I’ve mentioned before that there’s a Latino market I go to and the cashier there gives me a discount on the Mexican candy I buy.
I haven’t given the name of the market. Let’s just say it’s called “Clementina’s Latino Market” … Well, Carlos and I didn’t know the name of the male cashier but we always refer to him behind his back as “Clementino” – just because it’s funny.
Well, it’s because of me that “Clementina’s” carries Bubu Lubus. I asked for them early last year, and “Clementino” promised me he’d find them. The next week when I came in, he had the candy waiting for me and has consistently kept them in stock ever since.
Over this past year I’ve come to expect his smile when I come into the store. Over the past few months, I’ve come to expect his joking conversation and the occasional words which could be interpreted as flirtatious but not inappropriate. I thought it was all innocent, though Carlos warned me that he didn’t like the way “Clementino” looked at me. I thought it was all silliness… until today.
Leaving Carlos and the boys waiting in the car, I went in to buy my usual tortillas and Bubu Lubus. Suegra actually came inside with me – she bought a handful of phone cards and left without waiting for me. A young couple sending money via Western Union, and a homeless looking guy buying beer, stood ahead of me in line. I waited patiently until it was my turn and then approached the counter, (which, for reasons unknown to me, is so tall that it comes almost to my chin.)
I put my tortillas on the counter top and pulled two Bubu Lubus from the display. “Clementino” smiled and asked me how I’ve been. I returned the polite conversation as he slid my debit card. Without looking at me he sighed and smiled, then as he waited for the approval he said, “Sabes que, me enamoré de tí.”
I didn’t say anything. I waited for him to talk more – I waited for him to laugh at the joke he was making or for me to realize I had misunderstood. I gave him a quizzical look.
“Te quiero, pero no me quieres, verdad?” he said.
I still said nothing but he kept talking as he laid my receipt and the debit card onto the countertop. When I reached up to take them, he covered my hand with his.
“Es por tu culpa porque eres tan bonita… me entiendes todo que estoy diciendo, sí?”
I nodded, my cheeks burning hot, and pulled my hand away. I accepted my bag of tortillas and candy saying, “Gracias, adiós.”
“Cuándo vas a visitarme otra vez, preciosa?” he said as I walked toward the door.
“Cuándo necesito más Bubu Lubus, pues,” I said laughing.
“Ah, es que no me quieres, verdad?”
I pointed to my wedding ring. “Clementino” shrugged and told me that didn’t matter.
I ran to the car and told Carlos everything that happened, with a smile as I came out of my shock, I admit. Suegra piped up from the back seat that “Clementino” was a “sin vergüenza”, but that I was good for telling my husband. Carlos said “I told you,” multiple times and surprisingly didn’t go back in the market to kill “Clementino” – at least not this time.
And me? I’m feeling like I’m in a real life telenovela… and wondering where the hell I can safely buy my Bubu Lubus now.
Clementino Part II