Sitting in Spain in the Plaza Catalunya and staring up at an Armani billboard, I thought about the strange anomie of being a single mother. How does a mother act single?
If single, must a mother go out at night to near-empty bars just to wait for nothing fantastic to happen in her tiny city where single people are 25 years old, mothers are married, and parents are already asleep? Perhaps something fantastic happens after midnight. But since my child wakes up every morning at 7 a.m., Cinderella and I will never know.
As my favorite drug, self-pity, wore off, the beauty of Barcelona began to sink in.
Barcelona would be a better honeymoon city than Paris. I have never gone on a honeymoon.
I decided then and there that I would get on with it and get married again, just to have a grown man to talk to in Barcelona about the beauty of Barcelona.
Not just any man. It would have to be the right man. It would have to be someone with whom conversation flowed like water running downhill. It would have to be someone whose expansive mind made me feel like some sort of Maria Von Trapp twirling about.
It would have to be a man who always looked like someone I knew, or would know, or should know. He would have to smell like wood and frankincense and leather. He would have to be someone in particular. In fact, I had someone in mind.
We would live in a world of our own making: strange and beautiful like Casa Battlo and filled with animals of our imaginations like Parc Guell.
In my mind, our love would be a conversation that continued beyond life with the persistence of the ever-building infinite architecture of La Sagrada Familia. Spires with an insouciance of raspberries and grapes taunting clouds and even death.
I came home from Spain a woman with a mission.
But as life is strange and love is cruel, I came home from Spain to realize that I was not on his mind at all. I was as absurd as a failed evangelist missionary in a zen dojo.
And I needed to buy an umbrella. The sun, and all of my Gaudi delusions were lost on the waves somewhere over the Atlantic. What I learned in Spain remained in Spain. Everything, including I, was lost in translation.
Like the starfish I saw in the Mare Magnum who had lost its head and was washed upside down such that it resembled a star by Miro, I had lost my head, my balance, and my perspective – too swayed by the siren call of life imitating, or chasing art.
The man I had in mind had his mind on another woman.
So I began to think about other things. Like buying an umbrella. Like getting through the winter and over colds. Like herbal medicine. Like Milky Oat Tops, Nettle Leaf Tea, and Blue Vervain.
I am not sure I ever want to go to Spain again.