Sisters in Tea - Part 7: The typewriter fan

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Summary of Part VI: The friends are talking about Ramona's new business idea when Felicia's phone rings. She decides not to answer but still, something about the call bugs her.

Felicia admired Ramona's laser-focused will. When Ramona decided to retire, she had done it in three months. Now she wanted to get back to work. She hadn't even bothered to put a business plan together and had already found someone willing to pay for her services.

"I wish I were like you," said Felicia, who had a small, though faithful list of clients. "A wise woman who knows exactly what she wants."

"Wisdom comes with age, like wrinkles," Ramona replied, chuckling. "I mean, if this is really wisdom and not plain common sense."

Common sense, Felicia's mother used to say, was the least common of all senses. Felicia often feared that she didn't have much of it. Just look at her living arrangement with Papacito! Though he paid for a few groceries (the ones he liked, such as beans, beer and bacon) he didn't contribute a cent to the rent. But she couldn't kick him out now, could she? Maybe after he found a full time job, she might hint that it would be better for them to lead separate lives. They didn't seem to have much to share after the passion vanished, as it had definitely done.

"You can also take advantage of the home office tax deduction," Lupe's comment brought Felicia back to reality. "My accountant can help you with that."

That was another practical woman. Felicia's bedroom doubled as an office, but she hadn't even thought about deducting that expense from her taxes.

Felicia decided to ask Lupe for her accountant's number later. She took a sip of her black jasmine tea and sighed.

The waitress came in with the third serving of tea.

"It's sweetened lavender, ladies," she said. "It goes well with the truffles."

Felicia nodded, but her mind was still puzzling over the phone call she had ignored. Could it have been from Papacito? She excused herself and walked to the bathroom.

On her way she stopped to admire the old Royal typewriter that had been placed in the middle of the gift shop. It looked like an antique - black, big and polished, a noble vestige of forgotten times.

"I wish we still used them," a man's voice said.

Felicia turned around and saw the guy that her friends had jokingly said was "a great match" for her. He wasn't bad looking, despite his graying hair and white beard. His eyeglasses gave him a thoughtful, kind air. He might have resembled Mr. Darcy's portrait when he was young.

"But computers are faster," Felicia replied.

"They have no soul," he countered. "My old typewriter did just what I wanted. My computer bosses me around. It isn't very … user-friendly, as people say."

He must be quite old if he got to be so well-acquainted with typewriters, Felicia thought.

"Yet we need to go with the flow of time," he added, and then left with a curtsy.

A weird guy, Felicia thought. But charming in his own, quirky way.

The Saint James restroom was as classy as the rest of the building. Felicia noticed a watercolor painting of a delicate flower vase. It would be nice to replace the racecar poster that Papacito had glued to their bathroom wall with something similar. But he would make fun of her, she was sure. The typewriter fan, on the other hand, might appreciate it.

"The silly things one thinks of!" Felicia said aloud.

She retrieved her phone and realized it didn't have the pink case. She had inadvertently left the house with Papacito's phone.

A voicemail had come in. She had never been the kind to snoop, but at that moment, snooping seemed justified. Papacito had told her he was applying for a better job. What if it was a call from a prospective employer? He complained that sometimes he couldn't understand when people spoke English too fast …

Felicia laughed at her excuse, opened the phone and without hesitation punched Papacito's password - she knew it because she had seen him enter it before. It was a lazy password: the last four digits of his number.

"Hi, nene, where are you? I'm waiting at Starbucks. It's four thirty. Hurry up. Love you, bye."

Felicia braced. It was a woman's voice. A woman who addressed Papacito in a way too familiar manner. And then the "love you" part!

The watercolor started to swirl. So did the walls. Felicia leaned against the sink until the walls stopped dancing and the painting returned to its place. She took a deep breath and tiptoed back to the hall with short and tentative steps. Her heart was racing and her mouth dry. She also felt a strange sense of detachment, as if the message she had just heard had nothing to do with her or Papacito.

As she walked back to the nook, the typewriter fan, who was still hanging around, smiled at her.

You can find the Spanish version of this story here.

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