Nothing bad happened this time.
No one teetered on the brink of death even once the whole week. We weren’t serenaded at 4:00 a.m. by herds of goats (there were lots of cows but they were admirably reticent). No giant iguanas stalked us.
In short, we had fun.
By mid-week I found myself wondering, lazily at first, how much a house like this would cost.
The next afternoon I loitered nonchalantly in front of the real estate office in Isabel, surreptitiously scanning the bulletin board.
Two or three listings caught my eye, but I didn’t say a word. Michael would think I had finally flipped (an eventuality he no doubt prepared for daily).
Over dinner that night he caught me completely off guard: “Do you think we could swing it?”
I thought I knew what he meant, but there was no way I was going to tip my hand without knowing for sure. “Swing what?” I asked innocently.
He gave me a knowing smile. “Don’t be coy. You know what I mean. A house down here.”
My answer gurgled up before I even had time to think about it. “Absolutely not!”
He looked as if I’d socked him in the jaw. “Excuse me?”
“We can’t afford it.”
He sat back in his chair, clearly perplexed. “We could rent the house out when we’re not here, just like everyone else. Sure, it might not pay for itself at first, but in a few years it might come close.”
This didn’t sound like the maddeningly level-headed Michael I’d known for ten years. In fact, it sounded suspiciously like one of my own wildly optimistic statements (“global warming will be so good for our tans!”), the kind that Michael typically absorbed in stoical silence and then slowly, methodically deconstructed until I couldn’t wait to renounce it myself (“…but I’m sure it’ll hurt like hell when our skin burns to a crisp and falls off”).
Clearly the island had worked its magic on him.
“I’m not so sure,” I said, perversely relishing this opportunity to play the naysayer rather than my usual dreary Pollyanna role.
But he wasn’t paying the slightest attention.
“I’ve watched you this week. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy. And you may be right. Maybe we can’t afford to buy a place down here.”
He took a long gulp of his drink and flashed his most winning smile. “But let’s give it a helluva try.”