Gwen woke to the sound of a single suitcase rolling on cobblestones. Making her way to the window by the dim light filtering through the slats, she opened the shutters. The sun fell onto her husband’s pillow placed on top of a neatly-folded duvet on the rug.
This was the second night of their honeymoon. On the first night, after the train ride to Figueres, they stayed in apartment bigger than their place in Barcelona, and only one floor up. Fallou took Gwen’s suitcase to the large room with the double bed and stood awkwardly in the hallway holding his small duffel bag. “Can I … do anything for you?”
“No thank you, unless …”
Fallou looked into Gwen’s eyes. “Yes?”
“I would enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Let’s go check the kitchen.” Fallou smiled, put his bag in the smaller room, and followed her.
Now, Gwen looked out the hotel window onto the street that led into Cadaques. A cool breeze blew in, and she looked downhill in the direction of the waterfront, but saw only trees and buildings.
Tomorrow they would roll their suitcases back down that hill and over to the train station. Then, after one last night in Barcelona, they would fly back to Virginia and begin their work together.
The bathroom door was open. “Fallou?” His wet towel hung on the rack. Where could he have gone? She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and shuddered. Dying her hair red had been a big mistake. It just made her look older. People would think she was a cradle-robber.
Returning to the bedroom, she found a note on the bedside table. It said, “looking for American coffee.” That was just like Fallou, getting up early to make sure she had a cup of drip coffee to start the day.
As Gwen was choosing her clothes, she heard a tap on the door and then Fallou’s voice. “Café!”
She hurried to open it and found him holding two cups and a bag. “Is that from the hotel restaurant?”
“No, do you know how much they charge? I just went to a little store down there.” He motioned with his head.
“All the way down the …?” Gwen tried to remember the word for hill in French. “…colline?” Her vocabulary had improved quite a bit since she met Fallou, but conversation was still sometimes difficult.
Fallou spread their breakfast on the desk. “No, just halfway. Look, fresh croissants.”
They ate in silence for a few minutes. Gwen said, “I hope you like Virginia. Farming is different than what you’re used to, and the winters can be cold.”
“We will be fine.”
“I’m so happy that you and your children will be there to help me.”
“The immigration process will take some time, won’t it?”
“Yes, but you and I can start some things. I wouldn’t even be able to keep a nice garden without you.”
“Did you always want to have a farm?”
“No, but I’ve just always hoped to be useful, to help people. I used to think that teaching English was enough, but now I’d like something that lasts longer.”
“But by teaching English you helped your students become successful.”
“Yes, but now I want to…” at a loss for words, Gwen mimed digging a hole and tossing seeds into it.
“You want to plant seeds.”
“Yes, I want see them grow to feed people.”
“I like that about farming too. Feeding people.” He opened the bag. “Would you like another croissant?”
“Not now, thanks. I’m gaining so much weight on this trip!”
“Good,” said Fallou. “You must stay healthy.”
“You know, you’re the perfect husband.”
Question for readers: Does your opinion of the couple’s relationship change from the beginning to the end, and if so, how?