I Have Been That Soldier

In the side lobby of the five-star Hotel Vincci Estrella del Mar (rates lower in the off season) is a well-equipped bar. We were sitting at a tall table, sipping resort drinks, when three women careened in from the pool room. Two young, the third less than fifty, all clinging to each other with one hand and carrying tall glasses—vases, almost—two-thirds filled with bright-colored libations.

The party temporarily foundered in the shoals near our table, but regained headway and one hailed us as they passed:

”She (indicating her mature companion) has a pencil sharpener in her bag!” “A pencil sharpener,” chorused the third. Other notes and observations came emphatically forth, and the whole reminded me of a flock of small birds on encountering a pool of fresh water.

Their route to the stairwell included several tacks and feints, as they responded to the buffeting of unseen winds.

The passage filled the side lobby with cheerful energy, and strangers smiled at each other. Into the lull the barman deposited a single, somewhat rueful word: “Tequila”

An Irish lady walking back from the bar shared, with a nod, “I have been that soldier.”

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