On a bright, summer morning in Barcelona, Marcela was walking down La Rambla to her favorite breakfast spot. It had the most delicious Belgian waffles drizzled in warm, milk chocolate syrup. It was one of Marcela’s favorite foods to eat any time of the year. On this specific morning, more than her taste buds would be stimulated.
Upon her arrival at the waffle house, she decided to sit outside, but it was so early that she was the only one there. While anticipating her delicious breakfast, a very handsome man sat directly across from her. Marcela looked around and saw all the empty seats and wondered why he sat so close to her. She was not exactly at her best that morning. After a late night and minimal sleep, she quickly got showered, ready, and went out with a tank top, shorts, sandals, and sunglasses to cover her hangover, but no makeup. She didn’t expect to see anyone she knew or meet anyone new.
Now, with this new discovery, the stranger across from her became more interesting than the waffles. She was so distracted by this stranger that she did not immediately notice that a bird flew onto her table and was eating one of her waffles! She muttered something angrily in Spanish when she noticed, and the stranger started laughing. He then went on to say something in Spanish, and she instantaneously noticed by his accent, that he was not from Spain. Marcela was not from Spain either. She was from New York but traveled frequently to Barcelona, where her father was born and raised.
They began a very long conversation with each other that morning in which Marcela found out a lot about the stranger, starting with his name, which was Daniel. They both loved to travel, both were American (Daniel was from Florida), and both had a parent from Spain (Daniel’s mom was from Galicia). Although they had much in common, they were in Barcelona for very different reasons, which they explained to each other over more than one cup of coffee, since they were there for hours.
Marcela was staying in Barcelona alone for a week before heading to Paris to see her daughter. Her ex-husband was French and moved back to Paris after their divorce. Although their daughter lived with her throughout the year, their agreement was that she would spend the summers in France. Marcela seized this opportunity to spend some time in her favorite city to visit family and friends before heading off to Paris to spend time with her daughter.
Daniel was just going to be staying there overnight and not alone, but with his aunt, Juana. Their final destination was Paris as well, but their visit was of a much more serious nature.
As a teenager in Spain, Juana became pregnant. Although she wanted to keep her baby, her parents had pressured her to give the baby up for adoption. They believed Juana had a promising future. Academically, she was always at the top of her class.
Indeed, Juana did have a promising future. She became a judge and married another judge, who unfortunately had recently passed away. She never had any other children, but she was always fixated on finding the little boy she gave birth to. The adoption was closed, and she had no way of finding him. After many years of searching, she had believed she found him and that he was living in Paris.
Daniel had agreed to accompany her, not because he felt that she was incapable of traveling by herself at her age (Juana had traveled all around the world), but because he felt somebody needed to be there for emotional support, in case she found the wrong person. This had happened before. However, unbeknown to Daniel, this time, Juana had verification that this was the correct person. The adoptive mother sent her a letter stating that because she was dying, she would now let Juana meet her son. Juana had made many attempts in the past to contact her, but they were ignored. In the letter, she also stated that her son did not know he was adopted and that she would probably be dead by the time Juana arrived in Paris, which she was. Juana knew that this would not be an easy visit.
As the morning ended and the afternoon began, both Marcela and Daniel knew it was time to leave the waffle house. At that point, Daniel asked Marcela if she’d like to have dinner with him, and she accepted.
They had a lovely dinner and then strolled through the lively streets of Barcelona laughing under the beautiful, starry sky. Then they arrived at Marcela’s hotel. They had a moment of silence, stared into each other’s eyes, and Daniel kissed her. They began kissing, and Marcela did not want the night to end, so she did something a bit out of her comfort zone. She asked Daniel if he wanted to come up to her hotel room. He gladly accepted.
Both excited and nervous, Marcela let Daniel into her room. She did not know exactly what it was about him, but he felt so familiar, and she just trusted him so easily. This was so rare for Marcela, since she was generally skeptical of people, but with Daniel it was different.
They spent a beautiful, intimate night together, sharing each other’s bodies and secrets. By the time the sun rose, they had barely gotten any sleep but needed to start the day, since Daniel needed to leave for his flight in a few hours. They decided to get ready and go to Barceloneta Beach.
The walk to the beach was quiet, knowing that they both would have to part ways in a few hours and unsure if they would ever see each other again. Daniel was an archeologist who was always living in different parts of the world, and Marcela had to return to New York with her daughter at the end of the summer.
Then the moment of “goodbye” came. Although they decided to stay in touch, they didn’t know when or if they would ever see each other again. They then just kissed each other like it was their last kiss as they parted ways while the sun warmed their faces and sand blew in their hair on the beach.
One week later, Marcela arrived in Paris. She knocked on her ex-husband’s door, and Daniel answered the door. Daniel and Marcela were equally shocked and confused. Neither one of them knew why the other was there. Daniel asked Marcela, “Were you looking for me? How did you know I would be here? I didn’t even know I would be here last week!” Before she could answer, her ex-husband told Daniel, “Let me introduce you to my ex-wife, Marcela. She is here to see our daughter.” When Marcela walked in, she saw an older woman playing with her daughter. The lady introduced herself as Juana and explained that although this may seem strange, she was her daughter’s biological grandmother. At that point, Marcela just played along as if she never knew Daniel and encouraged him to do so, which he did. Juana was so happy that they didn’t want to bring any unnecessary “drama" to the situation.
Juana was preparing dinner for everyone, and Marcela went into the kitchen to help her. As Juana was preparing the food, she began to cry. Marcela asked her what was wrong, and Juana said, “Nothing. They are tears of joy. For the first time in 40 years, I get to be a mother to my son, and I have a beautiful granddaughter, too. I am truly happy, and I can’t believe it.”
Marcela went over to her ex-husband to see how he was coping with everything. He said that a few days ago when he found out he was adopted, he was very surprised and upset, but then he became happy that Juana was in his life. Both his parents have passed away, and he had no siblings, which made him feel like an orphan, but now he had Juana and a cousin, Daniel, who he got along very well with, so he felt thankful for that.
They had an amazing dinner at a table filled with laughter and happiness. After dinner, Juana went into the living room with her son and granddaughter to show them a photo album of their family. Marcela and Daniel went out on the deck to drink some wine and were left somewhat speechless by this incident. Then Daniel, in a very casual manner said, “I guess we didn’t plan on seeing each other again this soon. You just never know where life will bring you.” They looked at each other, and both started shaking their heads and laughing as they shared another type of familiar encounter.