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The next morning, Maite was up early. She lay in bed, going through her slides on her computer one last time as Kepa slowly woke next to her. He sat up in bed, watching her for a moment, not wanting to interrupt. She could feel his eyes on her, though, and after she finished looking through the current slide she turned to him.
“Yes?” she asked.
“Just wanted to say good morning. Shall I run out and fetch some breakfast and coffee while you get ready?”
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 would be great!” she exclaimed. “But first…” She set aside her computer and pulled Kepa toward her, her lips meeting his as she embraced him. More than a few minutes passed before she released him again.
Kepa smiled at her. “Are you sure you have to go to this interview? We could just stay here…”
Maite returned the smile. “We’ll have time for that later. And, besides, if I don’t go, they won’t pay for the hotel.”
“Fair enough,” said Kepa as he jumped out of bed and threw on some clothes. “Be back soon.”
While Kepa was out, Maite took a shower and laid out her clothes for the day. It wasn’t long before he returned with a couple of cups of coffee, a few breakfast sandwiches, and a few pastries. “I couldn’t find any bollos de mantequilla, but hopefully these will do.”
“Mil esker, Kepa!” They sat on the small sofa on the other end of the hotel room as they ate. “So, what are you going to do while I’m on campus?”
“That’s a good question. I didn’t get a chance to look at what there is to do here in Berkeley. I guess I’ll just wander around a bit, see what there is to see.”
“I’ve heard they have some nice gardens here.”
Kepa shook his head. “That really isn’t my kind of thing.” He paused. “But, after being surrounded by so many people in New York, it might be nice to get away from people.”
“How about we plan on doing the gardens tomorrow then? Unless you want to get away from me too?”
“Ha! Ez, ez. You are the last one I want to get away from.”
Maite finished eating. “I’m going to finish getting ready,” she said as she stood. She grabbed her clothes off the bed and headed to the bathroom as Kepa continued sipping on his coffee.
She emerged a few moments later. Kepa hadn’t seen her dressed up like this before, in a professional capacity, and he found her stunning. She had opted for a pantsuit and pulling her hair back into a bun. Her make-up was understated, accentuating her natural beauty. She stepped into the middle of the room and did a slow twirl. “What do you think?”
“Ederra,” replied Kepa. “Simply beautiful.”
Maite blushed as she grabbed her bag and stowed her computer and power cord inside. “Do you care to walk me to the campus, jauna?”
“I would be delighted,” replied Kepa as he grabbed his coffee and followed Maite out of the room.
The campus was beautiful, with large ornate and imposing buildings separated by fertile green lawns. A white clock tower pierced the sky in the distance.
Maite pointed. “The physics building is next to that tower.”
“It’s an impressive campus,” said Kepa. “I can see why you want to come here.”
“It’s not really about the campus. It’s about the people. Some of the greatest minds in physics have studied and taught here.”
“And you’ll be next.”
Maite let out a nervous chuckle. “We’ll see.”
As they approached the entrance to the building, Kepa reached out for Maite’s arm. He looked her in the eyes. “You will do great, I know it.”
“Mil esker, Kepa,” said Maite with a smile. “I’m so glad you are here with me.”
“Me too, and when you are done, we’ll celebrate.”
“Sounds good,” replied Maite as she gave Kepa a small kiss on the cheek and passed through the doors, turning one last time to wave.