Yena Magana

Maybe someday we will be shipwrecked on a Pacific Island and need rescue. There are worse things I can think of than being marooned with you, our clothing in shreds, surrounded by coconut palms and teal tidal pools filled with fluorescent yellow fish. I’d grow lean and tan in the sun, make you lots of coral jewelry. We’d sip on coconuts in the sunshine, huddle together during typhoons, and work on getting rescued, as well as making our island more livable in the meantime. There will be lots of flowers, colorful birds chirping from sunup until sunset, and cool breezes along the beach. After a long day of foraging, we could light a fire and make love a thousand times on the beach. We can build a raft out of bamboo and jetsam, sail out to other islands on the atoll, look at crabs skittering in the shallow waters. Eventually, a ship would heed our signal fires and whisk us off the island. Fortunately, it is a passenger boat from the year 1932 that has stumbled through a space/time continuum into the present day. Once aboard, the ladies (colonels’ wives from Hong Kong, a women’s choir from Finland, Filipina courtesans and Japanese geishas, several writers and artists from Manhattan, merchant women from Zanzibar) spirit you away to their quarters and dress you up in scarlet and sea-foam finery. An Albanian princess gives you a large ruby necklace, and regales us with a tale of escape from an arranged marriage with a cruel count who lives in a castle stained with blood. The ship’s captain consults with a German physicist on board, a philandering gentleman with wild hair and a thick mustache, trying to find a way back to 1932. There is a rumor that the violin-playing physicist is the reason why the ship jumped into the future, that he triggered some kind of event through his dark alchemy.

Life on the ship is good; I can finally shave, and dance with you in the ship’s cavernous ballroom, to the rhythms of Raul Reynaldo (born Hyman Blumenstein) and His Royal Orchestra. Raul and his boys play jazz, they play slow, heartbreaking ballads. Miss Maria Rincón, the Nicaraguan Nightingale, in a glittering dress, sings her heart out along with Raul and the boys, songs about bullfighters and revolutions, hacienda girls and sailors, scarlet ribbons and divas. Miss Gigette Deslauriers, in golden braids, plays the accordion and sings songs that we all sing along with, bringing back memories of Paris and Vienna, London and Prague. By the time Gigette sings “As Time Goes By”, there isn’t a dry eye in the ballroom, but as the applause thunders and the musicians bow, I take your white gloved hand and lead you out of the double doors with the circular windows, up the stairs and out on the promenade. Our shoes make clicking hollow sounds on the deck, underscored by the roar of the sea below. I hold you close and tell you that I will love you forever, stare into your eyes that flash brighter than the gigantic ruby around your neck. I hold your waist, and we sway to the faint echoes of the orchestra that seep their way up to the deck. I kiss your ears, the sea rolls on into infinity.

The next day, there is a horrid storm, and everyone is ordered to their cabin. We sit in the sweltering cabin, barely clothed, drinking real French champagne given to us by the ship’s steward who fancies himself as a doting uncle to us. The ship rolls this way and that, lightning and thunder crackling. We laugh, you teach me some Ecuadorean folk song with bawdy lyrics, we tell stories to each other, we cuddle and eventually I kiss my way past your stomach, the ship’s rolling motions accentuating your pleasure as we find the darkness within. At the moment of your climax, the boat does a somersault and we are tossed about the cabin. The porthole breaks, water rushes in, you grab my hand and pull me out of the porthole with you. We float to the surface, and we see the ship pass back into 1932. We, however, are in water that is barely chest-deep, in a sandy cove on the coast of British Columbia.


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