Joy! The Ryman Legacy Chapter 8D Pleasure! Holiday Sanity! By Mzyra
And so it was that the Rymans – father Alvin and children Calvin, Mia, Rick, Allen and Gina – headed off on a wonderful family Summer holiday as if they were normal or something.
Their destination the most expensive hotel on the beach island of Twikkii. The family was only coming up to its third generation but with inheritance money and ambitious members as they’d had so far, the family could afford so much better than just one generation prior. Hopefully the outcome of this holiday would be better than the last one the whole family had taken…
“Welcome to our hotel, Mr Ryman! Due to the size of your family we’ve had to split you into three rooms, but never fear – there’s one room that can cater for just you and your wife-” Alvin winced at the man’s presumption and considered saying something bitter and harsh back, but the pain and sadness overwhelmed any anger he felt so he just let the comment slide. He’d just leave a smaller tip at the end if he still felt this way, but he’d try to be happy for the children – that would be what Nicola would have wanted.
Alvin wasn’t the only one feeling contemplative and wistful; Mia was awed by the beauty of the sea rolling up and down the beach for a few moments, but it quickly lost its effect and she found herself just staring at it, trying to avoid thinking. Maybe a holiday hadn’t been a good idea. Back home there was so much to do with school and friends and younger siblings to deal with, but where there was time to relax there was time to think and the memories weren’t really something she wanted to reflect on too deeply.
Luckily Calvin was a very insightful older brother and came to pull her out of her train of thought. After all, they’d barely had time to talk since he’d left for college and they hadn’t travelled to the island together so they had plenty to talk about. C: “Okay, so tell me honestly – have there been any guys coming after you, Mia? Is there anyone I need to deal with for you?” M: “Calvin!” C: “I’m not having some stupid high school boys bothering my little sister!” M: “Even if there were, I can deal with it myself! I don’t need an older brother glaring over my shoulder putting them off! Besides, Rick’s already tried to that enough…”
Rick and Allen - best friends as ever - did much as they tended to back home, playing and hanging out together. A: “I heard there’s a pirate ship and everything around here! Do you think Dad’ll let us go check it out?” R: “Well… It depends whether it might be dangerous or whatever I guess…” A: “Oh, but that’ll just make it more fun! If Dad says no can we go and sneak over there? Please?” R: “I guess… I’ll check with Calvin – if he says yes then it’s probably fine.” A: “Yeah and he’s like an adult on his own so if he says yes it totally counts!”
Not all of the children were so close, however. C: “Hey Gina – ah, look how big you’ve gotten now! And you have Mum’s nose…” G: “… You look like Dad, but you’re not. Right? Do I actually know you?” C: “I’m Calvin, you know, your eldest brother!” G: “Suuuure, whatever…” C: “You don’t remember me?” G: “I don’t know. Maybe… but maybe I’m remembering Dad, I don’t know.”
The holiday destination offered more than just more family time as the girls quickly discovered as Mia started sunbathing (her friends would be so jealous if she came back with a really nice tan!) and Gina tried to build a sandcastle (so she could re-enact a Godzilla movie when she destroyed it again).
The sandcastle building didn’t go very well, however, so Gina resorted instead to looking for things buried in the sand. There wasn’t as much buried gold and stuff as she’d hoped, but she did manage to find a bracelet made of shells and was never attacked by a crab, so it was quite a fruitful search in the end.
Sunbathing seemed to be a much better idea so Calvin joined his sister lying on the sand and absorbing the Sun. And showing off his new beach towel and abs that he’d been working on. It was true that he didn’t really need to work on his appearance – DJ liked him as he was – but it’d be funny to see Cindy’s reaction if he came back to uni with a tan when it was mid-Winter back there.
R: “… You’re only going to get sunburnt. And like skin cancer or something.” M: “Oh come on Rick, that never happens. Well, Cal might get sunburnt with his pale skin, but to get the perfect tan…” C: “Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it bro.” M: “He won’t do that, he’s too self-conscious to change into swim trunks or anything, that’s why he’s being bitter – he’s jealous! Some of us have it and feel like flaunting it.” R: “I’m not jealous, I’m just not stupid!” M: “Ugh, I’ll show you…”
M: “Ah, ow! Ah crap…” R: “Ahahahahaha! I told you so!” M: “…It’s not that bad really…” R: “Yeah? How ‘bout you come over here and say that while I poke you?” M: “Oh shut up, Rick!” C: “Calm down, children. Rick stop taunting your big sister, Mia go inside and ask for some skin lotion or whatever, they must be well used to this.” R: “Hehe. You look like a lobster!” M: “Shut up!”
The teens may have been having problems and arguments, but the kids were a lot better off as they learnt the hula dance from a local woman. HL: “Well done little lady, you’ve got a good natural rhythm going, just relax and let your hips swing.” A: “What about me?” HL: “Not bad, but you’re too tense – relax, dance like nobody’s watching and you’ll dance a lot better. It’s all about relaxing here, let your troubles melt away…”
That was always easier for some more than others, however, and some people were a lot more tourist-y than others. Calvin worked on getting to know about the culture and lifestyle as best he could – he was always up for new suggestions on how to get the most pleasure out of life. Some might have been conscious of how he was talking to an attractive woman when he himself was only in his swim trunks, but Calvin was so comfortable and assured in his feelings for DJ that that never even crossed his mind, and whenever he had a moment free he would be thinking of her back at university without him – but not for too long.
While some were letting go of their troubles and relaxing, others couldn’t do so regardless of what they tried. Alvin had barely gone outside at all since the check-in man’s insensitive assumption: he couldn’t get his mind off of Nicola. He knew he should try to go and enjoy himself with the children, but it was surely easier for them, they hadn’t known her like he had, not really. Especially the youngest children – Gina had barely been born when she died! She probably couldn’t even remember her own mother… It was terribly sad, but probably saved her from more sadness than he would have to go on suffering…
Mia was trying to keep her spirits up, despite her burns, and engage her little sister – after all, that was part of the reason for coming, to bring the family together and stop Gina being so mean to people, especially Allen. “So Gina, how’s the holiday going for you so far?” G: “Okay I guess. Got a new bracelet, went swimming, learnt to dance better than Allen – the lady said I have really good natural rhythm!” M: “That’s great then! But not everything’s a contest, there’s nothing stopping both of you being good dancers.” G: “Besides Allen’s stomach that sticks out so much that-”
M: “Stop being mean to and about your brother! How he looks doesn’t mean anything.” G: “… You look silly. Your skin clashes with your swimming costume.” M: “Yes, yes, I know, okay!” G: “But that’s your fault for trying to look all tanned and stuff and then it backfired-” M: “Yes,I know. But let’s talk about something else, shall we? There must be other stuff you want to talk about…?” G: “Um… Well…” M: “Yes?”
G: “What’s kissing like?” M: “Err…” G: “’Cause I see teenagers kissing all the time, but they say we’re not meant to, but I don’t see why not! It’s not like you have to marry anyone you kiss! And do girls have to kiss boys or is that just some silly rule that everybody follows?” M: “Umm… So these are some nice sandwiches, huh?” G: “Oh, do you not want to talk about that? I can’t tell if you’re blushing because you’re bright red all the time now.” M: “Urrrgh…”
Luckily for Mia it eventually became time for the kids to go to bed, by which point they were so tired that Gina didn’t even bicker over sharing a room.
And with the kids asleep there was time for the older members to do something more fun. The three eldest children had been okay with their father joining them if he’d wanted to, but he said he didn’t feel like it and somebody should probably stay at the hotel in case the kids needed something, so they headed off without him.
Soon they found what they were looking for – the spa. Calvin went over to get a massage (from a pretty woman, but he didn’t really notice this, especially nowhere near as much as she noticed him), but Rick was more interested in going on a tour of the island, so paid for a trip from an organiser who was standing around.
Mia meanwhile went to go sit in one of the hot pools. At first the hot water against her burning skin was painful, but it gradually became soothing and she got some time to herself. She wouldn’t have thought earlier that she’d have wanted to be alone, but now she wasn’t depressed – the sunburn and teasing siblings had made her irritable. Anger was probably preferable to sadness though and some time alone would fix that.
If only she could get some. R: “Looks like somebody’s been spending a bit too much time in the Sun, huh?” M: “No, I was born this way,” she said with what she hoped was biting sarcasm.Sadly the random man didn’t react the way she wanted. R: “Wow, really? It’s like those programmes you see on TV about weird and funky diseases that are totally gross and you just feel lucky that you don’t have them- Hey! Where are you going?”
Calvin was having a far more enjoyable time on the massage table. W: “So, you are enjoying your holiday here, yes?” C: “Oh yeah, it’s Winter back where I’m studying so the heat and the Sun is wonderful.” W: “Yes, it’s always beautiful here. Many tourists come here and decide they never want to leave. Especially if they meet a beautiful island woman, they decide to just settle down then and there…” C: “Yeah, I can see why they would…” W: “So have you seen anyone-” C: “Of course, I have a girlfriend back home who’s just the most beautiful, intelligent woman you’d ever meet. Like this one time-”
Away from Calvin disappointing and subsequently boring the masseuse half to death, Mia had escaped from the hot pool to the sauna – luckily the annoying blonde man hadn’t followed her, though she guessed that might have looked bad when he was a grown man and she a teenage girl alone together. Ugh. She didn’t know what it was - maybe finally being properly alone, maybe finally having time to think and have things settle in, maybe just everything building up together – but Mia finally felt the emotion overwhelm her and the tears rolled down her face, stinging her burnt cheeks. She could handle it. She would handle it, but for now… she let it all out, safe from being heard or disturbed by her family. She loved them and all, but her pain was private and she wanted it to stay that way.
And the next day it was as if nothing had ever happened. Though the masseuse had lied – not every day was beautiful and that day it had chosen to rain. A lot. But who cared about that when there was a genuine pirate ship to explore? And topless men!
A: “Oh come on Rick! You know you want to come swimming in the sea with us!” R: “Haha, no… I mean, you can if you want, but it’s not so hot today and with the rain and all… Don’t want to get ill!” A: “But if you’re going to get wet either way why not come swimming? It’s more fun than being rained on! Is it because of what Mia said before? About you being all self-conscience and whatever?” R: “You mean self-conscious and no, I’m just… not in the mood. And I ate recently. You know, you’re meant to leave so long before eating before swimming…” A: “You’re silly. Come join us when you decide to be sensible and have fun!”
Alvin continued to have just as much fun as he had the day before, but this time on a bench.
The youngest members were the ones who threw themselves most into the fun with Gina doing a good impression of a pirate for a 6 year old girl, even scaring some of the older children who were playing on the ship before them.
While Allen would have given Alvin a heart attack with his lack of regard for health and safety, had Alvin been facing the right way at the time. A: “Hey! Do you think I could see all the way home from up here?!” C: “No, that’s thousands of miles away!” A: “And I can’t see that far…?!” C: “No!” A: “…Are you sure?!” C: “Yes! Now get down from there!”
Alvin wasn’t much in the mood for conversation if he was honest, but when a local woman came and sat next to him then started a conversation he didn’t want to be rude, so he did as best as he could despite his melancholy mood. W: “You looked sad and lonely. Do you want to talk about anything?” A: “No, no. I was just… thinking. And… I’m okay with being alone for now. No offence or anything.” W: “Oh, no no, I understand. Don’t worry. I’m sure somebody else will be able to help you better than I.” A: “Well no, that’s not what I-” But the woman had walked off before he could even explain, had he wanted to.
Back on the ship the fun continued as Rick found he could have fun without stripping off, even if it meant taking pirate orders from Joe from school and repeatedly turning a handle for no understandable reason since the flag was no longer attached.
Back on land Alvin wasn’t alone for long… W2: “Hi, I’m Cara and you’re much too handsome to be sat alone looking so sad.” A: “Errr…” W2: “You could have all of that pain and hurt removed if you were to let somebody in. Somebody who could fix you, make it all better… You just have to let them in…” A: “I- Erm- Look- It’s just-” W2: “No no, don’t worry. I think I understand.” A: “No, but you see-!” But the second woman walked away like the first.
On the ship somebody made the questionable decision to let Gina get hold of a sword, but luckily she only took it out on the pirate dummy, despite some people’s fears.
And once again on the land… Forget being considered rude, Alvin knew what was going on now and he was not going there in any way shape or form! This time he walked away and spent a good amount of time hiding behind the souvenir shack in case the man came after him, thinking he was just playing hard to get…
Gina meanwhile made an interesting discovery and was not in the least bit phased by meeting the ghost of a pirate.In fact, she had some criticisms to make. G: “How could you be so stupid to manage to get your ship to crash into such a big island? It must have been a really dark night or you must be blind-!” P: “Well I do only have the one eye, so me depth perception is not the best I’ll admit-” G: “But the ship’s not that great either – it’s made of wood and there are massive holes and stuff in it, no wonder you died!” P: “Most of the holes were made by the rocks when we crashed, it weren’t meant to be like that… But ye be a bright young wench, ‘s a shame ye couldn’t have been in me crew! An eye patch, the right clothes and a nifty hat and ye woulda fit right in!”
In fact the ghost pirate liked Gina and her attitude towards authority so much that he taught her (and by extension all her siblings) Ye Olde Pirate Sea Chanty (minus a few rude words that he felt weren’t right for such a young wench, regardless of her attitude).
M: “Hey Dad, where have you been all day? You missed the ghost pirate! You’d have loved it!” Alv: “Oh, I was, um… looking at souvenirs and things. I even found a map with a location I’d quite like to try to find if you kids aren’t too tired.” M: “Well if it’s not too far then I’m sure we can all manage, especially since we haven’t really done anything you’ve wanted to do so far. Right Allen?” All: “Is it going to booooring?” M: “Shhh, no! We’ll be fine with it Dad. Seriously.”
Some people weren’t doing so fine – Rick tried to chat up one of the souvenir shop assistants, but they quickly found that they had nothing in common and Rick got a little more verbally aggressive than he’d planned when she said she didn’t really like neon yellow for clothing. Being at the scrutiny of his family all day for days in a row was clearly getting to him, but where and when was he ever going to get a girlfriend at this rate?!
The kids were happier though and in this respect the holiday was being something of a success – playing pirates and things all day together had finally built a kind of friendship between Gina and Allen (though it was a begrudging one on her part) and so they could even play together with no hurtful teasing or anything (besides a small kick in the side when Gina was a successful cop in cops and robbers). Hopefully this could make it all worth it in the end.
But the holiday wasn’t over yet so Alvin lead the family to the spot on the map – a little hut on a hill. The map said something about voodoo, but Alvin was generally curious enough anyway, regardless of what it meant.
He might have reconsidered if he could see a future filled with fixing things, but the kids didn’t mind as they didn’t bother to help their father at all – Calvin started practicing the slap dance he’d picked up at uni and Gina helped herself to stuff out of the witch doctor’s fridge. It was lucky the witch doctor had gone out for a nap in a hammock or Alvin would have been very embarrassed at his children’s behaviour. But he guessed it was better than any of them getting electrocuted.
Finally Alvin finished fixing everything – without getting electrocuted once – and the witch doctor gave him a present: a voodoo doll. That explained what Alvin could read from the map, but why would he need a voodoo doll? It couldn’t bring people back from the dead or anything… Maybe it could be an heirloom. But that was a problem. A Ryman family heirloom should never really be his, he was a Futa really, he’d only married in. He ought to be passing such things to the children, or one of them anyway. But which one? Calvin had left and didn’t sound like he wanted to move back permanently, Allen and Gina were far too young and Rick… didn’t have the confidence. But Mia…
After the kids had been tucked into bed and Calvin and Rick started watching an action movie Alvin asked Mia if he could talk to her alone. He just hoped he was making the right choice, but when he looked at her he was almost certain he was. M: “Hey Dad, what did you want to talk about then?” A: “Well… Your mother, like you, was one of five children and they made the decision that only one of them would stay at home, keep the house and everything. I guess I think that’s kind of a tradition and I thought… Maybe you should be continuing it. If you want to. Calvin doesn’t seem to want to move home after uni and… I’d like the person who stays to be able to remember and live in the way that your mother did, which I’m not sure your younger siblings do.”
Mia didn’t know what to say. A: “You do seem to be the peace keeper a lot too, I thought it kind of makes sense…” M: “Well, I’d love to raise my family where I was raised and yeah, I agree about remembering Mum… I don’t think Allen or Gina will really care. Rick might, but more for being denied something than for actually wanting it really. And if Calvin doesn’t want to be… whatever you’d call it-” A: “Like, heir, I guess.” M: “Yeah, I think I’d like to be heir. Or heiress. You know what I mean. Wow.”
A: “Well in this case I have some things to give you. Things I think the family should have in future and I don’t have much or any use for now, so you might as well get them as soon as possible.” M: “Huh. Wow. Are you sure I’m kind of ready, Dad?” A: “Don’t worry sweetheart, you don’t have to be ready just yet, your brother and I are here until you are, but it won’t be so long until you’re an adult yourself… I’m proud of you, Mia.” M: “Th- Thanks Dad. I might go out for some air, you know? Just… A lot to take in.” A: “Okay, but don’t be out too late or stray off the paths!”
Wow. Head of the Ryman household. It sounded impressive. But Mia couldn’t help but remember that her mother had been too, and look where she was now… But then that was really just a cooking accident and accidents happened, regardless of who you were. There was nothing to suggest anything more serious – her grandparents and aunts and uncles had and were living long and healthy lives, there was no reason to get paranoid. Just to get excited.
Miawas suddenly pulled from her train of thought as she passed a giant fountain. She’d heard from one of the locals that if you tossed a coin into the fountain and made a wish it would come true… It was probably just superstition, but it could hardly hurt, right?
Taking out the only coin she had on her, Mia held it in her fingers and thought of what she would wish for. Obviously she could wish for world peace and everything, but that never seemed to work out – she could be selfish just this once, right? Before leading a family in an unselfish way for the rest of her life? So she fixed her mind firmly on her own Good luck and happiness. That was manageable, wasn’t it? So she let the coin fall into the fountain. The effect was instantaneous.
The previously clear water falling from the statue steamed, turning to what looked like lava. Mia tried to calm her panic, it was probably just some trick set up to impress the tourists, make them believe in the island’s rituals and superstitions… But something, possibly just the sudden heat and smell, was making Mia feel dizzy, like she was going to pass out – just like she’d had once at home… She closed her eyes, trying to stay standing…
But behind her eyelids she saw a distant vision of a grave with children crying, but whose it was she couldn’t tell…
Suddenly a sharp pain behind her eyes made Mia come back to reality with a jolt. The headache didn’t fade, nor did the memory of the grave. Why did this keep happening to her? What was she supposed to make of that? Was it real? If it was, was it the past? The present elsewhere? The future? If it was the future what was she meant to do about it? If it was the present or the past why was it relevant to her? Maybe they were just like mini-dreams, but they were horrible. Maybe she had some weird kind of brain tumour that was messing with her mind… She could have theorised all night, but she felt certain that she would feel better with some sleep. And she wouldn’t tell the others. Her pain was private. And she was a leader now. She had toshoulder her own burdens.
The next – and last – day the family headed to the boardwalk. Rick may not have won a girl over with his conversation, but he figured that girls loved musicians, right? He could just freestyle around for a little while and the girls would be falling over themselves to be with him. It made sense. And even if maybe it didn’t, he might at least get some cash for it.
Upstairs Alvin and Calvin took the grown-up option of playing a fiercely matched game of chess. It was true that Alvin had far more practise and skill at chess, but the two seemed to have so much in common sometimes that they could almost predict each others’ moves before they made them. It didn’t really matter who won though; Calvin was happy to spend some time with his Dad for once and with some proper adult conversation rather than sometimes childish student conversation, while Alvin was happy to spend time with his eldest son and especially glad not to have a spare seat for the locals to come and chat him up or be asked about why he looked so sad all the time.
Down on the beach Rick had already given up as he, like most of his siblings, had been distracted by the fire dancer. Mia was impressed by how the man managed to do such tricks but thought it must be dangerous and probably not the kind of thing you wanted to show and encourage little kids with. Hopefully Gina wouldn’t get ideas…
It wasn’t the kids she really had to worry about though – Rick decided he wanted to be able to show off to girls in a whole new way and therefore paid the man to show him how to fire dance. Luckily the man was smart enough not to actually light the baton, but that didn’t mean Mia didn’t worry about him taking his own eye out by accident. Or looking like a bit of an idiot.
Once Rick had the opportunity to fire dance the kids got bored – anything their brother could do was of no special interest to them, so Gina had another attempt at building a sandcastle while Allen sifted through the sand for lost treasure. He should have listened to Gina – he never found any treasure, but he did find a number of crabs instead and they were not happy.
When Alvin and Calvin joined them, having finished their match which Alvin inevitably won, they brought far more clothes than they would probably ever manage to wear, but might save embarrassment in future when they had birthdays. Most of the kids chose new outfits straight away, but Rick refused, fervently denying that there was anything wrong with a neon yellow body warmer. Then Alvin lit a bonfire so that the family could spend their last night on holiday together, talking and enjoying each others’ company before Calvin returned to university – Mia soon to join him – and hormones overcame the rest.
M: “I bet you anything it’ll be raining when we get back. After all this heat and Sun it’ll be weird going back home to the rubbish weather.” R: “I would have thought you’d be grateful, now we all know just how easily you burn in the Sun – you’ll be lucky to be able to leave the house! Unless you think looking like a tomato is in fashion…” M: “Shut up Rick!” C: “Better for you than for me – back to the snow…. And we never get snow days. We could get snowed in and we’d still get a snarky call from the administrator about why we hadn’t shown up to our lectures!”
R: “But you’re going to graduate soon, man. Then you’ll have to get a job! Like a proper job with a desk and a secretary and everything.” C: “I can’t really see myself sat behind a desk. Maybe more in entertainment or something. You know, something fun.” G: “Daddy, he’s insinuating that your job is boring and stupid!” C: “No I’m not! I’m sure Dad finds that stuff fun, but it’s not really something I could do…” M: “Allen looks like he’s about to join the army now…” All: “I don’t think I’d want to have to do drills and stuff though. They’re mean and shout.”
Surrounded by his bickering children Alvin couldn’t help but start to genuinely smile as he stared into the fire. Their family wasn’t whole and it would be a lot better if Nicky had still been with them, but they’d get by and one day - maybe in some other life - they’d all be together again and Nicola would be so happy to see that one of her children did wind up looking a bit like her. All their problems would be solved, none of them would matter in Nicola was there, but they could survive for now. They’d do her proud. Their wonderful family. Their wonderful children. It was like the Sun breaking through grey clouds for the first time after a long Winter. He could smile.
Despite the difficulties in being stuck with the other members of their family, it was a shame when it came to leaving the island and holiday behind. But they’d take the lessons they’d learnt and relationships they’d developed home with them. It had really, really been worth it in the end. Nobody could ever question that.