"Where are you going to travel to Lisa?
"I've always wanted to visit South America so maybe I'll get a car and go south from here. It's supposed to be beautiful."
"Don't forget us Lisa. You'll have to come and visit. Okay?"
"How could I forget you Maria? I've never met anyone like you before. You're amazing."
"Make sure you do Lisa," Maria smiled.
"It's funny, you know, I've always felt lost without a man, and now, for some reason, I'm excited about traveling alone. I'll have a year of travel and a year free of searching for Mr.Right. You're lucky, you have a great husband and your family but to be perfectly honest with you, I've had more than enough of men. They all have a one track mind. I'm tired of it." Lisa pursed her lips and crossed her arms.
Maria wiped down the bar counter and looked out to sea before quietly saying,"I used to think that way."
"Yeah? You're kidding right?"
"No, I'm not," Maria frowned. "For a long time before I met my husband I was very sad. All my sisters and brothers were married and I was the only one left. My mother used to pray to God morning and night to give me a husband, any man would do she said after a while, even a lazy one. She said I could always train him and make him better," Maria laughed.
"So, how did it all work out so well for you? Are you telling me I need to go to Church? Every day?"
"There is something my grandmother told me when I was a little girl. It's something I always remembered and I tell my children all the time. She told me no man can give me happiness, it's up to me to be happy and then I'll find a happy man."
"Well it certainly worked for you. Maybe I need to take that one on board and change the way I'm looking at things. So, did you give up looking for a man?"
Maria took a deep breath and looked Lisa in the eye. "One day, I was crying and feeling lonely when I remembered what my grandmother used to say and for the first time I decided to see if it was true. It took a while but I started to enjoy my life more and I no longer saw a man as the answer to all my problems. One day I was out with friends having fun at the beach, we were playing with a ball in the water, when the man who would become my husband started talking to me.
"I didn't know then but he was the man of my dreams. I wasn't looking for love, as people say, I was just living my life and enjoying my friends and meeting new people. I was already happy."
"That's amazing, You should have your own TV show. We need you in the U.S. Seriously, we do." Lisa sat up and pushed her hair back. "Getting back to Victor for a minute. When you said he owned the hotel too. Are you telling me he owns the best hotel in town or did you mean his family own it and he manages it?"
"Lisa, don't look so surprised. Victor is not like other people you meet in this town. He came here with nothing many years ago and
he made his dreams come true, well, most of them. That divorce really shook him. He loved his wife so much it was a big surprise to him when she wanted to leave."
"What happened? He's such a nice guy, I can't imagine someone wanting to leave him."
"Like a lot of people who come here to live at the beach and party with the tourists she used to like to party on Saturday night. But after a few years it was every night of the week. Victor doesn't live like that so there were problems. It broke his heart to see how she wasted her life here. And she was so beautiful, a little like you actually, she had beautiful long blonde hair. A very sophisticated woman."
"I'm so sorry to hear that Maria. Now I understand why he doesn't party with the ladies on vacation. That's so sad. I feel bad for him."
"Victor will be just fine. Anyway, Lisa, tell me, where else are you going to visit?"
"Anywhere the sun is shining, the ocean is beautiful and the people are friendly." Lisa giggled.
"Sounds like here, maybe you need to stay here a little longer and keep me company," Maria joked.
"Maybe you're right Maria," Lisa smiled. "Actually, that's not a bad idea and I didn't tell you this yet but I've already decided I am going to stay here for the winter, relax and take it easy and then travel later on to South America. Why not, you're only young once, right?"
"Great, it'll be good to get to know you better. And maybe I can find a good man for you. There must be one somewhere." Maria laughed as she playfully grabbed Lisa's hand.
"Let's forget about men for now. What's that your grandmother used to say? My happiness is up to me. I don't need a man to make me happy. I'm now officially successfully single and loving it. No more compromises, no more silly arguments and no more bad birthday presents."
"That's it Lisa and don't forget it ok?"
"I won't, I can assure you, well, I'm off to an early evening yoga class in 20 minutes so I better go and get changed, see you tomorrow Maria."
"Bye Lisa, and please you must come to my house on Sunday for dinner with my family. My kids would love to meet you."
"Oh thank you, I'd love to, I love kids. That's so nice of you. You're like my Mexican mom," Lisa beamed.