Trapped by The Mouse
Well, I’ve been in Florida for probably a whole hour now… and let me just tell you, it’s hot here!
But I digress…I need you to picture this, two people, that would be me and Valen, of course… and when you’re picturing him, long dark hair, gorgeous sea glass green eyes, and the best smile in human history. We’re in a black convertible, top down, the Florida sun is just drenching us. We’re buzzing along some interstate, hair blowing in the wind, his dark, mine blonde, sunglasses on, imagine Natasha Benningfield’s Pocketful of Sunshine playing… it’s not, I’m just trying to set the scene and that seemed like a good choice. I may have seen it in a movie once… but again, I digress.
All I’m trying to say is, oh my god, this moment in time, is theatrical.
I’ve never been happier. Isn’t that strange?
Human emotions are such a weird thing. I’ve been around the world, more than once, and nothing I’ve seen seems as beautiful as this interstate. A few hours ago, I was destroyed. Now, I never want this moment to end.
“I can’t believe how beautiful it is here.” I spoke loud over the sound of traffic.
“Sabrina, all you’ve seen is the airport and I-4.” He looked at me for a moment then redirected his view back to the road ahead.
I pointed ahead. “But look at the palm trees!”
I don’t know what it is about palm trees, but they always exude this sense of vacation and relaxation. It’s like they look down on you, sort of sigh and say… sup? And in that one word is this idea that everything is fine now.
Of course, realizing how relaxed I am, for a brief moment, made me wonder if my mother had discovered my treachery.
And yes, by treachery I mean making a decision without including her in the process.
I could have looked at my phone, but the moment passed and I firmly rooted myself back in this car beside Valen.
“The convertible was a nice touch.” I tried to engage in conversation.
It flowed so easily on the plane, but since we landed, it’s like his mind was elsewhere.
“They had a deal and, come on Sabrina, it’s your first time in Florida, the lady requires a convertible.” He looked at me for a moment and smiled.
He made my heart happy. He didn’t even have to do or say anything, it was just his vibe, it made me happy. It felt like…No, I won’t say it.
I should also stop thinking it.
I focused on the scenery. I didn’t know any of the street names. I didn’t see anything that looked remotely familiar.
It was heaven.
What I was feeling in that moment had to have been exhilaration. I was thinking back on my life, trying to find any other time I’d felt it.
“I ran away from home once.” I mused aloud.
“You what?” He seemed amused.
His voice snapped me back to the present. I was embarrassed by my confession. I really hadn’t meant to say anything aloud. I tried to dismiss the moment with a shrug and a shake of my head.
“Oh no you don’t. Tell me.” He pulled his sunglasses down to stare at me as if he were a threat. But I could see those eyes, the color of sea glass in Turks and Caicos, eyes that held promises that shouldn’t ever be spoken, and all I thought of was safety and peace.
“It wasn’t a big deal. It lasted a few hours. I wanted our maid to adopt me.” I shook my head dismissively. “It was dumb and I definitely should have known better.”
Of course, I could say the same thing about this, but at the moment, I didn’t care. Which was probably how I felt at sixteen. Fed up and over all of it.
No… at sixteen I was sad and looking for someone who actually saw me.
He said nothing at first, which just made everything awkward and terrible. I tried to focus on the buildings whooshing past on the side of the highway.
“The Holy Land Experience?” I wasn’t sure if I was amused or horrified.
“Yep. They crucify Jesus at 2, 4, 6, and 8 daily… along with your free buffet, and make sure you pick up your Jesus pressed penny in the gift shop.” His toned dripped with saccharine like a cheesy tour guide.
I had no idea what to think, say, or do. Not being an overly religious person, myself, I wasn’t offended, but even I thought that may be a bit too far. I felt myself staring at him, then looking back at the coliseum-esque structure on the side of the highway until it disappeared from view.
“Is it a joke?” I tried to wrap my head around it.
“Nope.” He just kept driving.
“Florida’s weird.” I shook my head and tried to unsee it.
A little while later we took the off-ramp to Disney Springs and Epcot, a place I never in all my wildest dreams wanted to visit.
“What are we doing?” The alarm in my tone was probably a little more severe than necessary, but something about where we seemed to be headed made me want to bolt… again. Seemed to be my day for it.
“I told you, I have to stop off at work.”
He didn’t even look at me. This seemed perfectly natural to him, but I had this crazed inexplicable terror rising in my throat.
“Wait… you work at Disney?” I heard the snobbery in my voice, but come on. “How old are you?”
He laughed like it was no big deal as he pulled into the parking garage at a place called Disney Springs.
“Your New Yorker is showing.” He stated plainly as he drove to the top level and parked near the wall. “That’s not criticism, I’m from Jersey, but we’re in Florida now, and here, the mouse is king. Better get used to that if you intend to stick around for a while.”
I sat very still, blinking a little too much, staring at the landscape now visible from the top of the garage.
“Mouse is king?” I was slightly disgusted.
He climbed out of the car and left me in stunned silence.
“Get used to it?” I climbed out and stared at him, still a bit shocked. I didn’t think I wanted to get used to that. It was ridiculous.
“Okay, I realize that not everyone who works at Disneyland is probably seventeen, but…”
I shook my head.
“What?” He interrupted my train of thought.
“It’s Disney World, not Disneyland.” He started to walk.
I moved at a quick pace to keep up with him.
“Well, what am I supposed to do here?” I really was trying to remember that he was doing me a favor and not allow my pampered brat side out, but I feared I was losing the battle.
“Shop? Have lunch? Grab a drink?” He hit the button on the elevator and we began our descent to the shopping level.
“I don’t have any money.” I spoke under my breath. “What can I do for nothing?”
I was mortified. A DuPont always had money.
I had about five hundred in my wallet, but I wasn’t going to blow everything I had on a meal when I didn’t know what the next hour would hold, let alone anything after that.
“I can give you some.” He held the elevator door open and waited for me to step off.
“No, I just meant…”
He didn’t wait, he just moved towards the escalator.
At the bottom of the escalator we were now inside this Disney Springs.
“It looks like an outlet mall.” I spoke to no one at all, it just needed saying.
I’d never actually been to an outlet mall, but I had a few friends who’d gone on a lark and brought back photos. I didn’t really get the appeal.
I realized he wasn’t waiting for me and was already past the fountain, walking at a good pace straight ahead.
I ran to catch up, because one thing was certain, I didn’t want to get lost here!We walked over a bridge that crossed over crystal blue water. There appeared to be shops and restaurants everywhere. I felt so out of my element. I didn’t understand anything.
I really didn’t understand the image I was confronted with next. A very pale, very large man, decidedly sunburnt. When he spoke, he had an accent, Irish? Scottish? Wasn’t sure. He wore a tee shirt with some ghoulish trio on it, had an ice cream, was laughing, may have been a bit drunk. He was posing for a photo… while wearing a hat that gave him mouse ears.
“Oh god… what have I done?”
Trapped by the Mouse is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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