The long train to Madrid. Hoping the smell from last night has left me: cigarettes smoked near the midnight ocean, vodka tonics the cologne we wore. In between deep breaths I think about the pretty girl I left behind, and our last night together on the beaches of Barcelona.
She held my arm with that white dress pressing into the parts she knew I would enjoy. A late night snack on the bench where the drunks passed us in zig zags. She told me not to forget her, and I knew I wouldn’t lose the way she looked at me, hair in tangles from the loops my fingers left, eyes raccooned by the black mascara she loved to wear. She made a bracelet for me under the moon, and clasped it around my wrist, sealing it with a kiss, as if that would hold it tight. A beautiful night made memorable by our walk on the coast, where the sand tucked itself in our toes. We tossed pebbles into the ocean until there were no pebbles left on the shore. Pale went the moon, sneaking off into the dark clouds while the tree tops gave a voice to the gentle wind. She sat in my lap in the sand, and whispered into my ear, taking a moment to choose her words carefully. We watched the planes fly high overhead, and made up stories on where they were going, wondering if the flights of our lives would ever connect us again.
We woke in the morning to the awful sound of the alarm I had set the night before. She asked me not to leave, to give up that ticket to Madrid to stay with her one more day. She told me she wanted to take me to the ocean again, where we first met, so we could drink mojitos under the sun and toss our responsibilities into the water where they would sink to the bottom and lie forgotten. I told her I wished it were possible, and she seemed to understand. She watched me pack my bags from the comforts of that hostel bed, sheets pulled up to her chin, bright blue eyes almost convincing me to jump back into her life. I took out my train ticket, and felt the trepidation in her stare, as if the decision I was about to make would be a regrettable moment in my traveling life. I gave her the letter then. I wrote it days before, while sharing a seat with her on the hilltops above the city, where the sunset highlighted the best of us, those golden rays trying to burn our infatuation in a potential love boil. She laughed at me, holding the letter in her newly painted fingernails, and called me her funny writer. Then she walked with me down the winding staircase, neglecting the elevator so we could spend extra steps laughing about the night we spent taking shots in that seedy bar, how I kept her from falling over, and how she kept me from wasting all of my euros on tasteless tequila.
Then the comet of regret came when I hailed that taxi and felt her grip tighten on my hand. The cab driver tried to rush me, but I couldn’t rush this goodbye moment. She felt the bracelet to make sure it was still tight, and told me not to lose it. I ran my fingers through those brunette locks one more time, letting them slip through my grip like most of the good things in life. The car door opened, I stepped inside and gave her my most winning smile, and most affectionate kiss, and watched her as the taxi sped onwards until she was a silhouette in the Barcelona light.