In a tiny store we walked past the churros machine. A doughnut-like mixture was being squeezed into a vat of boiling oil emerging as a 6" long, 3/4" wide hexagonal worm. After being fried to a deep crunchy brown and drained and powdered with soft white sugar it was laid with nine of its fellows on a plate and brought to our table with cups of hot chocolate. Sally and I were like harpies hunched over our communal churros plate - counting them - making sure we got ours. The last one was mine and she swooped on it and I slapped her hand. She was furious, she was just reaching with a wettened finger-tip for a final taste of sugar. I felt guilty and greedy and petty.
Finally Barry came.
He had been able to get away for a long weekend. He flew to Bilbao. He rented a car and he roared up the road to our building. Barry's loud voice boomed in our small home. Barry's dripping, towel-draped figure, poured out of the shower. Barry's opinions on success, on the bottom line, on himself, bounced off the walls. I looked uncomfortably at Sally. Wasn't she embarrassed by his brashness? No she was smiling lovingly.
The sun shone for Barry and he drove us to a remote beach where we picniced. We drank a lot of wine, English style, too much, too fast because soon, soon, soon we'll be cut off. I walked down to watch the little waves lapping on the shore and to get away from Barry's voice. The noise of Barry drag-racing his hire car along the pristine sand made me look back. "He'll get stuck." I shouted to Sally. But although his tires spun and the sand flew up, he never got completely stuck.
And later he lurched close to me on the beach, bottle of champagne in one hand, screaming, "I'll always be richer than you. I'll always be happier than you." And I could feel my snobbiest hackles rising, and a flow of unsaid comments shooting at him dripping sarcasm, "Oh, you're sure to have plenty of gold jewelry, and a mercedes, and a jag or two, and you'll chug down the finest champagne, and drag-race on the most exclusive beaches. Only think of the fun you'll have." And because unsaid, each reached its mark.
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