raised my head to find several couples on the dance floor around us. We seemed to have started a trend. The beat picked up a bit, and as I swung Emma around, they all started to do the same. The singer laughed over the microphone and shouted;

Now, switch!

As if on rhythmic command, every couple in the room changed partners. I was not a fan of the idea, and shouted my protest to Emma as she drifted away into the arms of an older man. She laughed shyly and disappeared behind the shapes of several sweating tourists.

The woman who switched with her was older, and very enthusiastic. As I tapped my feet back and forth, she met each step gracefully, giggling and smiling all the way. It was fun. After a few minutes, the band yelled Switch! again, and she floated away as well.

The crowd started to disperse as soon as the song ended. Most couples went back to their tables, or up to the bar for more drinks.

But Emma was nowhere in sight.

After five minutes, I started to panic. I paced back and forth among the tables. I asked the older man if he had seen her. I asked his wife where she could have went. They didn’t have any answers. My mind immediately wandered towards the worst.

The only thing that seemed logical, other than finding the local police, was to tell the band to make an announcement. On my way back to the dance-floor, I saw a woman in a red dress emerge from the bathroom. Relieved and feeling stupid, I rushed over. Every man stared as she sashayed her way across the floor. The strobe light obscured most of her features until she was inches from my face.

When she wrapped her arms around me, she mumbled the same Springsteen lyrics in tired, accent-tinted English:

Hey little girl, is your daddy home?

Did he go away and leave you all alone? Mhmm

I got a bad desire

Oh-oh-oh, I’m on fire

When she pulled away, it was clear to me that this woman was not my wife. Something about her very presence suggested she was someone else.

Her face and body looked the same. Emma’s dark blonde hair was still dyed black, with bits of it still sticking out from her roots. She kissed me with that same rebellious, plien de vie energy.

But her eyes were blue. She held an unlit menthol cigarette in her hand. There was a long scar along the side of her thigh that was not there a moment before.

I hit her with a million questions in a minute. About the sudden change in smokes. About her disappearance and the scar. About the color of her eyes. But, Emma claimed the pack was new. She said she was only in the bathroom a moment. She was actually insulted that she had to insist her eyes were blue the whole time. I asked personal things, about how we met, about our marriage. But this woman knew the answer to every question.

A week later, I’m still suspicious.

We’re home, now. Last night, Emma talked in her sleep quite a bit. She woke up sweating with a scream around 3:30 in the morning. After groggily getting up to meet her now wild blue eyes, she confirmed my suspicions, with one flirtatious line, for the last time.

Let’s go somewhere different for our honeymoon. I want to make a new memory with you.

My wife and I are travel addicts. Were. Used to be.

I’m still not sure of the proper tense.