By Sonya Coleman

Get ready to embark on an extraordinary voyage infused with romance, adventure, and captivating narratives. We are delighted to present to you a compilation of stories that will transport you to enchanting destinations, immersing you in the realm of love and travel.

Within this series, you will discover the crème de la crème, the finest works from the Love Lust or Bust Dating and Travel short story contest.

These remarkable tales have been meticulously chosen from a pool of gifted writers who poured their passion and creativity into crafting narratives that whisk you away to far-flung corners of the globe.

As you delve into this collection, you will encounter vibrant characters, diverse cultures, and awe-inspiring landscapes that form the backdrop for unforgettable love stories. Each narrative possesses its own distinctive allure, providing profound insights into the intricacies of dating in unfamiliar territories, the exhilaration of spontaneous encounters, and the transformative magic of travel.

Join us in celebrating the literary brilliance of the top 20 winners of the contest. Allow their words to sweep you off your feet and transport you to a realm where love and adventure intertwine in the most exquisite and profound ways. Prepare yourself for a literary expedition that will linger in your heart and mind, and hopefully will inspire you to be open and courageous to go on your own journey.

Today, we are thrilled to bring you this intriguing story below. Enjoy, and please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.


Crazy in Cuba

By Sonya Coleman

A little background before I begin. I have travelled extensively to southern locations and I have also lived abroad for several years. Every trip I ever took was absolutely wonderful, except for one and this is my story of that one trip.

I met “Darren” online one day through a dating app. That very day I asked if we could FaceTime because I don’t like carrying on any sort of long-distance relationship through the Internet. I like to keep it as real as possible, so we FaceTimed that day and talked for about 5 hours. Let’s say, HE talked about himself for about 5 hours. He was a recent widow of one year, and I thought this was why he talked about himself non-stop.

Little did I know that this would be my first encounter with a narcissist. The fact that he asked me very little about myself should have been a huge red flag but I was also lonely and looking for a lifelong partner. 

So…. over the course of time, Darren and I met and started a relationship and it was not great from the start. However being who I am, I thought I could make him feel secure and he would be less controlling.

During the course of our relationship, Darren lost his employment and he decided to sell his old farmhouse. He move into my home although at the time I had reservations. 

Our first trip together was soon planned and we picked Cuba as our destination.

The flight itself was uneventful. We arrived there in the evening, did a little tour of the resort, and went to bed. The next day was beach time and more resort.  That first day we also booked a trip to Havana and the Copacabana for the following day.  

The bus met us that morning and there were about 30-40 other people on the bus with us.  Once we arrived in Havana, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch.  Once we sat down, the bus driver came by and told us that there were not enough tables and asked if we would mind sharing our table.  He sat a young man who was about 28 years old at the table with us. I have a son who was also 28 at the time. 

This young man was from Toronto and worked on the trains.  Darren and I chatted a bit with him and then I excused myself and went to the ladies’ room.  When I came back it was time to board the bus.  

From the restaurant, we went to the city of Havana and walked around for the rest of the day.  When it came close to 5 we all boarded the bus again and we were told we were going to stop at a hotel and we would have to share a room for showers and a change, then we would be going on to the Copacabana. 

This went well for us. We were the first to get a room and therefore the first back downstairs.  It had started to rain outside, one of those rainfalls that only happen in the tropics.  A very nasty tropical storm. 

The actual guests of the hotel were starting to come down to the main lobby for drinks, as was the rest of the tour bus. The lobby was filling up fast. 

Darren and I sat on a couch.  Darren to the right of me and a female to the left and right beside the couch we were sitting on, was a loveseat, forming an L shape which sat another man and female. 

Darren decided to go for a look around the inside of the resort, however, the floor was getting very wet and I was wearing a long dress and did not want my hem to get soaked so I declined to go with him.  I remember looking around and seeing that there was nowhere to sit because the lobby was packed with people.

Minutes later, the young man that we had had lunch with came over and asked if he could sit beside me.  I quickly looked around for Darren and could not see him.  I felt it would be rude of me to say no since the seat was empty and there was nowhere else he could go.  “Jeff” sat down beside me and we started talking about the respective resorts we were at. 

As we were sitting there I could see Darren about 40-50 feet in front of me walk across the room.  At first, I thought he was joking as he walked across and gave me the finger.  I actually chuckled to myself. 

Then he walked back across and gave me the dirtiest look and really gave me the finger hard this time. For a second I didn’t know what was going on or why he was angry. 

Then of course it dawned on me.  A male, our extra for lunch, Jeff was sitting beside me and he could see that I was enjoying the moment as anyone would, who is on vacation and going to the Copacabana soon. 

Needless to say, Darren did not speak to me for the remainder of the evening.  To make matters worse, the young man (my son’s age and please note I am not at all interested in men who are my son’s age!) didn’t have a clue as to what was happening and when he approached me and Darren, Darren was very rude to me in front of this young man and stalked off. 

I was embarrassed that someone saw how badly I was being treated and that I did nothing about it.

Once we got back to the hotel room the accusations started flying. Was I meeting this guy later at his resort for a rendezvous? The accusations went on and on. 

The next morning Darren did not join me for breakfast. He would not talk to me and stayed in the room all day that day, nor did he join me for the next 5 days for anything. 

I ate breakfast, lunch, and supper alone.  I sat in the main lobby watching the entertainment alone.  I went to the beach every morning alone.  Darren stayed in bed and loaded himself up with medication.  He would not acknowledge that I existed. 

I tried my best to enjoy this vacation but it was difficult at first.  On the second last day, I realized that my own company was far better than Darren’s company had ever been. 

This was the end of us. 

I knew that I could not move beyond his narcissism. On the last day, I had to pack for both myself and Darren because he had taken 10 Ativan and couldn’t do anything. 

Once we got back home, we saw a therapist of his choice.  This is where she diagnosed him as a narcissist with psychopathic tendencies.  It was my first experience with a narcissist and my last.

Our relationship took such a toll on me, it was amazing when he finally left my house and I could relax. No more explaining why it took me an hour to grocery shop, nor more silent treatment over the least little thing. No more abuse. 

The following year I booked a vacation at the same resort with a close female friend. We had a great time and it erased the terrible time I had with Darren. 

This year my husband and I are going to the same resort and I know I’ll have the time of my life.  I finally met an amazing man 3.5 years ago and I could not be happier. To read about our meeting and journey together, click here!

We married 10 months after meeting. My husband is 65 and I am 60 now.  It’s never too late to meet the right person so Don’t ever give up no matter how many failed relationships you have gone through! 

What about you, have you ever traveled with a partner? Did you have challenges, or did you have a nice time? Have you ever been with a man who was controlling or a narcissist? Leave your comments below!

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