If Dr. Helen Heely doesn’t stop all this face fussing she just might crush the flirty red hibiscus flower Avanti’s hairstylist, Jessie, just pinned in my hair!

“Not to be rude, but I need you to please speed things up dear, because as you can see I have not even put my face on, yet!” I complained to her.

Dr. Heely smiled as she put away her medical instruments in in her left coat pocket and then retrieved a small tube of antibacterial gel out from her right coat pocket.

“I’m afraid you will be staying in tonight Darlene. You have conjunctivitis,” she said while disinfecting her hands.

“Conjunctawha?” I snapped.

“Conjunctivitis. Pink eye. We ask that you please stay in your room for 48 hours until you are no longer contagious. I’ll have an oral antibiotic and some eye drops brought in with your dinner,” she explained.

Quickly, I brought my makeup compact mirror up to look at my eyes. My un-lip-sticked lips parted to let my mouth hang agape at the shock of it all. My eyes were indeed pink. Not full tilt bubblegum pink, but a pale ballet pink.

“Think of it as a way to catch up with yourself, watch your favorite shows – get in some Me Time,” she said as she exited.

Me Time? Tonight? The Luau Party was about to start in 10 minutes! I had been looking forward to this party all month. Everyone was excited to attend. Even Gwendolyn had agreed to dress up. Why, not even an hour ago, Lillian had heard a delicious rumor that Chef Victor was secretly roasting a large luau pig in the back yard as a surprise.

“Why? Why? And on a good hair day! Why? Why?” Angrily, I pounded my fist on the upholstered headboard, then checked my nails. Whew! None broken.

I walked to my window and gazed out at the beautiful Avanti porte a cochere. The sky was tinted in orange and yellow, peppered by long, thin horizontal shaped clouds that matched the color of the Texas limestone on the building. I rolled my neck around, stretched my arms out and let out an obnoxious sigh of disappointment that surprisingly turned itself into a substantial yawn. Gently, I closed the curtains and then changed into the red nightshirt Alfred had given me a few days before he passed away. It matched my hair flower beautifully.

I wiggled into bed and grabbed my Avanti Personal Tablet and selected Dinner Menu. I touched the large boxes on the screen to select my In-Room Dining Meal: chicken and vegetable skewers over rice with a pineapple daiquiri sounded like a good plan.

As I pushed around the bed covers to find the TV remote (oh, where was that dang thing again?!) my Personal Tablet starting chiming, dinging and singing like wildfire! I grabbed it and touched Texts.

First, I saw a photo from Lillian pop up. She was clad in a Hawaiian shirt so large she wore it belted like a dress. She had her two hands pressed together at the knuckles and thumb tips to form a heart.

Then, a video from Curly Sue at the Luau Party watching Sam and Wes hoot and holler as Chef Victor entered the room with a barbequed pig hanging upside down on 2 long poles – an apple stuffed in its mouth!  Suddenly, however, the video was interrupted by a Facetime request from Gwendolyn. I paused for a moment to make her wait (hee, hee) then hit “accept”.

Gwendolyn appeared on the screen.

“Hey, Pink Eye! Even I feel bad for you,” she snarled.

Gwendolyn was wearing her bathing suit with jeans topped off by a gauzy floral patterned long robe.

“Killer kimono. You look great,” I admitted.

She was quickly joined by Lillian, Wes, Curly Sue and Sam who were all wearing plastic coconut bras. In unison, they shouted “We love you Darlene!”

“I love y’all too,” I blurted out laughing just before my Personal Tablet went dark (the battery I’m guessing, had run out).


In walked Nurse Sarah with my tropical dinner on an elevated table tray on wheels. Everything I ordered was beautifully prepared. I felt like I was staying in a fancy hotel as I rarely eat in my room with Avanti’s fabulous Taste restaurant just down the hall. But I digress. Back to my food tray…

Next to my entrée I saw a tiny Hawaiian dancing figurine (she hula danced to the table’s movement) and next to it was my drink which has been garnished with a baby blue umbrella and a plastic sword full of fruit.

“It’s a virgin daiquiri Darlene. Good try,” Nurse Sarah chuckled.

“It was worth a shot,” I said fluttering my pink eyes.

She handed me a cup of pills and an eye drop bottle that read “Administer 2x/day in both eyes”. Thoughtfully, she handed me the TV remote and plugged in my Personal Tablet on her way out.

I adjusted the adjustable bed to a more comfortable position and unfolded the pretty floral patterned napkin across my lap.

“Aloha,” I said to myself (it was Me Time), selected an old rerun of the TV series Magnum P.I. (that actor Tom Selleck still makes me swoon) and dug into my dinner.