Costa Rica :: Part 24

This story is being told as a series. Here’s a link to Part 1

Part 24

Chucho led me by the hand across the moonlit lawns toward the sound of the crashing surf. I tried very hard not to think about creatures as we made our way, though not with complete success. He led me down to the end of the pier. It was very still, aside from the sound of the Pacific crashing under our feet. I knew, of course, that he would kiss me even before he did. He approached it in much the same way he had taken my hand — gently, tentatively.

He knows it’s a dance, I thought. In a moment or two, I realized that he wanted me to lead it. It was a strange, unfamiliar sensation, for us both to be inclined to follow the other.

I stepped away after a minute. Not far, just breaking the kiss. He whispered endearments to me. Sweet words, simple words. Of necessity; I could not have understood anything complex in Spanish, nor he to say anything complex in English. That he thought I was kind — amable — and very pretty. He liked my pale green eyes — an apparent novelty to the mostly dark-eyed Ticos.

What else did he say? I hardly remember; it is not in my nature to remember the empty compliments men offer. All that he said was kind, flattering, and even possibly true. I accepted the compliments, but with another part of my mind I thought, These are the things that men say to women. It would be stupid to believe in them. I am not stupid. He trailed one finger gently down my cheek, brushed one stray blond curl away from my face. I was aware of the intense humidity in the air, on my skin. He didn’t seem to mind. He leaned to kiss me again. I let him. He leaned closer. The kiss was pleasant, but my senses were alert for the moment when the tension would shift and he would try to make it more. The moment did not come. His lips were so soft and gentle on mine. No aggression, no signal of threat or danger.

He was content to let me lead. If there was something to fear, it was not in him, but in me.

But now that the choice was before me, I knew that I would not let it become anything more. The alcohol in my system was no match for my returning reason. I don’t even know him. I will never see him again after tomorrow. I am not stupid; I cannot afford to be stupid. In another moment, I broke the kiss again, smiled at him, walked to the railing. He came and stood beside me. We talked, with very few words, about the night, the moon, the sea. He did not press. He held my hand. We kissed again.

He is very sweet, but for all I know, he is like this with all the single women on these tours.

It was getting late. Tomorrow we would leave again; an early morning. We should get some rest. “No, it’s OK,” he told me, not wanting to let me go yet, “Tomorrow is an easy drive, a short drive.” His tone was all reassurance, no wheedling. Still, I smiled with understanding at the transparency of the statement.

We walked back toward the hotel, circling the property. This time, I did not think about the possibility of wildlife. I led us purposefully past the building where I was staying, toward public areas. The pool area was empty, but just past the row of trees, I could hear people at the outdoor bar. Where we stood was private, but not secluded. We stayed there together for a while. I said again that I needed to go.

The kisses were very pleasant, but for me they were sufficient in themselves. I wanted nothing more.

I understood that while he would happily have accepted whatever I might offer him, he would not try to take anything more than that. Still, I knew he was disappointed. He kissed me again. I smiled and wished him dulces sueños as I turned to leave. He looked surprised, caught my hand again before I could go. He asked me how we say that in English.

“Sweet dreams,” I told him. “We wish someone sweet dreams, to wish them goodnight.”

“Sweet dreams,” he repeated. “You don’t have to go yet,” he told me again, lifting my hand to kiss it softly. “You could come back to my room with me. We could talk.”

I’m sure, but you hope we will do more than talk. I am not stupid.

There are women who leave themselves behind when they go on vacation. But that is not me… or at least, not completely. I tell myself it is more than just my own fear that keeps me safe: I know that I have to take the person I choose to be here back with me when I go home.

I will never see him again after tomorrow. I will not be stupid.

“No, I can’t do that.”

¿Por que no?” he asked me softly, his dark eyes warm on my lighter ones.

How many reasons I had to not let anything further happen between us… Because it isn’t right. Because I don’t know you. Because I don’t sleep with strange men. Because there is sin, and because there is disease, and because… and because… and because… My reasons could go on forever. Because I refuse to be stupid about this.

Porque no es… ,” I began, searching for the word. I knew the words to say it is not good, or it is not true, but the word for “right” eluded me. I unconsciously played with the cross on my necklace as I struggled for an adequate reply. At last I gave up. “Tu sabes porque no.” You know why not.

Si, yo se,” he nodded with simple acceptance. He smiled at me, held my hand. “You are a very nice person, Susan. I like you very much. I will not forget you. I hope you will come back to Costa Rica again. Will you give me your email so I can write to you?” he asked. “I will practice my English, and you can practice your Spanish.” I nodded, and he seemed pleased.

He let go of my hand, kissed me lightly goodnight, and I went back to my room. It was late, and I still needed to pack.

Copyright © 2010


~ by lorakceel on May 21, 2010.

2 Responses to “Costa Rica :: Part 24”

  1. Seems like Susan is trying to convince herself she’s not stupid.

  2. Or like “being stupid” is something Susan is REALLY afraid of.

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