Part III: Te rompiendo mi corazón
After I met with Richard the travel agent I ran to my room to change into my bathing suit. I couldn’t wait to get on the beach. I had not been to the beach in 4 years. Since moving to the East Coast I have stopped going to the beach for three reasons. I can’t deal with driving hours to the beach when I grew up only 15 minutes from the beach. In the Boston area the water is freezing and what’s the point of that. Also, as I have mentioned in this blog before I’ve gained 25lbs since then and I kept telling myself my body wasn’t beach ready. It took a lot for me to go to the store and buy a bathing suit and even more nerve to show that much of my body in public.
I strolled out there and decided that I couldn’t be concerned with my flaws. It was the beach in another country so I could not let my insecurities ruin my relaxing vacation. I find myself a beach chair and an umbrella and lay down. I took out my book with the intention of staying out there all day reading. I read two pages and then I realized that I didn’t want to read at that moment. In fact, I would not read any of the 3 novels I toted with me. I just laid there staring at the water and the beautiful white sand. I was captivated with my surroundings and I could do nothing other than gaze into the open ocean.
There were only a few open thatched umbrellas open and unfortunately I was near all the water sports equipment. After a while I realize this is advantageous as I get to watch people wind surf and go out on their kayaks. There are a group of guys who are in charge of the water sports who are constantly out there helping guest with the equipment.
“Hola!,” says the young thin man with the grey eyes. I greet him in return. He begins speaking Spanish but I have to explain to him that I don’t really speak that well. As usual he questions me about my background. There is a couple next to me and he starts talking to them in Spanish. I can understand most of what’s he’s saying. He’s telling them that I am the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. So every time he walks by me he says something to me or to them.
“I lover jor eir. Can I touch it?”
I just laugh it off. Then I realize that he isn’t always speaking Spanish. He’s speaking several languages and I realize he’s talking to everyone about me. I don’t know what he is saying but from the reactions and the pointing I know he’s talking to everyone about me. He’s acting like a teenage boy.
“Hey how many languages do you speak umm, como te llama?” I ask.
“I speak Spanish, Italian, German, French and English. Oh and my name is Gabriel (Gah-bri-el).
He was very good looking with a great body and the attention he paid me helped the day move along.
I went to lunch and on my way back I hear “Hola” again and I see someone waving at me frantically. He runs over and before he gets started I stopped him from bombarding me with Spanish. He asks me if I am interested in taking part in any water sports. I tell him I’m not and looks puzzled.
“You came this far and you are just going to look at the water?”
Indeed sir, I’m just going to look at the water. Later on he stops by my chair just to chat. He convinces me to try snorkeling. I actually get excited and I am looking forward to it. He tells me that he has to do it after work so I should meet him out there at 5pm. When the time comes he walks by and says “let’s go” and starts walking before I can even get out my chair.
He’s changed from his work shorts and is wearing jeans and flip flops. He grabs some equipment and he tells me to put it in my purse. We start walking towards the less crowded side of the beach. He continue to walk and I am aware that he’s starting to take me off property. I ask him how far we are going and he tells me we need to get to a part where the water is more clear. I am hesitant as I am alone with a stranger. We continue to walk but I keep looking back to make sure we aren’t getting that far. I tell him that I am not interested in walking any further. He informs me that this isn’t the best place but if this is where I want to stop we can try it.
He hands me the mask and explains to me how it works. He takes off his pants and we get into the water. The water is warm and we are right on a reef. Although I had been in the water earlier I didn’t feel comfortable. I’m not sure what it was but I start getting nervous. I begin to panic and he tries to calm be down. “Tranquila, tranquila,” he says. His efforts are futile and he helps me get out of the water. “You can’t snorkel unless you are relaxed. Let’s sit here for a moment and then let’s try again,” he tells me. He takes my towel and makes it into a cushion so I can sit on the rocks. I was embarrassed that I was freaking out.
“Yo creo que estoy lista pero no era la verdad,” I say nervously.
He laughs, “We will get in when you are actually ready. You just let me know.”
I giggle nervously for the next five minutes.
We sit and watch the water for a while. We start talking about where he’s from, how I learned Spanish, and our families. There are quite a few moments of silence that I welcome; something that I usually nervously fill immediately. At no point did I feel like I was talking too much or he wanted me to be quiet. The surroundings are comforting and I start to dig my toes into the damp sand. My companion notices this and begins to bury my feet in the sand. He takes care to make sure that every part of my feet are covered. I get nervous as I realize how sensual it is when he caresses my ankles to pack the sand around them. At that point I realize that I have forgotten his name. He tells me his name is Coco but I ask him for his real name. He takes his index finger and writes his name in the wet sand, C-A-R-L-O-S. Two hours pass with ease and I never get back in the water. I get hungry and we walk back. I thank him for the company. He suggests that tomorrow we go for a ride on the catamaran since that doesn’t involve swimming. I tell him I’ll think about it.
The next day I go out to the beach and I don’t even bring any books with me. I plan to just sit there all day and get some sun. “Hey Aicha, why are you in the sun? You are going to get too dark. You have the perfect Domincan color, not too light, not too dark,” Gabriel exclaims. I was taken a back at how openly people talked about skin color. This was the third time someone told me “don’t get too dark.” For some reason this day Gabriel didn’t have much to do and he seemed to be really comfortable around me. When he would walk by he would sneak up and pet my hair, sprinkle water on my feet or throw sand at me. A couple of times he just sat on the edge of my chair and made me speak with him in Spanish. During the afternoon I decide that I need to make sure I get an even tan and I start to lay on my stomach. I’m nearly asleep and then someone sits on me. It’s Gabriel, I start laughing and calling him names in Spanish. The German couple next to me is laughing too because he’s been telling them he’s fallen in love with me. I start playfully hitting him but then he stands up all of the sudden. I ask him what’s wrong.
“Coco is over there driving the banana boat and he just saw me sitting on you and started shaking his head.” he tells me.
“I bet he’s going to be mad at me,” he continues. I don’t really respond.
“Is Carlos your boyfriend? I saw you guys walking way over there yesterday.”
I looked stunned and said “No, he was teaching me how to snorkel.”
“Well he’s your boyfriend now.”
I was confused because I didn’t know what just happened. Gabriel leaves and I go back to sleep. I see Carlos and I ask when we are going to take a ride on the catamaran. “Later,” he says curtly. I start to get restless so I go take a swim in the ocean. The water is warm and I stay out there for a while. When I get out of the water I have to walk right in front of the water sports booth and all of the guys are sitting around doing nothing. I hear someone say “hey!’. I turn around and wave and I hear in unison “Hola Coco” accompanied by a thunderous laugh. At that point I am really annoyed. I was convinced that Gabriel was the mastermind of this incident. When I run into Carlos later I tell him what happened as best as I could in Spanish. “People just like to talk,” he tells me.
My last day comes around and I skip breakfast and I go directly to the beach. I get out there and walk around trying to soak my last moments on the beach. Gabriel of course is the first one out because what he loves more than me, is the beach.
“Estas aqui temprano ,” he says.
“It’s my last day out here. So I skipped breakfast since I’m leaving at noon,” I inform him.
“No! Ah, ¿porque te rompiendo mi corazón?” he asks.
“Of course I wouldn’t purposely break your heart.”
“Look she’s going to leave me here and I don’t know what to do,” he tells the Dutch couple.
They laugh hysterically.
“Well let me help you find another woman,” I tell him.
“There aren’t any other women. White women are ugly and I don’t like Dominican women,” he says with a straight face.
“What’s wrong with Dominican women,” I ask?
“I just don’t like them.”
I decide not to press him any further.
“Well, before I leave let take your picture.”
“Why? So you can tell all your friends ‘this is the crazy fucker who wouldn’t leave me alone on the beach’? ” he says in his best English.
We both begin to laugh hysterically.
He convinces me to go out with him on kayak. I agree since I really wanted to try something new. We go and get life jackets and I see Carlos. I try to engage him in conversation but it’s clear he doesn’t want to talk to me. I am confused with his demeanor and I realize he must be mad that I was hanging with Gabriel. I laugh to myself as I realize that after two days I have caused drama amongst co-workers. I’m known for this but it never happens this fast.
At this point I was glad this was my last day on the beach. I don’t think I could have taken the drama. I was on my do nothing vacation and I didn’t need anyone stopping me from relaxing. A couple more hours pass and I say my farewells. Gabriel was out on the boat and I didn’t get to say goodbye. I hugged Carlos and went on my way.