“You are the lowest of the low! A scum-sucking bottom feeder!”
Those were the last words my husband had said to me after a two-day argument. A week later, I left for a Mexican cruise with my girlfriends.
The ship was filled with an even mix of families, singles and couples. The first day out at the pool, I observed several bachelor/bachelorette parties. One particular group of twenty-something guys were hanging nearby.
My eyes were drawn to a pair of board shorts, oddly enough. They had fluorescent orange and purple horizontal stripes and not many men could pull them off. As I took a closer look, I was immediately taken with the guy wearing them.
As he pushed his wavy, brown hair back with his hand he oozed sex appeal -- not in a cocky way but in an adorably sexy kind of way. I continued to watch him over the rim of my sunglasses as he and his buddies bantered like 12-year-old boys. His smile and laugh intrigued me.
After dinner, the girls and I decided to check out the ship’s nightclub. It didn’t take long before we were surrounded by men. I looked around and drank in as much of the attention as I could. I hadn’t felt desired in a very long time.
I scanned the bar, and my eyes locked onto him - the guy from the pool. He was chatting with a friend while waiting for drinks. I downed the last of my Vodka Red Bull and headed toward him.
It took everything in my being to introduce myself (I didn’t have the highest self-esteem due to the years of verbal abuse from my husband). I mentioned noticing him earlier at the pool. His smile grew broader. He invited me to take a walk around the ship. My heart leapt.
He was 26 and onboard for his college buddy’s bachelor party. I remember asking him to point out the bachelor to me. He told me the groom-to-be had passed out for the night.
Conversation was easy between us and he seemed genuinely interested in what made me tick. He didn’t believe I was 37, or that I was a mom, and that felt good. We spent the rest of the night touring the boat and hanging with his friends. They started referring to us as “Cruise Girlfriend and Boyfriend." He finally kissed me, while we were outside looking at the stars.
He walked me to my cabin around 3 a.m. and asked to see me the following day. I will never forget the feeling, as I closed the cabin door behind me. I felt like a 15-year-old girl who had just been asked out by her high school crush. As I climbed into bed, I wondered why I didn’t feel a twinge of guilt for what I was feeling, let alone what I had been doing…
On Saturday, the ship docked in Mexico. The girls and I decided to hang back and lounge at the pool. I couldn’t help but wonder if CBF (Cruise Boyfriend) would keep our date or if I was just the “flavor of the night."
I was reading by the pool and heard a sudden ruckus -- the guys were coming back on board. I tried to keep my cool while my eyes darted around, looking for CBF. Butterflies must have made a home in my stomach as I spotted him.
Before I could look away, he caught my eye and smiled. That smile melted me. He waved and motioned for me to join them. Within minutes we were in each other’s arms and drinking in the last of the day’s sunlight.
We planned to meet at the club after dinner. And though I didn’t “plan” on sleeping with him, I wanted it to happen. I had come to terms that I would officially have cheated on my husband after that night.
And for someone who feels guilty if she makes a second trip to the one-trip salad bar, this said a lot to me about where my life was headed. We had the most intimate night and I fell asleep tangled in the white sheets and him.
We spent all Sunday together and he asked that I join him and his friends at their table for dinner. It was our last night on board and he wanted it to be special for us.
After finishing my dinner salad, I excused myself from the girls and found CBF and his friends. I joined them at their large table of 12. They were welcoming and funny. I hadn’t laughed that much in a long time. I really felt like I was in my 20s again.
Then suddenly the banter got quiet, just as I heard the word “mistress” out of the mouth of the guy sitting directly across the table from me. Did I hear him right? I was trying to get a grip on what he was talking about when CBF belted the guy square in the face. As the guy hit the floor, CBF turned to me with sadness in his eyes and said, “Well, I guess the cat is out of the bag.”
Was he married? Did he have a girlfriend? Heat rushed over my face and my stomach turned, as I tried to process what was happening. Then it all started coming together as I got up from the table. I rushed towards the big, silver elevator doors as if they were gates out of my own personal hell. He followed.
He admitted to being the bachelor and yes, this was his “bachelor party weekend." He explained how and why he ended up here with me, and the issues with him and his fiancée. But honestly, I didn’t care. I was married and had lied to him, too.
He proposed two choices. We could go our separate ways and join our friends for the night, or we could spend our last night together as planned.
I chose to spend the last night with him. I chose to wake up one last time in his arms.
Monday morning, I slipped away without disturbing him. It was time to go back to reality. As fate would have it, CBF and his cabin mate ended up directly behind us, as we were leaving the ship. He asked if we could keep in touch. I agreed.
Tuesday afternoon I received an email from CBF that read:
“It’s best to use my work email for now. But I wanted to tell you, I called the wedding off last night. I’ve been thinking about you a lot and our weekend and it’s not like I called off the wedding for you, but it was so easy to be with you all weekend, parading you around my friends and not feeling guilty about any of it. Evidently, I am not ready to get married. After things cool down, I would love to take you on a real date. - CBF ”
I would end up seeing him a few more times. It turns out he wasn’t my soul mate or love of my life. He was just a guy who needed help making a big life decision. And I was just a lonely woman on the verge of divorce, who needed to know men still found her smart, funny and attractive.
So, yes I cheated and indirectly broke up another woman’s wedding. And I don’t regret one single second of it.