The Day We Met - Part I
The Day We Met - Part II
The Day We Met - Part III
In case you haven't caught on yet, October is Love Story Month. Mary at Owlhaven hath put forth a challenge to write and share our love stories. I highly recommend participating. Quite fun to stroll down memory lane. I'm writing about the day that Dave and I met, from my perspective. Do start from the beginning. Links available above (in red).
“Mind if I share your table?” I asked as I approached the unoccupied end of his rather long table. He looked up from his book and motioned to a chair. We sat in relative darkness and silence for a few moments before he said, “So you’re trying to get to Casa
Yes, I explained, and I was having very little luck, although we both knew that he already knew that. But luckily, I told him, Holly had been kind enough to offer that I stay with her for the night. He nodded his approval.
Another moment of silence.
I asked where he was from.
“I’m from the central coast!” I reported, warming up to this fellow Californian. I had to find out more about him.
“Have you been in
“That explains the no shoes,” I stated triumphantly.
“Not much use for shoes on a sailboat,” he retorted. He was growing on me.
Just then, Holly came over, “Oh good. You met Dave,” she said to me. He and I exchanged a little look. Dave, I thought. I love that name. I reached my hand across the table, “I’m Heather.” I sat back and listened to Dave and Holly having a conversation about a couple they both knew, each of whom owned their own sailboat. Eventually, this couple got married, and the time came for them to move onto one or the other of their boats. In the end they decided that since she was the more qualified sailor they would move onto her boat, and she would be the captain. Dave heartily supported this arrangement and mentioned that he thought more women should captain their own boats. Now he was really growing on me. The bell on the screen door jingled as a couple walked into the restaurant, and Holly excused herself to greet them.
Dave and I glanced at each other, and, suddenly, the distance between us seemed excessive. I scooted down a couple of seats towards him. He smiled, seeming to appreciate the gesture. After another moment of silence he asked out of nowhere,
“Do you cut hair?”
For a second, I considered lying and saying that I did. I recognized the crossroads we were standing at. Either, I cut hair and a door would open leading to some future encounter with this handsome,
“I don’t,” I said. “I wish I did.”
I could almost hear the hinges creaking as the door started to shut.
But then he said, “That's OK. If you’ll cut my hair you can stay on my boat tonight, and I’ll take you to the orphanage in the morning.”
(Insert sound of door banging on the wall as it swings wide open.)
He explained to me that it really wasn’t safe to travel the river at night and that the Casa Guatemala was quite a ways down river. I studied his face for any signs of funny business. I saw nothing but sincerity, and I couldn’t help but trust him completely. He must have sensed my hesitation and said, “There’s an extra cabin on the boat. We just have to move some rigging out of it, and you can sleep there.” Now this was sounding fun. My own cabin? On a sailboat? With rigging? And a cute-as-can-be fellow American? I wondered if Holly would mind if I chose curtain number two.
I was considering my options when I noticed two figures moving in my direction. As my eyes focused in the darkness I recognized them to be the couple from Washington whom I had sat with on the bus ride from Morales. By heart sank just a little as I remembered my promise to share in the expense of a ride down river should they secure one.
“Hey! Thought that was you. We got a ride! And split three ways it’ll only be 30Q each.” They looked at me expectantly. Remember my offer to share in this expense was a solid, binding contract.
“Oh,” I tried to hide my disappointment. “Great.” I glanced at Dave who had leaned back in his chair and was pretending not to listen. He took a sip from his bottle.
“Wait a minute.” Holly walked up behind them, wiping her hands on a towel. In her restaurant everything was her business. “You guys are going to Mario’s. She’s going to the Casa Guatemala. Casa
“It’s not that far!” The drunken expatriate chimed in from his perch at the bar. Apparently, it was his business, too. “I been to the Casa Guatemala, and it’s just cross the river from Mario’s!”
“It’s not just across the river, Jerry!” Holly insisted, “It’s at least a 20 minute dinghy ride down river.”
“Nonsense!” He was starting to get a little steamed. “You could throw a rock to that orphanage from Mario’s!”
"We heard it wasn't that far. We thought the driver could drop us at Mario's and then take her to the orphanage." The couple from Washington had their sights on my 30Q, and they weren't going to let me off the hook that easily.
As the conversation continued, I became more and more embarrassed that such a hearty debate had ensued on my behalf. I could feel my cheeks turning a deep shade of crimson. Mercifully, with only candles lighting the little restaurant, I don't think anyone noticed. I was dumbfounded that these people, virtual strangers to me, all seemed to have such a vested interest in determining the outcome of my evening.
And I was panicked.
It seemed to be out of my control at this point, but I no longer wanted to get to the orphanage. I wanted to stay with Dave and spend the night amongst his rigging. The orphanage could wait until the morning. But after the desperation I had displayed in needing a ride down river and the promise I had made to the
If it was determined that Jerry was right, and the orphanage was indeed close to Mario’s, I would be obligated to share a ride with the couple from
All eyes turned to him, including mine.
Until then, Dave had been perfectly quiet, sitting back in his chair, occasionally sipping his beer and waiting patiently as my fate was haphazardly passed around that restaurant like a bottle of Captain Morgan's. Yo Ho!
He leaned forward in his chair and placed his empty bottle on the table. He turned and looked at me. Our eyes met. I knew, in that moment, that he held the fate of my life in his hands. I got the sense that he knew it, too. And after what seemed like an eternity, he finally turned to Holly and said the sweetest words I have ever heard,
“It’s really…really far.”
And just like that my fate was sealed. Our fate was sealed.
The couple from
To Be Continued...