“Hola” was the first and only word they ever said to each other, which was especially ironic as it turns out, because neither one of them spoke Spanish. But they both thought the other must. After all, they said, "hola". She is a dark-haired American, there on holiday and he, looking suspiciously Latino, turns out to be Canadian.
They smiled after their Spanish greetings and kept walking in opposite directions on the abandoned beach. This was low season and the beach was their own. Hola, they kept hearing in their imaginations. Hola. Who was this Mexican muse? They both kept walking in their paths, acutely aware of the gravitational pull of the other person going in the opposite direction. They were intrigued by the other's seemingly exotic appeal, interested in learning more...but walked away none the less. What else was there to do? Neither wanted to interrupt the other's beach walk. But their thoughts, as they walked, were filled with the other. Who was this Mexican amazingness? What was their story?
At long last, many footprints down the beach, tired of the mindgames, she relented and turned her gaze over her left shoulder to try to catch his, but he was meandering along, seemingly lost in his own thoughts, not returning her gaze. Oh well, she thought and moved on. Then moments later, giving in to his relentless impulse at last, he gazed at her over his right shoulder hoping to catch her eye, but she was earnestly walking away, without so much as a glance. Oh well, he thought. And they never looked back at each other again until they were so far from each other, they were no longer recognizable as potential soulmates.
Timing is everything.
Timing is everything.
But each kept thinking of the other, creating a full dream out of a fleeting greeting. What would their life be like together? How would they live? What did they name their children? So by the time they reached their respective ends of the bay and turned back, each had created an enormous fantasy life for the other, full with Spanish drama, dreams, disappointments and eventual divorce. It would be too hard. This could never work. They were so different after all - - this Canadian and this American.
Until eventually, meeting once again in the middle of the beach, their lives lived, the romance had fizzled into simply a nod, no other words desired or required. The love affair was over. The only proof of it: the footprints. Finito.