It’s important to enjoy the happy little surprises life throws your way—you know, things like discovering some cash in a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in months.
But it’s even more fun to savor those delicious moments that you know are headed your way.
At the top of my list of all-time anticipated pleasures is flying from D.C. to San Juan on a dreary February day, walking out of the airport into the hot, moist air, and tilting my Vitamin D-deprived face upward toward the relentless equatorial sun.
Sheer, unadulterated bliss.
That first February when we touched down in San Juan we almost sprinted to the door of the American Airlines terminal.
We were addicts rushing toward a long-awaited fix—the fix being sun and heat (and, in Michael’s case, nicotine).
It was so satisfying I almost bummed a cigarette for myself.
We were back.
Or almost. There was always the tiny irritant of the puddle jumper and the ensuing sweaty palms. But I didn’t care.
Daniel met us at the airport in Vieques. “How are things at the house?” I asked as we tossed our luggage into the back of his monster truck.
“Fine, as far as I know.”
This was hardly the comforting answer I’d hoped for.
“Meaning…you haven’t been there lately…or what?”
He shot me a look. “Oh, I’ve been there,” he drawled. “Everything’s okay. No drama.”
The living room of the upper floor was piled high with half-opened boxes from Sears and Linens ‘N Things. It was pandemonium.
I opened my mouth to ask if there had been an off-season hurricane but knew instinctively to keep quiet. Maybe he had begun the unpacking process and–suffering from over-exposure to non-designer products–simply collapsed in shame.
After allowing us exactly five minutes upstairs (yes, reader, I saw him look at his watch), he corralled us downstairs to inspect the projects he had actually supervised. Admittedly, everything he had done looked well-executed.
“Nice job,” Michael said.
“Yes, well,” Daniel began, looking at his watch again, “I’m happy to do what I can.” He glanced toward the driveway like a dog straining on its leash.
“I guess we’ll finish opening the boxes when you’re gone,” I threw out.
“Good luck,” he said, all but rolling his eyes. “By the way, you’re not staying here at the house I hope,” he muttered, looking around with undisguised horror.
“Nope,” I said. “It just isn’t practical this time.”
“Obviously,” he agreed with a shiver. “I assume you’re staying at Martineau Bay?” This was the only resort on the island (later to become the W Hotel)—expensive and definitely not our thing.
“Actually,” I began, milking the moment for all it was worth, “we’re staying at the Puerto Real Inn.” This was the lovely but decidedly un-fabulous hotel we’d stayed in the weekend we found our house back in October.
“Oh,” he said, giggling nervously.
You’d have thought we were staying in a yurt.
“Anyway,” I said, “thanks for picking us up. Let’s meet later this week to go over next steps.”
He seemed surprised by this thoroughly routine suggestion. “Hmm, I’m not sure. Frankly I’ve got a lot going on right now,” he prevaricated coyly, as if I’d asked him out on a date.
But I wasn’t about to let him off the hook so easily. “We’re free almost anytime—morning, noon, or night. Surely you can fit us in.”
He stared at his Blackberry for at least thirty seconds before answering. “I’ll do my best!” he announced through clenched teeth, fronted by a stunningly insincere smile.
With that, he waddled to his truck, climbed in and roared away.