Continued from The Delos Diaries Part 4…
After our mad day of dancing, eating, attempting to go to University students’ house parties and being electrocuted, we weren’t done with the night.
Walking back towards the boat, we passed a Leopard Catamaran. My shoulders hunched over as I saw the inhabitants inside, straining to hide behind Brian.
Brady, Alex and Brian waved to the people on board and I wished for the shadows to swallow me up as I limply waved my hand back.
“We’ll come over for a drink!” Brady shouted over.
I lowered my head further, quickening my pace further down the docks, hoping that the people of the catamaran had forgotten about me.
Let me explain.
A few days prior I was to have one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life aboard that vessel. Lisa had made friends with one of the girls aboard the boat and had been invited out for drinks. I usually take longer to get ready than everyone else (hey- I’m working on it) and managed to wave off Karin, Brian and Lisa as they went to meet them at the pub.
I wanted to stay and get ready in my own time, listen to some music and enjoy a rum to myself. Solo time is very rare aboard Delos and I wanted to have a moment to myself. It had still been a few days since I had heard the bad news about my friend passing and I suppose I was just looking for a time and space to process it all solo.
After playing some of my favourite punk music, Brady and Alex returned from their mini filming adventure.
“You all right, mate?” Brady said in greeting in his attempt of an Australian accent.
“Berry good, thanks,” I answered, using the phrase that my circle of friends commonly use back in Nuneaton. I moved over to the kitchen, diving down for the bottle of rum.
“What you making, mate?”
“Rum,” I said, popping back up and lifting the caramel bottle up to the light. It swirled around and around, its siren call spreading through the belly of Delos.
Alex and Brady stared at it for a moment.
“You do me one?” he asked. “Make it a Delos Double.”
Now, a Delos Double isn’t just a double. It’s a double of a double. I was all too happy to comply, pouring us all a measure into our labelled cups.
“What are you guys still doing down here?” a voice demanded from above.
We turned around to see Brian, wrapped up in his coat and dripping wet.
“Lizbef! You said you would be twenty minutes!”
I didn’t bother to look at the clock to know I had gone way beyond that. “Sorry mate- I got carried away!”
“It doesn’t matter- we’ve been invited over to the catamaran by Lisa’s new friends- finish your drinks and come on over!”
Left with these strict instructions, we got wrapped up in wooly hats, hoodies and scarfs. The weather in Cape Town is mind boggling. One moment it can blistering desert, and others windy and wet as England. You can never predict how the day will go.
The three of us tottered out of Delos and started to walk down the docks, cackling and laughing at innuendos and a lot of “that’s what she said” moments. We stamped our feet when the seals blocked our way, scaring them into the water so we could safely pass.
We approached this huge shining white catamaran at the end of the docks, lights beaming up and onto the black surroundings waters. I’m still learning a lot about boats and I know I’m biased, but no boat for me will ever compare to the warmth and character of Delos.
I walked inside- its pristine white interiors and smooth surfaces surrounding me as I was welcomed by a group of smiling people already intoxicated by gin, vodka and who knows whatever shots that had poured through the night.
After greeting Lisa, Karin and apologizing for being late to Brian, we set into the night, looking through the boat and each one of its rooms and bathrooms.
I made sure to test out each bed and shook my head at the amount of available closed doors.
Delos was not a place for privacy- but that’s what makes her special. She’s a living breathing creation of everyone that’s been on board and you can feel the love and history ingrained into every bit of wood. The darkness of the boat embraces you like a hug, the honeyed light casting everyone in a friendly glow as new memories are made.
My mind was spinning and the news from back home was getting to me. I took a moment to step outside to breathe, sitting at the end of the docks and having a private conversation with my friend who had passed, pouring a bit of my drink into the waters as a tribute.
“Here you are, mate,” I said to him. “Funny now I’ve taken a moment to speak to you I don’t actually know what to say.” I fell silent for a few moments longer. “Look after Tommy,” I said eventually, of my best mate back at home. That was all I could say. That and knowing that Jack would understand.
Returning into the catamaran I saw that more shots were being poured. I made the wise decision to not do any, knowing that I was happy with the warmth of the rum in my belly.
I frowned however, not feeling all that bright.
“Are you ok?” Alex asked me.
“I think I’m going to go to the bathroom for a bit,” I murmured, staring at her with the unspoken message of; “I may be sick.”
“Do you want me to come with you?” she asked me.
Ok, so my plan was to possibly be ill, feel a lot better, drink a lot of water, head back to Delos, eat some bread and then put myself to bed.
That was my plan.
God help me that really was my plan.
“Mate, I have to tell you,” said Alex, standing with me inside the pristine white tiny bathroom. “When people throw up I feel really sick…”
Nasuea had hit and my body was telling me to get it over and done with already.
“I’m telling you now then, buddy,” I mumbled, getting to my knees and pulling up the toilet seat, “you’re gonna want to get out pretty soon then.”
Alex started to scramble for the lock as I fought to keep the wave of rum from spilling from my stomach.
“Hold on, Lizbef!” she cried, her back hunched over as she tried to figure out the teeny tiny white pristine lock. “How on earth do you work this thing?”
“You going to have to-“
A click and the door was suddenly open. Alex dived out just as I managed to thump the door shut and empty the contents of my stomach.
The nausea became worse and all I could do was groan in self-pity.
It was just meant to be one bout of sickness, wash my face, scrub some toothpaste onto my teeth and get on with life. But whenever I raised my head, the dizziness became worse and worse.
I could not leave this white tiny bathroom. My new pristine prison of hell.
A knock on the door and another fight with the lock and Lisa came in, stroking my back as I continued to be sick.
Then it got worse.
My stomach was suddenly hunched over in agonizing cramps and I had to ask Lisa to leave whilst I puked and pooped. Not a very graceful moment in my life. We fought for the lock once again, swearing at our inability to open the door.
Once it was open, Lisa stayed on the other side as another wave of illness hit me. I was confused. I hadn’t had enough Delos Doubles to feel like this. I hadn’t even had any shots.
Feeling sorry for myself, I was suddenly aware of more and more people outside of the door, wondering what was going on as I fought with myself to gain some moment of composure.
A knocking on the door and I hunched over further as Brian’s voice boomed out.
“Come on, Elizabeth, we’re leaving!”
“Mate- just give me a moment!” I sobbed, my arms wrapped around my stomach as the pain got worse. “Just give me a minute!”
“No, Elizabeth- you’ve got to get your shit together!”
I scrunched my eyes shut. “Mate, I can’t stop shitting- that’s the problem!”
“Open this door, Elizabeth.”
“Elizabeth, open this door!”
Fighting over the lock commenced and the door slid open for me to slam it shut again. The image of myself sitting on a toilet as I throw up wasn’t one I wanted anyone to see.
“You have two minutes, Elizabeth!” Brian called from the other side.
“Ok, just- please- give me some dignity, buddy- I’ll be out.”
Splashing water onto my face and hoping that I wasn’t going to block another toilet, I was ill once again, hunched over as I was suddenly aware of Brady rubbing my back and Lisa murmuring that I would be fine and to stop apologising.
“I don’t get it!” my brain screamed. “I don’t get it, I don’t get it!”
Suddenly a wave of sobriety hit me, the dizziness had stopped and the nausea had abated.
It was a miracle.
A god damn miracle.
The shame hit me like a tidal wave and all I wanted to do was throw myself overboard.
I managed to leave that God damn toilet, apologise to the people on the catamaran and walk down the docks towards Delos as fast as my little legs would take me.
I turned around and saw Brian behind and paused, feeling embarrassment and the shame creep into my very core.
“I’m so sorry,” I apologised as he took my arm and led me down the docks.
Like a big brother, he scolded me, said something to make me feel better and opened the door to Delos.
I didn’t waste anytime, pulling the curtain across my bed and wrapping myself in the covers, the indignity and disgrace seeping into every dehydrated pore of my body.
I would never live this down.
I fell into an abyss of rum soaked dreams and regret, hoping that somehow this had all been one terrible nightmare.
The next morning, I woke up to the sound of crinkled paper. I rolled over to find a piece of writing pad taped above my bed, a picture of the Delos Crew stuck in the centre. All around was scribbles of love and hashtags.
“We love you babygirl!”
“Today is the tomorrow you spoke of yesterday”
I had dreaded the disapproval of all on board. I had dreaded the wrath of Brian. I had dreaded the disgrace of everyone on here- scared that they would think less of me. None of that came. Just love and laughter, hugs and a cup of kambucha from Mr Brady.
It was over and done with, just like that. No one cared.
I apologized again to Brian, we hugged and I thanked everyone for looking after me.
“Mate, it happens,” they explained. “We’re all family now.”
Fast forward to the present, days later, I still hadn’t seen the people on the catamaran since the incident. The shame was still rife and I was dreading their expressions and judgment.
“I really don’t feel comfortable going for a drink over there,” I murmured to Brian and Brady as they discussed about heading over there before we went out to Long Street.
“Why?” Brady asked. “They won’t care.”
I frowned, hunching lower into the cushions. “But I care…”
“Are you really that bothered?” Brian asked curiously.
“I am really really ashamed of that night,” I explained.
“No one’s going to remember-“
“I remember,” I argued. “I’m never going to forget. I’m so so embarrassed.”
Brady tilted his head with an apologetic look. “Sorry mate, I’ve already said we’d go over…”
I nodded, knowing that something was going to have to give. “That’s fine. We’ll go over,” I said finally. “I’ll do it for you guys but I won’t be comfortable.”
They laughed at me and reassured me as best as they could but I still dreaded stepping on board.
“I can do one drink with them,” I muttered under my breath as we walked up the docks. “I can do one drink…”
“Hey!” A group of people were standing at the end of three guys, grinning and opening their arms ready to give us all a hug.
My face fell. The catamaran people.
“Where are you going?” they asked after giving me a hug, no recollection on their faces of my deeds.
“We’re off out into Long Street,” Brady said, grinning.
“Oh awesome,” a guy called Tristan said. “We’re about to go to a really awesome hostel for some beers- do you want to come?”
Oh my God, this was really happening, I thought. The one drink isn’t just one drink. It’s going to be the whole night, surrounded by my shame.
“Hey, I’m so sorry about the other night,” Tristan said to me and Alex. “I was so drunk. I can believe I did that.”
I blinked in confusion as Alex laughed at my shock. I couldn’t even remember what he had done, yet alone accept his apology. I apologised in term, surprised that they weren’t taking the piss out of me already.
“I’m just honoured you chose my bathroom,” a guy called Dan said, his hand to his chest in mock sincerity.
“I told you no one would care,” Brady said to me as we ordered an Uber.
Apologies all round, it was as though nothing had happened. All of that energy feeling bad had vanished in their own embarrassment for their own drunken deeds.
Maybe a night out with these guys wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
To read more of Elizabeth’s blog, you can catch her at www.earlewrites.com