Chapter 9: Pretty Bows

(C) 2011 by Metta Anderson – All Rights Reserved

Grace didn’t see Eduardo for a few weeks, but then he called and they went to a movie at the Libertador, the nine o’clock show. It was after 11 when they got out and took a taxi back to Grace’s. She invited him in for a drink or coffee (she had both although she didn’t drink either one).  She turned on the radio, they chatted and then they went to bed. It just seemed like such a natural thing to do.

For all his “back to the Conquistadores” pedigree, Eduardo looked nothing like a Spaniard and Colombians outside his social class often mistook him for a foreigner, too. He was 6’2″, fair skin, big brown eyes and a modest hawk nose, and full lips. And that was just at the top.

He was built like a professional American football player–broad shoulders, slender waist and hips, solid thighs and calves, and it was all muscle. He swam three times a week at Los Lagartos Country Club, to which his parents (and grandparents and aunts and uncles ad infinitum) belonged. He was smart, articulate, frank and open. He played guitar. He loved rock music. It turned out that he and Julian had begun Los Andes together, but Eduardo dropped out because his classes bored him to death. When Julian’s got boring, the two of them would go off to a nearby bar, “The Black Griffin,” and just drink, talk, listen to music, gossip and end up drunk. If and when Tere found them, Julian would be boisterously drunk and dancing on the tables while Eduardo clapped in time, as if whatever Beatles’ song on the jukebox were flamenco. At one point during their first date, Eduardo mentioned that he had a friend who liked to dance on tables when he was drunk, but Grace wouldn’t find out a few years who the dancer was. That happened only by chance, when Julian one night, after  a few drinks, wanted to go dancing and said he wished he could be like Fred Astaire or Antonio Gádes. In the course of deciding where they’d go dancing, he mentioned “The Black Griffin” and dancing on those tables. And, oh yeah, how his friend Ed Borda always thought it was way too cool.

Grace laughed and made a mental note–“avoid guys who go to Los Andes University.”

Eduardo was adventurous and even fun in bed and conversation in between the sex was just as good. He didn’t promise her anything and she didn’t even ask. She liked him, daydreamed about a more serious relationship and at one point developed an entire fantasy about having his child (twins, no less) out of wedlock. She and the children would live in a charming little house on Calle 76 just below Carrera 11, in a gated community of connecting Tudor-style homes with lots of acacia, oak and pine trees. It would be decorated in pale yellow walls, with white window and door trim, gorgeous chintz curtains and furniture, sterling silver objects on highly polished mahagoney furniture. The wall-to-wall carpetting would be wool,  thick and off-white throughout, including the upstairs master bathroom. Grace held onto that fantasy for about the length of a bus ride one afternoon, more in love with the interior decoration and the house’s location than she’d ever be with Eduardo himself.

But then he began to show up around 11 or 12 at night, wanting to come upstairs and have sex. “Just dyin’ to see ya. . .” (“but I had to have dinner at my grandmother’s. . .” or “and I just got back from Miami. . .” or whatever creative lie he could come up with). At first, Grace said yes, but even before he took a shower, she wanted him to leave. She never let him know that, of course, and would offer him a cup of coffee or another scotch or something. Ever the gracious hostess, she walked him to the door, gave him a kiss and a kind of “y’all come back, sailor. . .”

She locked her apartment door before he even got down to the second floor and went back to bed.

She wanted to tell him to stop coming over and was trying to figure out a ladylike way of doing that when the matter resolved itself almost on its own. Eduardo had shown up, they chatted, they had sex and he went into the bathroom to take a shower. Grace had trailed in behind him in a negligée (something very elegant and expensive she’d found at Jacobson’s the summer before and was dying to try out). Somehow, Eduardo had started talking about what he wanted in a girlfriend or that his parents were pressuring him to get married and “settle down,” because he worked for his father and therefore had a steady income. Grace thought she’d made an inocuous comment of agreement–agreeing with him, of course–from her seat on the toilet lid when he turned to her, one foot in the shower, water gushing, and said derisively, “You can’t think I’m going to marry you, do you?”

Grace stared at him. She was profoundly hurt by his remark and insulted that his timing was so poor, but replied before her emotions could show. “And why do you think I would want to marry you, Eduardo? My parents would have a fit if I did,” she replied in the most blasé tone she could muster, looking him dead in the eye.

He was genuinely caught off-guard, but Grace did not smile in triumph. She continued to gaze up at him with her version of “child-like wonder,” and he realized he’d pretty much screwed up. He could only stand there, water from the shower coursing down a muscled leg, the shower curtain pulled over his manhood with curious modesty. It was the very first time in his life that a woman had said no, and in a way that left him with no argument. What was he supposed to do now!?

Grace stood up, tied her negligée securely at the waist and walked out of the bathroom. She felt the tears forming in the corners of her eyes and went to the kitchen for a Pepsi. On her way, she grabbed the scotch from the buffet so she could mix a little bit with the soft drink and stay calm til Eduardo left. Returning to the bedroom, she heard the water shut off and a few moments later, Eduardo walked in with a towel around his waist. She glanced down to make sure he wasn’t dripping water on the parquet floor that María Helena had just buffed the day before.

As gracious as ever, she handed him his clothes while making idle talk while he dressed. With a smile, she showed him the door but they didn’t kiss. He tiptoed into the hall and down the stairs.

Grace finished the drink, left the glass in the kitchen and went to the bathroom to brush her teeth.  “That goddamned sorry son of a bitch! That BASTARD!”  she thought, crying and brushing her gums vigorously.  “He won’t marry me!? When did the subject come up!? Yes I want to marry him but no, not really! I don’t even know if I really like him that much! And I know I don’t love him! I like him a lot, but not. . .”  she stopped to spit and rinse her mouth.  “Not the guy. I like his body, but he’s not. . . Oh shit, I don’t really want to marry anyone! He’s cute, his family’s rich. . . But GOD DAMN IT, SO IS MINE!!!!!! So who the hell is he to make fun of me!? Besides, he’d probably end up like my father, and that I do NOT need!!!” 

She rinsed her mouth one more time and stood up. The face in the mirror had red puffy eyes and a red nose and looked miserable. Ick! She pinned back her hair and washed her face in warm water, and then applied a little creme so her perfect 22 year old skin would not age overnight. Then she went to bed and slept quite well.

She told Eileen about the episode the next afternoon when they went shopping. The Australian commiserated with her over lunch at the Monte Blanco on Carrera 13, and after dessert, they decided to go to a movie at the Lucía the next day. It was an Italian comedy with Lando Buzzanco, so Eddie could come with them and Eileen’s new maid could have the afternoon off.

And any residual anger over Eduardo Borda Ospina disappeared altogether on Monday when Julian asked Grace if she wanted to go out on Friday night. Just a party at Billy’s, after work.

She grinned, looking up at him and said sure, she’d love to go. Sounded like fun.

And that’s when she realized that Julian Fernando Pardo Samper was the man she really wanted to marry.

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