But that was okay with me, because the main attraction was our waiter:
|This is Ivan (pronounced Ee-van).|
Ivan was our waiter for all three meals. I'm not sure when he slept. But I didn't want him to, anyway, I wanted him where I could see him. And it wasn't just me, all the women at our table were equally enthralled. That was the point. All the waiters—and in fact nearly every male member of the staff—were young and hot.
They were also from war-torn or impoverished countries and were working on the ship because they didn't have better options. They also didn't have the papers to live anywhere outside their own country, so they were stuck on the boat watching us devour three meals plus a midnight buffet each and every day. Loads of fun, no doubt.
One day Ivan told us he was from Yugoslavia and couldn't go back home or he'd be drafted into the army, and that he hadn't heard from his mother or young daughter in weeks.
The whole thing was tragic and I felt terrible for him. He seemed kind and stuck and I wanted to save him. So I did what any nineteen-year old college sophomore would do: I told my mother I wanted to marry him so that he could get off the boat and live in the U.S.
Perhaps I'd read a few too many romances.
I knew it was far-fetched, of course, and frankly I'd have been terrified if by some freakish turn of events my mother agreed and Ivan agreed, etc. But I had to at least mention it. But bless her, my mother didn't laugh at all. In fact she answered me quite seriously, in part I think because she was half in love with him also and felt for him like I did. But she pointed out that it would be all too obvious to immigration officials that we didn't have a real relationship, given the way we'd met. It just wouldn't fly. So that was that.
It was Ivan's job to keep us happy that week we were on the ship, but I like to think he had some affection for us, as we did for him.
|Our goodbye kiss. Check out how good he is at kissing and how clueless I am.|
When I left the ship I had details of how I could reach him, and I did write to him once. There isn't much to say when you barely know someone and their experience is so far beyond your own, and I was conscious of a certain ridiculousness on my own part. But I confessed the plan I'd had, offering it up in a half-joking way to see what he'd say. I suppose I wanted him to know I cared.
In his reply to me he said I was "the best part of his long and stupid ship life." And that's where it ended. There was nowhere to go after that.
I wish I knew his last name. I hope he's doing well, wherever he is. I hope he found his own happily ever after.