The Weekend

Ann Berrios

It was the end of a perfect day. If only her best friend could see her now. It was a haul to get to the vineyard and expensive considering her small salary as a receptionist. Whatever she earned was already spent on her apartment, her food, her dry-cleaning. She dipped into her paltry savings for the air shuttle to Boston from Kennedy. This was the only way since she had yet to get her driver's license. She waited in Logan Airport forever. Finally, after one small plane already filled, they sent another, even smaller but following on the first one's heels. This was father's day weekend. She made her excuses to the family and readily accepted the last minute invitation.

He was waiting for her, smiling. She was already in love. He knew the place, got the room and showed her the island as if he owned it. He told her she was beautiful and she believed him somewhat. He was more beautiful than she. They had breakfast in a famous local pub. It was delicious but she was careful to leave most. They stayed on the beach in their bathing suits. He even knew the best place to put their towels. Though it was windy and the sea still too cold, the sun was warm and enveloping. Afternoon ended with a swim in a fresh water lake. Even though she thought she was a strong swimmer, he was much stronger and reached the rock in the middle way before her. The scallops in the famous, not fancy seafood restaurant were delicious though she was careful to leave most. She paid the bill. A pause when the bill came prompted her to action.

There was still more. He had snagged tickets to a concert by one of her favorite folk singers at a local coffee house which was owned by an even more famous singer. Surely, someone not as brave and open as she would have passed out from all this happiness and activity. Their table for two touched the tall stage. The singer came out, told a joke about New Hampshire which she found unbelievably witty and started his first set of songs. They were beautiful, profound and sung in a soft, low, pure voice. His guitar playing was perfect. He was easy on the eyes and easy on the ears. The singer looked down from stage and found her. He began to sing to her. She blushed, she looked away, she lit a cigarette. She knew some of the songs, one better than the next. Intermission came. The room brightened. A manager bent down, put her arm around the girl at the table and said in practically a whisper "Tom asks that our guests don't smoke." She squashed the burning cigarette in the ashtray and felt like she wanted to die.

Ann Berrios was born and grew up in New York City. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College and an M.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She works currently for the AIDS Education and Resource Center at Stony Brook University Hospital and Medical Center. She is married and has two children, Miguel (8) and Caroline (4).

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