Friday, July 31, 2009

St. John, USVI

We were engaged on February 16th, 2002 and were to be married on October 5th of the same year. My future inlaws were retiring from the Minnesota education system that June, so they planned a trip for all of us to go to St. John together. This trip would be the first time I would meet them and we were all spending two weeks together in a villa overlooking Great Cruz Bay.

Our trip from Seattle had a layover in Newark. Turns out, my future inlaws were going to be on the same flight from Newark to St. Thomas. Our flight arrived in Newark first and we sat waiting at the gate for our departing flight and for Brett's parents and sister to arrive. I think it had been at least a year or longer since Brett had seen his parents. I remember when they walked up to us...the came and they sat down across from us. Being the outsider, I just kinda sat there observing and taking it all in. I thought it strange. After all, if my parents hadn't seen me in over a year they'd be hugging me with a death grip. I didn't really know what to think. I knew they weren't a close family, but this was very distant in comparison to what I've always known. But, they seemed nice enough, his sister just sort of followed his parents around and echoed whatever they said.

When we got to St. Thomas we had to wait for the "ferry" (I use the term loosely because the ferry we got was not what this Washington girl was expecting) in Charlotte Amalie to take us to Cruz Bay, St. John. I thought I was in a dream or a movie. I had never seen anything like this...the turquoise blue water, the beautiful villas on the hillsides. It was absolutely spectacular and like nothing I'd ever seen in real life before. I felt very lucky: I was in paradise and I was in love.

It didn't take very long for the trip to take a turn for the worse. I don't recommend introducing your future spouse to your parents and forcing them to spend two weeks together in tight quarters. Not really a great idea. The days were typically pretty good. Every day was a new and different beach and I was having a blast riding around with my guy in a Jeep in paradise. By about 4pm everyday we'd all hit Woody's bar together. This family likes to drink, oops, I mean "have a good time." Usually we'd get around to having dinner back at the villa around 11pm and I'm sure you can imagine a lot of "fun" had been had by that hour of the night.

There were several nights that fights arose: some nights it was because of something one of his parents said that pissed him off. Some nights it was because his mother said something about exgirlfriends that pissed me off. Sometimes it was Brett getting annoyed with his sister and then with his parents for getting in the middle of it. We decided we needed a little break away, so we took another "ferry" to Tortola for a couple of days. It was the best part of the trip for me. I finally felt like I could relax and I felt like Brett was not so uptight and having to worry about taking care of his parents and sister. We had a beautiful time together on Tortola and I remember the morning we left and feeling sad that we had to go back to the villa on St. John.

Well, after we got back, it didn't last long. Another late night fight and we decided to find our own place the next day. We found a great room at Gallow's Point Resort overlooking Cruz Bay. It was gorgeous. We only had two nights left on the island, but we wanted to have them stress-free. It was relaxing to be on our own again.

Of course, we were all on the same departing flight back to Newark. We hadn't seen his parents since we left the villa until we got to the airport. Nobody spoke. His parents didn't speak to us, nor us to them. Again, this was very foreign to me. Granted, I've had bouts with my parents where we have gone without speaking, but had my parents lived in another state and this was their last chance to see me, they never would have left without making amends. But his did. It was extremely awkward and uncomfortable and in hindsight, it was a huge red flag, but I chose to ignore it.

When we returned to Seattle, I sent my future family a card and a book. I apologized for the way things happened on our vacation and said I hoped that we could all look past it and chalk it up to strangers having to share tight quarters for too long. I never heard from them. My mother in law sent Brett a letter, handwritten, several pages long, basically telling him that I'm not what she envisioned for his wife.

The next time I saw them was at McMillan's Restaurant at Roche Harbor two nights before our wedding. It was that night that I found myself sobbing in my best friend's cabin saying..."I can't go through with this."

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