Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hiatus: Moments in Madrid


in a run-on of sentence fragments:

Our last days spent between sheets, under incense smoke and aboriginal thoughts, abstract futures, tireless vomiting, four brown eyes, staring and blinking, my birthday month, so long, so long, until September falls or we never meet again.

a simple end:

Good bye, I liked you. I hope you liked me.

the reality:

I puked for twelve hours while Marta scratched my back and brought me damp wash cloths. I puked and puked and then puked some more. I nearly shit the bed a few times to boot. I was weak.

Marta took care of her sick gringo, like a war-time nurse, calming and comforting. I watched, as I laid in agony, in admiration as she took a damp cloth and placed it delicately on my forehead. She looked in my eyes as she scratched, making me feel so comfortable then.

I rested for three days, our last three days. She opened the door slowly each time she would return to our room from getting Sprites or fruit or lunch to see if I were asleep, and if I were, she was careful not to wake me. I was pleased each time, even though I couldn’t stop vomiting, to be at the center of this woman´s world, even if it was only for a moment.

Our room was on the top floor and basic, no TV, no bathroom. At midday, natural light from our open window shown brightly either on the colored aboriginal blankets that dressed the double bed or our naked bodies and the white cotton sheets they laid on.

We talked one day while I was ill about moving into a flat in downtown Madrid in La Latina. We would go to El Rastro on Sundays and buy many things. I would play shows with my guitar and write for some English magazine or newspaper and she would take pictures and host shows at galleries. We would eat great food and drink wine from glasses without stems while we sat naked on the polished wood floors in our flat with the big windows and the abundance of natural light, except, of course, when we were hungover then there would be no light because we would have black drapes to hide the day.

Or we would move to San Francisco and go to school there. We would become hipsters and talk about intellectual things and do artistic things like shave our heads and paint our skulls white.

I felt like I laid in that bed for weeks delirious from fever and blissfully in love. I feel like I´m still lying there.

One night I had my arm around her and she asked, “do you love me?”

“You´re joking?” I looked in her eyes.

“Yeah, I hate that. When people say things like that. But do you?” She laughed and looked deeply. I couldn´t tell if she was joking, but then she asked me again.

“I´m not gonna answer that question.” I said. I kissed her and the conversation ended.

I never did answer that question, nor tell her that I loved her. We were on two separate paths in two separate places and only by fate did those paths meet for a short amount of time, and in those hours, I did love her, and outside those hours, I love her and think of her often. But I am happy I didn´t respond to her question.

The reality was that we had a fantastic moment and neither one of us have the drive nor the resources to try and be together. We are from different countries; I have bus; and she still has three more years of Chemistry school.

Our love couldn´t have lingered. We could have never been domesticated. It was quick; it was passionate; and now you´re gone.

I think of our mornings and our afternoons. I think of our sober days, not drunken nights. Days when we were clear minded. Not that every night was drunken or that being drunk was bad, I just like to remember her in the light by the river in Cuenca where we sat for a moment and listened to the water moving and I thought about loving her.

From her six t-shirts and the unmatched earrings dangling from her lobes to the array of lawyers and politicians she knew after two weeks in Quito and the six families she claims to be a part of here, Marta danced to the melodious beat of her own flauta, but for two weeks I was the perro who played it.

This is the letter I meant to write you.

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