Buber’s Basque Story: Part 41

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George returned to the table with a couple of pitchers of beer in hand. “I didn’t know what kind of beer you like, so I got a lager and an IPA.”

Kepa laughed. “Where we live, you often don’t get much of a choice.” He scrutinized the two pitchers before holding out his glass. “I’ll try the IPA.”

“It might be a bit strong for your tastes,” said George as he filled Kepa’s glass. He then turned to Maite, who held up her hand, signalling George to wait a moment. She watched as Kepa took a sip of his beer. His eyes started watering and his lips puckered up. 

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!

“You call this beer?” he barely squeaked as he put his pint glass back on the table and guzzled some water. 

Maite promptly took the IPA from Kepa as she smiled at George. “I’ll be fine with this,” she said as she handed him her empty glass. “But, if you can fill this with the lager for Kepa…”

Unai laughed. “It does take some getting used to,” he said. “And, some just don’t like it. Eric has never gotten the taste for it.” 

Eric shook his head. “Nasty stuff. And it’s everywhere. It’s sometimes hard to get anything else. Anyways,” he continued, “how was your trip to the Statue of Liberty?”

Kepa glanced sideways over the top of his new pint at Maite as she began to speak. “It was… interesting,” she said. “Definitely different than what I think either of us expected.”

“How do you mean?” asked Unai.

“It was just much more… immersive,” replied Kepa. “Much more realistic than I expected. I really felt I was there with the crowds.”

“I know what you mean,” said Edurne wistfully. “I get caught up in the stories and almost feel I’m walking beside those new immigrants.”

Maite nodded. “Bai, that’s what we meant. It’s just so easy to feel like you are one of them.”

“Huh,” replied Unai. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, maybe I’ll have to take another visit. I don’t remember it being so interesting.”

“Well,” laughed Edurne, “you were something like twelve when you went last time. There wasn’t much that kept your attention back then.”

Unai returned her laugh as he raised his pint. “Fair enough,” he said with a smile as he mock-toasted and took a big gulp of his beer.

It wasn’t long before they had neared the end of their beers. Eric looked at his watch. He was the only one of them that actually wore one, the rest of them relying on their phones to check the time. “It’s about time to head to the theater,” he said as he downed the rest of his beer. “Is everyone ready to go?”

“Let me run to the restroom first, and then I’m ready,” replied Edurne, who also swallowed the last of her beer. 

“Good idea, me too,” said Maite. Soon, they were all heading to the back and the restrooms. Moments later, they all reconvened outside of the pub.

“This way,” said Eric as he led them down the street.

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