PREVIOUSLY: Part 2
We had been talking for an hour and a half. My Portuguese was losing potency, but by now she was doing most of the speaking. I passed that crucial point where she became comfortable just talking to me about whatever was on her mind. In the moments I blanked she resumed the conversation with questions, observations. I took her talking as an opportunity to just stare into her eyes and imagine things that would never come to pass—just for fun, just to give me a little hope that one day everything is going to perfectly come together with the girl I want in the city I’m living in.
“You told me you’ve been to New York before,” I said.
“Yeah but only for a week. I really liked the city.”
“I think New York is the best city in the U.S. though honestly I haven’t been to a lot of American cities. I’ve been to more places in Brazil.”
“Wow that’s pretty strange.”
“I guess. But there I just don’t have the motivation. I know, say, Boston, is different than Washington D.C., but how much different? In the end I like doing things that are difficult, and going to another American city isn’t. There’s no struggle—it’s just sightseeing and going drinking, meeting people who are similar to ones I’ve already met. I want to learn a new language, a new culture, learn different ways of living. Something about it has to be hard, and Portuguese is definitely very hard.”
“Yes, it is. Did you take a class?”
“I had a tutor in Rio. I studied with her about 15 hours or so. But yeah one day you should come to D.C. We have very nice museums.”
“What else? How is it like living there?”
“Well it’s like Brasilia I guess. You have a lot of politicians and lawyers. It’s a serious city, alright for three days but you’d have more fun living in New York. Besides the museums and a couple cupcake shops there’s nothing else I can really recommend.”
We had to hop on a bus to the boarding gate. I followed her in, finally getting a nice view of her body, and sat down next to her. She’s talking and talking about all sorts of things, and unfortunately I was understanding less as she began speaking faster and using more slang. I would single out a word here or there for her to explain but I let a lot of it go because I didn’t want to disturb the flow of the conversation. Instead I’d do my trick of matching her facial expression towards the end of what she saying so she believed I understood. “This wouldn’t be a problem if we dated,” I thought, “because at fours a day of Portuguese you’d get there in six weeks.” Besides not living in her city, I’d admit to nothing else that would hinder a potential relationship.
I wanted to feel out her interest a bit more. She was talking to me, which was a good sign, but how interested was she? I can’t yet say there were heavy flirtations.
On the bus I made sure not to touch her side while seated next to her. About two minutes in I felt her thigh slightly touching mine. With women there is no such thing as an accidental touch. To accentuate a later joke I touched the top of her knee with my hand for two or three seconds, just to do it. My feelings were mixed, a combination of the pleasure of spending time with her mixed with the emptiness of our inevitable separation, of going to a new country and starting all over again for the third time in a year.
At the time I felt that things were beginning for real, the bus came to a stop next to our airplane. We got out and waited in line on the stairs up to the door. It was a big plane so the odds we’d sit next to each other approached zero.
“What seat are you?” I asked.
I looked at her wide open eyes and felt bad for my joke. “No unfortunately not. I’m 6C.” She didn’t laugh, and I told myself I wasn’t going to test her again.
CONTINUED: Part 4