Tara arrived at the dock a little after eleven in the morning. She checked her luggage with the curbside porter and walked to the waiting room. Calls to Tom’s phone continued to go to voice mail. Not that today was different than any other day.
The only piece of information she did have about his flight was the name of the airline carrier. According to their schedule, Tom should have caught the seven a.m. flight out of Dallas-Fort Worth. She calculated flight time to the amount of time it would take him to travel from J.F.K Airport to the dock and estimated he would arrive just in time to board the ship.
Content with this information, Tara settled into a grey plastic chair and ...view middle of the document...
She deleted the message and dialed Tom’s cell phone. Her call went straight to voicemail. It was bad enough she couldn’t speak to her husband anytime she wished, but thirteen hours without a word from him was unfair. The thought of something ruining this trip caused anxiety to grow in her chest.
Tara walked to the beverage cart provided by the cruise line and poured herself a cup of coffee. While she sipped the warm liquid, she stared out the window watching the crew wash and polish sliding glass doors and balcony windows. A few men stood on the dock scrubbing the side of the ship. Others wheeled large metal containers on board. She recognized the containers as refrigeration units. Lilly’s school used the same system in the cafeteria where Tara volunteered in exchange for lower tuition.
Ten minutes before Tom’s estimated arrival time, Tara called her mother to check on Lilly. The moment Lilly answered the phone she started crying. The tears caused Tara’s heart to ache. Her friends promised that once she had a drink in her hand, Lilly would become a distant memory. Tara wasn’t so sure. Unlike her friends’ husbands, Tom didn’t work a nine-to-five job. He spent most of the year away from home, so she and Lilly were dependent on one another.
A year earlier, Tara worked extra shifts at a catering hall to pay bills that were piling up. The extra shifts forced her to leave Lilly with her mother for twenty-four hour periods several times that month. By the end of the month, Lilly was beside herself. Tara could not go to the bathroom without her daughter tagging along. No matter how hard Tara tried to keep the child in her own bed, she’d awake to find Lilly asleep in her bed at some point during the night. She prayed this vacation did not cause a relapse.
Tara was happy she called Lilly before Tom arrived because Lilly cried the entire conversation. Tom didn’t have the patience to deal with the drama. He also...