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.

3 thoughts on “Besos

  1. Ha ha – I still have difficulty remembering which countries are one-side only air kisses and which are double-sided. Italy is definitely double. Mexico is definitely single. Chile, well – you have to follow their lead. Not everyone is into it. Argentina – everybody does it, including man-to-man. (Men grab each other by the shoulders so there is plenty of control of movements.)

    BTW – I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. You will find more details on my latest blog post where you are prominently mentioned – 🙂 Congratulations, and keep up the great work. Love your stories! – Mike

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