I’m at the fruteria, buying my weekly supply of clementines, strawberries, potatoes, beans, eggs, carrots, and vocabulary practice. All is going well. I even manage to say both “zanahoria” and “judia” without international incident.
And then, I hear a voice behind me, “Hola, Nancy.”
It’s my landlady’s brother. He’s young, and cute. Sleepy eyes, and a half-cocked smile. Jeans and a scarf. He smells of musty cigarettes and soap.
I flush. I watch, as he leans in for the standard double kiss. I lean in, kiss one cheek, and move to the other.
And I miss. And we’re kissing. On los labios. Just a peck, closed mouth.
I laugh, nervously and first, and then a little hysterically. “Lo siento!” I cry. He laughs too, and then he asks me where my husband is.
Yes, he did.
“Esta trabajando.” I say, and wipe my hands on my jeans.
And I hand Manolo, the fruit man, a sweaty Euro bill. The young kissing bandit helps me put the fruits and veggies in my car. He ruffles my son’s hair and says, “Hasta Luego!”
I text my landlady. “No pasa nada,” she says. “He doesn’t think badly of you at all.”
Well, that’s a relief. It’s a small town, and a smaller fruit stand. Odds are, we’ll meet again.
In the meantime, I will practice my double kisses with my husband.
But. Just in case?
I’ll always have breath mints.