The Bet

I’d been living with my boyfriend for less than a week when he posed a playful (albeit somewhat rhetorical) question: “I wonder, how long until you yell at me for something?” I affixed an appropriate level of feigned indignation on my face and glanced over at him, hoping he’d find my lower lip pout adorable.


Our leisurely post-brunch stroll through Lisbon’s hilly streets had taken on a sudden air of competition. Brow furrowed earnestly, I declared that I’d never yell at him. Brow raised sardonically, he basically told me I was delusional. “Fine then,” he said with his usual teasing smirk. “Let’s make a bet.”



He continued, eyes gleaming: “If you yell at me, I get to throw away your sweater!” Still aghast at his distaste toward my adorable Fair Isle sweater, I gritted my teeth and took a breath. This meant war. “Fine,” I said, “but when I don’t yell, all your soccer jerseys are going in the trash.” Game on.

Wanting to make the best of the warm weather, we hopped in the car and headed south to Lagoa de Albufeira in the town of Sesimbra. Unlike Lisbon, which borders the Tagus River, Sesimbra touches the Atlantic Ocean. Swarms of kitesurfers dotted the bright blue sky like shreds of rainbow confetti.

After I directed an impromptu photo shoot like a maestro does a symphony, we wandered hand-in-hand along the beach. “Baby, you have to feel the water,” he said excitedly. He broke free from my grip while I lingered behind, fearing the frigid sea spray. It took a bit of persuasion, but I finally met him at the coastline.

Well, that was a giant mistake. As I bent to dip my fingers into the approaching drift of saltwater, rushing surf followed, drenching us both to the knee. As we slopped our way toward dry land, a fury of angry words came screaming out of my mouth, met by his uncontrollable, wild laughter.

I lost the bet in under two hours. I’ve yet to relinquish my sweater.