“We got off the ship. Actually, I don’t know how we ended up there. We were on our way to—”
“Wait, don’t tell them,” Margaret interjects.
“I haven’t had my turn yet.”
Mary sips her tea then bends back over her tightly crossed legs and places her tea-cup on the plate. She adjusts her daisy sunshine maroon summer dress over her lap. “OK, fine. You tell the story.”
Margaret grins briefly into the camera. “So, we were on our way to the Andaman Islands. And like my sister said, we’d been preparing for this trip for the entire year last year.
“But there was literally a cyclone.”
“Out of the blue. It just hit us and we were like, OK. “Shit.”
“So we get our luggage and find our stay rooms in the ship. No, it was like an adventure all in itself – we lived out a cyclone in the ship. The only reason we didn’t get out and go to a hotel was because we were about to leave the island when the cyclone hit.
“There was this family aboard and the woman, Indian woman, kept asking her husband if he was sure whether they shouldn’t call in an emergency helicopter. But he kept shaking his head and he almost looked annoyed. So, I knew it wasn’t a big deal. But the Captain of the ship was like, nope, we are not moving Today.”
“Yeah, so, Marge and I went into our staying rooms to relax and have a cocktail. I think we watched The Hunger Games.”
“But then, the boat—”
“—Ship,” Margaret rolls her eyes at Mary. “Ship, starts to rock.”
“Like, we actually felt it.”
Margaret waves her hands to recommence her narration. “I look out the window and I’m wordless. Mary’s still watching the movie so I grab the remote and turn it off. She tries to get angry at me for just a second and then I tell her to look out the window.”
Margaret gulps. “The waves, the dark blue fish waves of the Pacific Ocean, OK? Of the Pacific Ocean; were more than half-way up our window. It wasn’t like, oh, look out the window and see the ocean below you. No, this water was up to here.” Margaret brings her hand up to her temple. Its well manicured dusty rose fingernails emphasize the height of the water at her head.
Mary whispers quickly, “It was scary.”
“It was knocking the ship around.” Margaret drops her hand back into her lap. It’s tightly clenched as though she’s nervous at the memory of that moment. “And then, the cruise Captain gets on the loud speaker and declares that all passengers must stay in our rooms for the next sixty minutes. So, here we are in our rooms and out there is this crazy cyclone. We sit there for an hour and then open the door. When we get out, the ship is soaking wet and there’s seaweed on the balustrade.”
Mary shrugs, “Here and there…”
“It was gross.”
“I’m surprised we didn’t find a fish.”
“Yeah.” Mary continues, “We were on our way to the next island but we found ourself at some local fishing port in Thailand.”
“From what I know, the cyclone got really bad.”
“And the Captain somehow got the ship to Thailand.”
“Like, it was an emergency. I’m glad he did it.”
Margaret and Mary are silent for a minute.
Mary laughs quietly then speaks. “We got a partial discount. I mean, it was exciting. We’ve been bored to death and apart living our best lives for the longest time—”
Margaret adds, “—for years.”
“—and we just needed to get together and travel the world a little bit. Anyways, we got a free hotel stay and airfare back home from the cruise agency.” Mary takes another sip of her tea and sets the cup in the dish. We hear it clink onto the porcelain amid the soft sound of her laughter. “It’s the Indian Ocean, by the way, Marge. I think we arrived at port within the next day and a half.”
“Well, to me it seemed like sixty minutes.”
We all silently giggle at that because this should be an exclusive on Sixty Minutes but it’s not. The sisters look at each other tentatively.
Mary speaks, “That’s not the most shocking part about it though.”
Margaret finally takes a sip of her tea. Though she wears a sky blue daisy print we can sense ominous thunder clouds up ahead. “He was on the ship. Hyung Jin Moon, from Pennsylvania. He was with his entire posse of men and lawyers. There were so many Japanese people.”
“It definitely added to the adventure. That afternoon that we settled into the hotel in Thailand was muggy. I saw his kids playing in the rice paddies across the road from the hotel. They were catching frogs. The kids looked really angry.”
“I thought. Not so bad, even with the cyclone. But then he’s there at our hotel with his wife, with his kids, with his people.”
“Yeah. We were like, please don’t murder us. We’re not lesbians.”
Margaret rolls her tongue into the side of her mouth, a slight frown pulls at the corners of her lips. “Just sisters, on Spring vacation, cruising through India…only to end up at the same cafeteria as you, to sleep in the same hotel…”
“Thank God we weren’t on the same plane.”
“Yeah, we got home safely.”