As long as I live I will remember what he was wearing the first time I saw him. I don’t know if his memory will be as clear. He has a hard time remembering places he took me from one trip to the next.
At first, I couldn’t see him in the group of people but he had found me and moved towards me. My nerves were still on high alert from the trip when suddenly I zeroed in on a very serious looking man who was watching me intensely. “Hellooo.”
I laughed in relief though I will always smile at the way he greets me. Even after almost two years he still greets me with “Hello” and he sings it like the Lionel Richie song. I shouldn’t find it amusing because my whole life I have been teased about how slow I talk and how I sing all my words but my fiance speaks rapid Spanish, even faster than other people I listen to in Cuba. To hear him say in his raspy voice such a simple word it reminds me of Mr. Bean (inside joke).
He tensed as I hugged him and gave me a kiss on the cheek. He then immediately began to complain. “I wait…three hours.” and shook his head. I touched his shoulder and tilted my head. “Lo siento.” It’s the only thing I could think to say in Spanish. I didn’t realize I again laughed out loud. It would be months later that I realized I was “creating a scene” in my fiance’s mind by laughing so boisterously.
Anyone that knows me knows I like to laugh. It’s a defense mechanism and how I maneuver situations. Not maniacally or anything but I have a hearty laugh indeed. In his mind he imagined me soft spoken and quiet and this laugh was shattering everything he thought he knew of me. The more quiet and still he became the more nervous I got and I must have seemed a crazy person indeed by the time we procured the rental car and were on our way.
By the time we sat down at the only open restaurant my heart was shattered into a million pieces and I feared it would be a miserable week with a guy that hated me. His eyes were piercing as he stared across the table at me unsmiling. I tried to smile myself though and pulled out my translator to explain my tardiness and he nodded but his face never softened. Feeling there was nothing more to be done about his opinion of me I relaxed and resolved to enjoy my first and probably only international trip to the forbidden country. This was MY adventure and…gosh he had the most beautiful milk chocolate eyes, those soft wide lips, and that sexy gap between his two front teeth. I wondered what his laugh sounded like as I peeled off a piece of the most disgusting baked chicken I’d had in many a year and began feeding it to the two cats that somehow even sensed I was a foreigner in the outside grill. I saw those eyes shift in disapproval for feeding strays but I refused to stop like a naughty child. I was a grown woman darn it!
He ordered ice cream while I sat there watching him back in defiance. I had yet to use a bathroom since touching down in Cuba and feared what I would find in them. Maybe they used outhouses(they do not)? No way was I going to wander into the dark night in this strange land trying to find out after indulging in the creamy looking helado.
He smiled for the first time as he pushed the empty dish away and sat back, “Mi tio…My…uncle…we must look for a cahke. Let’s go!”
“Okay” I nodded in agreement, having no idea what the heck cahke was but as we rose he grabbed my hand and we walked back to the car. Maybe there was hope yet?