Excerpt from Chapter 13: The Beauty And The Alligator

Mathew and Maria left the restaurant in a visibly elevated mood. It was getting dark, but the bright street lamps brightly and playfully lit the main boulevard and the palms, lined up like soldiers before a parade. The long line of cabriolets, the most widely sold car in Florida, was moving slowly under the approving eyes of the dressed-in-white side walkers. What else can you expect in Hollywood in July? Of course, there was the occasional “Hyundai” sedan rent-a-car and a few bicycles. Presently, one of those “Hyundai” sedans stopped anxiously in front of Mathew’s hotel.

“Come and see my crib!” said the young man smiling and holding Maria’s hand. She was looking at him lovingly and dreamingly and she didn’t care where they were going and why. She had dreamt of this meeting, this opportunity to be with the man she loves for so long, and now it was a fact. Nothing else mattered. At least not tonight. She didn’t even notice what language they were speaking in.

They went in the room and sat comfortably on the sofas around the large tea table. The apartment had everything one might need – a TV, an air-conditioner, large windows overlooking the lake, a big bed at the end of the spacious room and a new, boutique bathroom. Mathew took out two non-alcoholic drinks from the fridge – a coke for Maria and a tonic for himself.

“Let’s have a beer!” offered Maria while untying her scarf. “The occasion is worth it! I know you don’t drink alcohol, but at least a beer?”

“Why not? We can, if it’s non-alcoholic.” answered Mathew and opened the mini-fridge again. “Let’s see if there are two of those in here.”

“Come on, Mat, you are not a missionary anymore.” said Maria sweetly and took two glasses from the cupboard. “There are two normal beers there too. It’s just you and me here… Listen to nature; please turn down your radio!”

“I am not a missionary anymore, Mary, I’m not! Since we’re in States, can I call you that? I don’t have a radio; what radio?” he asked. Maria smiled and shrugged and Mathew continued: “Look, I know we haven’t had a chance to talk about this before but as far as alcohol is concerned, I am not forbidden to use it, but I don’t miss it and I don’t feel the need to drink it either. I don’t know if you understand me. My great grandfather, my grandfather and my dad, including all my family, lived their life without alcohol and they were happy. I know that alcohol brings only harm to people.”

Maria felt the topic is getting inappropriate for the moment and decided to change it. Anyway, she didn’t care much for such beverages. She got up, took the remote, and turned the television on.

“Do you want to play some music on the TV?” and flung her hair to the side with a characteristic gesture. She changed a few channels and finally switched to MTV. Then, she went to the window and looked outside. Low lamps lit the direction of the alleyways towards the void. On the TV, they were presenting Sade’s new album “Soldier of Love.” Maria, after all, had at least the right to hope for some glimpse of closeness, at least a hug. She turned around and looked at him, like a snake would look at a mouse.

Mathew got up energetically and invited her to dance. The two of them embraced each other and started dancing under the sounds of the heavenly voice of the Somali singer. The dance slowly turned into a passionate kiss. Their hands moved along each other’s body to find the best place to stop. Maria melted like ice in the strong male arms, relaxed, and left herself to her female nature. She didn’t hear or see anything anymore. Mathew was the one, who with huge efforts, had to take control over himself. Ouch! Adam decided to return the apple given to him by Eve.

“Maria, Maria!” tried to wake her up from her trance Mathew, who held her at a distance by her shoulders, his left eyebrow slightly trembling. “Maria, let’s sit down and have something to drink! Come on…”

That was rude and cruel towards her. She curled in a ball at the end of the sofa. Mathew had no way of knowing she had no experience in such relations. What was he thinking about her now?

“Maria, I am not ready for this… It is something special… I can’t… Your body is a temple!” whispered Mathew.

“And there is no service in the temple today, right? It’s ok, Mat!” she said grumpily and started coming back to herself. “It’s ok! Drive me back to the hotel, please!”

It became very quiet in the room, which was transformed into a temple of chastity. It was as if something was destroyed between them. If the naive girl could read the signs, she should have felt their relationship was doomed. But love is blind and hopes for happiness until the very end. MTV started playing some „house” with a heavy beat. Mathew opened a beer – non-alcoholic. He poured some into the glass previously used for tonic and took a large sip. He also had no experience in such situations and felt uncomfortable. According to him, he was not guilty of anything. Nature had endowed him enough as a man, but his upbringing, will, and religion allowed him to control his emotions. For now. He was proud of that. Maria only thought she could read his thoughts.

“Don’t feel guilty, Mat.” she said and smiled uncomfortably. “It’s my fault, I’m sorry! Please, drive me to the hotel! Maybe I am not ready for this either! Mat, I haven’t been with a man, OK?”

“I also haven’t known a woman.” he said and continued: “And we are not on the crystal mountain Kailash in western Tibet, right? Men have yet to discover that it is a pyramid to connect them with the Gods.”

The “Hyundai” went back to Maria’s hotel. Both of them were quietly looking ahead and didn’t even blink at the glowing traffic lights. The radio in the car was playing some clichéd country music.

“Mathew, I brought you a present from Bulgaria.” broke the silence Maria. “I will give it to you tomorrow. I have a late shift. I start at 2 PM.”

“Thank you, Maria! Please, excuse me if I offended you in any way.” said with a dry throat Mathew. “I will pick you up for breakfast at 9. Is that ok? Do you want to go to the beach? You will decide where we’ll go!”

They parted at the parking lot of the hotel. The sky was clear; the stars were generously lit and glittered everywhere uninvited. It seemed tomorrow was going to be a warm and clear day. Suddenly Maria stopped, turned around, and asked:

“Mathew, what happened at the Kailash mountain?”

Mathew smiled secretively and said:

“God Shiva became a man there. At the foot of the sacred Kailash mountain was the first time him and his fiancée were intimately close. She showed him the true Paradise!”

Maria devilishly smiled and pinched his cheek lightly… Unsure why, she pulled his ear after that. She didn’t ask him who God Shiva is. She and all the people in the world knew or at least had heard of God Shiva. His name sounded much more exotic and enigmatic than, for example, some completely unknown Joseph Smith!