Extraordinary Love

Extraordinary Love

Dec. 31st  1988: Miami, Florida


It was noon and Vivian had resolved

to escape from the hospital.

After all, it was New Year’s Eve.

If she could make her way to the front entrance

her problem would be half-solved.

For once there, she might be able to leave

and grab a cab for the Cruise Port

to meet Henry and enjoy the dance.


Getting out of the Psych ward 

would be a more complicated situation.

This was a high security section

for patients at risk

(suicidal, or other violent intentions)

Vivian was neither

she had long since learned to deal with her plight   

the disfigurement, the burns, 

people’s faces filled with fright.


She knew she was a broken flower  

yet, she was trapped here in psycho-land.

She wanted out... again 

and now, the moment was at hand.

This, not being her first escape

she was ready for it 

and also for tonight’s occasion

in her new lavender dress with its high slit

She knew Henry would be there as planned

They were featuring his favorite band 

at the party on the ”Atlantic Spirit”

the cruise ship known for its

New Year’s Eve celebrations. 


However, the locked and guarded entry door

was like an insurmountable barrier.

It was the only way in, but not her only way out 

Vivian had a plan.

At the other end of the floor

was a locked elevator, a food carrier.

It was noon-time and lunch, no doubt

would be delivered soon 

and the orderly always locks the door open 

as he moves the trays about

but, he always keeps the key.

She had to hope that when they send the food 

they also send the right kind of cart

but this being a holiday eve

she felt certain they would.

The elevator door opened and there it was

a tall-boy tray cart with cover. 

As the orderly took the last tray and left to deliver it,

Vivian slipped in and was covered.


The orderly took the Psych-ward elevator down and exited 

with Vivian right behind him, undetected. 

“Out of the ward,.” She thought. “Now to get to the main door”

She moved through empty corridors

and got to the hospital’s entrance.

It was deserted except for the receptionist.. 

“Perfect, everyone is busy with New Year’s."

A woman in a red dress approached the receptionist.

She was dragging luggage and would soon need a cab.

With both of them occupied Vivian left through the entrance.

The woman in the red dress soon followed.

When she heard the woman say, “The Cruise Port.” 

She knew it was her chance.

With the cab door open 

and the woman dealing with her luggage 

Vivian entered the cab.


When the cabbie and woman returned they said nothing.

The cab pulled out into traffic.

“ Do you mind sharing?” Vivian asked, but to no reply.

“Can you turn the heat up?” The woman cried.

“Sure,” said the Cabbie. “It is getting colder in here. 

 ‘You going on a cruise?  he asked.

“Yes, Aruba” said the woman.

“Don’t go.” Vivian warned.

“Why not?”  the woman asked .

“No, No, that’s a great place.” said the cabbie.

“ Everyone says it’s the best,”

The Cabbie then glanced in his mirror, saw Vivian's face, and gasped

as the cab ran the red light

and was T-boned by a pickup.


The door on Vivian’s side flew open and she was tossed out.

She landed on the pavement but seemed to be unhurt. 

Vivian stood and felt fine. She moved around and checked her dress

No one came to her aid as they all were obsessed

with the crash and the other two victims.

“No one will recognize me here” Vivian thought. 

“I’m far enough away from the hospital.”

She decided to walk the rest of the way to the pier. 

Shortly, she wondered if she had made a mistake. 

It was, perhaps, a longer distance than she could make.

and “What if Henry isn’t there?” 


She trudged on and eventually reached the Cruise Port pier.

“Soon, they will be looking for me” They always have in the past”.

Sirens screamed. Police and ambulance raced onto the pier.

Vivian was terrified. They were surely looking for her.

She hid behind a utility shed.

The police and ambulance passed by the “Atlantic Spirit.”

She now felt free to run onto the gangway and enter the ship

but wait, she was too early and would be noticed.

She remained hidden next to the shed.

Later, a bus and truck arrived.

“Orchestra for the evening ” she realized

Orchestra Miami was signed on the side of the bus. 

Musicians exited and grabbed instruments from the truck.

Vivian waited and simply walked in with them 

hiding her face as much as possible.


Once inside she stopped and hid as the orchestra marched on.

She knew that she must reach Suite 705, Henry’s suite

if only to freshen up before Henry’s arrival.

The crew members were busy making preparations for tonight’s gala

Vivian waited for the elevator the orchestra used. 

When it was empty she entered and hoped no one else will call for it. 

“Success, Deck 7”.

 She pushed the “Door Open” button and exited. 

Not far down the corridor was Suite 705. 

All was quiet as she made her way there..

The door was open, and she entered. 

The suite was empty and bare 

but she saw Henry and was overjoyed

She began to cry,  “Oh, darling I’ve missed you so.”

“Viv, It’s New Year’s again, are you ready?” 

He kissed her, touched her cheek and said

 “You’re as beautiful as ever.”

She replied, “Sweet…….” 


She was interrupted as a steward entered the cabin 

and was followed by a crewman 

carrying a large picture and frame.

“Where shall we put of art? ”  he asked snidely.

“Right here on this wall, same as always.” replied the steward.

The crewman asked, “So what’s this all about. ? Why is this suite empty?

“Oh, you don’t know? Well, this very suite you’re in is haunted.”

“What?” said the crewman in a raised voice. “Are you kidding? Haunted?

“Yes. We don’t assign it to anyone… ever.

 I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re here right now.” The steward answered.

“What happened?” asked the excited crewman.

“8 years ago a young honeymoon couple died here. Well, he did and she died months later at the hospital.

It was a fire and this section of the ship collapsed on them.

They came for our New Year’s celebration and were going to sail with us. 

This was their suite. The fire started above when some revelers got out of hand with fireworks. .. It was very sad.”

“So, why the picture?” the crewman asked. 

“It’s a wedding photo. Their parents asked that we place it on New Year’s Eve, every year. 

We don’t allow anyone in here ….ever.”

They hung the picture and left.


Henry and Vivian heard not a word of the conversation. 

They had slipped into the bedroom of their suite.


  • Fay Slimm.

    Excellent conception of love in this moving short story my friend. - thank you for sharing it.

  • Neville

    an extraordinary love story told extraordinarily well .. yes, very moving indeed ..

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