Watching the ketchup run off the plate under the kitchen faucet in streaks, never all at once, thinking it a metaphor for the closing chapter of my Euro trip that has languidly spilt over three months. California calls, my home draws my attention away from Madrid, where I write under the cover of darkness, the late hours of the home I sleep in quietly inspiring the hiding journalist in me. The world has given me a glimpse of itself, has lifted the towel over its geographical legs to give me a peek of what different cultures and languages have to offer: London with its accent, Paris with its tower, Spain with its tapas.
Chauffeur the Barcelona girl once more into my midnight bed. Fill my lungs with Parisian air, eclectic conversations under the sweltering sun, and the heat in Valencia with the beaches swallowing the hot sand in waters that sleep with the Spanish shore. Londonize me, again. Bristle me with the first sighting of Big Ben, the chills I experienced then, the hairs rising on my arm, and the rush of the crowd at Wembley Stadium, all the chanting, all the singing, in ceremonious awe, traveling awe, the first time half a world away from home like the first kiss with the girl under the high school stadium where I fell in love with her cheekbones, and the headband she always wore to hold back her lovely black hair.
I’ve wandered in aimless perfection, a drifter eyeing the world as it presses down my happy button, while I stand under memorials and archaic city structures spread over Europe. The friends I’ve made, the experiences I have forged into unforgettable memories spread so nicely over the months I have toasted in the European sun. Late night scribbling, a journal selectively composed under Spanish moons, while the girls slept near me, breathing softly, dream murmurs, night noises, harmonic inhales and well-deserved exhales.
It’s about waking in the morning, at all hours, intolerant of lazy bones, willing myself to live the day, and love the day. Beer bubbles in the afternoon light, a taxi cab to the places I’ve always needed to go. Tube stations and metros humming the underground into populated miasmas. Stenches of dynamic, unwashed bodies filtering in and out of the stations in quantum leaps. I think love came to me, there in the underbelly of Paris, in the form of bookreadings and mapreadings, in the form of a late night cup of coffee on the last train home. I looked out the windows at all the walls dimly lit by the swaying lights above. I saw her face a thousand times and watched it fade a million times more. A chorus of thoughts, some finding a home in the pages of an unread book, others lost in fields of starlight, standing on the precipice of deep understanding with Barcelona playing piano notes with car horns and windwashed alleyways colored in graffiti.
Europe gave me more than 24 hours a day. Everything blurred together indefinably, a potluck with roasted daylight and milky smooth nightlife. Dancing in the rave motion of Spanish clubs and discotheques: strobe lights and the sweat of youth undisturbed. Lining the Parisian walls, rebuffed by bouncers who packaged their sympathy in dumpsters long before my American friends and I came to call. Flamenco dancers in Valencia, the forever twisting back streets of the city, derelicts foaming at the mouth while visually undressing the American girls who traveled with me. London pubs in the aftermath of successful days romping around town with Isidore, late night cigarettes near Barnes, the airplanes flying above, and the flat I rented in Notting Hill, lavish, overpriced decadence, the perfect sleeping ground for a traveler looking to make an iconic splash. Flippantly ignoring the bank account. Watching American dollars disappear under Pounds and Euros. Purposefully explaining to the cheaper side of me why it’s important to invest in my life.
The hostels which harbored me, the fossilized optimism I was crusading for and found, and the overwhelming excitement of brushing my traveling palette with native colors and foreign flavors will tuck themselves forever in my back pocket. I’ve nestled into the new beginnings of a dedicated life sparked fervently into existence with the help of London leisure, French cuisine and buoyant Spanish smiles. And somehow I’ll sleep better from this night on, knowing that I have shipped the pessimism in me out to the sea, trading malcontent and disappointment for sincere happiness, genuine benevolence and the unrelenting desire to live life to a molten degree that’s more vivacious and alluring than the summer sun set against a backdrop of endless, possible skies…