Spanish Holiday Part Siete: part of the Boys of Summer Series




I give up sleeping at about 9:00am and try a shower to help ward off the fatigue.  I have a story to write and a book proposal to polish and the adaptor I paid ten dollars for at Radio Shack is for Great Britain and not the rest of Europe.  I am feeling so tired and unadventurous that I eat the buffet breakfast offered in the hotel for 9 euros.  The food is OK, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, dried fruit and nuts, an assortment of passable looking breads (which I avoid because I already feel pretty lousy and do not feel up to experimenting with the wheat flour thing today in case my chef friends theory is untrue), jams, coffee, tea and fresh fruit juice.

The helpful staff directs me to an area near the San Antoni metro station that has a computer store.  I walk the seven or so blocks and find Soulink.  They are out of adaptors but in broken English the very nice salesman directs me to a hardware store that he is sure will have what I need.  The hardware store has an adaptor that one side displays the wide toothed plug into the wall part that I need to harness Spanish electricity but the three pronged other side looks suspiciously wide to me.  “English and American” she insists.  I am not sure but sort of stuck as I do not speak enough Spanish to have an intelligent conversation about it.  Three more Euros and another frustration as my three pronged computer plug is, as I suspected, not compatible with an English three pronged plug.  It will be too complicated and time consuming to return it and time is running out on my day.  I do want to see something of Barcelona before leaving for Sant Pere de Ribes on Tuesday other than the few blocks around the hotel.  I get the bright idea that the computer store may have a cord that works directly with my computer and return with computer and acutrements in tow.  Yes they do have one and it is not too expensive either.  Yippy!  I am so proud of myself for solving this problem through pantomime and miniscule common language skills. The writing takes a long time and eats up the entire rest of the morning which is about an hour at this point and goes on into the afternoon.   I can’t focus.  My brain is replaying that spectacular kiss and I am becoming neurotic about Ricardo’s reaction to this new dimension added to our friendship. What kind of man is he, really?  Was he just curious and now he is done completely?  Did he wake up this morning freaked out that he kissed someone almost twice his age?  Does he really like me?  Is it more than like and he is just not telling me? Is he thinking about me at all today – going over an over this in his own mind – obsessing like I am? Or is he just going about his day, flirting with those cute college aged girls an not giving me or this huge moment in my life a second thought.  I hate myself for thinking about all this at all but continue to fall into the memory of that intoxicating kiss. I don’t want to hurt him and I don’t want to get hurt either.  But that kiss was like a drug. Poisoning my mind with all of these silly thoughts- but it felt so incredible.  Due to the time change the review and the book proposal both get emailed to their destinations before 9:00am Eastern Standard Time.  How Fabulous Is That?

Ricardo wanted to meet after his classes finished in the afternoon at 4:30.  He said we would go to the beach or catch a museum which is exactly what I want to do.   I have a little time to kill so I decide the best place to kill it is at Gaudi’s crazy Cathedral, Sagrada Familial. I am still obsessing and decide to call my friend Candace and consult her regarding whether or not Ricardo is going to call.  This is so High School but it is appropriate as Candace is my High School friend.  She thinks I am nuts.  “Of course he is going to call, Mary, are you serious!?” she assures me.  I know I am really loosing it because her words are not ending the obsessive loop in my head. I try my best to be distracted by the mammoth church, not yet finished but so full of symbolism and architectural detail. It is truly a marvel.  I spend about an hour and a half drinking in the details of  this massive homage to Jesus.  Then begin my obsessing again.  Dominating thoughts in rotation now are: “Ricardo is always late.”  “I must be cool and not call him and seem too neurotic which I really am at this point.” “Why am I obsessing over this?” and “This is ridiculous!”

In addition to being tired and cranky I am getting really hungry.  I don’t have the energy to sit in a café by myself and try to order something or be satisfied sitting alone.  I decide to continue with my plan and do some shopping while waiting for Ricardo to call.

As directed by my hotel front desk person I get back on the Metro where I get thoroughly lost in the hot smelly tunnels and end up at Placa de Gracia, Barcelona’s version of the Champs de Lyseses.  There is great shopping there but I was looking for smaller more original shops of the Gracia area. The afternoon turns into a nightmare of trying to figure out which train to take to get to where, walking directionless on the streets and missing Metro entrances.  Frustration is added to all of the other emotions circling my head like sharks circling prey.  At 6:30 I have had enough waiting and call Ricardo. If we are not going to get together I want to make another plan so I have something fun in my day and do not end up spending a crappy evening. “Didn’t you get my email?” he says.  “No” of course I have checked my iphone about 85 times in the last couple of hours.  “Oh because I sent you a message on Facebook.”  This sounds so suspect to my neurotic  paranoid self.  Was communicating with me so unimportant that he couldn’t call? “I ran out of minutes on my phone, their international calls [to your cell phone] are more expensive than I thought.”  All of this sounds like bullshit to me and I am getting truly pissed but do my best to keep my voice calm because I don’t want to sound too disappointed.  Ricardo explains that on Mondays he has a job babysitting for a wealthy Spanish family and that he won’t be finished until 8:00.  He forgot about it as it is the last day and then he has some work to do for school.  I am recalling the same feelings I had as a teacher when students were creating some convoluted excuse for being late with an assignment. Is he telling the truth?  I feel even worse about all of my obsessing.  Now I really want to ensure a wonderful evening doing something I want to do like listening to Spanish guitar music or doing something ultra touristy like seeing some flaminco dancing.  I ask flat out in a calm voice, “If you are not available to get together this evening just tell me so I can make another plan.”  I know in my heart I should make another plan already but the prospect of more  kisses is too tempting to blow him off completely at this moment.  He says he will meet me at my hotel at 10:00pm for dinner.  I am left lost on the streets of Barcelona with several hours to kill and no plan.

The gods see fit to deliver me exhausted to my hotel around 8:30pm.  Not enough time to really find anything else to do other than check emails and rest a little.  Emotions run high as there is no email from Ricardo but subside a bit when I find his Facebook email.

At about ten minutes to 10:00pm I head down to the hotel restaurant lounge area to have a glass of cava and wait for Ricardo.  I wait and wait. “He is always late,” I remind myself staring at my iphone sitting on the coffee table next to my half finished glass of cava the smell of food from the restaurant turning my body into a primal animal ready to pounce on the next morsal that passes my way.  Ricardo texts, “Be there in ten”  twenty minutes passes.  The phone rings, “What street is the Hotel on again?”  Ricardo has zero sense of direction and he is walking.  Finally a t 11:00pm he makes it.  If I had had better faculties by this hour of the day, I would have suggested we eat in the hotel restaurant.  But no.  Ricardo says he passed a place on the way over that looked good so out we go.  He tells me he has had a terrible day and that several time s he had to remind himself he was in Spain, a measure that translates to “It doesn’t matter how crappy things get because they cannot be that crappy because we are in Spain after all”.  I tell him I had the same feeling for most of my day as well.  We are both edgey an it is clear that we are both trying hard to have a nice time but we are failing miserably.  He chooses a brightly lit very touristy -like place that I instinctively know is going to be awful but we are both tired and he does not know the area well enough to get us anywhere else.  We are served a split bottle of the worst cava imaginable and food I would not feed my dog. We are stuck and there is nothing to be done about it.  The only interesting thing that happens all night is the one moment in the dinner conversation where Ricardo says something about the previous evening and how fun it was to add this physical dimension to our relationship.  He tells me how much he enjoyed our little encounter which makes my day.  We get lost on the way back to the hotel.  Ricardo is pissed when he realizes he has missed the last Metro back to his apartment and after a cursory good night smooch he leaves saying in a definitive tone “I’ll see you on Friday.”

I hope the rest of the trip is better than this as I head into my hotel alone and admittedly a bit disappointed.


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