Casablanca

It was the end of 1999 and I was a student in Barcelona. I had split that week with my first serious boyfriend who I dated for about 3 months then. It was December and I was walking on the Passeig de Gracia among all the beautiful houses and expensive boutiques thinking about the relationship. Probably angry and sad at the same time. Those feelings right now seem blurry and I am not sure what I really felt. I ended up at an old movie theater where they were showing black and white films and that day it was Casablanca. I watched it. When I got out of the movie theater it was late. I found an open cafe and sat there and drunk carajillos. I was looking at the dark city streets through the cafe window and thinking how small my problems were comparing to those of the people in the movie. My love was so simple comparing to theirs. It was just a small bump on a road and I cut the relationship. I got out of the cafe, put on my long black winter coat and started walking. The coat was new and very black and still smelled like the new things smell. I do not remember the streets I walked through but I remember the smell of the coat and that I was smoking. I liked smoking in winter, when the air was cold and the cigarette kept the air around the face warm. When I reached his house it was close to 4am and I sat for a few minutes on the steps leading to the entrance door. I thought about the movie I just saw and hummed the song. I rang the doorbell and he answered after a short silence. He said he will be down in a few minutes. And I waited.

We split again a few months after that. Because things did not work for both of us. And because I met somebody from Pamplona and we drove to San Sebastian together, where they served huge sandwiches with tortilla and where we swam in an ice-cold water in May to prove our bravery and make life fascinating. But this was later that year and of course I did not know anything that was going to happen.  Then, sitting on the steps, I wanted things between us to work and he was my first serious boyfriend. And I thought that love was just that simple. The love between man and woman.

He came down and we walked towards the sea. We reached the beach when it was still night. It was windy and the wind sounded like a trombone. And we stood there and kissed and watched the boats move in the water. We did not talk much. It was cold before the daylight and there was not much to say. He held me by the waist and I put my head on his shoulder and we walked like that. Slowly, not to shorten the moment of calmness. As the daylight settled in we found a cafe that had just opened and had croissants and coffee there. And I told him about the movie and how our love was simple and beautiful. And he said that I was crazy. But he loved me that way and we were very happy then.

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