Barcelona, we’ve only just met, and I’m already on my way. I’d prefer to stay awhile, maybe have to go to the grocery store to make a real meal to serve to friends to really feel like I’m getting to know you, but it’s not to be.
I remember when rushing into a new town, frantically seeing all the famous sights, walking my legs off and staying in hotels was my idea of blissful travel. Not now, I see. I find I like to get there and stay awhile, like I do in Paris. This trip has been a quick affair…and I just don’t do those.
The place across the street
I was standing out on my balcony early the first morning I was here. the place across the street was completely dark. A lone woman came along. I wondered why she was out by herself. It was still dark. Then she abruptly plunked herself down on a ledge, and sat there in a state of, I thought, dejection. She rummage through her purse and came up with a Kleenex and blew her nose loudly. I was transfixed. Was she coming home from a too late night out and now was sitting there, slumped over because she was lost? A truck came down the quiet street. And stopped right in front of the place. I could still see the woman, who didn’t move. So, my mind flew to fantasy gothic, and suddenly I was sure this truck was here to slurp the exhausted, disoriented woman up and hurl her into slavery. It was too dark and quiet.
I was on alert. What should I do? I did have to admit the woman wasn’t alarmed in anyway. A man got out of the truck, and sure enough walked right up to the woman. She didn’t move. He walked back to the truck, and then, striding down the empty sidewalk, coming from the other direction, appeared a man. The boss. I could just tell. The woman still didn’t move. She wasn’t going to put up any resistance. She was just too tired. Had given up hope? Anything was better than the sordid life she was living now?
I couldn’t believe the tragedy taking place before my very eyes. Yes, the new man strode right up to the place, said something to the woman–
And bent down and opened the guard gate to what turned out to be–
A neighborhood restaurant. The woman got up and hustled into the restaurant to begin setting up. the man from the truck began unloading the daily supplies–
The story tipped back into a good one just like that, and I, much relieved, went back to bed.
But so, I have only my first impressions of Barcelona. Unlike the neighborhood restaurant, though, my first impressions have been very good. Such a beautiful city. I’d love to see more. I’d love to sit and stay awhile.
And if this ever happens, I know even my positive first impressions today will change, and I will be privileged to know a completely different, more real and deep, Barcelona than the one I’ve just barely met.
I’ll just have to come back.