It’s nearly 2:00 a.m. and everyone else is asleep.
I am eating the remains of one of the kids’ piece of chocolate cake, brought home from the diner where we had a fun and filling dinner. I’ll have to answer for that tomorrow, for sure, but tonight I don’t care.
The diner experience was terrifically eccentric. I almost felt like we should have been in Las Vegas (we did see an Elvis in his latter years pass us in a SUV on the highway, by the way). The place was packed with unusual locals and the waitress fussed over us like a maiden aunt. The cakes in the cases were impossibly high and of course Eddie struck up a conversation with the table next door—a friendly couple transplanted from Boston and New York—that involved disputes over rooting for the Yankees or the Red Sox…
After dinner we drove through Miami, which by night was as fabulous looking as the women dressed for an evening on the town. At one point we were stopped in traffic in front of a dinner club that featured a curvaceous live singer with long blond locks in a silver spangled minidress. She strutted into the street and sang to the cars.
“She’s going to make the cars stop!” complained the shocked younger boy.
“I LIKE IT!” crowed the older boy. “I like it A LOT!”
That’s how I felt about Miami. We can’t wait to see it tomorrow, by day.
Later on Eddie and I did something we rarely do: we stepped out as a couple. We left the boys to eat cake and fall asleep in front of the Olympics as we took a drive to the casino just down the street. It felt strange, but after a few calls that assured us everything was okay we relaxed and enjoyed ourselves for a few hours.
Okay, first I want to admit it wasn’t even the quarter slots—we were playing the penny and nickel slot machines, but I started with a twenty-dollar bill and walked away with $130 more in my wallet then when I arrived. That’s big winnins’ for the likes of me, and it was an especial pleasure that Eddie also only won about $12.
I’ll admit I was feeling lucky, whatever that means. And I’m glad we knew, somehow, when it was time to stop.
On the way out, however, I started to feel uneasy. The place was rather barren on the outside and the parking lot didn’t seem to have much security. The walk to the van seemed long and I was kicking myself for being what started to feel reckless. I kept picturing the boys, alone in our hotel room…
There was an unmarked police car that pulled away as we were nearing our car, and as it disappeared I watched a car many rows ahead of us pull out of its space and creep toward us. I was overwhelmd by a very bad feeling.
No one was around and when the car approached our row it turned in a few spaces down from us. I looked at Eddie and cried, “Get in the van!” and made a spectacle of myself by running and jumping into in the back seat on the driver’s side, which was the closest door. Eddie looked bewildered but followed suit and jumped behind the wheel.
We pulled out just as the guy who had pulled up next to us was getting out the car.
“Didn’t you see that?” I gasped. “Why would he pull up to us like that when he was already parked farther down in the lot? And just as the police car left?”
“I didn’t see that,” Eddie said quietly. “I guess we got lucky.”
Who knows what might have happened? Maybe nothing. While I’m not normally a betting woman, but I’d wager we got out of there just in time. Just like I was feeling lucky inside the casino, I trusted those same instincts that told me that our luck had run out.
And now, typing this, my rush of fear and adrenalin has finally subsided. I’ve eaten the chocolate cake and am watching the night city skyline through the balcony windows. The wind is blowing the palm trees around, and the boys are safely sleeping. I can hear the rain, a lovely sound, and I can’t help but hear Eddie’s lusty snoring, also, tonight, a lovely sound. I’m ready to turn in and read a bit by the light of my Kindle, before drifting off to sleep in this lovely, lovely hotel room.
p.s. I’m sure that extra $130 will come in handy as we complete this vacation, but I’ve also decided that I’d rather be safe than lucky.