I walked towards the Ovalo de Miraflores along the street that bordered Parque Kennedy. I was going to meet my long time friend Katrina for a farewell lunch. By the time I arrived with my Oh Jess cupcakes at the bench where she waited, the sun had begun to burn through the clouds.
“Why such an angry face?” I asked, chuckling as I approached.
“It’s my, ‘I don’t want to be bothered face,’” she replied. “If I don’t use it, strangers just sit down and start talking to me.”
That led into a conversation about boundaries and the seeming lack thereof here in Peru, especially if you are a gringo or a pretty petite redhead. We walked back down the Diagonal, crossed the street and caught a taxi to Barranco. By the time we arrived at the area of the malecon I had indicated, the sun was out in all its glory.
We walked along the Pacific, admiring the blue water as it stretched to the horizon and chatted about nothing consequential. I took her by Victor Delfin’s house and told her the story of Barranco’s founding. We stopped and admired the historic cathedral near the mirador. The restoration is going slowly. Crossing the Bridge of Sighs, I told her the legend behind it. Finally we arrived at Javier’s on the Pasaje Chabuca Granda.
A table of the roof, with a magnificent view of the ocean waited for us. I ordered a bottle of wine and we perused the menu for appetizers. A deep sigh escaped both our lips as we settled in for an afternoon of shared memories and future plans.
Katrina is the epitomy of the successful woman. Her day planner is never far away, it contents, a schedule of daily chores and work. She is serious about her life and what she hopes to accomplish. Slim, short, an angel’s face with deep blue eyes and a mane of strawberry blonde hair, she attacks her plans for the parties she throws with the same zeal she gives to her students. She’s had several jobs here in Peru; Secretary, Editor, Egyptian Embassy Employee and English Teacher. She put her heart and considerable intellect into all of them. Of all the editors I have known that worked for Living in Peru, she is my favorite. She has helped me bring my writing up multiple levels. I thank her for that.
The wine arrives followed shortly by the appetizers. A quick toast and we dive in, talking about whatever topic pops into our head. Her fiancé, Oswaldo, will be trying to find work and join her in the States after he is licensed. This fall she will start a doctoral program in Political Science at the University of Minnesota, a five year endeavor. I’m sure she will succeed with flying colors. We talked about books, our writing, the writers’ group, and were we were going from this point. We sat and stared out at the ocean, quiet moments alone in our own thoughts. Time passed, we settled the bill and I walked her to the bus stop. We hugged and made assurances that we would keep in touch. Until Oswaldo moves to the US, she plans on coming back and spending her summers in Peru. I hope she does. The bus pulls up; we linger in a long embrace, a kiss on the cheek and struggle against tears. She jumps on the bus and is gone in a cloud of exhaust. I’ll miss you Kat, buen vida!