When we got back from fishing I took a long hot shower and packed my bag and said good-bye to the Fletchers. There was a certain buzz in all the little towns that I passed through. More people on the street, more food stalls and little markets. People were getting ready for the holidays. When I got to my house, I stopped for a minute before putting the key in and unlocking the door. I had no idea what to expect. Maybe there would be an inch of water in my house or maybe the roof would be caved in. Who knew?
But everything was fine. In fact, it was more than fine. It was wonderful. While I’d been gone everything had been repaired. The air-conditioner hummed. The floors were dry and spotless. Ice dropped into my glass from the in-door ice maker. It was as if Santa had come overnight and given me everything I’d asked for.
I decided to walk along the beach into town and have dinner. It’s about a thirty minute walk from my house to Bucerias. The beach was surprisingly empty. All the chairs and tables were set up in front of the many beachside restaurants but there were no customers. It was as if everyone was just waiting for the church bell to ring in the plaza announcing the beginning of the Christmas celebrations, and then everyone would come out of their homes and wander the plaza, make toasts at the bars, order huge platters of food at the restaurants, sing and get drunk and have fun. But not just yet. For at least a few more hours, I would have Bucerias all to myself.
So I walked to Adriano’s and I sat at a small table looking out over the beach and I ordered a margarita and when the waiter came back to take my order, I told him to give me a little more time. Certainly, he said. Tonight there is no hurry. And he smiled and looked around the mostly deserted dining room. I finished my drink and then I ordered the ceviche, which was very good, and a glass of white wine. And when I finished that, I ordered a lobster because it was almost Christmas and I was dining by myself and I felt like something special. I also ordered a bottle of Spanish wine and I ate the lobster slowly, savoring every bite, and drank my wine and when my dinner was over I sat at the table and listened to the music coming from the plaza and the sound of the waves beating the shore and thought about nothing. Nothing at all.