I initially wrote this for a Judy Reeves Writing Workshop. After I volunteered to read it to the class, Judy asked me, “Will this be included in your book?”

“It will be, now,” I told her.

Today, I am holed up in a charming British/Caribbean-style resort on Tortola, BVI, called Fort Recovery. A gentle, tropical rain falls outside my picture window facing the sea. I sit at my laptop, writing my second book, “Sailing the South Pacific.” Here is this section of that book:

The heat of the Papeete harbor is excruciating. Unfortunately, I had selected this day to bake cookies for an afternoon Koffee Klatch with fellow cruisers. As I open the oven to put in the second batch of cookies, steam pours out.  Rivers of sweat run from my hair and drip into my eyes, smearing my mascara. But most irritating is the sweat that I can feel accumulating underneath my breasts. “What the H—!” I fling off my one-piece sundress. I’m in a state of temporary amnesia. I forget that the galley of Pacific Bliss opens into a wide cockpit that can be seen from passersby walking along the quay. We are no longer at sea!

“Hi, Lois,” a man’s voice calls out. “Haven’t seen Pacific Bliss since the Marquesas!” My brain is on autopilot. I step out into the cockpit to answer him, stark naked.

Oh my God!  

The man is Keith, a retired judge from Sacramento, the capital of our home state of California! He and his wife, Susan, are standing on the quay, looking in.

I can feel the flush creep from my throat to my cheeks. Recovering my composure seems impossible, but I try. “Oh, Keith…just a minute until I throw on some clothes.”

I can hear them snickering as I turn. I dash back to the galley, slip the sundress over my head, and step outside, trying to act as if nothing had happened.

“Forgot you were not at sea?” Keith asks. “We also go naked on C’est la Vie when we’re sailing out there.”

This story will spread around Papeete harbor as fast as a cockroach has babies! By the time I attend the Koffee Klatch, everyone will know.

When the time arrives, I steel myself for the embarrassment that will surely follow. But strangely, the story never comes up during the animated chatter. The cruisers have more important subjects to discuss. Some are planning their cruises around the Tahitian Islands. Others, like us, are making plans to pick up and drop off guests. The rest of them, having completed their provisioning, are already saying goodbye and leaving for The Cooks.

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