Mike stood with his feet buried in the sand on the beach of the Rendezvous Resort looking out into the bay. He continually looked at his watch waiting for exactly the right time. At 4pm on the dot, just as his mother Toni had asked, he carefully opened the jar he had been holding and emptied it onto the beach. As the contents poured out he said, “Ladies, friendship is forever!”
It had been a very long day and even though she was at the airport for a well deserved and extremely overdue vacation, her mood didn’t improve. The news was reporting on stupid crap that didn't matter and then a bunch of shit about the election between Obama and McCain. My God, she didn’t care if she ever heard another word about it again.
Once on the plane, the stewardess or flight attendant or whatever it is they like to be called these days couldn't bring Toni’s drinks fast enough.
She swore that for the first half of the flight she looked at her watch every 15 minutes thinking surely another hour has passed but no such luck. It was less than a six hour flight but it seemed to take forever. She attempted to watch a movie, started to read a book, did part of a word search and eventually fell asleep. Finally the words she longed to hear, “We're now starting our descent into Montego Bay. Please put your seats and trays in the upright position.”
Checking in was relatively painless and the room was as expected. She made up her mind then and there as she changed into her new bathing suit bought just for this trip that work was a thing of the past (at least for this week).
She headed straight for the pool, where she took a seat in a quiet corner of the swim up cocktail bar. Next to her was a woman who appeared to be about her age sitting by alone people watching. She ordered what was to be many Bay Breezes and asked the woman sitting next to her if she was there alone.
Her name was Ellen.
Ellen was finally taking some time to herself after a bitter divorce. After years of mental abuse by her ex-husband, an arrogant doctor, and catching him in bed with his surgical nurse, she had finally had enough. The nerve! But this year was about a new beginning and was especially sweet. Her divorce settlement gave her a very healthy alimony, the house and the car. She left the slimy bastard with nothing. Let him to start over.
Her new job as a traveling nurse gave her the luxury of taking time off when she needed it. She decided to celebrate and take a long overdue vacation. She did some research and discovered a resort in Jamaica that sounded perfect.
Upon arrival, she immediately headed to the pool for a drink at the swim up bar. She ordered her favorite drink, a Bay Breeze and began to do her favorite thing, people watch. She was in her own world when she realized the woman sitting next to her had asked her a question, “Are you alone?”
“Yes, thankfully! You?”
They began to idly chitchat and discovered they had many things in common. After a couple of drinks, it seemed as if they had been friends for a lifetime. They noticed two young ladies off in a corner with the “deer caught in the headlight” look so Ellen walked over and convinced them to join them.
Elizabeth was just a girl that needed a vacation from the world when she booked her suite at the Rendezvous Resort. It was time for a trip of fun and relaxation. She was always super busy between her demanding traveling nurse career and constant certification renewals and of course, constantly doing things for others. She always put herself on the back burner including a love life. But not this year; this year was about her and only her. No more loser boyfriends to support. No more family sponging money off her. This was the year for her make over. The new Elizabeth was going to be fantastic. When she finally arrived at the resort, she headed to the pool. After a good stiff one, she saw a young girl sitting next her. Her name was Marsha.
Marsha had just completed her first full year of teaching second graders at Ravens Elementary School in Tree Hill, North Carolina. She hadn’t taken a vacation in quite some time and needed one desperately. She had supported herself through college and now it was time for her. She was single and loving it. And she was definitely holding off on the marriage thing for as long as she could. Her parents were so proud of her; they bought her a surprise resort package.
As the ladies learn more about each other and enjoyed quite a few more drinks, a woman walked up to Ellen and said, “I just have to tell you, I think your bathing is so sexy. Do you mind telling me where you got it?” Her name was Gloria but her friends back home called her Glo. She was a prosecutor in New York City and had not had a vacation in over 7 years. Her boss made her take a vacation and handed her the resort tickets. She wasn’t pleased about this forced vacation but decided to make the best of it.
As the day progressed and the ladies enjoyed drink after drink, they decided to hang out together for the rest of the week. Later that day, Glo noticed a young woman in the corner reading a book and trying to curl up as small as she possibly could so as not to be noticed. Of course this was an open invitation for Glo so she headed over to steal her away from what had to be a most boring book.
Sara was lying on a lounge chair nervously in front of the pool, pretending she was comfortable with the new environment. “So far so good,” she thought. She had gone to the best schools and graduated with straight A’s. Everything was perfect except her loser boyfriend who suddenly took off and never called her again. It had been months since she had heard from him. Her parents gave her a graduation gift. She asked for a vacation to be alone and get her thoughts straight before she joined the rest of the rat race and start looking for job. The resort was beautiful and everyone around her seemed to be friendly. She opened her handbag, took out a book and began to read.
Before she finish reading the first paragraph, a young lady approached and asked, “May I sit here?”
“Sure,” she said. “I’m Glo, what’s your name?” “I’m Sara; it’s nice to meet you.” “Would you like to join me with some new friends for drinks?”
Sara wanted to refuse but thought why not, this was a vacation. Sara turns out to be the shyest person any of them had ever met but after a few drinks and badgering, she opened right up.
The following day the group decided to do a canoeing excursion. Most of them had been canoeing before but they had various levels of paddling abilities. This, proved to be interesting, but Sara and Marsha were particularly annoyed with Glo’s choice of activity. They would be much happier being slathered in hot oil and having there nails done instead, but they would have their revenge on her before the trip. A dip in a mud bath was as torturous for tomboy Glo as nails on a chalkboard.
They had an exciting day but by the end of the trip the water was screaming. The waves were now constant all the way across the river! It suddenly turned into a white water rafting trip. It was a great time for the ones that were used to it but Marsha and Sara were more than ready to have both feet on the ground.
Close to the end of the trip the river got very rocky and very swift just before it dumped into a larger river. It was in this home stretch that Marsha and Sara lost it. Their canoe tipped over and they plunged into the icy water. At least they were all smart enough to wear life jackets.
Ellen and Toni were rolling in hysterics but thankfully Glo had sense enough to swim over to the capsized boat. She pulled Sara out from the frigid water first while Elizabeth was helping to steady the boat and poor Marsha clung to the side of their boat with a ridiculous straw hat dripping with water. Her teeth chattered while Glo held onto the front of Marsha’s shirt and Elizabeth struggled to paddle towards shore. As soon as they hit the bank, Marsha crawled to safety and promptly told each and every one of them off. Ellen and Toni tried to regain their composure but were just unable to hide their laughter. After the drifting canoe was finally brought back to safety, they all dried off in the summer sun.
They sat quietly for a long time enjoying the wine and lunch that Elizabeth had brought for them and out of nowhere, Marsha burst into hysterical laughter. “It was funny wasn’t it?”
The following night, the girls hit the bar for some drinks after dinner. Sara had a couple of beers, which was the most alcohol she had ever consumed. She was so tipsy, she was having a hard time containing herself.
Suddenly a familiar face appeared. A face she had not seen in over 7 months. “That fucking bastard! It’s Steve!”
“What? Who’s Steve? What the hell is going on?” asks Gloria.
“Oh my God! It’s Steve! What is he doing here? Who’s that bitch with him? He didn’t even bother to call me?” “What the hell is going on?” Sara yells.
“Where is he Sara? Which one?” asks Ellen.
Sara starts screaming, “Ellen, do you understand I spent 2 years of my life with that man and then he just disappeared? He wouldn’t return my calls; he was never home; I couldn’t even get him at work. He didn’t even say goodbye! And now he’s here of all places!”
“Damn him! Who the hell does he think he is showing up here like this? Ladies, we need a plan and we need it right now!!!” Toni chimes in.
Who else could have come up with a better plan than a prosecutor who dealt with criminals everyday? Glo to the rescue! “Ladies, stick with me and follow my lead!”
It was so easy getting him to the beach by himself. Elizabeth just showed a little skin and the next thing you know he had his head covered with a towel. Two of the girls held onto his hands and two others held onto his legs. Thankfully, he was three-sheets to the wind and thought this was some kind of sexual interlude. The fool didn’t even bother to fight it. Sara yanked the towel off his head and as Steve tried to focus on his surroundings, he realizes “he’s not in Kansas anymore Toto”. He screamed, “What the fuck!?!?!?”
Sara simply laid into him, “Steve, you’re a coward! You need to find your balls! What kind of man dumps a girl by just disappearing! What the hell is that! You need to learn a little bit about respect my friend. Welcome to my revenge. Take his clothes off ladies and let’s tie his ass to the catamaran! Enjoy finding your naked ass back to the resort BITCH!”
As the girls walk away laughing their asses off, Steve was yelling to them, “You can’t do this! This is a crime! Guys, please come back! Don’t just leave me here!”
On the last night of their vacation, the girls had one final dinner together. The entire night was devoted to them having such a great time on this vacation. Everything was perfect, the food, the drinks and especially the company. Elizabeth and Marsha had been chatting together all evening and the others had had enough. Finally they ask, “What the hell are you guys talking about?”
They both blurted out, “Wouldn’t it be great for all of us to come back here every so often? We’ve all had so much fun together. Why couldn’t we do this, oh I don’t know every 5 years?” The silence lasted for at least 10 minutes while everyone thought about this idea and finally at the same time, they all said, “Let’s do it!” Marsha said, “ok, so on July 4th, every 5 years, no matter where we’re at, who we’re with or how important we may or may not become, we meet here!” and they all agreed. They had become The Ladies of the Rendezvous Resort.
After many vacations together and the trials and tribulations of life, the girls had developed an unbreakable bond and a friendship that seemed as if it would last forever.
Twenty years later, Ellen was diagnosed with breast cancer and before she died, she asked that they all take a vow to have a tablespoon of their ashes placed in a jar for someone to spread at the beach at the Rendezvous Resort. The last lady with the jar would ensure that this would be done. The ladies all agreed. She died a couple of days later. The blow was enormous for all the girls but they continued with their vow and the jar was passed on.
As time goes by and life takes its course, the ladies start to pass on and as the jar exchanged hands, more ashes appeared each time. One day Marsha received a package in the mail. It was the jar with ashes and unfortunately it seems that more ashes have been added. There was a note from John, Glo’s son, informing Marsha that a criminal Glo had put behind bars and was released on early parole had murdered her. Later, poor Marsha died young with colon cancer and later, Elizabeth from natural causes and then Sara had a fatal car accident along side her husband. The jar made its final trip to Toni who is the only lady of the Rendezvous Resort Left.
“Mikey, come here son, we need to talk. You know about the trips I’ve gone on over the years to see my friends?”
“Of course, those women are like my aunts.”
“All of them are gone now, Mikey. I’m the only one left. We were friends for a very long time you know.”
“I never really knew how long. But they seemed to be around forever.”
“It was over 40 years, honey. A very long time ago, we made a promise to each other, and now I have to ask you to keep that promise for me.”
“ME? Why me?”
“Because baby, I’m dying, you know that, and I need you to do this last thing for me.”
“Mom, please I don’t want to talk about that right now. Do we really have to have this conversation right now?”
“Mikey when do you suppose we should have this conversation? At the dinner table in front of your sister? That would go over well, right? How about next Christmas? You can prop my stuffed carcass up by the fireplace and ask me what it was I wanted to talk to you about?”
“Fine, FINE! You’ve made your point. What do you need me to do for you?”
“Sweetheart, as each of the girls passed, they put a tablespoon of their ashes in a jar. That jar is now with me.”
“That’s a bit morbid, don’t you think! Where the hell is this jar?”
Chuckling softly, “Be that as it may, dear, it’s time for my ashes to join my girls. It is in the top drawer of my armoire.”
“Just exactly what is it you are asking me to do mother?”
“Mikey, when I die, I want you to add a tablespoon of my ashes to the jar. I want you to take it to the Rendezvous Resort next July 4th and pour it out into the sand overlooking the bay.”
After a long moment of silence, Mike took his mothers hand and said “Ok, mom, I will do this for you, but I don’t want to talk about you dying anymore. ok?”
Nine months later, Mike sat impatiently waiting for them to announce the boarding of his plane. The news was reporting on stupid crap that didn't matter and then a bunch of shit on the election between Lohan and Kennedy. My God, he didn’t care if he ever heard another word about it again.
He swore for that the first half of the flight he looked at his watch every 15 minutes thinking surely another hour has passed but no such luck. It was less than a six hour flight but it seemed to take forever. He attempted to watch a movie, started to read a book, did part of a word search and eventually fell asleep. But then, he heard those words he dreaded hearing. “We're now starting our descent into Montego Bay. Please put your seats and trays in the upright position.”