“Can I help you with that? I feel bad about not doing more to help.”
“Hey, Josh, don’t be silly, you are our guest. No one’s gotten you a plate yet?”
“Nah, I think Luis was the first in line but I wanted to wait for you. Where have you been anyway? I think I’ve shaken hands with thirty people today but I couldn’t see you anywhere.”
“Oh, I was helping in the kitchen. Let’s get you a plate; I’ll just put these down first.”
They looked for Luis once they had their plates but he had already served himself dessert and was standing while he ate, deep in conversation with a group of second cousins from his dad’s side.
“You sure have a big family, are all of these people related to you?”
“Yeah, I know it’s probably overwhelming. My sister Sandra has three kids and my sister Stella has six, and their husbands are here of course. Everyone else is from my Dad’s side. Three of his brothers came over and one of his sisters and their kids and spouses, and some of their kid’s kids and spouses.
“It’s just so different to what we do. I’m an only child so when I was younger we’d visit my grandparents and have dinner with them but since they passed away we don’t really celebrate anymore. My parents usually go on vacation during Thanksgiving.”
“I can’t imagine that, What do you usually do on your own?”
“Well last year Luis stayed in town and we invited some people over but I usually just stay in with a Hungry Man meal or go out to eat.”
“Oh, well I hope you’ll eat with us again next year. You shouldn’t be along on a holiday.”
“Thanks, I appreciate that. Hey, I thought I saw a table outside, do you want to eat there?”
“Well,I guess, sure okay.”
Lucy led the way to the table out on the backyard patio. Her brother in laws, Pete and Rico were hovering at the end of the yard talking football and watching two of Stella’s younger boys practice their passing skills. She didn’t mind someone being out there, it made her feel less awkward.
“This food is delicious, especially these rolls.”
“”Thanks, but my mom did most of the dinner. Make sure you save room for pie.”
“Oh definitely the pie is the thing! I practically crave pumpkin pie all year round.”
“That’s funny I’m the same way. I love a big piece of pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream right in the middle, it’s nirvana.”
That got a laugh out of Josh and Lucy felt a little silly for going on and on about pie so there was a lull for a while. They looked on as Stella’s youngest Matthew tackled his big brother, Joey.
“Now that kid has skills. I never did get into football when I was younger, when I moved here though I learned that it’s like a religion in Texas.”
“I think Luis said that you came here from Minnesota?”
“Yeah, we moved to Dallas when I was sixteen after my dad got a job as an English professor at the university. At first it was a real culture shock, but I adapted pretty quickly. I definitely like the winters more here than I did in Minnesota.”
“But don’t you miss having snow in winter? I’d love to see a white Christmas at least, that’s really rare here.”
“I do miss the snow but I don’t miss all the shoveling. It’s a pretty good tradeoff, and if I ever did miss it enough I could go back to visit.”
“How long have you lived in San Antonio?”
“About three years come December. We used to go to San Antonio every other summer to visit and I was determined to live there some day. I love the culture and the feel of the town. I mean, I like your town too, but San Antonio is the one place that I felt drawn to right away, if you know what I mean.”
“I do, I’ve always felt that way about Corpus Christi.”
“Really? I like Corpus, I like Port Aransas better though.”
“Well, I mean, I like the ocean. We used to go to Corpus a lot when we were younger. We’d rent a room in Corpus and then spend all day on Padre Island. It was fantastic. I would paddle out as far as I would dare and just stand and let the waves crash over me, it made me feel so alive. I know that’s corny but it’s true! I always said that I’d love to live near to the ocean someday, but it’s hard you know. My mom has a fit anytime I talk about moving.”
“But Luis moved to San Antonio, she didn’t get upset about that?”
“Oh she did, but Luis is a man. I’m a woman, it’s just different.
Anyway she finally gave in to Luis because it has to do with his education. Mom won’t understand me wanting to move just because the ocean makes me happy.”
“Well, I think you have as much a right to be happy as Luis does. Lucy, don’t ever say no to what your heart really wants, there’s no quicker way to become a bitter, jaded person than that. I’ve seen it happen too many times.”
She smiled. She wouldn’t say all that she was thinking, she couldn’t let him know how flustered he made her feel or how she had never met anyone like him before. She couldn’t say that among the things that her heart now wanted, he seemed to be vying for a prominent place.