Barcelona, Part One

Walking through the deliciously atmospheric cobblestone alleyways of old Barcelona, with a small group of young locals we’d just met. ‘We’ being my ex and I. He’d done a horrifying Jekyll and Hyde on this trip. I now understand this was abuse. This was narcissism, probably. It was his game to play. But at the time, all I knew was I’d felt seen; I’d felt loved for exactly who I am, and I couldn’t let that feeling slip away, twist into something else; I’d invested my whole being in this love (and most of my money in our trip around the world). This was before cell phones. You could lose someone, and find them again. And it was kind of a big deal. We’d fought in Barcelona. He went one way, I the other. He went to a bar, and pleaded his case to a handful of charming, attractive young Spaniards, and enlisted their help in finding me in an unfamiliar city’s intoxicating, teeming tangle of streets. We were young, too: all of us, twenty-something. They found me. They told me he loved me. And we walked along together, as they showed us their town, shared their night. I hung back and talked to a serious long-haired guy who apologized for his poor English skills, but admitted he wasn’t that sorry; he objected to the way everyone has to learn English, instead of English speakers learning their languages. He pointed out Spanish is spoken by a third of the world’s population. I regretted spending most of high school Spanish class shuffling a pile of alphabetized attendance cards and otherwise goofing off. I told him this is exactly how I feel about computers: won’t we still need some people to remember how to do everything the old way? I realized I was speaking to the male Spanish version of myself: intense, idealistic, lonely. Our conversation dwindled, since I barely speak Spanish, and the irony of forcing him to speak English was lost on neither of us. Plus, I had an insufferable boyfriend to reconcile with.

Published by msdeer

I am an interdisciplinary artist, slightly incognito here.

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