Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Nonfiction

That night, the captain of our ship told us the following, nonfiction story:

I started as a waiter. On the whole ship we sold only cheeseburgers back then. A  guy named Cyrus comes  to my mind now. And all that happened recently. A lot of things are starting to puzzle me like in  some kind of  detective novel with the only difference being that in this story it does not matter who  the bad guy is. The question is: Who is not? Later I worked on another,  very big cruise company. An interesting job, very demanding and challenging though but it gave me an opportunity to see some of the most stunning places on earth. I was working as a busboy, in a very fine and huge restaurant. I had already been on the ship for 4 months when I started to work with Cyrus. Before that, I had been working with a lady from one of the countries of Ex-Yugoslavia; let’s call her Amy. And that was a horrible experience. She has been head waitress  and I was under her command. First of all her way of doing the job was killing for me as a busboy. She used to offer our guests more and more food and desserts even when they were not asking for it. So I was basically running up and down, back and forth all the time. True, that was my job but in  more than 3 years of experience in that field I had  never met anyone like her. That wasn't something I couldn't handle but it was not the worst thing. She was sharing a cabin with her longtime man with whom she’d been in a relationship with already for more than couple of years. The problem was that they’d not been talking to each other for months. There was something more to it - she used to tell me about all her bitterness and dissatisfaction with this guy without asking me if I really want to hear all that stuff. I understood  she was going through a very difficult period of her life but I never understood how they managed not to speak to each other for 4 months even though they were  sharing the same room, same cabin. She swore that that was the case and that they had not exchanged one single word in all that time. I found this unbelievable. To go to sleep every night (true – in separate beds) and to wake up every morning looking at the same person that you did not exchange a word with for 4 months... Wow. I am not going even to try to imagine that. She had found a nice way to get rid of all her dissatisfaction and pictured  me as a place where she could dump it  all. That is how I found out about all the history of their relationship, all the dark secrets, some of them truly unspeakable. As I am recalling these stories I am starting to feel dizzy so I am not going to say anything about that anymore.

But after 4 months a miracle happened. Amy and Garry, (let’s call him like that) the two of them somehow started to speak again. After such a long period of silence and not talking to each other I found this miraculous. I think Amy suddenly started to realize all the burden and ambiguity of the things that she had been telling me about for months. And both of them and especially Amy (which astonished me) started to be hostile with me.

I could not take that so I requested to work with somebody else instead of Amy. I found it unbelievable that she could take such a turn. I was the one on whose shoulder she had been crying every day for so long. But let's be perfectly clear - there was never something more between us, we were just working together and I was just listening to her crying. I had been the one listening to all that mean and unpleasant stuff she had to say every day about Garry. Almost unbearable to hear was a story about how, as a kid, Garry brutally tortured a dog that had bitten him.  I had done nothing to deserve such a sudden switch in her attitude toward me.

When I started to work with Cyrus, a great guy from Philippines, I felt like I got rid of the tons and tons of burden and heavy load.  Completely unburdened, yes, the world was no longer on my shoulders. This guy was so easygoing, so gentle, with the  gift of genuine talent and a kindness when dealing with people. The two of us made such a good team working together; guests loved us, and the money was good. In that kind of job there is something called rating where guests get to evaluate their waiters. And we were always at the top. Not among the firsts , not among the best, but always the very best. The only thing was Cyrus had a severe kind of heart problem.  At a very  early age of 25 he was already suffering from acute arrhythmia. And this problem had plagued his life since early childhood. Sometimes in his eyes I could actually  see the fear. He would suddenly hide back in the corner of the pantry and then he would reach in his pocked for pills…

After Amy, working with Cyrus was a paradise. It was August. My wife back home was enjoying  that time with her lover. I had bought tanzanite earrings for her. After couple of weeks or  cruises I went home. I made love to her and our son was conceived. After 4 more months I found out about her infidelity and realized that she was not sure who the father of her baby was. And she told me honestly that she was not sure whose child she was carrying. Because the time difference between me and her lover boy was only a week or so. She gave birth. DNA testing confirmed  me as a father. After another couple of months our marriage ended. My son was found to have congenital heart disease. Wherever Cyrus might be I wish him luck.

2002.

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