Summer lovin’

Kristine Gill

I left my heart in San Francisco. Well, not really. I left my heart on a cruise boat that docked in San Fran, but close enough. I fell in love on my family’s 10-day Alaskan cruise with a man named Eugene from South Africa.

It wasn’t hard to single out Eugene as the object of my 10-day affection. As my cousins eloquently put it, the demographic of passengers on our cruise boat was 50 percent elderly, and I believe the deceased also fit in this category, 40 percent Asian and 10 percent everyone else. And because there were 24 members of my family on the cruise, we made up a good part of that 10 percent and I wasn’t really left with a good selection of passengers. I had to resort to crew members who, unfortunately, are there to do a job instead of enjoy Alaska and the pretty young passengers looking for cruise booty.

On the second morning of the cruise I spotted Eugene from across the dining room while I slurped down my cream of wheat with the utmost grace. He was tall and beautiful, with dark hair and good posture. He was a waiter on the ship and he looked surprisingly good in the mint green suit he wore at the breakfast buffet each morning and at teatime each afternoon. Eugene walked around with a permanent smirk on his face, which I later convinced myself was no doubt in response to my flattering gazes.

I immediately informed my sister of the find but expressed my concerns as well. What if two whole days of cruise passenger demographics had ruined my perception of “good-looking”? What if Eugene really wasn’t that hot and Alaska had warped my senses?

Katie consoled me immediately.

“No, dude. He’d be hot anywhere.”

I was relieved. At the time, Katie and I did not know Eugene’s name, but we wagered a guess. The other waiters were from Portugal and Bulgaria and had names like Arman and Percival. We said Eugene was probably named something like Eduardo or Antonio. We settled with Esteban, and we weren’t far off when we finally got a look at his name tag.

I should probably mention that I truly had no intentions of getting it on with Eugene. Our schedules probably wouldn’t have matched up, I didn’t want my family to find out and I didn’t want him to lose his job. I also had a slight inkling that something about getting cruise booty was probably immoral as well.

But that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to fall in love. I stared at Eugene any chance I got, usually with my mouth open and with a cup or forkful of food halfway on its path to my mouth. I swear, and Katie will agree, that he noticed us, too. I am very good at communicating through penetrating stares. I debated all week just slipping him the key card to my cabin and demanding my sister and cousin leave me alone for the night.

It was more than a pleasant surprise to find that Eugene also staffed teatime each afternoon. I didn’t want to go the first time, but upon noticing Eugene’s presence, I quickly developed a strong interest in tea. I went almost every day after that, and Eugene and I became closer. I could tell because he joked around with my sister, who had trouble deciding if she wanted more tea. He would ask me if I wanted more then say, “And wut about yo’ frennnd?” I decided on color schemes and centerpieces for our wedding.

Our affair ended quickly. A redheaded passenger, who my cousin said was very rude during a snorkeling side trip, put the moves on my man.

When I looked over during teatime one day, the redhead was whispering in Eugene’s ear and he was smiling. Yep, smiling. It was over. I was livid. What could you possibly have to say during teatime to a waiter that needs to be whispered? Perhaps it is something in reference to your type of tea bag? Perhaps a reference to the double meaning the word has in our country? I had enough.

So when Eugene came around with his silver pot and asked me if I wanted “Mo’ teee,” I said, “No, thank you.” And it was a loaded “No, thank you.” I hope he got the message. You can’t pour tea for her and then expect me to want sloppy seconds.

Eugene and I are no longer together, and I suppose it’s a good thing. I can’t be worried about a man who is floating around in the Pacific Ocean all year dodging icebergs while I try to focus on pursuing higher education. It wouldn’t have worked out. But I will always remember Eugene – his smirk, his posture and his mint green suit when I sip my “teee.”

Kristine Gill is a junior newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected] if you want a second chance, Eugene.