Sunday, July 22, 2012

Making Love and Killing Flowers

When I got back to the lobby, it was chaos. More buses full of tourists were pulling up and cranky, tired guests and their bulging suitcases were everywhere. Trays of Rum Punch were being distributed throughout the crowd to try and keep people happy and Guantanamera was being played over and over by a 3 piece band set up in the corner.

I didn't want to join the disorganized line-up at check-in quite yet knowing that the 2 bored workers behind the desk would need some time to deal with 200 new guests. Instead I chatted with the other entertainers as I stood shyly next to Juan, feeling energy sparks flying between our almost-touching arms. Some of them knew through him that I was coming back, others were happily surprised to see me. I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. Juan was working and I didn't want to be jumping all over him, drawing attention to the fact that I was there because of him. But I also wanted him to know that I was, in fact, there because of him. That he wasn't just the cherry-on-top of another vacation...he was the reason I'd returned.

When there was finally a break in the line I darted to the desk to get my room assignment and resort bracelet. Juan made some hand motions that seemed to indicate I should meet him at the Cafe Bar once I had everything sorted. As soon as I got my room key, I turned into a speed demon. Ran to find my room, threw my suitcases into the closet, showered/brushed teeth/got dressed/did hair and makeup almost simultaneously. About a minute and a half after entering my room, I was on my way back out to find Juan.

He was sitting close to the Cafe Bar with some of the other entertainers. They were deciding whether or not to go out to the club. He asked me if I wanted to go out or just go to sleep. I said I was tired...but then regretted it, unsure if he knew that I wanted him to join me in my room. He also looked nervous, asked me if I wanted to be alone or? I told him I definitely didn't want to be alone and he jumped into action, said goodbye to everyone else and led me towards a dark path that meandered just outside of the main resort thoroughfares. He whispered his plan, I would head back to my room, he would take some back routes and meet me there in five minutes, then he looked around to ensure no bosses or security guards were in sight and kissed me quickly.

Back in the room I'd just recently left, I sat nervously on the edge of the bed, trying to massage out the pain that still gripped my head and neck. There was a subtle knock, I answered and found Juan smiling and holding out his arms. I dragged him in for a hug, no longer shy, no longer worried about who was watching us and what they were thinking. We just stood there hugging and hugging, not really saying anything, not really needing to. And then...

Well, you can fill in the blanks on what happened next. Suffice it to say I did end up marrying this guy (we'll get to that eventually!)

Later we lay in bed talking. My head on his chest, his arm around me with his hand in my hair, our feet intertwined (this would come to be our favourite way of being together, the natural way our bodies just fit). He asked me where the flower was.

'What flower?'
'The one I gave you in the lobby.
'Mmmm, don't remember any flower.'
'The one I picked for you...with my own hands! I gave it to you when you got off the bus, before you ran away to the bathroom.'

I started to vaguely remember a flower. I tore myself away from him and we both began looking around the room. In the bathroom amongst my toiletries already laying about on the counter, in the pile of dirty airplane clothes I'd left on the floor, amongst the wet towels I'd flung down the hallway. The flower was nowhere to be found, until Juan lifted up the suitcase perched precariously half-in and half-out of the closet and found his Hibiscus, flattened and squished into the corner.

He held up the bruised and battered flower accusingly, 'So this is what you like to do to flowers? Is this your Canadian way?! I gave my mom a flower like this 3 weeks ago and she put it in water and it's still alive. That was a symbol of my feelings for you and you just dropped a suitcase on it!! I will have to remember not to give you any more flowers, EVER!!!'

I was surprised and felt a little guilty but mostly was trying not to laugh. I told him I saw these flowers everywhere in Cuba, that the housekeepers left about 10 of them strewn around my room every day, that they were kind of flat and dead-looking to begin with, I had no idea I was supposed to hold onto them.

He muttered 'Flower Killer' a few more times but finally decided that my willingness to fly back to visit him for 2 weeks was a show of faith that my evil, flower-killing ways could be overcome. He hugged me again and we fell back into bed, knowing that with two weeks of discovery ahead of us...we needed our rest.

I was on flower probation for about a year but I'm happy to say I finally have been forgiven

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