It was late at night. Kepa and Maite sat together on a bench in the town’s plaza. Koldo, Itxaso, Xanti, and Ainhoa had pulled up chairs from the tables at the Herriko Taberna. Kepa took a sip of his kalimotxo.
“When do you leave for the States?” asked Itxaso. While Kepa and Maite saw Koldo all the time, they hadn’t seen his sister or her boyfriend since the concert. Itxaso seemed even more excited about their upcoming trip than they were. “It must be so exciting! I’ve never been outside of the Basque Country. Ok, I guess I’ve been to other parts of Spain. And there was that one trip to Paris. But still, America? It sounds so big! What are you going to do? Do you have everything planned?”
Kepa chuckled. “Hold on there! One question at a time.” He held up his glass. “I’ve had a little too much to keep track of all of your questions. We leave next weekend. We’re going to New York, where Maite has a distant cousin. And then to California. After Maite’s interview, we’ll be seeing my cousin and then driving south. We haven’t figured out everything yet, but we for sure want to see the Grand Canyon and Hollywood.”
Itxaso sighed. “Hollywood.” She looked at Xanti. “We have to go!”
Buber’s Basque Story is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!
“What?” replied Xanti, a look of horror crossing his face. “There’s no way I can arrange time off by next week.”
Itxaso gave him a playful punch in the arm. “Not now, txoriburu,” she teased. “But soon! I bet there are movie stars everywhere. Wouldn’t it be cool to see Hugh Jackman? Or Nicole Kidman?”
Ainhoa let out a small cough. “You do know that both of them are Australian, right? They probably don’t even live in the United States.”
Itxaso simply shrugged. “Whatever. I’m sure there is someone worth seeing.” She turned back to Kepa and Maite. “You’ll tell me everyone you saw when you get back, right?”
“Noski,” replied Maite. “Of course. I can’t imagine a better use of our time.”
“Anyways,” interrupted Koldo, changing the subject as he raised his glass. “Good luck with the interview, Maite. I’m sure you’ll make us proud.”
The others also raised their glasses, clinking them together before each taking a sip. “Eskerrik asko, Koldo.”
“Sorry to be the killjoy,” said Xanti as he stood, “but I’ve got to work tomorrow. I’m going to head home and get some sleep.” He gave Itxaso a kiss on the cheek. “See you tomorrow evening?”
“Bai,” she said, her smile beaming.
“Have fun,” said Xanti to Kepa and Maite, waving as he walked away.
“I have to go to,” said Koldo. “Sorry to bail on you guys, but I’ve got to make some calls to arrange our next gig, check out spaces, all of that.” He looked at Itxaso. “You ready?”
She nodded as she took a last sip from her glass and put it on a nearby table. “Let me know when you’re back,” she said to Kepa and Maite. “I want to know everything!”
Kepa laughed as Itxaso and Koldo headed up the road to where Koldo’s car was parked.
Ainhoa also stood. “It was good getting to know you guys a little better,” she said. “See you when you get back.”
“Ainhoa, itxaron mesedez,” said Maite, reaching out to grab Ainhoa’s hand. “Please wait. Can we talk a moment?”