Two of my closest friends in Las Vegas wanted me to name my blog Eat, Pray, Abby, and I’m just now starting to believe that they were serious. The reason I thought they were joking? Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love was romantic. Living in small town Costa Rica is … not.
Yet the most common question anyone asks me about Playa del Coco concerns who the heck I date. The answer is simple: no one. There are few men here between the 19-year-olds flocking here for their diving certification and the charming retirees from the States filling up my favorite hangout, Coconutz, in the afternoons. (And even they don’t call.)
Starting around the beginning of November, some of my neighbors started staring at me with obvious disdain. It was strange for the tight-knit barrio, but these people lived two whole blocks away, so I didn’t worry. One morning, I happened to see the one guy, a Tico, I knew from that area walking down the street. He flagged me down. I was shocked to hear that he’d broken up with his wife of 10 years and was leaving the barrio. “I’m so sorry to hear that,” I gushed. He stopped me from saying more.
I laughed nervously. It’d been more than a month since I’d even laid eyes on this man – and he’d still been very much with his wife.
Without a beat, he asked, “So? Will you be my girlfriend?”
I was speechless. Where I come from, months of dating don’t even always garner a “girlfriend” status. Was this guy joking? What was his name again? He took my confusion as a no, laughed a rather mocking little laugh, and hugged me good-bye. Less than a week later, I ran into him at a bar, and he went on and on about his new girlfriend.
If I’d known then that I’d never get asked out again in Costa Rica, I just might’ve said yes.
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