Peeking through the curtains, he couldn’t see where the crowd ended. He dabbed his perspiring forehead with a yellow pocket handkerchief, folded it neatly, and put it on the side table. The heat was unbearable and the rainy season wasn’t living up to its name that year. Glancing at his pocket watch, he saw he had about five minutes. He thought of his dad, placing that watch into his little palm on that hot, summer day. He never saw him again. The heat and the watch always reminded him of his father.
Do they extend all the way to the park? That would be something.
A nervous murmur buzzed through the room behind him. Twelve people huddled in small groups, engaged in quiet but intense conversations. They were his inner circle—all friends, mostly family. He smiled as he looked around without focusing on anyone, just content to have them in his life.
He parted the curtains again to look at the crowd, feeling their growing anticipation, waiting for him to appear.
“Suerte, Papi,” his daughter said, running up to hug his leg. He couldn’t help smiling. Patting her head, he bent down to kiss her forehead and look into her eyes.
“Mi Cecilia. After this, let’s go for ice cream, eh? What do you think?”
He kissed her forehead again and stood. His wife, as gorgeous as the day they first met, smiled at him with love in her eyes. He almost missed her that day eight years earlier and would have, had he not forgotten his hat in the café.
“Is this yours?” she asked.
“How do I look?” he asked his wife.
“Like our next president.”
He liked the sound of that. He kissed her forehead and looked deep into her eyes, squinting slightly. She squinted back. He didn’t have to say the words. Neither did she.
He turned and stepped through the veranda doors.