After two and a half years, I have a hard time expressing how exactly this relationship happened. Not because I've forgotten but because I've learned to downplay it. One thing you learn very early on when you're involved with a Cuban is that no matter how special you think your relationship is, no matter how unique and real and storybook-romance perfect it feels, nobody will believe in it. You learn to either preface it with apologies and admissions of all the possible worst-case scenarios or not talk about it all. No matter how love-struck you feel, if you want to avoid people giving you 'just trying to help' advice, you learn to appear logical and detached. The strange thing is, for me, in the beginning I didn't think I was particularly love-struck.
|The remainders of the creamed ham meal|
Back at the resort, I hurried around saying goodbye to the bartenders, the wait-staff, my housekeeper, the gardeners, the life-guards, the band, the DJ, the dancers, the entertainment crew, telling everyone how much I'd miss them and how I'd be back soon. I saved my final goodbye for Juan (I repeat, not his real name in any way). We ducked behind a tree to hug, he reached down beside a flower bush and plucked, not a flower but, a dirty, dried-up weed from underneath it to tuck behind my ear...I cracked up and told him, with real confidence, that I'd be back soon. Then I got on the bus.
As soon as I got to my seat, I opened the notebook to see what he'd written. Just one, simple, misspelled sentence "I can't tell you 'I love you' bot I'll mess you". I immediately started crying as realized, just a little bit, that he may have already messed me.
|The most romantic 'I don't love you' letter I've ever received|