October 18, 2013

Barcelona - This City Was Never Ours

When travelling, you can navigate by map and itinerary or choose to just walk and see and it is often that I take the latter, winding myself around a city or place and responding by instinct on which and what way to turn. However, when I revisited Barcelona just recently, one of my favourite places and formerly my home, I was somewhat lacklustre in my desire to wander... 

I found myself restless in the moody autumnal weather. It seemed its chops and changes had internalised themselves within the very pit of my stomach, rendering me weak and a little unwell and so I sought the comfort of the indoors, rather than the out.

Once inside though, I flung open the windows to invite an equally ebbing sky, creaking and crawling by with its grey face, and placed myself directly at its mercy, entrusting myself to its hands and whims.
Wafting over me in woolly-soft gusts, the gentle, huffy air blew into my lungs with a cooling pleasure and continued to soundlessly sigh and shush upon me as down I went into dreams, kissing my face and ankles like the sweetest of lovers, stirring shivers in my wavering consciousness.
Through the frames came the city summons and echoes of sounds long not heard but so very familiar that I almost felt like the Sally who had slept under this Barcelona sky on hazy summer afternoons to escape a loneliness that had followed her around like a shadow, just a year before now. 

That very half-version of myself would sucummb to desires forbidden during her wake- to the many thoughts and fancies that dance in a young girl's mind and to the petty but feverish lust for a beautiful young face and his devilish red rosebud mouth that she wanted to peel open with hers and lose her sadness whole to. Above all however, she would dedicate these half-waking times to her love and that to wherever he had gone, he might still return to her yet, so very far had he gone. It had been the plague of their lives together in the city, two together in body but as distant as could be in soul.

That love never did return, I wonder if he even looked back? The feeling that I was his and his only persisted for many months thereafter and he is yet often in my thoughts now, but never again in my eyes or heart as mine - the tide of time finally bled and drew him adrift and I sleep under a sky now that bears no resemblance to our past and only echoes sometimes what we once were in my mind.

However, in this city, with its wind, its whir and its waters, I felt the waves wash over my head like heavy hands trying to pull me down into my history, trying to take me back to that Sally, that her. 

Together we were, she and I, in the ocean of sleep. Her, beckoning to me beneath and I, a reflection above her on a swelling canopy. 
For a time we floated there, the two of us, in the depths of my slumber. I regarded her sadly as she looked up, the whites of her eyes widened by the expanse of water around her, tinged with loneliness, and mine, soundlessly expressing the bittersweet better am I now- how very much more myself I am without the sadness I shouldered before, and just how very blue skies can be after a spell of bad weather.

As it is with dreams, the city began to flutter before me- the concrete vs the water, the unconscious vs the waking. Her image began to swoon, sway and sink to the very recesses of my memories, taking the ghost of an old love with her and laying themselves to rest.

Opening my eyes, as if heaving myself from the depths, I blinked slowly and stretched against those kisses from the breeze that revived and resuscitated me, rousing me to my senses. Without a second to waste, I shook off the excesses of sleep, wrapped that bittersweet better around myself and with a slam and a scurry, I was out the door and into the streets of a city that was never ours but mine, all mine to enjoy.

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