up in the napkin.
She turned to Bjorn, straight backed.

   “Well, it would not have happened if you kept to the meal times.” Erna said.

   “Are you angry with me?” Bjorn said, eye brow cocked.

   “A little bit.” Erna said, she suddenly felt small under his gaze.

   “Then why didn’t you wake me up?” Bjorn responded as if he was the wounded party in this conversation.

   “It…is it okay to wake you?” Erna said

   When Bjorn had finally woken up, he noticed that it was already past nine.
He figured Erna had forgotten their dinner date, so took a lazy shower to wash away the sleep and went to the lounge.
Only to find his wife sat having dinner by herself.
Stuffing half a steak into her mouth like some ravenous beast.

   “Of course.
You wont be thrown in jail for waking me for our dinner date.” Bjorn laughed.
“Well, maybe…”

   Bjorn sat in his chair and food was hastily placed in front of him.
He smiled at his wife and began to eat slowly.
Erna watched him Bjorn like a hawk and resumed her meal as Bjorn did.
Bjorn couldn’t help but think how cute she looked, making delicately small cuts.

   They began talking as naturally as if they had been talking the whole day away.
At first, Erna was still a little heated, making remarks like she was still trying to express her unresolved anger, but she quickly fell into her usual manner and they spoke as if considering their usual, daily routine, like a chirruping bird.

   “Is this your first time on a boat?” Bjorn said, a smile on his lips as he listened to Erna talk about her exploration of the cruise ship.

   “No, second.” She replied, pausing as she was putting peas in her mouth.


   “Yes, the first time was when we were on the lake, remember.” Erna said, finally managing to get the peas into her mouth.

   Not realising it wasn’t a joke, Bjorn burst out laughing.
It was always like that.
Erna could always make people laugh without trying, or even meaning too.
The light in the room got brighter and the gloomy shadows retreated to the corners.
It didn’t feel so vast and empty any more.

   Bjorn laughed until his cheeks tingled and rang the small bell to call the attendant.
Soon after, a servant came in with a bottle of wine.

   As he watched the dark liquid fill the glass, he was reminded of Gladys.
Their honeymoon had been much different.
She spent most of the time crying or engrossed in other things, while he was busy working.
Even as they sat together for dinner, there was not much interaction, like a wall was put up between them.
They had not shared a single decent conversation through the whole course of their honeymoon.
Not like this.

   The servant finished pouring his wine and moved around the table to fill Erna’s glass.
Just as he tipped the bottle, Bjorn stopped him.

   “No, do not fill my wife’s glass.” He ordered.

   “Why, I can have a drink too.” Erna said, frowning at Bjorn.

   “I know.” Bjorn said.

   “Then why?”

   “You have to study.”

   “Oh, oh my.”

  Bjorn slowly emptied his glass as he looked at Erna.
Even if she was irritable, he could no longer think of Gladys when he was with her.
He could now see why he had never visited Erna for the last two weeks.

   “Why are you looking at me like that? You asked me to teach you, right?” Bjorn said, filling his glass himself.

   “Yes, but…” Erna looked at her plate with impatience.
All that was left was some peas and a potato.
If she knew this was going to happen, she would not have eaten so much, so fast.

   “Are you finished eating?”

   Bjorn leaned back in his chair with the wine glass.
Erna’s cheeks went a peach colour that reminded Bjorn of that first night.

   “Wait, I need to wash first,” Erna said sternly.

   “Then go and wash.” Bjorn said, sipping at the wine.
The glass was already empty again.

   “No, I mean, I need to take a shower.”

   Bjorn put down the empty glass and made to stand up, but Erna urgently begged.
Bjorn’s forehead wrinkled as he looked at the confusing mess of his wife, she had enticed him on and now wanted to run away?

   “Please, I need some time.” Erna said.


   “I just finished eating.”


   “So…what if I…throw up.” Erna looked ashamed.

   It was a remark that hurt his pride.
She felt like vomiting when they made love? Bjorn tried to laugh it off, thinking he understood a little better after realising Erna’s small frame and the empty plate.

   “Yeah, you’re right,” Bjorn poured another glass of wine.
“That would be awkward.”

   He winked at her and Erna got up.
He couldn’t help but chuckle to himself as he watched her leave the solarium and buy herself some time, so she didn’t throw up.

   It seemed like the start of a not so bad honeymoon.

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