Sunday, February 27, 2011

la nena

Carrer Ramón Y Cajal, 36-38
08012 Barcelona, Spain
+34 932 851 476

by Beau Cadiyo

When I woke up on Saturday I ran out of the house to meet her at Diagonal. She was late, and I sat on a bench and wrote and watched the newspaper distributors compete to see who could give out the most free rags. She showed up and proposed breakfast, followed by two museums and then a walk, all of which I accepted with the only reservation that we had to meet Dominic and Anna at 1:00 p.m. to walk around and then go to lunch. She said that we’d be fine.

I love ambition in a woman.

It was almost too much for us to eat breakfast. We settled into a table at la nena near the door and, while waiting to order, she pulled down Pick Up Sticks from the wall and we played. While waiting for the coffee to arrive we got through a half-hearted game of Dominoes, and then, whilst setting up backgammon, our food came. I’d told her I wanted a bocadillo, but beyond that it was her choice.

She knew me better than anyone I can think of.

The coffee came with a croissant, which was incredibly dense and airy. "It is almost like the ones in Paris. These also use real butter, not the oil that the bakeries use down here." The sandwiches arrived with a few olives strewn casually on the plate; one sandwich was ham and one was cheese. We finished with hot chocolate, which tasted like pure melted chocolate; the fresh whipped cream on top was all mine, as she is extremely lactose intolerant. While we ate, kids pushed miniature strollers into the glass doors and parents watched, amused and adult.

All of these things made me realize that it was awkward. On Thursday I’d suggested that we talk, but we never had the opportunity since then, and the impending conversation was as large an elephant in the room as my impending departure. At one point we grabbed each others’ hands and I told her that I missed her, and we held hands and she told me how horrible I’d been for not contacting her much after I’d left – for breaking off communication totally. I agreed. She had deserved more. Yet that morning we weren’t sure where we stood in relation to each other. It seemed silly, really – I thought it was obvious that we were in love. I’m a shortsighted guy, though; she needed more, I think. In retrospect, I think. I don’t know. We didn’t really talk about it.

The night before, while drinking with my English friend Domingo, I’d asked him how he had decided to get married. Basically, he said, she was fucked up in all the right ways, and they’d become best friends, and “it’s amazing to fuck your best friend who’s a girl, and realize you’re fucking your best friend. Who is a girl.” Was he, a renowned player, going to miss sleeping with other girls, or did he feel that he was losing out on future conquests? “To be honest, that didn’t hit me until much later," he said.

That, really, was what I feared.

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