I was on a cruise ship run by Chinese people. Inside there were glittering chandeliers everywhere, and the decor was all red and gold. It was very luxurious, but it felt somehow not of my world, as if everything had been chosen by people from China, and not by Americans.
I shared a room with several high school friends, including Cindy, but not Jackie, and not Erik. After dinner we left for an activity. Opening the door, we found we were on the moon. The moon! So this was the journey our ship was making. The moon was so different than what we’d imagined! A desolate brown landscape that crunched underfoot like gravel, with strong winds blowing from every direction, and nothing but the black sky beyond. No spacesuits or anything. We were on stairs leading up to the activity building. Clutching at the armrail, we prevented ourselves from blowing away into outer space, and made it inside for our activity. After the activity, which was extremely ordinary, we decided to return to the ship. We opened the door to leave and oh! That empty landscape! We had forgotten we were on the moon. But the winds had calmed, and we didn’t even have to hold the handrail this time.
Back on the ship, the other girls retired to their rooms and I went in search of Erik. I knew he was on the ship, but we hadn’t come together, so I had to ask at the information desk. After a few false starts the women there spoke to me in English, but it was so heavily Mandarin-accented that I wasn’t sure they understood my request. They made solicitous explanations and elaborate notations in binders, none of which I comprehended. Then they handed me Erik’s room number on a slip of paper.
I wandered the ship looking for his room. Everywhere I turned there seemed to be food. I couldn’t seem to find my way off this level to the stairs. If I wasn’t in the enormous brightly-lit dining room, there were Chinese women in dark-green uniforms offering me free product samples: chewy coconut twists, biscuits flavored with red bean and green tea, egg tarts. I took a coconut twist and enjoyed it as I circled. As I reached a new corner and found the egg tarts, Jackie appeared and held me back. “You shouldn’t eat anymore,” she said, and I stopped.
We turned a corner and found my family clustered in a hallway, watching Al practice piano. They had just had dinner. I said I’d been in the moon and it was nothing all that extraordinary. I said hello to Daddo and he said Erik’s room was around there somewhere.
[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]