Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Barcelona Alone

It sounded like a lovely idea at the time. Before my work conference in Madrid, spend a few days with my mate in Dubai and then off to Barcelona for a few solo days wandering the streets and just enjoying my Shirley Valentine moment. Because traveling alone should be something all self actualized women my age should be able to pull off. No problem.

Well I can pull it off. I can navigate the metro, catch a bus, read a map, find wifi hotspots and carry my 20kg of luggage up 4 flights of stairs with just a little huffing and puffing. Easy peasy. And the Guide Book my dad bought me for Barcelona is getting me around quite nicely thank you very much. And I'm capable of finding myself gluten free food to eat for every meal. And I just swipe my credit card for every purchase, and wince every time because it is so very expensive to travel abroad as a South African with our exchange rate so very high to the Euro.

But I didn't really get how very lonely I would feel. How all my sadness would keep welling up inside me at unexpected moments. How much in my own head I would be with nobody to talk to. I'm seeing beautiful things. Experiencing new sounds and smells and sights of Barcelona. But when I want to point it out...there's nobody there to share it with.

Once I imagined John and I seeing these far flung places together. He was very well traveled, and kept telling me he wanted to show me so many beautiful places across the world. We talked often about Barcelona - his son was here last year working on a cruise ship, coming ashore often to experience the place. I don't just feel alone here, I feel bereft. Like he should be here next to me, to turn to and point. To help me carry my luggage up those 4 stories. To decide with me what we should see today. To make love with me during siesta time.

So I feel my aloneness more acutely because I feel like I'm missing a piece of me. And as soon as I remember who I'm missing, that old sadness wells up again. And again.

There are a pile of 'Shoulds' sitting on my shoulder. I should remember what a fuckwit he is and eliminate any thoughts of him from my head. I should hook up with some local community people here and immerse myself in people to distract myself. I should just 'be' in the moment and feel whatever comes up and let that be part of my Barcelona experience. I should have invited someone to be here with me. But the Shoulds are not helpful because they actually just give me something to beat myself up about. And I promised myself I would let off the shoulds anyway.

Berlin has been keeping me company online. He knows Barcelona and travels a lot so he has been supportive. Although I do feel a bit of a tension happening between us. He talks to me for a while; I get hooked into that and lean in, getting more intense and a bit needy; he pulls back and creates some distance, afraid, I think , that I'll become too emotionally attached to him. Maybe he's right - that could happen I guess, particularly when I'm feeling sad and wistful like this.

Chatted a bit to my CEO boy too - he's in France and was thinking of joining me for a few days. But somehow I felt like that may rush an intimate relationship between us that I'm not sure I want or am ready for yet, so when he asked for my address in Barcelona so he could come through, I just kind of didn't give it to him. He got the message and reversed a bit, saying he'll catch up with me in Joburg again, and that he'd really really like to see me.

I walked the Gaudi buildings of Barcelona today. It's a holiday and so the streets were pretty empty. I found myself singing to myself most of the day as I walked. Sad songs. Songs of love and loss. That old Carpenters song "Goodbye to Love" keeps playing through my head. (Click here to remind yourself - such a beautiful singer Carol Carpenter was)

"Goodbye To Love"

I'll say goodbye to love
No one ever cared if I should live or die
Time and time again the chance for love
has passed me by
And all I know of love
is how to live without it
I just can't seem to find it.

So I've made my mind up I must live
my life alone
And though it's not the easy way
I guess I've always known
I'd say goodbye to love.

There are no tomorrows for this heart of mine
Surely time will lose these bitter memories

And I'll find that there is someone to believe in
And to live for something I could live for.

All the years of useless search
Have finally reached an end
Loneliness and empty days will be my
only friend
From this day love is forgotten
I'll go on as best I can.

What lies in the future
is a mystery to us all
No one can predict the wheel of fortune
as it falls
There may come a time when I will see that
I've been wrong
But for now this is my song.

And it's goodbye to love

I'll say goodbye to love.

Shew. Good thing I'm going to Madrid tomorrow to be with people again - this is wrist slitting stuff!

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