My parents got divorced when I was six years old and my dad moved back to his native country, the Bahamas several years later. I'd visit him a few times a year, but missing him terribly became a natural part of every day. A year and a half ago, my mother gave me the gift of us going to visit him. I was ecstatic, yet worried. I hadn't seen my parents together in over a decade. Would it be awkward? Would I be the liaison between the two of them in every conversation? Do they even like each other enough for this? Months went by and the last week of June rolled around. It was time to go. We arrived in the Bahamas and took a cab to our hotel. I called my dad and he said he'd come to take us out to eat after work. We just relaxed in our room and watched TV for several hours.
Finally there was a knock at the door. It was a bellhop.
“We have been calling your room. Dr. _____ has been waiting downstairs for hours.”
Hours? Our room telephone was broken! My mother and I frantically rushed around the room to get ready to meet my dad. I hoped he wasn’t mad. He works hard all day long.
I was ready first so I sprinted to the elevators with a million butterflies in my belly. I missed my dad so much! Before I knew it, the elevator doors opened and I saw my poor dad. It was June in the Bahamas and he hates the heat. He was sweating so much. I hugged him so tight that I think my arms wrapped around him twice. He told me I looked beautiful. We were beaming with joy. Then my mother came downstairs. He was not mad. Everything was perfect.
My dad took us to a great restaurant. It was lavishly furnished and the wait staff was incredible. We laughed and ate and laughed some more. Everybody had stories to tell. My dad is a neurologist and he told us about this crazy white couple and their friend who come from Abaco to Nassau every month to see him. The threesome chatters away about their symptoms, each one interrupts the other to add more detail. At the end of the visit, they pay him in lobsters and shrimps. We laughed about his freezer full of seafood and his quest for more storage space. We were all so sleepy and delirious that as the night went on, everything was funny.
My parents got along famously and it was like we never left each other. It was strange to see them share food and sip wine from the same glass. I have very few memories of them as a couple. We ate and laughed so much we were tired. My father said he was going back to the office. It was midnight, but he said he had patients in ICU that would wait up for him all night long if he didn’t show up.
Two days later, my dad picked us up to spend the day at the Atlantis resort. He brought two of his other daughters from other women. My mother was not pleased, but she maintained her composure. Much to her chagrin, my sisters, ages five and eight, took to my mother immediately. They wanted her to teach them to swim and they kept splashing her, getting her hair wet. When they wanted her attention, they would shout, “Courtney mummy! Courtney mummy! We swimmin!” It was quite amusing.
My dad rested in a beach chair the whole time because I chose not to swim in the pool and he, “don’t like the sea water.” After an hour or so, my mom went to join him. I had my sisters collect as many sea shells as they could find so I could bring them back to The States as souvenirs for my current crush. We were in the water for hours while my dad lay in the heat sweating like a pig. Finally my mom said, “Court, we gotta go. Your dad is gonna die out here”. My sisters and I reluctantly got out of the water, but we didn’t leave the park without my dad forcing us to ride The Lazy River, a river ride my mother begged not to go on. He smiled big and waved farewell as we four drifted away on two inner tubes. My mother scowled back at him and my sisters giggled with glee.
I don’t remember anyone ever getting my mother to do something she didn’t want to do before that day. Her hairdo was soaked after the ride, but she couldn’t deny that she had fun. It felt so great to have both my parents together in paradise to laugh and play like nothing ever went wrong. It was what my dreams had been like for nearly two decades. At one point during our week there, I decided that it was the happiest time of my life. A stream of tears burst from my eyes as I realized that I would never be that happy again.