Elyssar took a turn and found herself on Ocean Drive, it was a moderately hot day, and the activity had started. Teenagers crossed the road in their shorts, carrying their beach gear. Many of them spoke with an American accent, but more conversed in fast-paced Spanish. Under different circumstances, she would have loved to join in the fun and spend the day on the golden stretches of sand. At least the atmosphere here wasn’t as pretentious as the one around the Delano’s pool.
She decided to stop in one of the little shacks serving alcohol along the road. The place consisted of a bar and a few stools. It was empty, except for the bartender and a lone customer at the far end of the bar.
She perched herself on a stool at the other end.
“Can I have a glass of rosé, please?”
She watched the barman’s biceps bulge back and forth as he fetched a glass, than a bottle, poured her drink and placed the glass in front of her. The “only the beautiful work here” rule seemed to apply all over South Beach, not just at The Delano.
She took a sip then pressed her forehead against the chilled glass.
She turned around and saw the other patron, an older man, looking at her from his seat on the opposite side of the bar. His paternal smile made his words acceptable.
He had the typical look of a Floridian retiree with his t-shirt, shorts, slippers, silver hair, wrinkled sun kissed complexion and perfectly aligned snow-white teeth. He made her realize how much she missed her father.
She smiled, “thank you.”
He raised his bottle of beer and she reciprocated with her glass. He pointed to the stool next to him, inviting her to sit down.
“Rough day?” He asked as she climbed on the seat near his.
“Whatever it is, you shouldn’t waste this beautiful sunshine thinking about it.”
“You’re right. I’m on the world famous Ocean Drive, I should be having a great time.”
“You look Brazilian but you sound French.” He said.
She smiled “Not really.”
She shook her head again.
He looked at her with renewed interest but didn’t comment. They drank in silence for a while then he asked:
“Man trouble today?”
“What else could it be?”
He thumped his bottle against hers.
“Here’s to Lebanon.”
“Here’s to Lebanon.” She repeated “And to kind strangers in Miami.”