I'm in New York to visit family, Daniel, but you're not here. I went to where your body rests a couple of times, but you're not there. You will always be right with me. You're never so far I don't think of you, but not close enough to touch. I miss you.
(Everyone, I will be back home on the 2nd of April. I will return to writing more then.)
We did again go to the table we shared with the others that evening.Our friends again greeted us with the absence of Linda and Bert Benson.No surprise there, they were on their honeymoon.The conversations were pleasant, but we were different now, at least for me.It seemed to be different for Tony as well.We enjoyed our friends like we always did, but…we were calmer.I can’t describe it better.We still laughed and joked, but the feeling was just different.For me.I was more aware of Tony.Why did it take something like this unknown to make me aware of him?
The next day I woke alone in bed.The sun was barely up.I didn’t hear anything from the bathroom.Sitting up I could hear some tapping on the keyboard of the computer downstairs.I was curious.Tony did business on the computer, but…this early?I know, time zones and all that, but those trends with the global market did change quickly, but Tony didn’t do too much of the fast trade…things.He guided his clients and us on more solid, long term investing.Getting up I walked downstairs.I chuckled to myself seeing Tony hadn’t bothered to put anything on.I looked down at myself.I hadn’t either.I saw the screen and I saw the airline we were taking from LAX to go to Charleston.Only he was making changes.
“Would I be bothering you to ask if you’re changing the flight to Boston?”I asked as I reached to bottom floor.
Tony looked up and smiled at me.“No!”He rose greeting me with a nice kiss.“You agreed.You sort of have to go to Boston, too.”
“We sail another eight or nine days.”I said shrugging as he turned and sat again at the desk.
Tony gave a shrugging nod.“You know me.”He said helplessly.“I don’t go anywhere without a plan.Planning ahead with reservations and confirmed flights…”
I chuckled putting my arms around him from behind, kissing the top of his head.“I don’t either.I made advanced reservation at the Ellerbe Springs Bed and Breakfast a month early.”
Tony nodded chuckling.“Is that why we always get the Eleonore Roosevelt Suite?”
“That’s right, but have you ever seen it crowded?”I chuckled.“I just don’t like taking chances.”
Tony grinned.“No, not really.Besides, the more advanced, the greater the chances we get the best room.”Tony said logically.“I’ve booked at a great hotel in Boston.The Omni Parker House.It’s near where we need to be.”He hit the confirm icon.“I got us a suite there.”He turned giving me a look like he was expecting something.He shook his head.“You’re not questioning that?”
“Nope.Are you finished with this?”I asked pointing to the computer.
I pulled him up kissing him as he rose.“When this unknown happened with you.I became aware of our mortality.My brush with death, you’re…” I patted his chest, “whatever…I don’t care about some things anymore.My ridiculous worry about spending money…it doesn’t matter to me now.”I chuckled.“My tiny side of the closet is catching up with your side.I will still be me, but…you had us sign those Powers of Attorney pretty quickly after we got together.You plan ahead.”
Tony gave a shrug and nod.“It’s what I do.”He grinned wrapping his arms around me.“As I said before…this could be nothing.”He rubbed his chest.“But cancer is in my family.Kathy was right, too.It’s not so much if I will get it, but when.With treatment, even if it is cancer…I could live quite a few years.”
It hurt to hear, but he was right.I nodded.“Yes, you could.You and I will do all we can to make sure you do.”I brought him into a longer kiss, probing his lips more.“I’m also not worried about offending anyone now.You and I will be married.Legally.”
“In Massachusetts.”Tony laughed.
“You said…when it becomes legal in South Carolina we’ll already be married.”I pointed out.“If fact, I am going to make it a point to kiss you in the middle of King and Calhoun Streets back in Charleston.Any accidents as a result is their faults, not ours.”
Tony looked startled.“We could be shot!”
“Really?”I asked dourly.“With what we’ve gone through…you think I care what some rednecks in Charleston could think!?”I shook my head.“I am not ashamed of loving you.I’m proud you married me.I’m not hiding us anymore.We didn’t in New York, Rome or Edinburgh.We don’t even do it in Derby, North Carolina!I’m not concerned about what anyone thinks anymore.I love you, Tony!”
Tony’s smile grew.“Okay.I guess we’ll be out everywhere!I love you, Mitch.”
We had another day at sea and we really didn’t leave the stateroom.We had coffee and breakfast delivered to our suite.We did venture out about lunch time strolling on the deck with no destination.We just talked.This was the Queen Mary 2.There was a difference on this ship than the Oosteram where we were followed by Sasha.The Oosterdam was not a party ship.Everyone on this great ship was on vacation, sure, but other than that one man who won his way on the Queen Mary where he clearly didn’t belong and would never fit in.The whole feeling was more…subdued.There were children on board, but they were children.They would sometimes run to a destination and even squeal as kids did, but mostly it was calm and tranquil.
“I thought we could pop in and see Kathy and Al on the way home.”Tony suggested out of the blue.
“Sure.”I nodded.“You carry your work with you and I don’t have a job…”
Tony looked at me surprised and frowned.“Not that I care.”Tony said quickly.“I know you’re doing some work for causes, but if you wanted to return to work…”
I laughed wrapping my arm tighter around his middle as we walked together.“Tony…” I shook my head.“There are millions in our account.”I gave a slight shake of the head at that thought.“I never thought it would be on a bank account with my name on it, but it is.That concept was hard to sink in my head.”I smiled.“I like to work.I work when I need to.”I shrugged. “It’s sort of nice to realize it’s not to keep a roof over my head anymore.That was a hard one to accept, but I have and I knew you work hard to earn that.”I turned then looked at Tony as we strolled.“Will we be back by Thanksgiving?”
Tony nodded with a chuckle.“Yes, the day before.There is a waiting period of three days in Massachusetts.We marry, go visit Kathy and Al, then go to Charleston.”
“I guess I need to reserve the Elenore Roosevelt Suite again.”
We got to Sir Samuel’s for our coffees again at about three o’clock and saw the same large figure again.Apparently the big Russian and we had the same desire for caffeine at this time.He was alone speaking to the attendant there.
“Large coffee…” he said in heavily accented English holding his hands far apart and frowned, “…is strong.”He thought of the word.
I walked up and put my hand on his large back.“Вы хотите, чтобы ваш обычный большой эспрессо?”I asked with a chuckle at him.
Ivan turned with an instant, delighted smile.“My dear friend!!”He stated happily and hugged me.“Yes!Katya took the translator while she was shopping.My large espresso!Yes.”
I nodded to the attendant.“My friend here wants a large Egyptian Coffee and Double Espresso, iced.”I looked at Ivan.“Вы хотите взбитые сливки на вершине, не так ли?”I asked if he wanted the whipped cream.
“Yes!”Ivan nodded happily.“I was going to add that wonderful coffee and chocolate drizzle on the top.”
I grinned.“I got it.”I told that to the attendant.
Ivan looked and smiled grandly at Tony.“Tony!!My dear friend!”He hugged Tony giving a light swinging back and forth movement for them.“That translator is great…when I have it.”He chuckled.“I am interested in that addition that can scan and read English and display it in Russian!”
Tony nodded.“It’s being worked on now.Once they begin testing, you will get one…” he looked at Ivan’s empty hands, “or two.”
“Everyone that sees it wants one.”Ivan pointed out.“Yes, this will be huge!They ask me if is available with other languages.”He shrugged.“I say, I don’t know.I imagine there are.Russian to English is not easy, but there is the translator, so?It would be foolish not to!”
Tony nodded.“That’s why Mitch and I are investing in it.”He looked at my not surprised look.Translating from Russian to English, there were words that don’t have the same meaning.He frowned.“We need a computer…” he switched to English and asked me, “memory?”
I shrugged and thought.“Память компьютера?”
Ivan nodded understanding.“I see.”
“To include languages…and several languages takes a good bit of memory to...” Tony frowned again and asked me in English.“Process?”
Tony gave a shrug.“How do you…” he shook his head.“Nevermind.”He went back to Russian.“Need a big computer brain!”Then he looked at me.“You are fluent in Russian!”He said in declaration.
I chuckled but shook my head as I took Tony’s coffee from the attendant.“No, not yet.You’re fluent when you think in that language.When you have dreams in a language…I do in Italian and I’ve had dreams with Russian in it, but I’m not quite fluent as I would like.I still miss words, like I did with teddy bear.”I handed Tony his big coffee.“Like this.I think coffee…” I grinned at Tony, “or kawfee for you,” Tony rolled his eyes, “but it’s also кофе in Russian and caffè in Italian.I don’t have to translate them anymore. I know what this is all those languages. It’s all three and I know what it is in all three without going to English.Words like pew and other technical terms, I still do.”
Ivan laughed heartily.Really, I didn’t think he knew how to laugh any other way.“I get it!”He looked at Tony and raised a finger.“But!!I think it more lucrative, Tony!!You have to have discs with the programs to load.They want a new language, the buy more!” He spread his hands out saying it was obvious.“It is more profit!”
I got my latte.“Spoken like a true businessman.”
“Supply and demand.”Tony said simply.“It will be what they demand and what we can supply.”He shrugged.
Ivan nodded.“For a price.”He smiled a little deviously.“I think those Moscow would love to have it.Government officials would enjoy not struggling with languages from other countries.”
“The Kremlin.”I grinned.
“Of course.”Ivan nodded.“It is not just the Kremlin.The Federal Assembly and Parliament are spread across Moscow.St. Petersburg is another major city with many government offices there.We have many parties, but the President and Prime Minister deals with many from other officials from many countries who may or may not have a good understanding of Russian.The President is the dominate power, but…international understanding takes understanding of language.”Ivan drank some of his espresso.“That translator and the program could make things easier.It would also eliminate possible…misunderstandings.”
Tony nodded.“It would.Someone like me who isn’t as fluent might miss words or not understand all words spoken.Don’t they have things there to interrupt?”
“Yes, but to keep a small device with you that does the job, be it one man to another or one man to a group, if they all have this translator…which is easy to use and portable like that one is.It’s better!”
Tony nodded again.“The group that designed the program and…” he looked at me again and said in English.“Do I ask if you know algorisms?”
I grinned at Tony.“Don’t hate me if I do, but its Алгорисмс.”
“Of course, you do.”Tony rolled his eyes and blew a frustrated breath.“What he said.The algorisms are pretty complicated.The more languages and the more algorisms needed.That’s why they are looking for the bigger…computer brain to hold it all.”
Ivan laughed again, hitting Tony in the back again with a little more force that he realized making Tony almost grunt.“Do not worry, Tony!You do very well!!If we could just deal with that accent.”
“Am I interrupting?”We heard Katya ask as she came up with her purchases.She stood on tiptoe to kiss Ivan who even bent down a little and it was still a stretch.She looked at his coffee and then Tony and mine.“So, no coffee for me?”She asked a little testily, but her eyes said she was joking.
“I didn’t know when you’d be back!”Ivan defended.“And you had the translator.If our dear good friends hadn’t rescued me, I wouldn’t have mine!”He grinned at me.“Just like that first time with the extra starch.”
I grinned and patted his beefy arm.“That was fated.”
Ivan nodded seriously.“I believe it was.”He looked at Tony and then me.It was much more quietly as Ivan said.“I mean what I say.You two are truly becoming very dear friends to me and Katya.I hope we become old, best and dear friends.”
Tony’s arm went around me.“I hope so.”Then way he said it to me spoke volumes.
We agreed to see Adelaide with Ivan and Katya.As Deon Girard said…or was it her husband Rene?Anyway, I had come on the ship with Tony.Ivan and Katya came on the ship together.We knew who was important.
Tony was awake as we lay together after we’d enjoyed each other…thinking.
“Turn it down.”I chuckled telling him quietly.
“Huh?”Tony asked, distracted from his thoughts.He smiled at me.“Sorry.I was just thinking.”
Scooting up I kissed him gently.“I saw that and practically heard you think.It didn’t look distressed.Can I find out what it was about?”
Tony gave a sheepish look and nodded with a smile.“Ivan was right.”Tony said.“They used that translator when they shopped.”He chuckled.“According to Ivan, every time they used it, whoever was serving them wanted one.”
“Right.”I said propping on my elbow looking down at him waiting for more.
Tony shrugged.“Well, just like governments need a translator, a ship like these needs one, too.”He waved a hand stating the obvious.“Most of the passengers speak English, most ships have personnel that can speak them…when you can find them, but occasionally, couples like Ivan and Katya come onboard that don’t.”
“You want to sell something like our translators to the Queen Mary?”
Tony rolled his eyes and shook his head.“Well…one day, but the thing is the memory and processer need to be bigger to do that.”Then I saw his face light up.“Or do they?”
“You said so.”
Tony nodded.“Yes, it does, but…what if the ship had the language program loaded onboard?”He turned quickly facing me smiling more and said excitedly.“With the Wi-Fi connections the device only has to link with the ship’s computer.The languages selection is done individually.That requires memory and processors.”His eyes got a look that told me he was thinking again.“They would have to carry a handheld device like what we used and what we gave Ivan and Katya, but the device is linked to that processor would be elsewhere on the ship.It could even work while the passengers are off ship shopping or whatever.”
“But to use it worldwide…”
Tony nodded knowing what I was going to say.“Yes, we need a bigger computer that can be accessed by satellite.There are cellphone towers everywhere now.The individual devices would need connections by those towers from wherever, but the processor would be in one or two places.”
“Internet speeds and data transfers would be by whatever service used, but not on a ship like this.”I nodded.
“We’ll be on the ground floor with this.”Tony said happily as he rolled us over so he was on top looking down on me.“I did sink a good portion of our money in this.The guys designing the program are a group of students and just wanted to make a fast buck.They did!”He grinned.“It is our company, Mitch.”
“Our company.”I repeated.
Tony nodded and gave a shrug.“Our software, but if Ivan puts in money with us, we can buy into the hardware part, too.This is a beginning for us.If we do this…Ivan and Katya will be our friends forever!”
“Oh, you really want Ivan.”I chuckled.
Tony looked surprised as his head went back slightly.“What?”He then grinned and nodded bending down kissing me gently.“And you don’t?You love that big Russian!”I was about to protest and Tony nodded knowing what I’d say.“And Katya, I know.”He kissed me lightly. “You know I only have a thing for Southern mountain raised country boys.”
“And I have a thing for city raised Italians from New York.”
Then he was back on the translator again.“The program will be improved.With the scanning technology is being added…like when we are at the restaurants…Ivan and Katya had to ask us what was said on the menus!With the scanning abilities added, Ivan can scan the menu and see what’s written…in Russian!”He said excitedly.
I couldn’t help it.His excitement about this warmed my heart.My arms went around him tighter.“Hi, Tony!”
Again, Tony’s head went back slightly.“What?”
I pulled his head down into another, longer kiss.“With everything that’s on our minds…you’re coming back again.”
Tony bowed his head slightly and chuckled.“Yes, well…”
I pushed his head up and looking in his eyes and said seriously.“I know…Tony.It is scary.For you.It’s scary for me.I can’t lose you.I won’t lose you.I won’t survive if you go.”
Tony smiled, but a tear formed in the corner of his eye.“I know.I do know how you feel.When,” his voice broke slightly, “Belle hit you and we…I didn’t know if you’d survive…” he shook his head, “I knew I would die if I lost you.”
I nodded.“But I didn’t die.You don’t either!”I pointed at him shaking my finger in his face.“You fight this whatever.”
“If you’re with me, I’ll do better.”He smiled.“But we don’t tell anyone what the doctor finds until we have to.Hopefully, it will be something they can take care of and we won’t have to tell anything.”He nodded again. Yes, we were married, so he could almost read my mind as I could almost read his. “I know…Sasha and David…you will need support.Tell them, but no one else.”He sighed and then shook his finger in my face.“Especially, not Nick.”
“I won’t.”I grinned bringing him in for a deeper kiss.“I love you.”
Tony smiled returning the kiss.“I know you do.I love you.”