While in Miami recently, Eduardo (my partner of 30 years) and I took his mother out to dinner at the SLS hotel in Miami Beach.
The waiter who took our order was named Ian. He was extremely handsome, spoke Spanish and took the order from Eduardo and his mother in that language. I think he said he came from Wales, but under his spell, I just sat there slightly unbalanced, staring at him, wondering what he looked like in a tuxedo or a speedo.
He spent a lot of time with Eduardo and his mother, chatting animatedly with occasional laughter and a lot of smiling. (I later learned that it concerned the merits of the shrimp over the scallops and which was tastier, the beer sui mai or the kueh pad ti?)
Then he turned to me and asked me something in Spanish. I think it was, “You are the most dazzling man I have ever seen, and what would you like to order?”
“I don’t speak Spanish,” I told him.
“But I thought you were a couple,” Ian replied, referring to either Eduardo or his 94-year-old mother. I am not sure which.
I told Ian that I never learned Spanish, because when people were speaking it I imagined they were discussing epic poetry or great philosophy or how beautiful the late Pamela Harriman’s floral arrangements were. I have since learned this is not the case.
Talk in Spanish, it seems, consists mostly of small talk about weather and how that lady over there has on too much jewelry or makeup—the same sort of rubbish most people speak in English—so I never bothered mastering any Spanish beyond “más café, por favor,” which has gotten me through many a morning and many a night.
I looked Ian in his glorious eyes (green, speckled with gold) and smiled brilliantly. “I have no idea what you were talking about when you were speaking with my companions, but it seemed very exciting and it went on for a long time.”
“Ah,” Ian sighed, a smile spreading across his face, as I could see the wheels of his mind turn. Quick as an arrow, he said, “We were discussing the Moorish invasion of Spain in the early eighth century and the genealogy of the Bourbon royal family.”
If I had been a little girl of 12, I would have clapped my hands in glee.
I clapped my hands in glee.
He smiled at me. Sunrise! Mountaintops! Tropical beaches!
“And what would you like?” he continued, pencil poised over his waiter's pad.
I had fallen madly, truly, deeply in love—the everlasting kind that is over 10 minutes later. “I would like to run away with you and take you on a yacht trip in the Mediterranean for two weeks, just us alone,” I gushed. “Except, of course, for the crew.”
“How about the chicken croquettes, and you can take a photograph of me instead?” Ian replied kindly.
I ordered the chicken croquettes, and Eduardo took the photograph.
I liked both, but I can only share one with you.
I'm still slightly in love...