“I gave Anastasia the scarf you brought back from Kampala and she loves it,” Tomás said to his father.
“I hope you didn’t mind me buying her something. It’s just that I saw it and thought of her.”
“No, no, I don’t mind at all. She and I are just really good friends. Papá, why don’t you ask her out?”
Salvador balked at the idea. “You can’t be serious?”
“I’m too old for her.”
“When it comes to love, Papá, age shouldn’t matter.”
“Is it that obvious?”
“That you’re in love with her? To me it is.”
“What about her? Do you know how she feels about me?”
“Well, she hasn’t come right out and said anything to me but I can tell that she feels the same way just from the way she acts whenever we talk about you.”
Salvador ran his fingers through his hair. “I feel like a lovesick schoolboy,” he remarked.
Tomás grinned. “It’s good to see you fall in love again. It’s about time. Mami has been dead for fifteen years now. You need to get on with your life and be happy. Anastasia is a fantastic girl. The two of you will be very happy together.”
“So, you really think I should ask her out?”
“Yes! Do it this afternoon when she stops by to thank you personally for the scarf.”
Salvador’s heart skipped a beat. “She’s coming here this afternoon?”
“Yes. Somehow, I don’t think the scarf is the real reason for her visit. She missed you while you were gone and is very anxious to see you.”
“I missed her too. I thought of nothing or no one else all that time I was in Kampala.”
“Good. Then, the two of you can tell each other how much you missed each other in person.” He glanced at his watch. “I’d better be going or I’ll be late.”
Salvador watched him in alarm. “Where’re you going?” he demanded.
“I’m going to the movies with the guys. Papá, I mentioned this yesterday.”
“You’re going to leave me here alone with Anastasia?”
“Papá, you’re a big boy now. You don’t need a chaperone. Gotta run. I’ll call you tomorrow.” And he was out of there before his father could say anything else.
Alone, Salvador went over to the sofa and sat down. He was nervous. He had never been alone with Anastasia before. Tomás was always around. What was he doing to do when she showed up? Agitated, he got up from the sofa, slid the glass door open and went down the steps leading to the beach. A walk would help to clear his head and calm his nerves.
Anastasia rang the bell but there was no answer. She rang again twice. Frowning, she tried the handle and the door opened. She went inside, closed and locked it behind her. After removing her shoes and leaving them on the mat in the foyer, she went into the living-room. It was empty but the glass door was open. She went out on to the terrace and looked. She saw a lone figure walking along the water’s edge. It was Salvador. Her heart began to race in excitement. She couldn’t wait to see him. She missed him so much when he was in Kampala. As soon as she heard that he was back, she had to come and see him. Placing her satchel in one of the chairs, she opened it took out the beautiful scarf he bought her. Smiling, she draped it about her shoulders and waited for him to come back.
When he came back sometime later, he saw her waiting for him on the terrace. Nervous and excited he approached slowly, cautiously. She had the scarf draped about her and was looking down at him as he stood at the bottom of the steps. She looked so lovely. He ached to take her in his arms but he shoved them into the pockets of his trousers, trying to look nonchalant. “Hello,” he said.
“Hello,” she replied. He had the most amazing eyes. She wanted to run down the steps and throw her arms around him but she remained where she was. Until she knew how he felt about her, she had to remain cool. “I had to come by and thank you for the beautiful scarf.”
“I’m happy you like it.”
“Was this your first visit to Kampala?”
“Did you like it?”
“Yes, I did.”
“It’s funny. When I was living in Gulu, my family and I never visited Kampala which was a four hour drive away. At one point I wanted to attend the university there but my parents wanted me to go to Uganda Christian University instead and I’m happy I did. I would like to go to Kampala one of these days, though.”
He wanted to say, I’d love to take you, but instead, he said, “You’ll like it.”
It was still bright although it was almost seven in the evening. “It must be nice living at the beach,” she remarked, turning to gaze at the waves as they rolled onto the sand.
“It is,” he agreed. A long pause while he wrestled with himself. Finally, he asked, “Do you have any plans for the evening?”
She looked at him. “No.”
“Would you like to stay and have dinner with me?”
“Yes,” she said without the slightest hesitation and that was very encouraging for him.
Smiling, he went up the steps. “You can stay and relax out here while I go and get things ready.”
After he went inside, she folded the scarf and put it back into her satchel. Then she sat down in one of the chairs facing the beach. Twenty minutes later, he joined her, carrying two large plates of something which smelled really good. “I thought we could eat out here and enjoy the view at the same time.” He set the plates down on the table between the two chairs. “I’ll be right back.”
She looked at what they were going to have. It looked like meatballs in sauce served over rice and vegetables on the side. It looked and smelled delicious, making her mouth water.
He returned with two glasses of sangria which he set on the table before he sat down in the other chair. “I hope you enjoy the Spanish Style meatballs in a Sunny Mediterranean Sauce. I don’t eat Pork so I used Chicken instead.”
“I don’t eat Pork either. I’m sure I will enjoy this.”
He smiled. “Buen apetito.”
They ate and she marveled at what a great cook he was. She had never tasted meatballs this good before. She wondered why Tomás never mentioned his father’s culinary skills.
It was while they were sipping the Sangrias when he turned to her, heart beating fast and said, “Anastasia, you don’t have any objections, I’d like to us to be in a relationship.”
She put her class down. “I don’t have any objections,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to be in a relationship with you.”
He put his glass down and stood up. Reaching down, he took her hands and drew her to her feet. Cupping her face between his hands, he kissed her. Behind him the sun began to set, marking the end of another day but tomorrow it would rise again, marking the beginning of a new day. That evening marked the beginning of a new relationship for them.
Don’t be afraid to fall in love again. It’s God giving you another chance at happiness.