David and his friends were enjoying a relaxing afternoon swim one weekend when into the club walked the most beautiful young woman he had ever seen:
I said, “Who is that?” One of the girls sitting with us said, “Oh, that’s Carmen Matanzo. Don’t you know her?” And I said, “No, but I’d like to,” so she takes me over and introduces me to Carmen.
Carmen Matanzo gave David a coy, offhanded greeting. He introduced her to his friends John and Rags, and then she went inside to change into her bathing suit.
When she returned, David was enthralled; she seemed even more beautiful than before. He quickly learned that she taught physical education at a private school for young women, and that she was an expert swimmer and diver.
By this time, he was more determined than ever to get to know her:
She was in the pool, and I swam over to her, but I couldn’t swim very well in those days. I swallowed a couple of mouthfuls of water on the way, trying to get there fast. “This water doesn’t taste good at all,” I told her. And she said, “Well, you know, you’re not supposed to drink it.” I said, “I don’t see any sign to that effect. Is there a prohibition against drinking the water?” She said, “Well, if everybody drank it, the level of the pool would go down.” “Not necessarily,” I said. “Fresh guy!” she responded. And she climbed out of the pool and left.
Undeterred, David continued his flirtation. He asked Carmen about her plans for the rest of the day, and she replied that she and her friend Martha were going for a dress fitting. Without missing a beat, David asked if he could go with them:
She and Martha looked a little dubious, and then they finally said yes. We took the trolley, which was very slow in those days. It went all around the residential area of Condado. Fortunately, the trolley was going in the wrong direction. It had to make a complete loop and couldn’t reverse, so if you missed your stop, you’d have to go all the way around Condado again. And that’s exactly what we did! It took another half an hour or so to get to her stop, so I had a good long chance to talk with her.
That night, David had a date with a young woman named Mercedes to go dancing at a Condado nightclub, but his gentlemanly nature prevented him from breaking the date. He phoned his friend John and asked if he would escort Carmen to the nightclub. “Certainly,” John replied, “if she’s as pretty as you say she is.” David then phoned Carmen. His heart sank when she said she had promised to take her mother to the movies that night. Then, Carmen asked David to hold on. She cupped her hand over the phone, and after a muffled conversation in Spanish, she came back on the line. “I can take my mother to the movies another time. She said I can go,” Carmen replied.
David described the nightclub as one of the most romantic spots in the world. It sounds like a scene from a movie:
It was on the edge of the sea, fringed with palms and moonlight on the water. The ocean came right up to the sea wall, and there was a band playing Latin American music, slow boleros and rumbas. It was really beautiful and made for romance. We all went dancing. John and Carmen sat at the table next to us. I danced with Mercedes several times, and then with another girl at our table, but I kept looking at Carmen. She was a lovely vision. I went over and asked her, “May I have this dance?” And she said yes. Well, that was an experience! She was the best dancer I have ever danced with in my life. It was as though her feet never touched the floor. It was an incredible experience! I said, “My gosh, you dance very well.” And she said, “Thank you.” She played it very coy. I took her back to her table and couldn’t wait for the next dance to begin. I asked her to dance again. Finally, it got to be a joke because the people at her table would say, “Don’t look now, but there’s that man again!” That’s the way it all started, and from that point on, the romance took off. I knew from that moment that this was the woman I was going to marry.
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