I met Anita while I was travelling in Central America. We were on the same bus for a city tour. Anita is from Puerto-Rico, in her mid fifties, carrying a PhD title and working in research in the local University. She was a vivid participant in the chat on the bus but when the chat was shifted to a discussion about coincidence and mystical encounters, Anita’s body language changed and she became somewhat dreamy. We wondered why, and she said: “later on, I’ll share with you a personal experience in this respect.”

In the evening, while having a drink at the hotel bar, she told us her story:

“About 20 years ago I divorced,” she started to tell. “I moved to the USA with my 3 years-old daughter, we stayed there for 10 years and then moved back to Puerto-Rico. During these 20 years I was avoiding serious affairs with men. For no specific reason, it just wasn’t a priority to me; I preferred to concentrate on my daughter, my career and my personal interests.

And one day a peculiar set of events started to roll – like in a movie. And to remind you – I’m not a young adventurous girl, I’m a senior professional and I’m an American citizen.
Act 1 -  So …one evening a good friend of mine bought for a mutual friend as a birthday gift a special “passion soap”. She said the soap is made of organic substances and has some passion merits. While I don’t believe in these things I decided to get one of those for another friend of mine, and a week later I found myself looking for the shop. It was a small and neglected store, inside-out, and I almost left when the store keeper approached me. I told him about my friend and the soap she bought, but he looked at me and said: “Forget about the soap. Instead, I’ll give you a free advice: you should be more open to opportunities. Let yourself date with men even younger than you.” I didn’t have a clue why he addressed me with those words. I left the store without buying anything and blaming myself for the waste of time.

Act 2 – A few weeks passed. I was invited to a professional conference in Cuba. I had a seat on the stage as part of a panel and with me, on the panel, was a Cuban man, about my age. I didn’t pay too much attention to him there, but when I returned to Puerto-Rico we had some exchange of e-mails. After a short while I did something that I’ve never done before – I decided to travel to Cuba to see him again. It was like an uncontrolled magnet.  Quite quickly our relationship had developed and very soon he proposed to me and agreed to move with me to Puerto-Rico. I spoke with my daughter, she was 21 at that time, got her blessing and within a short while I married Antonio in Cuba. There, another surprise was waiting for me – I found out that Antonio is 15 years younger than me!  I was shocked. I asked him why he had hidden it from me and he said that he was afraid that it would prevent me from becoming his wife. The image of the soap seller was very vividly smiling at me…

Act 3 – Taking Antonio, my new husband, out of Cuba, wasn’t an easy task. According to Cuba’s regulations he needed to wait 5 years before he leaves the country. We pulled some strings and we were promised that we would be able to get a visa in the Dominican Republic. So illegally we entered the Dominican Republic, but that was not the end of our misery.  Despite all prior arrangements, and me being an American citizen, we were arrested by the local immigration authorities and we were thrown to jail, in two separate prisons. I better not elaborate on the conditions of these local prisons. I never imagined that I would ever spend time in a prison. After 2 weeks, with the help of friends, we were released and reunited. For 2.5 years I travelled every 2 weeks to Dominican Republic just to be with Antonio. Three years ago he finally received his Visa to Puerto-Rico.

Finale – We live now in Puerto-Rico. Antonio is a charming partner, our love flourishes, I’m 56 and he is only 41, and I still beat myself to be sure that I’m not dreaming.

As for soaps – I use soaps of course, but the scent of soap for me is now a perfect reminder for ‘you never know what life can offer’…” 

(I spoke with Anita and got her permission to put it in writing)

Mali Asher, a good friend of mine, once told me that uncertainty may yield something new that might not emerge from the familiar and known. So… always leave room for opportunities, for new things…

 Fireworks (41)
Shuka, Thursday, October 29, 2009

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