My new husband and I held hands and wriggled our toes at water’s edge. I liked the idea of a husband, and now I understood the concept of a honeymoon. I’m not talking about the sex part. I knew that would stay fresh. I’m discussing the life part, the trust part, and the whole put-up-with-another-person’s-crap part. We thought we knew each other well, but after swearing ‘til death do you part, you take snoring a lot more seriously. For now, I’ll catnap on the beach. Once home, he’s enrolled in a sleep clinic. Until then, I’ll snooze when I can.
“So, are you happy with my vacation pick for us?” We’d debated Florida beach versus Colorado’s mountains and I let him choose. My only caveat was a pool on premises since I like to swim and not worry about nibbling creatures or stinging jellyfish. Unfortunately, the resort’s pool echoed from reconstruction work during this off-season, so I had to dip into the saltwater. This wasn’t hubby’s fault, but he apologized profusely and exhibited an appropriate level of guilt.
“Except for the pool situation, Venetian Resort is fabulous. This is my best honeymoon ever,” I laughed.
“Your only honeymoon. Ever.” He poked me in the ribs. “Let’s head to the sandbar.” He began to wade, fought the ebb and flow of the waves. I worked to catch up, plunged into the clear azure liquid alternately using my crawl and breaststrokes. We reached our goal and floated lazily. He’d brought his snorkel mask and skimmed the water face down, occasionally raising his head to announce, “No sharks or jellyfish.” I’d give him the thumbs-up sign and resume floating on my back, face up, eyes closed. I drowsed, half-asleep in the warm Gulf, and listened to my surroundings.
A boy shouted to a friend in Spanish. The whirr of a jet ski buzzed in the distance. Seagulls called out. My husband’s feet slapped the water to steady him and the sound reassured me that he was close, content in our honeymoon world.
I felt the whoosh of wings, heard squawking, thrashed, tasted blood, blinked, saw I floated in a crimson pool, screamed at enormous pain, and passed out.
Awoke in the hospital. Numb face. “What happened?” I asked my husband. He kissed my dry lips. Everything else was swathed in bandages.
“Pelican dove for a meal. Ran into you instead. His GPS must have been off kilter. He didn’t make it. You’ll be fine. Twenty stitches and some plastic surgery down the road. I’m sorry, sweetheart.”
“For what?” I mumbled, ready to sleep again.
“I should have been looking up to the skies for plummeting plumage, not perusing the ocean deep.”
First published: Aug, 2008
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