I wish the guy had just asked. It would have been so much less embarrassing. But the truth is a better story.
The first two days of, “wedded bliss” were wonderful. A perfect Jamaican breeze flipped my new bride’s ponytail over her left shoulder. Jade wore a sexy pair of cargo shorts and a white sleeveless, ruffly-thing on top. She looked amazing.
Sometimes, when I recount this story, I earn brownie points by telling my audience that her beauty had intoxicated me and I wasn’t thinking clearly. If I had been in full control of my faculties, I wouldn’t have walked back to our suite barefoot on the shell-strewn sidewalk. Mostly, my tender-footed trek was due to my ignorance, and my impeded faculties were a result a pina colada with top shelf rum.
“Ben, look! That sunset cruise we read about in the brochure - it’s leaving in 15 minutes,” Jade pointed to a crooked chalkboard near the gate to our outdoor restaurant.
“Let’s go,” I stuffed the last bite of jerk chicken into my mouth, grabbed her hand and proudly wove my stunning wife through the candlelit tables and toward the beach.
We reached the dock and flashed our room key to the grinning guide, Ralph. I wish real life was all-inclusive! We boarded and chose seats near the bow, nodding politely at the other passengers. Each couple huddled happily in their own romantic bubble, content not to talk to strangers.
We were about 20 minutes into the sunset when I noticed Ralph staring in our direction. Instantly, I was on defense - how dare this guy be ogling my wife! Wisely, before yelling at him, I followed his gaze more closely, ending at my own feet.
“Sir,” Ralph said. “I like your shoes.” Oh, that’s all.
“Teva’s,” I replied. “They’re really comfortable.”
“I bet I can tell you where you got them shoes,” Ralph said.
“I didn’t get them here. I bought them nearly two years ago, in the States,” I thought Ralph was crazy.
“Sir, I bet you $50 I can tell you where you got those shoes.” By now the entire crew of couples had broken their bubbles and were staring at my feet.
“I don’t have any cash on me,” I said. “But I’ll bite. If you can tell me where I got these shoes, I’ll give them to you.”
“Even better,” Ralph seemed very pleased. “I been needin’ a new pair of shoes.”
“OK, Ralph, where did I buy my shoes?” I winked at Jade. Who expects to make money on a honeymoon in Jamaica?
“Sir, I don’t have a clue where you bought them,” Ralph smirked congenially, “but I know you got them on your feet.”
There’s biblical saying like, “If a man asks for your jacket give him your shirt, too.” I don’t know that I could be persuaded to undress and give away my wardrobe to just anybody, but I had to admire Ralph’s wit. Even more compelling, I heard a man mutter to his wife, “Men who don’t keep their end of bargains get tossed overboard.”
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