The Last Time We Met

He had his eyes on me all night. I knew it was wrong, but this was the first time in my

entire life, that he had shown any kind of interest towards me and while I felt

disgusted, I was also overwhelmed with love and excitement carefully masked

behind an uncaring face. Men are wired to want what they can’t have, so I forced

every particle of my body to ignore him when all I wanted to do was study his face

and see what his touch felt like. He had no idea who I was.

He came over to me and asked if he could buy me a drink. He spoke Spanish and was

predictably seductive in his look and approach. I let him buy me a Cuba Libre, a rum

and coke concoction. He tried to make a joke about the age of the rum being used.

He said it reminded him of us meeting here since the rum was twenty years older

than the diet coke. I laughed and for a moment, recognition, but he quickly buzzed it

off, as in his mind it wasn’t possible. None of this was possible.

I asked him what he was thinking and he said that for a moment I reminded him of someone. He told me that she died several years ago, but now that he thought about it, was I sure that I didn’t have an older sister. I told him I certainly didn’t and he said my accent and last name were a dead

giveaway that I wasn’t from here. I told him he was right, and it wasn’t a lie.

He was so easy to talk to, I could see the appeal and how hard it was going to be

after all of these years to leave him. I told him all about my business and how I was

writing for a living. He asked me what the hardest part was and I said it was

taking real moments, putting them on film for everyone to see and judge only to be

told that they aren’t possible; that they couldn’t happen. He said I must have a very

active imagination and as someone who also had an active imagination, he could

relate. He’d spent his entire life after his country’s revolution painting and

marrying young girl after young girl, searching for his own youth. After a kid or two he would move on. None of them ever understood his life as an artist or his need to be a gypsy. Maybe he just

hadn’t found the right girl, he said. No doubt a script he'd already memorized. He was so charming. I saw every man I’d ever fallen for that had hurt me in those eyes. He had the same trick. They connected and made you feel a need to rescue them just like you wanted someone to rescue you. I

wanted to thank him for letting me see it so clearly but I didn’t for fear I would give

myself away. I found every excuse to touch his forearm and actively told my hands

to stay away from his face. He wouldn't understand. He couldn't.

He tried once more to flirt, but I quickly lied that I was married. He laughed

and said he didn’t see my husband around. I got up and hugged him and held him

tightly which I’m sure was confusing. A single tear ran down my face. I loved him

even though we’d only met once before. I kissed him on the cheek and left, never

telling him he was my father.

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2020 Gabby Revilla Lugo