As Cree dipped his brush in paint again, he felt the searing pain in his legs remind him again of the last few days.
The USS Whidbey Island landed on Mahé Seychelles a few days ago, and as Staff, he’d been given shore leave for the duration of their stay. The first night, as he’d been exploring with his friends, he’d seen three Marines and a Sailor drunk, trying to hit on an elegant looking woman.
“How doya say… surf in French?” the heavier set one asked loudly, completely ignoring her answer.
“I’ve gotta help them out,” Cree told his buddy as he left their table.
“Comment dit-on voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir en anglais?” Cree asked politely as he walked up to the crowd.
The French woman suddenly stopped paying attention to the drunk crowd and said in perfect English, “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?” Suddenly the drunk military guys were all very interested in the dance floor.
“No thanks, we just met,” Cree replied in English.
“Oh, I see what you did there,” she said, punching him playfully in the arm. “My name is A******.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, would you like to hang out with me and some of my friends tonight?” Cree asked, motioning towards his table and buddy.
The next day, his French friend invited the pair of them to hang out with her on the beach while their other friends went scuba diving. They swam out about two hundred yards before a school of jelly fish began moving towards them. At least that’s what she told Cree as she swam like an olympian for shore.
Cree could swim, but not that fast. Then, he felt a series of stings along his inner thigh. He broke his personal record as he darted for shore to avoid any more stings.
To avoid further incidents, she suggested they do something more relaxing, and produced a pair of lounge chairs.
About four hours later, Cree woke to a strong burning sensation on his legs. He’d forgotten sunscreen on them, and now they felt like his flesh was searing off. Looking down, Cree saw small white blisters forming all over his legs.
Hearing his groan, the French woman moved quickly, pulling a small tube of white paste out of her beach bag. She handed it to Cree, and explained, in Spanish, that he needed to put it on quickly to prevent an infection.
At first, the paste felt cool and soothing, but as it rehydrated, Cree felt painfully immobilized for several minutes.
As Cree went back to work, painting the rehabilitation center’s walls, one of the patients asked in broken English if he could help.
“I notice you burn,” the patient began. “Take two coconut, break top and pour water in cup.” He took a moment to show me one of the plastic drinking cups from the water cooler. “Hold water to burn.” The patient made a show of turning the glass upside down on his own thigh. “Wait three minute, and good new!” He finished excitedly.
Cree carefully considered his advice and began scribbling it down on a piece of paper from the villa.
I opted for Aloe Vera, and a medicated salve provided by my corpsman aboard the ship. The paste my French friend provided contained most of the same ingredients as the medication, so the burns healed about ten days after we pulled away from Seychelles.