With no plans or hesitation, I packed my bags and headed to Barcelona. This decision stemmed from my desire to be free, believing that, “Not all who wander are lost”.
I got into the metro. My map suggested many places to visit. However, my eyes landed in only one place: Las Ramblas – Barcelona’s famous walking street. I watched the old women in the metro sitting next to me, trying to take up their spots and mine, asserting their being – baring their accumulated fat and tired bodies from child birth and all-consuming nights.
The metro raced in the old streets, swallowing cafes, restaurants and alleys populated by tourists and locals. I wanted to see them all. However, my mind kept reminding me of my recently planned destination: Las Ramblas. The views from the window were very clear and captivating, but he distracted my attention. He occupied no seat, standing still. His eyes were gold-flecked and heavy-lidded. Somehow, I managed to see Park Guell in them. He had shiny, neatly-combed hair. Simply clad in skinny jeans and a sleeveless shirt, Carlos reminded me of all my stupid crushes on dark-skinned people. He pouted his lips as to look sexy. We looked at each other. I busied myself, half-reading the silly brochure for Basque Norte’s restaurant. I was nervous: hands firmly clutching the brochure, lips trembling and eyes preoccupied with the weary bridges of the passengers walking upon them. Carlos was very proud; he held his dignity and wore it like the polished armor of a king’s prized knight. The metro interrupted our wordless conversation informing us of the current stop “Las Ramblas”. He got down, offered help with my two small bags.
“Gracias”, I thanked him. We began to chat. My Spanish was basic and his English was helpful. The sun was hiding between Barcelona’s exhausted buildings and tremendous houses. We plodded our way across a muddy road and stopped at the Kiosk La Gazalla where hundreds of people danced and soaked up the night. He looked at me and muttered something in Spanish that I couldn’t understand. Somehow, my knowledge of body language helped me decipher his meaning: “let’s dance”. He moved his body in a way I couldn’t. Although my black blouse and white skirt seemed too large on my short, thin frame, I danced like I never had before. In the midst of my unspoken feeling, I stood at the edge of this forsaken bar and allowed myself to feel free. I was young and the night didn’t bother me. I then knew that NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST.