Maritza left, but before she did, she set up another appointment with mom. They were going to visit reception halls. Mom had picked five to visit. At least, they were not going to be at the house again for a while. That was a good thing. I did not need to see Arturo again so soon. My feelings were alive, and I knew for sure that I still loved him.
Mom and dad had gone to their room. They were watching TV. The new season had arrived and they were watching a new detective’s series that had just started. I went over to the kitchen to get some tea and a snack. I sat down at the table, and picked up a magazine mom had left there. It was a bride’s magazine. I was flipping through the pages, when I heard the doorbell ring. That was odd. We were not expecting any one else that night.
I walked over to the door, looked through the peeping hole, and jumped back. My heart started pumping fast, and my veins came to life. A sudden warm rush was running through my body. It was Arturo; he was at the door. I composed myself the best I could and swallowed real hard.
I started thinking, “Why is he here? Maritza left, already. I am sure she called him and told him.”
I opened the door and he said hello.
“Hello, Arturo. You are late. Maritza left a while ago. Do you need to see mom?” I asked, nervously.
He said, “Oh! No! Maritza called me and said she had left the invitations and wedding announcement. She asked for me to stop by and pick them up. Since your house is on my way home, she figured I could save her an extra trip.”
“Oh! I did not realize she had left them here. Let me go get them for you,” I said and headed to the dining room table.
I heard the door close. I looked back and Arturo had come in the house. He walked over to the table and stood there.
“Genevieve, since it is not too late, do you think I could have some of your dad’s coffee?” his face was like a child who wanted candy as he asked.
I laughed and said, “Well, dad is watching the new show premiere, but I can go ask him?”
Arturo looked puzzled and replied, “Do not bother him. Don’t you know how to make it?”
“Duh, of course I do” I answered playfully. “OK, I will make you some. Go ahead have a seat. I am going to let mom and dad know you are here.”
I, hurriedly, walked down the hallway, and went into my parents’ bedroom. I told them Arturo was there. They both said OK, and continued watching their show. Arturo had been around since forever. To them, he was just like family. They did not think much of it. I hurried back to the kitchen and as I approached, I saw him sitting down, looking at the bride’s magazine. He was flipping through the same pages I had just looked at. He realized I was there and closed the magazine.
“Did you enjoy looking at the magazine?” I said with a smirk on my face.
He realized I was mocking him and just nodded his head. I told him mom and dad knew he was here and had asked me to excuse them. Arturo did not seem to mind that they were not joining us. I was nervous. I think it showed. When I reached in the cupboard to get the cups, I slipped and awkwardly pretended it did not happen. I was not very subtle. I saw him laughing and almost enjoying my clumsiness. I started brewing the coffee and sat down at the table across from him. He was looking at me and smiling.
“Genevieve, How long has it been since I saw you last?” he asked.
“Since, last week”, I said mockingly.
“No, no, no, I meant, how long has it been since I saw you before last week?” He asked again.
I pretended not to know the exact time, even though I knew exactly how long it had been.
“I think it has been four or five years. It was when Antonio had his farewell party, right?” I asked as if questioning myself.
“Yeah, yeah, that was the last time. It has been five years then. You must have been what 15, 16 years old, maybe?” he hesitantly spoke.
“No, I am 23 years old, so I must have been 18.” I corrected.
“Wow, you are 23 years old. No wonder you do not look like a little girl anymore. The other night I realized that. When I first saw you, I was surprised by how much you have changed. I bet guys are flocking all around you,” he said teasing me.
“Yes, with feathers and all” I replied and started laughing.
He was laughing, too. I poured us both coffee, and continued conversing with him for a while. We talked about old times. He remembered what a pest I could be, and I remembered how annoyed he would get. We both laughed at our memories. We both agreed they were good times. He went on to say how much he had missed coming over now that Antonio was gone. I told him it was quiet now at the house. It was just mom, dad and me. Most nights they went to bed early, and I stayed up by myself.
“Arturo, Maritza is beautiful. You made a good choice,” I said.
“Actually, it was not her beauty that attracted me. We met by chance. In college, I frequented the close by coffee shop and she worked there. She worked late nights and I could not sleep. We spent many nights talking and before we knew it, an attraction developed. As time went by, we decided to make things work, and now almost three years later, here we are.” He continued, “I am not the marrying kind, but she has put up with so much, that I feel we needed to make it official. I love her. I am not head over heels over her, but I do love her. She is good to me and does everything she can to please me.”
“Wow, that’s a nice story.” I said and continued, “Marriage is a very serious decision to make. Not every day, does a person come along that makes you think of a future together. She must be special when you want her as your wife.”
Inside, I was steaming with envy.
Arturo stayed quiet. He looked at his coffee cup, took a sip, and said, “This is the best coffee that I have ever had. I drank many before, and this is the best. Isn’t it amazing? You think you have had the best, then something else comes along, and you realize, you had not had the best yet.”
I stood up, when to the dining room table, grabbed the announcements and wedding invitation and handed them to him.
“It is getting late,” I said.
He stood up, grabbed the papers, and looked at me.
“Until last week, I did not realize how beautiful you are.” He said to me, “I am glad we had time to chat.”
He continued to stand in front of me. He would not move.
“I need to tell you, that I was glad that Maritza left the papers here. I asked for coffee tonight, because I wanted a chance to sit down and talk to you. I have no idea why, but since I saw you last week I just think and there you are in my thoughts. I can’t stop thinking about you. I am so confused by what I am thinking and feeling. I am sorry, Genevieve. I guess I had better go.” He excused himself.
I walked him to the door, he walked close behind me. I could feel him staring at me. He walked slowly. He stood at the door; but would not leave. He kept looking at me. I did not know what to do. I stood there, I looked at him. No words were being said, just looks. The kind of looks that speak a thousand words, the kind of look that tells it all. His blue eyes were fixed on my brown eyes. He was looking at me and I understood what his eyes were saying. Mine were responding. The silent conversation was loud and clear. I felt him grab my hand and pull me close.
He whispered, “Genevieve, do you believe love can be awaken in one day? Do you think a dormant feeling can come to life and scream aloud?”
I took a step back, “Arturo, the answers to those questions are dangerous and have many implications, It is best if you leave now.”
He needed to go. I said goodnight, and closed the door. I went to my room and let out a silent scream. What had just happened? He felt like I did. I felt like he did. The feeling is mutual. Arturo not only had seen me as a woman, but also felt the way I did. Could this be? Yes, it was. I thought about his words and how he had expressed the way he felt, yet I cowardly walked away. I did not let him know what I felt for him. I could not be a distraction. I decided that night to stay away from him. Whenever I knew that he was to meet mom, I would make sure I was no longer at the house. That is exactly what I did.