Tuesday, October 24, 2006

La Pedrera

He left his house for his usual morning walk. Every morning the driver asks to chaperone and every morning he gets the same reply. Despite his wealth he refrained from flaunting his large habits in a troubled Spain. In times where the aristocracy was imprisoned by its own detachment from reality, he walked the streets looking for a resemblance to his own life in the faces of the strangers. He was a man of strong convictions but he had a soft heart. He walked down the narrow streets of the old city sampling all the gifts of life that that world so generously endows the carefree man. It was a long walk from his carefully placed avant-garde apartment in the industrial Passeig de Gracia through the promiscuous colors and shapes of the stacked buildings in Catalunya down to the cathedral.
Every day he went back to that cathedral where he first met Elisa. Every day he traced back the memories and evoked the feelings as he traced the road that ushered his destiny into hers.

- Three red tulips please.
- As you like them sir?
- Yes without the stems.

He carried her three buds carefully in his hands and walked the steps to the cathedral. He laid the roses by the wholly mother and said a prayer for her. His walk down La Rambla was a blizzard of colors and sounds. Shouts of vendors and songs and people conversing and dancing and arguing. Everything was loud and extroverted about this part of town. Everything was also honest and simple and true. Racks full of life and of the ingenuity of crafts. He always pressed his step passing the market of cheap goods and the market of cheap painters to reach the carts of fabric. He stopped by the small wooden cart where he would greet the old lady who always seemed full of sorrow. She always had a new piece that she had created around her neck every day. She used to try to sell him in the beginning but then she stopped. She knew the deal they had. He gave her someone to talk to, even for moments, and she gave him moments of remembrance. As she flipped the fabric around with her hands that seem to age every day, she flipped his emotions around. For as long as he talked to her she could almost see the hope in his eyes. She saw how he was actually gazing into the colors on the cart. Almost in a daze, never looking around him and every day before he left she repeated to him,

You give your heart away,
How do you know they will stay?
How do you live without your heart?

He secretly smiled as he walked away. They had a deal.

The salted air from the sea announced the time to end his capricious trip and to meet his friend by the fishermen’s bay. His daily coffee with Antoni seemed to be his only thread with reality in those days. Descending from an equally wealthy family, Antoni shared his frustrations and reflected his fears of the social resentment that was broiling underneath the calm surface. Despite his genius artistic accomplishments, his friend was a dreamer none less who never mustered the required discipline to get through his projects as he never found the courage to get through his romances.

As he meant to take the curb to get to De Reial, he was stopped as he saw Angelica and Frederic leaving Boqeria market with little Emma. He waved at them.

- Good morning sir
- Good morning Angelica. Frederic.
- Sir, as the boy shied away with his looks.
- And the madam?
- Resting
- Very well. Maybe I will pay her a visit this afternoon.

His heart was pounding as he stepped away. He did not know whether to be excited or deeply worried at the fact that even the sight of the woman’s maid makes him happy.

Why is it that when we love, we love everything about the person? Even their eccentricities. Why is it that, by loving her, he was able to smell colors to? Why is it that the sound of her name makes his body tremble? Why is it that the thought of her makes him want to weep? And why is it that, even till this day, he can’t look at little Emma.

When a woman loves a man, she loves herself through him. She loves the woman he makes her feel she is. She loves the excitement of the possibility of what could be. She loves the frozen moments in time before reality happens, the energy before physicality achieves, she loves the reverie, the shadow of a man. A woman loves an idea, a role she wants to play. She loves a tortured soul praying for the goddess that she is forever. She loves the quest and the challenge. She was that woman. She was his torturer. To her, he was just a man in love. He was a poor soul that had committed to a body no longer estranged to his. He had committed to the warmth to the familiarity of her gestures. He had committed himself for eternity the day he cried in her arms.

Maybe I will see her this afternoon
Maybe it is time. Yes
It is the time …


laila said...

this is becoming addictive :)

Maya@NYC said...

the plot thickens!..
he can’t look at little Emma

Lirun said...

i dont read most of what you write.. i react mostly to the pics..

i love barcelona.. reading shadow of the wind now.. its so cool..

i reckon im a catalan in disguise..

gitanes legeres said...

i have a feeling this is not the man of the letters. i dont want him to cry..
(i was starting to think of a triangle. now it's a quadrangle(not a carre nor a rectangle)ill-defined)..

Mirvat said...

very perceptive!

Ingrid said...

great characterization of what women want, I must have missed all your other writings, you ought to try out with the nanowrimo this year!

Mirvat said...

wish i had time Ingrid!
right here is a description of what men think women want.. i think it really goes both ways, irrespective of the gender, a human thing, the need to chase and for challenge :)