I have piles separated on my bed: indoor shorts, outdoor shorts, outdoor skirts, clothes for live music, clothes for when I don’t want to think about clothes. I remember that I must think about winter, too. In my personal item: soft pastels and an outlet converter. I pet Cokes, who has been smelling like eggs, a scent I love when the culprit is her body.
The night before I leave, I don’t sleep. That is a task for flight. While in flight, I droop my head on the most taut part of the neck pillow I made, which is stuffed with my socks and underwear. I twist it around; I grumble; I lay my head on my hands; I beg the pull out table for rest, which of course it does not have…
I am calm when dinner comes, my first meal in the air in a long long while. I savor it.
I am living on the street where Miguel de Cervantes lived and died. Sometimes I think of him, of delusions, of creative spirit, of what lingers, what leaves. I think of ghosts. In Madrid, I live in my first one-bedroom apartment. I use a dishwasher, and with some sense of betrayal (to my parents, to labor?), learn that I like it. I have used it three times already.
I am listening to music I loved elsewhere too: Route 8 in the mornings, frequencies as I fall asleep. The sounds I know comfort me, as living in another continent is as isolating as expected.
I am still painting deserts.
There is consistency in my grocery lists:
I buy the only peanut butter I can find. Maybe trying new things and being open minded means buying the creamy kind. (I like it.)
I forgot sardines today. Emily and I ate canned sardines on the floor in the last few weeks before her graduation and our summer. I will buy them next time, which will not be a Sunday at the twentieth hour.
Still, I lug sacks of groceries in each hand, sweating uphill, my glasses routinely sliding down. I walk, commanding Antón Martín station to appear, for then I will know that home is not so far away. Home is where the schlepping ends and being barefoot begins.
Earlier, after two appetizers, half an entree, and a paella at La Taberna Sur where we are asked De Dónde Sois and I remember San Francisco aloud for a minute, Ari and I part at Antón Martín and I hug my new friend for the first time. Later, we text about homework.
I remember summer, my birthday at Teleferíc: grilled octopus, pork belly paella, oceanic feelings, California redwoods, the Kim family (party of 3)… I remember: Amanda O’Dea, briefly; la tierra que me encanto, constantly. I remember touch from people I love.
I see Dove brand shampoo and fries on the floor and I am comforted by the universality of some things. And I think that maybe, sadly, we are united by brands.
Tuesday the 13th (or martes trece) is the Hispanic equivalent of the Western Friday.
On Tuesday, it stormed; I got my period. I woke at the sixth hour of the day, and sped to the Sol station with a gingham shirt tied over my head. Lightning, and so thunder. I appreciate the theatrics. During class: three adjacent women in the back of the room with their tummies rumbling through the fourth quarter of class. After, I walk home hungry. My snack yogurt had curdled. The sky was bright in a way it only is after rain, the way the City gets sometimes around Christmas, sometimes in May. I walked, and I marveled, realizing I had not stared at the clouds in a long time. This thought made me sad. I furrowed my brow at the bright, bright sky as I found my way home.
When I walk for long enough, I usually end up realizing where I am.