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Estancia Aldea Norteña 3: Amigos Nuevos

January 16, 2023 11:35AM
"New Friends," developed through shared experiences in which the people involved learn that their association is mutually gratifying (APA Dictionary of Psychology).

About a week later Catalina and the Aguirres loitered by a bench outside after Mass, waiting for the driver to pick them up. Tía Lola tried to fan herself without disturbing her jewelry, and kept up a lively monologue about the different outfits of everyone leaving the church.

"Oh, that is someone I know!" She waved with sudden excitement. "Yoo hoo!"

A woman about her age came over, plainly dressed but carrying herself with importance, and a trio of girls followed behind. "Why if it isn't Señora Lola Ortego de Aguirre! Girls, this lady and I were friends in school. Her wedding was a very grand affair, you never saw so big a to-do. Where have you been keeping yourself?"

"Out in the country, mostly, but we are finally back visiting. Catalina, this is Señora Evangeline Lobo. And are these your daughters? My, how pretty they all are."

"Well where else would pretty girls be just before Carnaval but at the beach? We are taking a long holiday, since Señor Lobo is off once again on his oil rig, and who knows when he will be back? But tell me what you have been doing with yourself!"

The two women began sharing news about old friends and new fashions. Tío Ruy smiled but did not get up, excusing himself as his leg was bothering him again. "But you must come over some time and see our place!" Tía Lola exclaimed when the car pulled up. "I really must hear more about things."

"We don't keep a very busy schedule," Señora Lobo admitted coyly, and an invitation was soon offered for them to all come to lunch. There was only enough room for the Aguirres and three of the Lobos in the car. It fell to Catalina and the oldest daughter Isabel to walk the five blocks back, and considering the amount of traffic on the route, they might reach their destination just as fast.

They soon found they were close to the same age, even if Isabel was a good eleven months older. But it might have been eleven years, given her greater experience with cities, as she came from a suburb just outside Buenos Aires itself. "Yes, we go everywhere," she explained in answer to her new friend's questions. "We talked about Pinamar at first but Mar del Plata is nice too, even if there aren't nearly enough places to eat."

Catalina was shocked. "There is a restaurant everywhere you look!" It still felt overwhelming to her, used as she was to the one neighborhood grocery.

"Of course, but I mean good ones. Some of these are so old! The one we went to yesterday didn't have a TV, not even one of those old boxes. Can you imagine?"

It hadn't occurred to Catalina to look for one luxury while enjoying another, but she wisely decided to only nod and learn more about the acceptable standards to judge such matters. "At least the beach is close by," she offered, thinking there could not be that many different ways to enjoy the ocean.

"And I can't wait to try out my new bikini! Have you been yet?"

"We drove by when we first arrived. But Tío Ruy hasn't felt up to it yet and Tía Lola doesn't like the sand. They promised we would eventually, when he is doing better."

"You just have to go, though, how can you stand to wait with it right there?"

"Well, I have never been before, so it won't matter if I wait a little longer. I can at least see it from the house."

"Never!" It was Isabel's turn to look shocked, then she burst out giggling. "You are too precious, and you remind me so much of someone. Wait, what did you say your name was again?" Hearing it repeated, she squealed and hugged Catalina with joy. "Why didn't I realize: you are just like your brother. Javier has the same way of talking about things, it is just too dear."

"You know Javier?" Catalina asked with matching eagerness, glad to find common ground with this sophisticated girl.

"Yes, he is a good friend of my brother's, you know they room together at University, and he has come over so often I feel as if he were family!"

It took some prodding but Catalina at last remembered hearing about Javier's friends the last time she spoke to him on the phone, and they had plenty to talk about on the last leg of their walk.

The mutual acquaintance was shared with the group over lunch; it was quickly settled that they simply must do more together given how friendly everyone was. "Catalina has been sadly stuck with us this whole time, I'd be happy for her to have fun with some younger friends," Tía Lola confided to Sra. Lobo, who insisted Catalina call her Sra. Eva just like her dear brother did when he came over.

"We would be glad to show her around," Sra. Eva agreed. Soon Isabel and her two sisters led Catalina away to the couch where they made plans and talked about anything except whatever the adults were saying. It became clear they were wild about the same telenovelas and crushed on the same stars.

When Catalina wondered aloud what would happen to all the little Angels in season two, Isabel's sisters laughed and would have said something, but she hissed a warning. "No, you won't spoil it for our new friend, that would be tragic!" Leaning forward to whisper, Isabel explained she knew how to find video online for all the latest film news, even some with leaked scripts or pictures of the actors out shooting episodes. "I can send you the link."

While Catalina was familiar enough with email and school portals, the idea of watching television online was new. She admitted that the one computer in the house was usually reserved for Sr. Aguirre to check the stock market and oversee some of his investments. "You must come and watch them at our house," Isabel invited her, "which will be better anyway, as we can talk about them while we watch, and eat popcorn, and do our nails!"

The last activity was difficult for Catalina to get enthused over, since she had only had her nails done once at fifteen for her party, but she nevertheless agreed eagerly.

Before the Lobos left, Isabel asked if she had heard from Javier recently. "Not since just after Christmas. He didn’t stay the whole break since he has that big yearlong project to work on. I think he’s going to be busy until the new semester starts."

"Didn't you call him when you arrived?"

"No." Catalina answered without shame. "I'm only supposed to use my phone for school, calling home, or if I get an interview. It would cost too much just to chat. But we email sometimes."

"It's just we didn't get to say adios to each other before he left to go home at the end of last semester, and I have been so anxious to hear from him again. He is the very nicest gentleman anyone could meet."

"He’s a very good brother," Catalina agreed, though not sure about attaching such a title to the jocular and studious Javier. "He has always looked out for his sisters. I suppose he treats you the same way."

"I hope not!" Isabel giggled in a particularly nervous high pitch, whispering in Catalina's ear again. "But let me know if you hear from any time soon."

When they all left the house felt very empty again. Tía Lola commented, "Well, at last we have met and enjoyed some company. What a stroke of luck! Don't you think that was a good thing Catalina?"

"Oh yes, it was so good to have some more people over!" Catalina answered happily.

"Now, you must be kind if you spend time with them. With one son at University and the younger ones being taught by the nuns, I suppose it's understandable Eva is still wearing something from five years past, but it wouldn't be nice to say anything about it. After all, the girls were very well turned out."

Catalina wasn't sure how she could be the judge of anything where the fashionable Lobos were concerned, but she promised regardless. There was little danger in her wanting to be anything but friendly.

Tío Ruy was glad that his two ladies were enjoying themselves, and even more relieved not to hear a repeat invitation for the Lobos to return. "You will be too busy for my next appointment, of course, now that you have friends to go off with," he commented, and Catalina protested she would certainly help him whenever he needed. "Yes, it would be a shame to miss exercising with me," he teased gently. "Perhaps Señor Tilve will spin me around instead!"

She laughed at the idea, not even blushing, for even if Sr. Tilve returned she could not imagine he would ever dance with her again. It was good she bolstered her spirits early, since not only was he unseen anywhere during her later rambles with the Lobos, he did not in fact return for the next therapy session. Instead, a very no-nonsense woman reviewed the simplest steps, and Catalina's only contribution was to hold the patient's hand and offer encouragement. It was not nearly as exhilarating but she was pleased nevertheless to aid her dear old friend. When the lady packed up to leave, Catalina felt bold enough to ask if she knew where Sr. Tilve was.

"Enrique? He probably left town, he comes and goes like that. But he'll be back eventually, whenever they let him go from that big family ranch he disappears to all the time."

A big family ranch was exactly the sort of place Catalina could picture someone as suave as Sr. Tilve coming from, and certainly as distant as any she had ever seen on television. It was good to find out: if she were not careful, she might have begun missing him.

"At least we danced once," she wrote that night in the little account book given by her mother to keep track of what she bought, but which had turned more into a diary and study aid than a ledger. "That was magical enough."

Tomorrow, after all, Isabel had promised they would go see the Carnaval parade, and that was another magical event to look forward to.

Estancia Aldea Norteña 3: Amigos Nuevos

MichelleRWJanuary 16, 2023 11:35AM

Re: Estancia Aldea Norteña 3: Amigos Nuevos

AlidaJanuary 17, 2023 05:33AM

Re: Estancia Aldea Norteña 3: Amigos Nuevos

MichelleRWJanuary 17, 2023 12:09PM


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