Sanita in Florida

The Glow of Love

By Diomedes | Robert O'Reilly | 6 Nov 2022


False Dreams

1*_fGlUB3B0KS4ENONR_cV8Q.jpeg On the way to Mark’s house.

But back to my story. About an hour after Laura left that Saturday morning I was at the top of the hill looking under the hood of my clunker car, (I think I purchased it from a local for three hundred dollars) trying to find what was amiss. I wasn't upset by Laura's fears for my 'ex' because I knew of her flightiness. Her last three dates with men in the last three years had lasted only a few hours each and I thought this one too might be over in a week, so I poured my whole attention into improving my car. The road to my hilltop was extremely steep from the road below, though only two hundred yards long.

All of a sudden Sanita rides up to me on a ten-speed bike borrowed from Mark’s place. She’s out of breath but extremely happy and smiling, in a glow in fact. I could see right away it was the glow of love. Between gasps of breath she told me it was Mark and that she’s moved in with him.

I was stunned by this radiance in her face. I’d never seen it before. I’d never seen her ride a bike before or ever display such heavy physical exertion as it took to pedal up that hill. She never even jogged. A swim in the ocean for her would last a few minutes, just enough to cool off and enjoy another hour of laying motionless on her beach towel. She never went to a gym. She would practice yoga for hours at home but those are slow, measured exertions.

In the past any sweaty work, like gardening would require frequent breaks, longer than the chore. She wasn’t an athletic woman. Slow and easy and delicate, slender arms that never knew a muscle, that never could open a pickle jar, fragile even in appearance, soft to the touch, that was the constant physique I knew, feminine to a tee.

She didn’t have to say a word, her appearance on that bike told me she was madly in love and charged by it, changed by it, to an amazing degree. I’ve never seen love so visible in a person’s face before or since. Like I said, it stunned me. I’ll never forget her radiant, sparkling expression of pure joy at that moment.

She didn’t come to ask my approval. She only came to tell me the exciting, happy news. So I didn’t say anything negative about Mark. Her exhilaration and emotional high were too special, too enviable, to dare diminish . I could only say I was happy for her, half-expecting her to give me a hug, as she’d set the bike down and was telling me all this face to face, inches away. She asked me to come see the house and meet Mark right away. Since I wanted to have Willy as usual we put the bike in the trunk and drove there.

Mark was in the kitchen cleaning up a bit, and pleasant with me, probably glad I was the same with him and not angry or about to start a scene. Will was on the couch watching a large screen TV. Sanita gave me the tour of the house, still all aglow, saying Will just had the couch right now but they were getting him a bed soon and a computer desk for downstairs. The upstairs was Mark and Sanita’s private love nest. That part of the tour was brief and I unloaded the bike and took Will home.

Our deal was unchanged. I’d have Will from Saturday morning to Sunday eve, with a much shorter drive to get him. As I left I could see her getting on the bike again and with boundless energy probably racing off to tell all her other friends of the news, all the way to Sandy beach, crazy with energy. The adrenaline and other hormones pumping through her system must have been off the charts.

The next weekend back at my house Will and I had this curious conversation:

“Well, how do you like it there?”
“It’s okay. I have my computer all set up.”
“Will, is Mark really giving up rum for Sanita?”
“No. He tells her he is and he never does it in front of her. But when she goes out or upstairs he has a bottle right in the couch, hidden, and he drinks it right in front of me.”
“Does Sanita think she’s curing him?”
“Yes. She cooks him special meals and we eat them, vegetarian stuff.”
“Do they get along?”
“Yes. They go upstairs all the time, even when I get home from school, and tell me to stay downstairs at my computer. I hear the bed creaking a lot, and Sanita makes noises.”

Every answer only confirmed what I suspected, as I’d revolve the scenario many hours in my mind that week. I even hoped she was having great sex with him, screaming orgasms. She certainly was due, after three years of being alone and before that four years of a sex life with me that could only be described as 'tepid'.

This was her ‘last dance’ as the hepatitis he gave her would soon put all that to a premature end. But Will told me that after the breakup in Florida, though she was courted and hooked up with a number of nice men, (as he described them, and as her picture collection shows) for months at a time, the relationships always ended on a sour note with the men wandering away.

Will told me that one especially nice man she lived with awhile bought her a sexy dress one day and after opening the box she insisted that he take it back to the store right away for a refund. Sex was no longer a part of the equation.

1*Kprg9OrHgcADZo_grig1Rw.jpeg This one lasted a month.

The sad fact for these suitors was that she had a great figure and face, and a warm, attractive personality that lasted into her early sixties. So her charms beguiled many, invitations to love and love-making, which can only tease and attract so long till it’s denied, declared off-limits, and the man walks away.

Jaime told me the story of her brief marriage to his friend, when they were both in their early fifties, an old buddy of his moved to Anchorage, Alaska, though she always hated the cold with a passion. The marriage lasted only a few weeks. Sanita ended it and I got the calls from her brother, desperate to vent his anger. I’m guessing the marriage was unconsummated. Two weeks seems about as long as a woman can put a man off with various excuses, especially after a wedding. For her it was probably like trying to sell a car that won’t start. Her beauty was still resplendent, but repeated excuses grow suspicious. After ten or so put-offs men suspect the worst, and they’re right to drop the whole courtship.

What happened next for me in her relationship with Mark was almost the worst imaginable scenario. About a month into it Mark, as he dominated women and Sanita was the fool (or rather the ‘tool’) in love, decided they were moving to Florida with Willy in tow. She told me of this move just a week before it happened and I had no time to digest the implications of this change and my relationship with my son.

The move was criminal according to our divorce agreement. But since I quit paying her child support through the court system (I paid it directly as it took their bureaucracy three months to process) I saw no timely recourse there. It was all happening too fast. Then she soothed my obvious fears of losing him with lies, such as flights were cheap and that she’d make up for all my weekends lost with his longer visits here, all winter and summer school vacations. I was still in San Juan every week and it would be easy to pick him up from any flight from Orlando. Those at the time were often about a hundred dollars.

When she told me this Mark had already left for Florida, never to return. She said he was looking for a place to rent for them somewhere near Orlando. She’d tell me where she was when he found it and their new phone, two more lies. Worse still, Mark, before leaving had tagged half the items in his house for her to sell at a huge garage sale, which she was to advertise all over town with leaflets a week before the sale so that everyone would know.

This had all the appearance that he had no plans of coming back anytime soon, a preliminary step to selling the place. She told me he put her in charge of the whole matter and she asked if I could help her. I was just starting the mall in Caguas then but told her I’d take the Friday off, drive home and help her set up for the Saturday sale, one more chance to be with Willy before he left. I still wasn’t fathoming the enormity of this change and now I was even helping her make it happen. My higher faculties were frozen, in a state of shock.

We spent the Friday working together setting things in order (the house was a huge mess, mirroring Mark's lifestyle). He had a large record collection and boxes and boxes of imports from Mexico, many fine, hand painted tiles he planned on decorating his kitchen with but never got around to. We worked pleasantly together, almost like man and wife, filling the front yard and deck with boxes and tagging the furniture to be sold in the house.

Saturday morning it seemed like all the Americans in town showed up along with some rich middle-aged Puerto Ricans. Word had spread that he had some real treasures for sale, and he did. I remember the tile collection was so beautiful and one older American offered fourteen hundred for the entire set. At the end of the day Sanita had twice that much in cash, ready to deliver to her lover after a Monday flight.

One pleasant surprise for me at this sale was that Mickey and his wife showed up. I hadn’t seen them in a year since I left with Buddy for Hoboken and we parted on bad terms. But he was glad to see me again, all rancor forgotten, and we talked and laughed together for over an hour, while his wife shopped and bought bags of items, much to our relief, all happy and friends again. He made up completely with Buddy too. We talk occasionally on LinkedIn.

Sunday eve. I said my ‘goodbyes’ and drove back to the large house I’d rented in Caguas, uneasy at this separation but thinking Sanita would be true to her word and that everything would work out. One detail which I’m sure disturbs the souls of many divorced fathers, of being replaced, had no effect on me. I had no worries that Mark would ever replace me as a parent figure in Willy’s mind or heart, not even in the slightest degree.

We were too close, too dear to each other, so similar in thoughts and affections from all the times and talks we had together and all the fun, so many weekends of pure sunshine and mutual love unblemished by a single cloud, our relationship was firm and unshakable, which time proved true. If anyone risked the chance of losing Will’s affection by this change it was Sanita. And lose she did.


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B.A. in Latin and Greek from U.C. Berkley. Writer, Blogger and retired Electrician.

Robert O'Reilly
Robert O'Reilly

I am educated in the Western Classical Tradition, B.A. from U.C. Berkeley in Latin and Greek, English major, one year at U. of Toronto, studied under Alain Renoir and Northrop Frye, read most classics full time for many years after university in French, English, Latin and Greek to the modern day. I am interested in the near future of technology, what changes it imposes upon our heritage and character as humans. Short stories and Essays are my medium.

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