In Other Words (duo lingo)
I could only think of her in Spanish. I have no idea why. But when I let my Paz fly it really lit us both up. Her English consisted of nods and confused looks. So I stayed in Spanish.
Words can’t describe her here in English. I’d have to translate pure joy into some lesser state. I’ll let her remain somewhat hidden in Mallora in 2001 when I was between marriages, striking out to find my *pura vida* and reason to hope. “Got to Spain,” I thought. My time there, while in college was fantastic. And I could at least get by with the natives.
Of course, as a writer, I loved the Latin American superstars and Spanish poets. Neruda sublime. Octavio Paz, Manuel Puig, and “Hundred Years of Solitude” Marquez. I studied English lit in college, but Spanish lit became a guilty pleasure, along with Henry Miller, Kerouac, and Hunter S. Thomposon. I read all the time. Forgot to do homework. Made average grades. Dove headlong into the “stream of the moment” writers. Losing myself and my purpose in the process.
Spain surprised the world and won the semifinals of the World Cup and I was in Madrid, eating dinner in a hotel restaurant with a roommate I’d met on the train down from London, Cory. We had just finished a delightful paella with an over-abundance of sangria, when the entire restaurant and all the world outside the windows, exploded in celebration. I lost contact with Cory as we were shuffled along with the ranting, chanting, fiesta. I saw him climbing up on a phone booth to take a photo with his digital camera.
I caught the scent of some dank patchouli and noticed a pile of dark Spanish curls bobbing just below my face. I followed. I swooned. I was overwhelmed by the riotous crowd and hypnotic snakey rings of hair, beckoning me along, like a siren. It was like a thin thread of a black spell was pulling me on. Like one very strong strand of her jet-black hair had somehow attached to my heart. My penis, more likely.
I felt feverish. The sangria was more potent than I’d understood as I slowed down, a bit dizzy, and tried to keep an eye on her as she receded into the river of people rushing ahead. It was just a touch. A moment. Later, in the hotel room, Cory told a tale of pursuit and a near miss in the shelter of a small urban green space. She’d only spoken French. Cory and I knew Spanish. He’d gotten a kiss and a feel, but not much more.
¡Una gran historia!
(A great tale.)
Read more Short-Short Stories from John.