Kepa and Maite walked down the passenger boarding bridge, hand in hand, as they debarked in New York City. The last week had been a blur. After their encounter with Marina, they had almost completely forgotten about the zatiak as they had been in a frenzy to finalize their preparations for their trip. The flight across the Atlantic had been uneventful but tiring. Neither Maite nor Kepa had traveled so far from home nor been forced to sit for so long at one go. As they stepped into the terminal, they paused to stretch and look out the windows at the city in the distance.
Customs took so much longer than they had ever expected. After sitting for hours on the plane, the last thing that either had wanted to do was stand in line for hours, but they had little choice in the matter. Exhausted when they finally collected their bags, they stumbled through the exit.
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 does Edurne look like?” asked Kepa. Maite’s cousin was supposed to pick them up.
“Well, it’s been a while since I saw her in person, but we chatted a few times via video as we planned our trip. She’s about thirty-five, has dark curly hair that falls past her shoulders. But, I think she’ll be holding a sign or something letting us know who she is.”
Indeed, as soon as they made their way through the exit into the throng of family and friends awaiting other passengers, they could hear one voice in particular, yelling “Maite! Maite!” Searching for the origin of the sound, they saw a woman who Kepa could only presume was Edurne jumping up and down, holding a sign above her head with “Maite!” in big bright letters.
Maite smiled as she weaved her way through the crowd toward her cousin. “Edurne!!” she exclaimed as she reached him, letting her suitcase drop as she gave Edurne a big hug. “It is so good to see you!”
Kepa was immediately struck by how gorgeous Edurne was. Her long dark curls framed a face that seemed taken from the movies. She wore a sleek jacket and slacks that flattered her slender figure. Her brown eyes sparkled when they saw Maite.
“And you, cuz! It’s been too long. I never thought that the next time we would see each other would be in the US.”
“Nik ere ez! I kept hoping to see you back at the baserri!”
Edurne shrugged. “You know how it goes. Work and family. There isn’t much time to take big vacations to the home country.”
Kepa let out a small cough.
Maite smiled. “Barkatu,” she said with exaggeration. “Edurne, let me introduce you Kepa.”
Edurne engulfed Kepa in a big bear hug. “Nice to meet you, Kepa! I hope you both had a good flight.”
Kepa exaggerated a large yawn. “It was fine, but so long. Nekatuta naiz.”
“I completely understand. I’ve done that flight so many times. But, don’t worry, we’ll take things easy tonight. We’ll get you to the house and let you shower and refresh before we meet aita and ama and the rest of the family for dinner.”
“Zer…?” asked Kepa. “Dinner, tonight?”
Maite just smiled as she took her suitcase from him. “No different than what we do for them when they come to visit.”