11. Think Happy Thoughts!!

Port of Suva arrival and naturally my family is there waiting for me.  And as the time before, I stay at home only to report to the ship as duty calls.  The cargo of flour had to be unloaded and the ship cleaned before more Fiji sugar can be taken on for the next port in Canada.  This means I have a good four or five days in port, possibly more and this was always dependent upon available labor.

Friends and family filled my evenings as work filled my days.  It was the 2nd day at home when I began to discreetly collect my most important personal belongings and pack them into my travel bag; the things I felt I would need to start my life anew up in Canada, with Sonia.  

The evening prior to the ship’s departure had arrived.  My mother and my brother announced to me their plans of taking me along to a dinner gathering at their friend’s home.  I asked if I knew this family and I was told I had not yet made their acquaintance.

Although I was deeply preoccupied with thoughts and preparations of seeing sweet Sonia again, I didn’t wish to upset my mother or brother so I agreed and certainly I never minded meeting new people.

They lived just about a mile from our home, near the main street of Waimanu Road.  We arrived to happy hosts and they received us warmly.  Sitting comfortably on a sofa in their living room and having been served a drink, the introductions began for me as everyone else knew one another already.

I met the adults aka the parents and their six children; two sons and four daughters.  Of the two eldest children, one of the daughters parked herself next to me on the sofa and began a conversation with, “What countries have you been to so far?” in Hindi of course. 

Her name was Hemma and I replied to her, ‘Hawaii, Vancouver, Canada, Washington and Oregon in the United States and when we came back this way, I went on to see parts of New Zealand and Australia …’ Hemma was smiling.  I finished with, ‘…and tomorrow I am going back up to Hawaii and Vancouver!’

Our conversation continued and I asked her what her birthdate was; instead of giving me a date, she said, “I am fifteen.”  So much for beating around the bush.  I told her my birthdate and stated that I was eighteen.

My mother came by after a few moments and gently touching my arm, she softly told me this girl was one she especially wanted me to meet.  Dinner was served and we all joined together at the table.  A delicious Indian meal had been prepared and it was delightful to me.

This very young and pretty girl was doting over me perhaps a little too much for a first meet but then who am I to say anything about first meetings?  As Hemma filled my plate with lots of food she told me I should enjoy these dishes and eat up because I would not get this taste in my mouth again while overseas.

Well then!

Dinner was finally over and the conversation going around the room that evening was all pleasant enough.  However it was getting late and well, this young man had a working schedule to keep!  I suggested to my brother that we depart by 10p as I was feeling tired.  I was after all a couple of drinks into the night and with a full tummy to round off that relaxed state, I wanted to go …lingering thoughts and all.

For the lovely hospitality, dinner and drinks, we said our goodbyes, many a thank you and good nights.  It only took moments to reach our house and after we got settled in, cups of my sister-in-law’s perfect spiced tea for all, we conversed a little about the night.

I was asked how I enjoyed the evening and, did I like the young girl they introduced me to?  We could tell she really liked you, they said.  Now as they’re trying to speak lightly, suspicious thoughts are entering my mind.  It’s becoming apparent to me that my mother, brother and the other members of the family had been talking while I was away and decided it was time for a bride for the Little Blue Masala; and they picked Hemma!

They knew I would be sailing away again.  I knew my mother -God rest her soul- was doing everything she could to keep me at home.  My brother -God rest his soul- wasted no time introducing me to her and guess what?  Although panic momentarily set in, I realized I had nothing to worry about!

My life-changing bag was packed and with it I would be leaving first thing in the morning.  They didn’t know about the little plan I had hiding up my sleeve.  The one where I arrive in Vancouver, jump ship and elope with my Sonia …forever.

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Hemma is a created name for a very real person in this part of LBM’s saga.

We’re both glad you have decided to climb on board Little Blue Masala’s ship of tales.  Thanks for riding the unpredictable waves with us; after all that is what makes life interesting isn’t it?

8. One Never Forgets Their First Love 🌸 (the Human Condition) – part 1

My duties this day seemed to fly right by and thankfully the evening hours came swiftly; my thoughts were exhilarated to say the least.  I couldn’t wait to get back to the club and see Sonia again!

The other fellas didn’t want to go this evening.  Just as soon as I was off duty I rushed to the staff showers, got cleaned up and dressed warmly.  In fact I knew I’d look sharp if I wore my black jacket, which Stéphane had brought for me on one of his stopovers in Fiji.  Glad I packed it!

“Someone’s got a hot date!” the guys teased me as I was leaving the ship.  Outside I was able to hail a cab quickly; there are always a handful of taxis waiting around the ship.  Only moments before the nightclub came into sight, I noticed a florist shop.

It’s not like I had ever before bought anything special for a girl but the thought of presenting her with a selection of flowers sure encouraged me to feel good – this would be right.

I immediately asked the cabbie to let me out there.  I paid him and went into the shop.  I selected half a dozen red roses and had them arranged with a spray of ferns and wrapped in clear cellophane.  I felt pleased with myself and walked to the club in the crisp evening air.

I went inside and quickly looked around the room for Sonia.  Nowhere was she, not even her sisters.  I took a deep breath and I felt my heart beat slightly increasing for a quick moment.  I was amused by my reaction.

I made my way to an empty table and set the flowers down; still standing a server came over to ask if I wanted a drink. I ordered a chilled Canadian draft beer and sat down. I had taken one drink from the frosted glass and I looked to the door again.  It was a little after 7, still early in the evening I assured myself.

Before another drink could be taken, I saw Sonia walking in with her sisters.  This time my heart went straight into my throat!  She smiled bright as soon as she saw me and while her sisters, waving a nice hello to me, sat down together at a nearby table, she came straight over to me.  I said ‘hi’ with my awkwardly extended hand.

She spoke no words but her smile spoke volumes!  Sonia approached me so closely and we fell immediately into a very warm and very nice hug.   She was 2 or 3 inches shorter than me and I kissed her on the forehead.

After a moment of eternity, we released our embrace and she sat down.  I still stood and reaching for the roses and I handed them to her.  She looked at them lovingly and she said, “Ah, so beautiful!”  I immediately replied, ‘so are you.  You are so beautiful, just like these roses!’  She looked into my eyes, giggling.

Now I sat down.  The waiter came to take her drink order.  I could sense the sisters taking turns glancing our way.  A couple of them got up to dance.  The waiter brought Sonia a nicely dressed ginger ale and she sipped on it so sweetly.

Her hands were placed on the tabletop and well, after that hug, I instinctively reached out to take hold of her hand, that which was closest to me.  Sonia did not once pull her hand away.

We talked with deep purpose; it just fell immediately into our conversation that way, the seriousness of our discovery of feelings for one another.  This was revealed in the manner of our words themselves; we were making plans!

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Anybody out there got a time machine?  Blue Masala was hoping to hitch a ride!

How about that?  Two posts in one night!  Well, I thought I should make up a little for all the glitches; a bumpy start to be sure.  All that can change now and well no more apologies.  I’m still aiming to post every Sunday night about 8p.  As the musicians say, “Play it by ear.”  And so we will.

Good night and a blessed New Year wish for all!