This is a response to Vol 11 John 4 ("Ginger")...
[This is part four of "Gilligan's Island"]
I wandered around for an hour before I could summon the courage to ask Maryanne for a swim. I found her in the girls' hut sweeping the dirt floor. The door was open just a crack. Ginger was nowhere to be seen.
"Hi, Gilligan." She was facing the wall. I pushed the door back all the way.
"I brought you some flowers."
"NO, Gilligan! Stay outside! I'll be out in a minute."
She shut the door right in my face. I could hear her inside, moving around the hut like a tornado. When she came out her hair was down around her shoulders and she had tied her shirt in a knot behind her back so that I could see her bellybutton. I was still standing there in the doorway and she almost bumped into me.
"I'm sorry, Gilligan. I just finished sweeping and I didn't want you to get the floor dirty."
"How can you get a dirt floor dirty?"
"Besides, you can't just walk into a lady's hut. You've been on this island too long."
I held out the flowers again.
"Oh thank you, Gilligan. They're lovely." She looked around for somewhere to put them and for a second her face kind of crinkled up into a pout. I love it when she does that. Finally she lodged the flowers right into the grass wall of the hut. They hung there like a painting.
"Here, Gilligan, come around into the shade. I thought maybe we could have a drink and talk."
She led me behind the hut where two chairs were set up next to a small table. There were two bamboo cups on the table already filled with Maryanne's fruit punch. We both sat down.
"I was hoping we could go for a swim. I happen to know that no one is going to be down by the lagoon all afternoon."
Maryanne folded her hands in her lap and stared at them. "I don't think so, Gilligan. I don't feel like swimming just yet. But later I might."
We've gone swimming before hundreds of times and it was no big deal, but now that I think of it, we've never gone alone, just the two of us. Maryanne suddenly reaches for her cup and I smile at her nervously. Then I see that she's wearing makeup! It looks terrible on her.
"That sure was a big fish you caught yesterday. I could hardly lift it."
"It was big all right. The skipper said it was bigger than I was."
Why do I suddenly feel like I'm at a tea party? I start to drink and somewhere in my head I hear a voice saying "Gilligan! Don't slurp your punch!" A voice I haven't heard for more than a year. When I look up I see that Maryanne is watching me.
"How come you never talk about your parents?"
"I don't know."
"What were they like? Do you miss them a lot?"
Do I miss them? What kind of a question is that? She knows I never talk about mom.
"Was your dad a sailor?"
"I never knew my dad. He ran off when I was little. I guess he might've been a sailor."
"What about your mother?"
"Oh. I'm sorry."
Why did I say that? If anyone could understand, it would be Maryanne. She must think about it all the time. But at least her parents have each other; I left my mother all alone. Every night I see her face pressed against the kitchen window, watching the storm roll in. Warnings come over the radio and the sky goes black. She keeps my dinner on the stove for as long as she can. The clock strikes ten and she stands out in the wind, calling my name.
"She was killed by a tidal wave."
"My parents have never even seen the ocean."
Now we're both staring at our laps. I look at her. Her shirt is unbuttoned just enough for me to see the edge of her bra. She's not used to having her hair down like that and she keeps brushing it out of her eyes. I look away and then sneak another peak at her chest. I follow the outline of her breast, smoother by far than any coastline I've ever followed. For a moment I just stare at her. Then she sees me gawking at her breasts and we both look away.
"I'd better go. I promised the skipper I'd straighten out the toolhut."
"I really would like to go swimming sometime."
I stand up and look into the jungle. She is following me with her eyes.
"Maybe tonight," she says. "Let's go tonight after dinner."
"Sure." I say this without thinking and as I turn to give her a goodbye smile, I bump into a tree. She smiles shyly and her eyes are shining. For a second I think I hear Ginger coming down the path, but it's just my imagination. I stumble away and spend the rest of the afternoon alone.