I usually write about the positives in my life. I’m blessed with a healthy family and a beautiful home. I have a dream job with regular travel and extreme adventures. Sure I have good and bad days, but with all of that happiness, I don’t usually have time to focus on the negatives. Something happened at Zozo’s restaurant in St. John, USVI, though, that had such a deep impact on me, I have to share.
I was traveling with a small group of journalists and PR and Zozo’s at The Sugar Mill was our last dinner together in USVI before parting ways. Everything was magnificent. Surrounded by a setting sun, deer grazing in the field, and lush mountains, I was feeling especially grateful for my time in the US Virgin Islands.
I was enjoying the company of Rachel Rudwall, Host/Producer/Editor of How 2 Travelers and Rachel Roams and my 9 oz beef tenderloin was one of the best steaks I’d eaten. Life was good.
Mid conversation with Rachel, I was distracted by a woman staggering toward the kitchen in an expensive “romper”. She pushed her back against the wall and started to do what I can only describe as attempted karate moves. The movements weren’t directed at anyone… just the air. Around the corner was the curtain-covered entrance to the kitchen. Listening carefully, she waited until the waitress approached. She aggressively grabbed the curtain, twirled around it, and ended up behind the waitress. Stalking behind her, she said, “I wanted to tell you about the ice cream”. The waitress continued walking and returned to the kitchen without addressing her.
About the time the lady pushed herself against the wall, I nudged Rachel to show her what was happening. The lady returned to her table after the encounter with the waitress and we nervously laughed about what just happened. I assumed she had a little too much wine and we joked about what we thought really happened.
I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve put on a drunken show a few times in my life, maybe not in a restaurant during dinner but it still happened, so I wasn’t really judging her. I just thought it was bizarre and funny.
We finished our dinner at the same time as her table and as they made their way outside, I curiously followed a few steps behind. It was entertaining and I was interested.
She continued the show outside, dancing wildly with her two children and her husband. They were in a large group with several other adults and a few kids. No one seemed annoyed with her behavior and she passionately kissed her husband several times while waiting for a taxi.
Ok. Fair enough. She’s having fun. No harm. No one is driving and the kids are having fun with their mother. And that man is definitely getting luck tonight.
Then, the situation started to go from funny and entertaining to a little scary and sad. My heart broke for her, her husband, and her children.
The husband asked her what she did with “the money.” She started yelling at him and saying that she didn’t touch it.
He said, “We’re talking about thousands of dollars here. Where is it?”
Again, she yelled back, “I don’t have the …. money!” She cursed, yelled, and walked away.
Just then, the taxi arrived. The other adults and the yelling couple’s children got in, but the two parents didn’t. He started to walk away. She stomped behind him yelling and cursing.
The young boy yelled, “Daddy, don’t leave us. Please Daddy” as he started to cry.
My heart is breaking. I want to run to the children. I want to shake the mother for creating this situation or the father. I don’t know if I’m mad or if I just feel sorry for everyone involved.
That was it. Our taxi arrived and we were driven back to the hotel. The rest of the group decided to go downtown and find some nightlife. I said I had work to do and that I was going to call it a night.
I went back to the room and cried. Was this woman hurting to the point of drinking… or worse? Was this a regular occurrence? What happened after they left? Did the kids get back safely? The parents? I was greatly affected.
Darren and I fight. We’re not above having arguments. Is anyone? I really don’t know. Sometimes Athena is around when it happens. Have I ever, inadvertently, made Athena feel that way? Have I yelled at Darren in front of her? The whole situation was a grave reminder of the affects our relationships have on children and ourselves.
Mixed with sadness for what just happened and joy for my relationship with Darren, I’ll think about this family, particularly the children, the next time Darren and I have an argument. I will draw on that young boy’s cries and instantly be reminded of how it’s my responsibility to protect Athena even if I’m struggling with something myself.