Chapter 37

This entry is part 38 of 44 in the series Smile

Chapter Thirty-Seven — Connie Deals

A couple of weeks went by and it wouldn’t be long now until the equipment would be in. So I said to Chuck, “How about letting me borrow the Palace for a few days? I’ll trade you my room at the hotel for it.”

“Where you going?” He grinned knowing what I was up to

“I don’t know, but I’m on my way. Connie and I may visit the beach to start with; from there we may go anywhere, but I’ll be back in a few days. If anyone asks you where I am, tell’em I’m checking on the road to Santo Domingo.”

“Has your foot been bothering you lately?”

“Yes,” I said. “It hurts like hell.”

“Then you’d better be careful,” warned Chuck.

The Palace was shinning inside and out. Argentina had been a good housekeeper. I drove out to Mama Morales’, parked the truck, opened the gate and stepped inside the restaurant. There sat Mama Morales and Connie.

“Okay, Connie. Are you ready to go for that ride?”

“I had begun to think you were not coming, but Mama Morales told me that you would come, so I am ready.”

This Mama Morales was a witch all rightm but she was a very pleasant one and smiled as she helped Connie gather up a few of her personal belongings.

When we were leaving, Mama Morales walked out to the Palace. She and Connie embraced and kissed each other good-bye. I kissed Mama Morales on the cheek and she gave me a sly smile. “Take good care of my little Connie.”

“Sure,” I promised. “The very best.”

Connie and I climbed into the cab. I started the motor, put it in gear then glanced over at Connie. Her dark eyes were sparkling. She was very beautiful. Everything seemed right. Hell, I should have taken her for an outing a long time ago.

It was about noon when we left the city and started to climb the mountain range between Managua and the ocean. At last we were on top of the divide looking down on the blue Pacific ocean. What a gorgeous sight. We stopped and took some pictures.

As we drove down the other side of the divide, we came to a fork in the road; at the right was Leon and Port of Corinto; straight ahead was the ocean and a beach. There was no town, just a beach, so we headed for it. We could be alone there — maybe.

The tide was out and there was a long stretch of white sand. We could see only one building — if you could call it a building. It was a large open air affair with a grass roof and several tables and benches scattered about its’ yard which also contained a few hammocks. There was a well and a big wooden bucket with a rope tied to it and a windlass above — evidently the shower.

Today was Friday. This beautiful beach only an hour’s drive from a big city and only a half dozen cars here! If this ideal spot were in the States, there wouldn’t be standing room on the sand.

Connie and I changed into our bathing suits and went swimming. The water was warm as milk from a cow; quite different from the cold ocean water that I had been in many times. We swam, dug holes in the sand and lay stretched out on the beach. My skin was turning pink, but the bright sun and the water had no effect on Connie’s. She had been born with a beautiful tan and her skin was conditioned to it.

We were thirsty, and I suggested we enjoy a cold bottle of beer from the well-stocked refrigerator in the Palace; but a shower first. We hired a man to bail up buckets of water from the well. And as we bent over with our heads nearly touching the ground, he drenched us with bucket after and bucket of fresh, cool water. He charged us one cordoba for each bucketful. But it got all the salt water off our bodies and we felt rejuvenated.

After dressing, I brought a couple of cold beers from the Palace. We lay back in a couple of hammocks and relaxed. The day was almost gone and soon the sun would disappear. The few people who had been here had left, and we were alone. As the sun sank lower it seemed to turn into a ball of fire and it looked huge. As it slowly disappeared, it cast long rays of gold into the clouds — a lovely sight.

A cool breeze floated in over the water and Connie shivered. “Are you getting cold, Connie?”

“A little bit,” she said.

“Let’s go up to the Palace. We can turn on the stove to take off the chill.”

As I took her hand strange thoughts began racing through my mind. Here I was alone with this beautiful girl and what did she expect of me-what should I do-should I take her back to Managua? She had packed a traveling case!

I could hear brother Bill again saying, “Life is a game, Joe, like a game of cards, when you learn to play the game of life like a game of cards you will find happiness…”

Was Connie playing a game?

Then I remember repeating to Bill, “Life is a game like a game of poker and from now I will do the dealing!” But somehow I had lost the deal. Strange cards were being dealt me and I could only play them as they fell.

I unlocked the back of the Palace, pulled down the little stair steps and we went inside. I turned on the lights, lit the burner on the stove. What now? I would wait for another card. Connie was the dealer. I sat down on Chuck’s bunk and waited while Connie went to the refrigerator, surveyed the contents and opened two bottles of beer, then handed one to me.

“You are probably hungry, she said. “There are some eggs in the rack. Can I fix you an egg sandwich?

I nodded. “The frying pans are in the bottom drawer of the stove.”

In a few minutes she had the sandwiches ready and they were darn good too. She had used a bit of onion and pepper sauce. I didn’t know that an egg sandwich could be that tasty.

After we finished eating, I said, “Connie, the sandwiches were delicious. I know you can sing, but I didn’t know you could cook.”

She smiled sweetly. “I have many talents. I can also sew. I make all my own clothes. Mama Morales has taught me many things.”

Her traveling case was on the other bunk. She got up, set it on the table and opened it. I got up and stood beside her. She lifted out a garment of shimmering gold; pure silk hand embroidered, and hand stitched with dainty ruffles around the arms and neck. But what was it? She held it in front of her. It was — yes, a beautiful nightgown! I didn’t know what to say.

She smiled again. “Do you like it?”

I nodded. She laid it on the table, stepped close to me and put her arms around my neck.

“Many years ago when I was fifteen — I’m twenty-two now — Mama Morales helped me make this gown and I have kept it all this time without wearing it. I have saved it for you.”

She looked up at me with those adorable dark eyes, “And,” she whispered, “I have also saved myself just for you.”

She picked up the beautiful gown and turned her back to me, “Unhook me, Joe. Tonight, I shall wear it just for you. . . .”

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