March 25, 2012
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A muffled knock sounded through the heavyset door.

“Who is it?” my mom asked me from the bathroom.

“Oh, probably Jess. I told her to come over when she was done showering,” I replied, while jumping off the bed.

“Well, go somewhere else. It’s getting too crowded in here, and I still need to change and do my make-up,” she directed.

I pulled down the handle while lugging the door open, and stepped out next to Jess. My family and Jess’s family were on vacation in the Bahamas during winter break. It was just a dream come true--on a cruise with my best friend and our families. So, here we were calling the ship, Norwegian Sky, our home for three days.

“Jess! I missed you!...for the last ten minutes,” I giggled gleefully.

Rolling her eyes, Jess replied, “Yeah, because I was gone for such a long time! Anyway, what are we doing in the hallway?”

I smiled at her classic sarcasm and quickly explained what my mom had said.

“Well, can we go eat? I’m starving and swimming totally drained me,” Jess said.

“OMG! Yes! I’m about to faint! Let’s go,” I agreed, taking off down the hallway.

Stumbling and laughing our way up the stairs, we arrived at the deck panting. Smells wafted tickling my nose, making my mouth water as I forgot all about my fatigue.

Jess and I quickly grabbed plates and joined the crowd around the huge buffet. My eyes widened as we approached the first marble counter, which was completely covered with trays of appealing appetizers. Cubes of Swiss, American and Cheddar cheeses made my mouth salivate. Then the scent of freshly made soups and baked bread tore me away from everything else. Freshly prepared biscuits, toasted Italian bread, sliced garlic bread and French croissants called to me. As I glanced at my plate, I found that I had already covered three quarters of it. I knew if I kept going my plate would soon be overflowing, but I couldn't control myself as the rest of the buffet beckoned.

My eyes popped out as I look down at the next few counters: French fries, potato wedges, pastas topped with melting cheese, macaroni smothered in butter; anything I could imagine was awaiting me.

Finally, when Jess and I stepped away from the counters, we lugged our overflowing plates to the nearest table and plopped into the chairs. Ravenously, we dug into the delicious food filling our stomachs slowly, but surely. Suddenly, something grinded into the back of my head, making me jump out of my food stupor. I whipped around and found my 19 year old brother grinning down at me. I rolled my eyes as Jess and Eric laughed openly at my “stupidity”.

Desperate to change the subject, I asked Eric, “Watcha going to do for the rest of today?”

“Eh, don’t know yet, but gonna head back to the room really quick and check the game on T.V.” he replied.

“Oh, well will you tell mom we’re on the deck eating?”

Eric gave me a thumb up, mussed my hair and walked away. I turned back towards my food and Jess happily.

“Look! The sun is setting! Let’s go watch it,” Jess suggested.

We picked up our plates and scurried over to the table at the edge of the deck. A wave of tranquility came over us as we stared out at the perfectly shaped sun--no clouds, no wind, just the perfect ball of fire falling into the ocean. Jess and I started talking leisurely as the golden ball of fire just showed its tip over the horizon.

“Let’s go back to your room,” I suggested. Jess nodded and we started to make our way back. That’s when all the peace we just had flew down the drain.

Jess slipped her room card into the slot and yanked the door open. We both toppled onto the beds, when the phone rang sharply. Jess groaned and tripped her way over to the phone, picking up quickly. Her eyes widened as she said, “Okay” and turned towards me, holding out the phone.

“Your mom…and she’s definitely mad,” she reported.

I rolled my eyes and thought, “What happened THIS time?” That’s when I was assaulted by a shrieking voice making me flinch.

“Emily Hong, just WHERE do you think you’ve been in the last two hours!? I have been waiting for you in our room for at least two hou- you know what? Come over here. NOW.”

I heard the phone click on the other line, as I continued to stare at the phone, completely stunned.

Shakily I said, “Jess, we need to go to my room. FAST!”

Silently, we raced over to my room where I timidly knocked on the door. The door flung open, revealing my mom, red-faced and looking more furious then I had seen her in years.

“Come in here,” she ordered angrily.

This is when I knew she was irate, because she was yelling in half English- half Mandarin. Unwillingly, I stepped into the room pulling Jess with me.

“Emily, do you have any idea how worried I’ve been? This ship is huge! How could you just disappear? I told you to go over to Jessica’s room and wait till I called you back over and you just leave!?” she ranted.

“Whoa, whoa, WHOA! You never told me to go to Jessica’s room! You just told us to go somewhere else,”

“I did not! I specifically told you to go to her room to wait so we could then do something together! You understand this is a family vacation! Not an independent sport! And then, to make things worse, you don’t tell me where you go!”

“Hey! That’s not true! I told Eric to tell you we were eating in the buffet! He told us he was coming back to the rooms and he would let you know!”

“Don’t blame this on someone els-“

“Blame? BLAME!? I’m just telling you and explaining wh-“

“Don’t interrupt me!” she screamed loudly.

My own anger blew upwards as my mom continued to scream. I could no longer contain myself when I broke in screaming just as loud.

“You know what? Who cares? I’m just gonna leave,” as I grabbed my bag.

“Fine! GO! You don’t have your card, I have it! How are you going to get back in?”

“Who cares!? I’m never stepping back into this room because you’ve been in it!”

Before she could respond, I stalked over to the door and flung it open, slamming it behind me. Just as I was about to take off down the hallways, I remembered I had left Jess inside the room with my unreasonable, inane, irate mother. I sighed and leaned against the wall, deciding to wait for her. Seconds later she stumbled out of the room, face flushed red. I raised my eyebrow questioningly as she looked at me with frightened eyes. I motioned her forward; curious about what had happened after I stormed out.

“What happened?” I attempted to ask coolly.

“I, like, said I’m sorry we left without letting you, uh know. I’m uh, just uh, gonna go now,” she stuttered.

I snorted and laughed hysterically. Trying to act like I didn't care, I continued to walk.

“Whatever, she’ll get over herself. Let’s go to your room for now,” I said calmly. “No, wait. I’m gonna get a new room card. Remember the guy who said I had to get my new card? Well, now’s the time. Come with?”

“I guess. What’s going to happen next?” she asked questioningly.

“Who cares? Let’s just go get me another card, then we can go back to your room,” I responded.

I pounded down the stairs to the third floor where the customer’s service desk was located.

“Hi, how can I help you ma’am?” the man at the desk asked.

“Good afternoon. I need a new room card for room 912. Mine stopped working and they told me to get a new one this morning.” I said.

“Is your name Emily Hong?”


“Well, I have it right here. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

“It’s okay. Have a nice day,” I replied. I turned back toward Jess and we started towards her room on the eighth floor in silence. Jess broke the silence, still sounding shaken up.

“I have never seen your mom so mad. Ever. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so mad, period!” she exclaimed.

“Well, I’m not about to go and fix things up. She was being so unreasonable and she knows it,” I replied adamantly.

“Emily, you can’t just avoid her! What are you going to do tonight? Stay out in the hallway? Then what? It’s the last night of the cruise. How are you going to survive the car ride back?” she inquired while sliding her room card into the slot.

“Puh-lease. She’ll come and find me. Duh! She’ll crack first, I know her,” I answered as if it was a given.

“Okay…if you say so,” Jess said doubtingly.

Just to pass the time we played cards half- heartedly in the 30 minutes we waited. I attempted to crack a few jokes, but Jess glanced at me like I was mental. I was just about to ask what was wrong when the phone rang. Jess hurriedly rushed towards the phone as I watched her.

“H-hello? Oh, uh yeah. She’s right here,” she spluttered. I rolled my eyes and went to answer the phone.

“What!?” I asked into the phone gruffly.

“We need to talk. Come back…alone,” my mom directed sounding dead-calm, which scared me even more on the inside.

“Yeah, whatever,” I replied and hung up.

“Okay, she wants me to go back. Alone see? I told you she’d call. Kay uh I’ll se-“I was interrupted by the phone again.

Jess glanced at me as she picked up the phone again. This time she started talking with a new flare in her.

“Mom, we didn’t just walk off! It’s not like that,” she pouted exasperatedly. “Ugh, fine.”

“Ugh, my mom wants us to head over. She says be nice and it was our fault. I’ll be in your brother’s room right next to you. Everyone’s in there,” Jess reported.

“Kay let’s go,” I said, getting up slowly.

We walked out of the room when I noticed Jess was carrying a huge bottle of wine.

“Huh?” I asked point at the bottle.

“Oh, ha ha. My mom told me to bring it for your brother. God knows how they can think about wine right now,”

Despite the terrible situations we were in I started giggling. Jess joined in when we suddenly arrived in front of the “rooms of doom”.

Suddenly, my anger came rushing back and I gritted my teeth. I breathed in, trying to control my anger, and also my frightened, frayed nerves. I pulled out my card, determined to open the door to my own room and slid it into the slot. Waving a last farewell to Jess, I pushed the door open walking towards the fire awaiting me!

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