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Getting to the hotel had been relatively painless. Their bags were on time — Maite was nervous that her suitcase would get lost and then she’d have nothing to wear for her interview — and the Uber they hired picked them up and took them straight to the hotel without incident.
“What do you want to do for dinner?” asked Maite as she unpacked her suitcase and made sure her clothes for tomorrow hadn’t gotten too wrinkled in transit.
“Something mellow?” replied Kepa. “How about a burger and a beer?”
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!
“That sounds fine to me. Can you find something nearby?”
Kepa nodded as he pulled out his phone and searched for nearby pubs. “There’s one just around the corner,” he said. “It has four and a half stars.”
“Sounds good,” replied Maite. “I want to get back early and go through my talk one more time.”
“Don’t you have that thing memorized yet?” asked Kepa. “You’ve gone over it so many times.”
Maite replied with a sheepish smile. “I just want to do well. It’s a big deal.”
Kepa stood and walked over to Maite, putting his hands on the small of her back and pulling her close. “You are the smartest person I know. You’ll do fine.”
“But, what if I don’t get in? What then?”
“You’ll get in. But, even if you don’t, there are many opportunities for someone like you. You’ll be fine.”
Maite shrugged. “I guess. But, this is Berkeley.”
Kepa smiled. “You’ll do great things, with or without Berkeley.”
“Eskerrik asko, Kepa.”
“Ez horregatik,” replied Kepa as he pulled her closer and kissed her.
The pub was filled with people of all ages, from undergraduate students who were releasing some steam after some big test, to a group of graduate students who were huddled with their advisor, talking about their latest research, to a few older professors who had grabbed a corner table and were amongst the loudest in the pub as they discussed the day’s news.
Maite took a sip of her beer and, then, looking at Kepa, said “Isn’t this awesome? There is so much energy here!”
“I guess it has its own flavor of marcha,” replied Kepa with a smile. “Not quite the discotech, but still pretty lively in its own way.”
Maite gave him a playful punch in the arm. “You’re just disappointed there are no ladies dancing.”
“To this?” Kepa replied, absently waving his hands to indicate the alternative music that was playing over the speakers. “Nah. And, besides, you are the only one I want to watch dance.”
Maite blushed as she finished her beer. “Ready to go?”
Kepa downed his beer as well. “Yep, let’s get you some rest before the big day.”