The Storm- Before The Quiet- Before The Storm
We had come back from a chilly, rainy day at the ransacked beach to find that something was different. The sliding glass doors that open to the hotel room balcony had been taped, not taped shut, but taped with giant asterisks of packing tape.
The wind had picked up. It had rained daily. (At least it was consistent) Of course we were hoping for better weather. But, since this was supposed to be a business retreat, maybe it was best that it was cool and windy and pouring rain.
Then there was a knock at the door. FYI- I don’t speak much Spanish. I opened the door and was handed two styrofoam “to-go” containers. “Gracias.” I said. It sounded like a question coming out of my mouth.
“Did you order room service?” I hollered to Aaron. He walked out of the bedroom and Leah followed. I held up the containers. We all sat near Lucy and opened them. They each contained a croissant, a box of orange juice, a bottle of water, an apple, a baggy of frosted flakes, a package of jam, a triangle shaped hash brown and a small danish roll. None of the food was hot. Each was wrapped in plastic-wrap.
My children looked at each other and said. “Ew!” I closed up the boxes and went down the hall to see if Emilie’s family and my dad had received the same. They had. FYI- They both speak Spanish. “They are rations, emergency food supply. The storm is becoming a hurricane.” Em explained.
I returned to my room to batten down the hatches, so to speak. Noticing, as I went, that doorways were now blocked by bags of sand. The same bags of sand we had seen earlier on the ransacked beach. “Stay back waves! Stay back!” but the waves didn’t listen. The waves just washed over those sandbags, laughing and mocking as they rolled.
“Why are those inside?” Leah asked, pointing to the patio furniture that had been on the balcony. Two chairs and a small table were now positioned at the foot of her bed. “I guess they brought them in so they don’t blow around and break the windows.” I suggested.
That night the wind HOWLED. The tops of the palm trees danced HORIZONTALLY against the sky. Lightning LIT UP the room in spite of the blackout curtains. Thunder THREATENED to break the sky in two.
Aaron, Leah, Lucy and I all snuggled together in the king sized bed. Leah slept like a rock, nothing wakes her… nothing. Lucy startled at each sound, her legs pulling up to her chest. I tried pinning her legs between mine. It didn’t help much.
Finally we slept. No windows were broken. No cold hash browns were eaten.
The storm passed quite uneventfully.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ THE QUIET ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Before arriving in Cancun, Aaron and I had been using “swimming with dolphins” as bait for Lucy to improve her behavior at school. Lucy took the bait… well, at least she took it just enough that we had to keep our side of the deal. We went to the concierge to make the arrangements. Leah and everyone else had been able to swim with dolphins the year that Lucy and I went on the submarine.
The concierge was soon on the phone, scheduling a van to pick us up the following morning. He covered the receiver and said, “I am sorry, I know this is taking a long time, but… well… asking them to pick up a wheelchair… it’s sort of a… it’s a special request. You understand?” I smiled, “Oh, we understand.” And then I added under my breath, ” You might say our whole life is ‘sort of a special request.’”
The following morning, the van picked us up. Lucy and I would swim with dolphins… rain, or shine, or hurricane.