It all started with a trip to Monte Cristi. I was nearing the end of my second trip the DR, and my friend Elena insisted on taking me to what she promised was one of the most beautiful beaches on the North Coast, and quite possibly the world.
Elena enlisted José to drive us. The same José, a retired policeman turned taxi driver, who had picked us (Mumsy, Kathie, Nona, Julie and myself) up at the Santiago airport on my initial trip to the DR that January. Just as he had on that night, José brought his friend and former partner along for the ride.
“Our bodyguards,” Elena joked, as we headed out early that morning.
But I wasn’t so sure. Oh, this young cop was nice enough, if a little shy. The problem was that he’d already made it known that he was interested in me. And, while I thought I’d made it pretty darn clear that I wasn’t interested in him, well… I had a feeling it was going to be a long day.
And, sure enough, it didn’t take him long to make his initial play to hold my hand. I swatted it away with a laugh and a bit of an eye roll. The activity in the back seat did not go unnoticed by Elena and Jose.
“When you get married, I want to be the best man,” Jose said, grinning at us in the rear view mirror.
That little prediction earned another eye roll from me.
But at some point during the day, my attitude started to change toward this man, whose name I didn’t really know. Was it Andy? André? Only later did I finally come to understand it was Andry.
Maybe it was how seriously he took his role as my bodyguard. Or how he insisted on coming in the water with me, even though he was clearly uncomfortable with the size of the waves.
Or maybe it was when I noticed the color of his eyes exactly matched the surf pounding around us.
Or when I went to use the public restroom on site, only to discover I had been a bit too generous with my emergency stash of tissues. (You’re welcome, Elena.) And he handed me his shirt. An offer which I found incredibly chivalrous, but declined.
Or maybe it was the beach itself, with its steep rock walls and terracotta sand. It was stunning and we had it all to ourselves. (It still blows my mind that this place barely makes the foot notes of most guidebooks, because it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.)
Maybe it wasn’t one thing, but rather an accumulation of all of these small items that set the carefully constructed wall around my heart to crumbling. All I know is that at some point the attention he was paying me stopped being bothersome. And on the return trip, when he reached for my hand, I wasn’t so quick to brush it away.
That night, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. And the next morning, I woke up with a poem rattling around my head, waiting for me to spill it out on paper.
I did. And then I did something completely crazy: I translated it into Spanish and shared it with him.
The following day, March 26, we had our first official date. It was another trip with José and Elena, this time to Playa Grande in Rio San Juan. It was another gorgeous beach, and yes, I dragged him into the ocean with me again.
A little over a year later, on May 9, 2015, Jose’s little prediction came true. And yes, he was Andry’s best man.
Here’s the poem I wrote that long ago morning, when I knew I’d found someone special.
Because when you know, you know.
Lost in the moment…
Your voice rolls over me
smooth and seductive
like the surf.
It’s not the words,
but the cadence,
Your fingers trace lazy circles
and I shiver,
shy like a school girl
with her first crush.
The brush of a kiss
on my temple,
draws my attention to your eyes.
against the caramel of your skin
I’d lose myself there,
if not for the tug of a smile
on those perfect lips.
Would they taste like salt
from the sea?
I wonder, reluctant to break
the spell of this perfect moment
even for the pleasure
of finding out.
MS March 25, 2015
Perdido en el momento…
Tu voz me vuelca
suave y seductor
como el surf.
No son las palabras
pero la cadencia
Tus dedos traza círculos perezosos
tímido como una muchacha de la escuela
con su primer amor.
La caricia de un beso
en mi frente,
suave como pluma
me llama la atención a tus ojos.
contra el caramelo de su piel.
si no fuera por el tirón de una sonrisa
en esos labios perfectos.
¿Saben a sal
desde el mar?
Me pregunto, reacio a romper
el hechizo de este momento perfecto
incluso para el placer