It was hot and muggy, the humidity high. Sweat was dripping down his face, his shirt soaking wet from his sweat. Bill could hear the waves of the ocean only a few blocks away. He began to think about how much he really hated it there in Salvador. He hated the weather, the heat, the people.
He was going to have lunch with Lucilene, the mother of one of his students. She was often too nice to him, he had no interest in her.
He taught English medical terminology at a nearby English school. He was a long way from home; Waco, Texas where he was born. He left his wife for a Brazilian girl ten years ago. It didn't last more than a year, but he was stuck in Brazil. He couldn't face going back home. There was nothing left for him back in Texas.
“Pode entrar,” (You can go in.) the security guard said buzzing the gate to open.
Bill walked in and proceeded to walk into the building and into the elevator. His stomach began to wretch as the elevator got closer to his destination. The thought of the aging Lucilene and the awkward situation that was soon to follow made it all hard to bear. The bell rung too soon and he was there.
He exited and paused, contemplating whether to run or stay. He rung the door bell. Lucilene answered the door,”Oh Bill, boa tarde.” she leaned in to kiss him on his cheeks. He leaned in following the motion; he only liked this custom with the younger women. She knew a little bit of English. “Make yourself at home,” She said as she walked into the kitchen.
Bill gazed out the window for a moment looking out towards the vast buildings. It was a stark contrast to the view from his apartment. From his apartment he could see the favelas sprawled out on the hills in an ironic display of colors. Here, from Lucilene's window, he only saw the upper-class in their fancy apartments. He thought of Vera, Lucilene's daughter. “Is Vera here?” Bill said loudly.
“No, she is... at classes,” Replied Lucilene, “Would you care water?”
“What?” Bill asked.
She walked in from the kitchen. “Would you care water?”
They sat there in silence for what seemed like several minutes. Bill was trying to grasp at what Lucilene was saying. “I think you mean to say, would you like some water?” Bill said rudely.
“Ah yes,” said Lucilene as she cleared her throat, “Would you like water?”
His mouth was dry, he answered yes.
He was quite disappointed that Vera wasn't there. She was beautiful and young, highly spirited. She was his favorite student. He knew that lunch was going to be long and awkward unless she got there.
“Lunch is ready,” said Lucilene a few minutes later, “I hope you like feijoada.” He hated it, the common food of the people of Bahia. He never could understand the contents of it, often being cloaked in the dark black fluid.
They discussed at length about Vera and her studies. Lucilene was slowly inching forward as Bill was inching back. Every so often she would “accidentally” put her hand on his arm. It was a short lunch and Bill made sure of that. “Well, I need to get back to the school,” said Bill abruptly. He walked himself to the door.
“Wait!” said Lucilene, “Beijos,” she leaned in for the kiss. He walked out ignoring her.
Bill walked away from the apartment building obviously irritated. It had been several months that Lucilene had been trying to woo Bill. She obviously couldn't take the hint that Bill wasn't interested. He tried to avoid any conversation with her at all, but Vera, yes beautiful Vera. He thought of her then, her perfect young body, her shinning white teeth.
His fantasies were interrupted by screaming. He looked up and several people were running, some bumping into him as they ran by. He looked up and saw it. A wave several feet high was rushing toward the coast. Fear almost kept his legs from running, yet he managed to turn around and run. “Up hill, gotta get up hill,” was repeated in his head.
He ran and realized he was running straight into the favelas high in the hills along with several others. As he was running up some of the stairs he turned his head not realizing the piece of wood extended from a building in construction. He hit it with a loud thump and then blackness.