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The next couple of days were a blur as Edurne and Unai led Kepa and Maite through the sites and sounds of New York City. Edurne made sure they spent some time in Central Park — “It’s like an oasis of peace in the middle of the chaos” — while Unai dragged them all to a baseball game.
“Why are they all just standing around?” asked Kepa.
“They are waiting for the batter to hit the ball, then they can run,” replied Unai.
“They sure don’t run very often,” interjected Maite as Edurne just smiled. Maite suspected she’d heard this argument play out many times before.
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!
“It’s all about the strategy,” replied Unai with an exasperated sigh. “The duel between the pitcher and the batter, about who will out-think the other. It’s like a chess match, with each side trying to out maneuver the other.”
Edurne shrugged. “To me, it’s an excuse to indulge in overpriced beer and hotdogs.”
That evening, they all gathered again at Anton and Feliciana’s house for one last dinner before Maite and Kepa left for California. The spread was at least as abundant as last time, but this time, the food reminded Maite of home: platters of chorizo for appetizers, porrusalda, thick chunks of cod cooked in red peppers, and, to top it all off, rice pudding for dessert.
“I thought you might like a taste of home before heading off for the big interview,” said Feliciana as Maite marveled at the feast laid out in front of them.
“Mil esker, Feliciana! This is so wonderful!” replied Maite as she engulfed Feliciana in a huge bear hug.
“Bah!” said Feliciana with a beaming smile. “Ez horregatik.”
As they all sat down to eat, Anton passed the carafe of wine around the table. “Are you ready for the interview?” he asked Maite.
Maite shrugged. “I guess?” she replied tepidly.
“She’s going to do great!” replied Kepa with enthusiasm. “She’s by far the smartest person I know.”
“Well,” interjected Feliciana, “if you do get the position, maybe it will be an excuse for your parents to come out and visit. They can stop by here on the way.”
“I think they would love that,” replied Maite as she scooped a ladleful of porrusalda into her bowl. “They’ve never really left the Basque Country, it would be nice for them to see something new.”
“As hard as they worked, I doubt they’ve seen any of the Basque Country either,” added Anton.
Maite smiled. “Egia da. Just the beach every once in a while.”
The night continued with lively conversation about all manner of topics. After dessert, Maite began helping clear the table.
“Put those down!” exclaimed Feliciana, her voice stern. Then she smiled. “I’ll take care of those later. You have an early flight in the morning, you better get back and get some sleep.”
Maite smiled as she gave Feliciana another hug. “Mil esker, for everything. It was so good to see you.”
“Berdin,” replied Feliciana.
They all said their goodbyes, which took another thirty minutes, before Edurne literally dragged them out of the door. “Seriously ama and aita! They have to get some sleep!”
A chorus of “Gabon!” filled the air as Edurne led them all to the car, Amaia fast asleep in George’s arms.