In her first novel, A Just Man Is Hard to Find, Jeanne Hammond follows Will Gray’s blog for one heart-breaking year, while he is at school in Washington, D.C. She follows him now, as he’s come to San Juan to find Maria and convince her that he is a just man after all.
At twenty-two, I can still surprise myself. After Maria had left me and flown home, I realized I’d better follow her. After a couple days of wrestling with my doubts and fears, I took the Metro to Reagan Airport and bought a one-way ticket to San Juan.
What makes a preppy guy from Connecticut leave college to follow a woman over the sea — or 900 nautical miles of it anyway? What did I think I was I doing, flying to her home turf without an invitation?
Well, I can be crazy, romantic. Maybe I want to be Maria’s knight in shining armor? I know the role I’ve cast myself in is a bit more of a cartoon character than an action-figure, more Don Quixote than Navy Seal.
I’m not really sure Maria needs rescuing, but I know she didn’t want to go home to the island. I’d gotten her pregnant while we were at school, and when she lost the baby she had no place else to go but home to her mother and brothers. I couldn’t offer her anything better in D.C. What I don’t know is how this move –- my grand gesture –- is going to play out. Anyway, I’m here in Puerto Rico. So far, I’m really glad I hopped that plane. The island is beautiful in the same way Maria is beautiful: shimmering gold and fresh as sea spray. I’ve decided to blog about my time here, and what happens once I find her. I’m out of my comfort zone, with only high-school Spanish, and I can’t play tourist since I don’t have any money. I will need advice and encouragement.