It was there in the early morning light when Gabriel Aquino ambled up to her on the sandy shore. He inquired about the sadness in her eyes. She averted her gaze and avoided his questions, but the man persisted with a gentle voice as calm as the ocean breeze. “No one comes to the water without questions in their heart.” Gabriel prepared to offer the compassion she needed. It would not be the first time he offered advice on matters of love, nor would it be the last.
Her tragic beauty surprised him. Lovely in her natural splendor like a flower left to grow in the wild and to be loved by no one.
“It is not appropriate for a woman to discuss her marital troubles with another man,” Carmen said without meeting his gaze.
“Indeed you are correct,” Gabriel Aquino turned toward the horizon. “Though I can assure you I have no intention of dishonoring your name.”
Carmen cast him a sidelong glance. In the four years of their marriage, Gonzalo had never said a kind thing to her. Here a stranger treated her like a woman, and she wondered about his motives.
“Only a man who does not understand the true nature of love will attempt to seduce another man’s woman under the guise of friendship.”
“What makes you an expert on such matters?” Carmen eyed him suspiciously.
“I would hardly consider myself an expert, but I daresay heartbreak is a great teacher.”
“What do you know of heartbreak?”
“It is the purest form of pain. It will shatter your soul and leave a scar on your heart that never heals.”
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