Where A German Draws The Line
Milita is German. She’s organized, an exceptionally diligent worker, and could define ‘Type-A’ in five-syllable words on the spot with a glass of Reisling in her hand. Growing up, she finished her weekend homework before she got off the bus on Friday afternoon, won every argument with Sasha, her equally brilliant twin sister, and graduated her MBA program six months early. She climbs mountains, starts businesses, and teaches yoga, but a piece of her constantly craves some sort of dangerous adventure.
She moved to the Dominican Republic right after undergrad to volunteer for a humanitarian program working with kids and also committed to reading the complete works of Dostoevsky. She could barely believe her blue eyes when she stepped off the plane. There was salt in the air, white-sand beaches, and oh my god handsome surfer boys. As a young, sparkly twenty-something, Milita found friends, parties, and friend’s late-night beach bonfires. It was one of these nights in the soft sand that she met Ricky.
Ricky was quiet, an introvert with the longest eyelashes she’d ever seen. He sipped a beer next to the fire, laughing quietly at a friend’s story. Milita had seen him surfing earlier in the week, effortlessly gliding along the top of the ocean like Jesus delicately walking on water. She’d asked around about this local Adonis but no one seemed to know anything. It was either that, or no one wanted to tell her anything, Milita wasn’t sure which option was true.
That night at the bonfire, Ricky caught Milita staring at him. He got up from the fire and offered her a drink. They chatted all night. He was local and had his own business. He knew all about the work she was doing with kids in the nearby elementary school and applauded her efforts. Milita wasn’t expecting a serious relationship during her time in the Dominican but that’s where it went.
She extended her trip, made good friends, and fell in love with the kids at the school. She got her yoga teaching certification and played with the idea of pushing off her graduate program to continue the tropical life that she was building and loving just a little bit longer.
She’d met all of Ricky’s friends. A fiercely loyal but quiet bunch, their parties were often in private rooms at fancy restaurants or even nicer houses. Milita briefly wondered how these young men lived so well but Ricky just told her that the economy was good and everyone made smart decisions in their business endeavors. Milita bought this explanation. But one night he did not come back to the apartment they were now sharing.
Milita might have been in love but she was far from stupid. When he still wasn’t home at 3 am, she brought a blanket over to the back door where she waited up, in the dark, to see what happened when he came home.
Right before the sun rose, Ricky pulled into the driveway. He slipped into the backseat, pulling out boxes, checking their contents, and putting them in the garage. Milita could see all this through the dog door in the kitchen. She crept back to bed, pretending to be asleep when he got under the covers.
The next day, when he was at work, Milita inspected the garage contents, finding nothing but bags of dog food. She was relieved and ignored the fact that Ricky did not own a dog.
Soon she was spending every free minute she had with Ricky. He took her on helicopter rides to his various meetings. He bought her jewelry and a rock that looked suspiciously like an engagement ring but he put it on her right hand. Milita was happy. Her family was not. Sasha, sensing something untoward was happening, booked a flight to the DR for a visit. Milita protested. Sasha won the argument.
Sasha, an investigative reporter in Germany, was the spitting image of Milita when she left. Now, seeing her with a deep tan, wrapped in sarongs and jewels, Sasha wasn’t so sure whom her twin had become. And, when she met Ricky at the local bar on the night of her arrival, she was even less sure.
Yes, he had all the attributes Milita had described in their phone calls; charming, handsome, generous, but Sasha sensed something fishy. Her investigative education took over and before the night was over, she learned that he had been part of a jewelry heist in Orlando many years prior. She shepherded this news to her sister, sipping Mamajuanas in a back booth. Ricky overheard.
He took Milita’s hand in one of his own and Sasha’s in the other, making eye contact with each of them through his curtains of lashes.
“Yes,” began Ricky solemnly in his smooth, quiet voice, “this is true. I have a past. I was an irresponsible boy. I spent time with the wrong crowd. I got into trouble.”
“See,” mumbled Sasha, not at all swayed by Ricky’s explanation. Ricky threw his 100-carat smile her way.
“But that was my past. Yes, I made mistakes, but I learned from them.” He touched the ring on Milita’s right hand. “I learned a lot.”
“Thank you for telling us that,” Milita threw Sasha a grimace, “now we can get back to our party. Ricky pulled Militia out to the dance floor while Sasha made a face for a “Before” Botox commercial. Ricky spun her sister around, picking her up, tossing her over his shoulder as she giggled with delight.
“Go, Roundhouse Ricky!” A friend called from a large, leather booth. Sasha’s ears perked up. Before she was cognizant of her hands, they had pulled out her iPhone and googled “Roundhouse Ricky, Dominican Republic, criminal.” She only read the top four hits.
Now, Sasha and Milita were both smart and well-educated, hard workers and driven women, but Sasha had a skill that Milita did not. She discovered it when they were children and rarely used it in her adult life. Sasha could vomit on cue. And that’s what she did. And she did it loudly, into a trash bin next to the bar. Militia heard, saw, and smelled the situation, in that order. She rushed to her sister’s side and got her out of the bar.
“What’s going on?” Milita was slightly annoyed. Here she was, showing Sasha her incredible new life on this unbelievable island with the perfect man, and here she was making a scene.
“We have to get out of here. Out of the country. Ricky is a bad dude. He’s wanted for murder.”
Milita sighed, “No, that is just dumb local politics. A wealthy politician's son OD’ed and they’re blaming his friends. It wasn’t Ricky’s fault.”
“No-“ Sasha shoved her phone in Milita’s face, “a lot of murders. And robberies. And drugs. But, like MURDERS.”
“Hey girls, are you ok?”
Ricky walked out of the bar, into the sand where the twins stood in shock. Sasha shoved her phone into her purse. Milita snapped out of the carefree, island version of herself, back to the sharp German girl her parents raised.
“She has a stomach issue. I have to get her to the hospital for fluids. This happens all the time.”
Sasha nodded meekly, their twin language in high gear.
“I will get Paco to drive you.”
“No,” Milita jumped in quickly, “she will just ruin your car." Ricky made a face. "I’ll call a taxi and see you at home.”
Ricky agreed, kissing his girlfriend on her lips, holding her shoulders just a little too tightly.
Milita will tell you that the rest of the night is a blur. She and Sasha taxied to the house, shoved all the clothes they could fit into their suitcases, and beelined it to the airport, catching the first flight available out of the DR.
This flight was to Panama City of all places. The girls held hands the entire plane right, shaking, sweating, and looking over their shoulders every other minute. Eventually, they got to Miami, then New York, then back to Frankfurt.
Finally, at Sasha’s apartment overlooking the capital, they collapsed on her old sofa.
“My god,” Sasha looked at her still-tanned but somehow older-looking twin sister, “you owe me.” And she did.
Ten years later, whenever they argue, Sasha pulls the remember-when-I-rescued-you-from-a-murderous-mafioso card and Milita has to give in. It’s been over a decade, and she hasn’t won an argument since.