Next day soon after breakfast I was quietly reading on the side of the deck when a little pink box suddenly dropped onto the book. I thought someone had thrown it at me when I looked up and saw the beautiful teenage boy flashing his gorgeous smile at me while walking away. He had given me a chewing gum – the first of many. I smiled back at him thinking what a sweet gesture this has been.
Same thing happened later that day when I was reading on the uppermost deck. Before sunset we had bumped into each other and exchanged names. The name was Alan.
– You should learn Portuguese – he said while casually passing by on his way up.
– And you should learn Spanish – I replied on my way down. Do you understand any? – I added.
He shook his hand indicating that he understood a little. I said I also understood a little Portuguese.
That night Alan managed to talk to me. There was me, him, and our 13 year old translator.
– How old are you? – was the first thing I asked.
– Fifteen – he replied. But I will be sixteen next month – he added quickly.
– I am twenty-five – I said while watching his eyes widen in surprise. You are too young for me – I added. But he wasn’t going to give up easily.
– It doesn’t matter – he said.
– It matters to me! – I exclaimed. I could get thrown in jail for this.
– There is no such thing here. We are in Brazil! – he assured me.
I laughed, still sticking to my ‘you are too young for me’ version.
– Come with me to the front of the ship. There is no one there – he said invitingly. At 10pm – he added.
I shook my head, saying no. He kept flashing his amazing smile at me as I laughed at the ridiculous situation and kept declining his invitations. I shouldn’t have encouraged him with my presence but it was entertaining and flattering.
Next day there were more chewing gums and stolen glances. We exchanged a few words and smiles. He stopped me on the way out of the cafeteria after lunch and made a comment about my belly.
– It is so big – he said while also indicating with his hand. I laughed unbelieving his cheek. This isn’t the way you talk to a woman especially to one you are trying to seduce. I walked away feeling slightly conscious of myself. It later became our little joke. He kept saying it before and after every meal as a way to make me smile. It was his way of attracting my attention. Very childish but it did the trick. He was only fifteen afterall.
– Where is your hammock? – he asked after lunch.
– Over there – I said waving my hand towards the middle. He eventually spotted the exact location and came crawling under the maze of hammocks surrounding me. There was no getting rid of him. It was kind of awkward since we could barely speak to each other. But it didn’t bother him. He was determined.
Later that night he signaled me to follow him a few times but I ignored him and kept playing cards. I tried to ignore him completely but it was hard. I gave up to my weakness and sneaked a few peaks at him. He was gorgeous! He wasn’t smiling anymore for some reason. Later I found out he had too much to drink.
– You drank beer?! – I said indignantly, expressing my surprise. You are too young to be getting drunk – I added.
He realised I wasn’t impressed and quickly corrected himself.
– I drank soda. I am just sick. – he said apologetically. By that time I had moved from the game table onto the bench and was chatting to Sandra and Alejandra. Alan sat next to me together with his two buddies, one of whom was the translator. I was amazed by his courage. The boy had balls. Many grown up men wouldn’t dare approach a girl surrounded by her girlfriends but he, the fifteen year old, did. Hats off to him!
He again insisted I gave him a kiss. I kept saying I couldn’t. Then he asked whether I could read Portuguese as our translator was loosing his voice and refused to translate. I said I read it and Alan was off writing a note. You guessed it! It asked whether I was going to kiss him tonight. I wrote back saying that I wasn’t. What followed was hilarious.
– But why not? – he wrote. I am so beautiful. I had to recover from my laughing crisis before I could write back.
– I am beautiful too – I said – but that’s not the point. His next comment was very colorful and so revealing of Brazilian culture. I had to use the translator as I didn’t understand the slang. He asked whether I really wanted to know what the note said.
– Is it something bad? – I asked. He said that it was. I insisted that he translated it. I had to know if Alan deserved a punch or not. Mateus (the translator) said:
– Ok, with all due respect, this is what is says: ‘You are beautiful and you have a great ass and boobs. Delicious!’. The last word was heavily underlined.
I gave Alan a couple of pats on the neck, asking how could he write that.
– With all due respect! – he said, holding his hands up in a peaceful gesture. I then realised it was meant as a complement. The most normal of all. Alan still apologised and then said he had already forgotten that I’d hit him. He hadn’t though. He got me back for it.
I kept asking whether there weren’t any fifteen year old girls on board whom Alan could chat up. He said ‘no’, he wanted me.
– She is not going to kiss you – said Mateus. Why don’t you try the others. Alan grabbed my arm and again said he wanted me. Endearing.
Mateus had his dark hair bleached, leaving him orange which he was trying to pass for natural. He wore blue contact lenses and his confidence was enviable. It was hilarious to listen to him.
After a while he realised I wasn’t going to kiss him and got a bit rude.
– You gringas are all frigid! – he said angrily. I was happy to take it. I don’t blame him. He had put a lot of effort into courting me. Nothing could/would ever happen. Although I was compelled to be near him and even got a bit jealous when he spoke to another girl.
Alan went away for a couple of minutes and Mateus pleaded.
– Why don’t you kiss him? He talked to you so much. It would be just one night and then you wouldn’t see each other again.
– That is a problem – I said. I do not want a one night stand. He couldn’t understand though. It wasn’t the Brazilian way where kissing is just part of the night’s entertainment.
If Alan had been just a few years older this experience could have been mildly devastating. I would have fallen for him and would have been heart broken leaving him behind. I probably wouldn’t have been able to resist him either despite my dislike of one night stands. That’s the way I am – powerless in the face of beauty. And more importantly – in the face of an enchanting personality.