Chris Martin was ambivalent about his mood today. The downside was the death of his wife who succumbed to cancer of the uterus six months ago. He always considered himself to be a lithe, energetic, inquisitive individual with a rigid adherence to his three by three schedules (three hours workouts three times a week). At the age of forty-five his daughter used to tease him that his five- foot-eight height, thirty-two inch waist, crew-cut sandy-brown hair, unblemished complexion, and grin made him look like a college senior instead of the Executive Director of a major corporation. But the news of his wife's death was like a sledgehammer blow to the small of his back and toppled his world like an oak tree yields to the winds of a category four hurricane. Now he was determined to dispel some of the grief by sailing on a cruise ship from Copenhagen and exploring some northern countries – Denmark, Sweden, Scotland and Northern England.
The mood tilted to the upside when he considered that he was the owner and founder of the Escape Hatch Corporation that reported two billion dollars profits in the past year and the accounting department was preparing the prospectus for an initial public offering (IPO) that was expected to generate another one billion in investor funds. These future events made him feel that his prospects were unlimited. His relaxed confidence was reflected in his attire – polo shirt, shorts and sandals that were a drastic departure from his corporate image that he carefully nurtured at the corporate headquarters in Manhattan. Another major element in the upside slant was his sixteen-year-old daughter, Joy, who was her mother's double - medium height, brown eyes, and flaming red hair that cascaded over her shoulders.
"Where are we going now Dad?"
"You asked me that already. I told you that you would enjoy exploring the restaurants and shops in this airport. Where else would you find mirrors, dryers and sinks in every stall of the rest room. Was I right?" His daughter's response was quick with a compliant tone "Yes Dad, You were right." A big grin accompanied her reply.
He looked at her with an admixture of parental pride and admiration. "It's been six months since your mother died and I figured that it was time for both of us to emerge from our self-imposed isolation and move forward with our lives. I don't want you to forget your mother but I also don't want you to forget that you're young and you have plenty of life ahead of you. To answer your question we're heading to the SUV where the driver will take us to our accommodations on the ship. I've reserved two suites. Each can accommodate two persons. The suites have numerous amenities with a balcony, sitting area and sofa bed . The bathroom has a shower and bath tub. The rooms are internet wired with a computer provided. My room has a full bar and yours has soft drinks and assorted candy and snacks."
"So I'll be alone?"
"You're a young woman. It's time for you to enjoy your own living quarters."
The trip to the cruise ship was uneventful as both father and daughter surveyed the Copenhagen architecture and winding canals through opposite sides of the SUV's passenger windows. Boarding was an equally casual procedure as befits the stature of a VIP who was the CEO of a multinational corporation. Chris' administrative assistant had efficiently submitted the multiple nuisance forms including photo IDs required before boarding. As Chris and Joy followed the luggage carriers to the gang plank they ignored the jealous grumbling complaints of the multitude in the winding queues awaiting their turn for the required interrogation in order to board. After unpacking and unwinding in their respective suites, father and daughter enjoyed the view from Chris' balcony while the crew completed the preparations for departure. The cruise ship rocked gently on its moorings with the incoming tide. The ship's interior looked like someone pressed the zoom