The cluster of red flowers lay wilted on the table next to the bed, a silent testament to the evening that was.
I rolled over, looking at the flowers for a moment, just thinking.
Then, Peter came back into the room and crawled back into bed with me, wrapping his arms around me. I didn’t move, enveloped in a myriad of thoughts that delved deep into my past life, winding around the roads of the last three months, and plunging me back into his bed.
The past few days after Rwanda had been about recovery … in Sevilla. I missed out on a lot of the popular Andalucian city, but I caught up on the much needed sleep I had neglected during the 24 hours in transit from Kigali to Belgium to Charleori to Sevilla.
Then, it was on to Granada.
I checked in to Oasis Backpacker’s Hostel in the late afternoon, following a four-hour bus ride from Sevilla.
Immediately, I was taken with the city. The cobblestone paths with colorful Arabic markets lining car-free roads, the smell of the shisha wafting through the doors and spilling on to the streets, the tapas piled on diners plates outside.
I met Peter around 10 my first night in the city. The brother of two of my Spanish friends, we had spoken the night before and had planned to meet me out for drinks.
Of course, there was no way I would skip that. I get along well with his brother and sister (I stayed with her in Sevilla), so meeting another member of the family was natural.
As soon as I met Peter, I felt comfortable. His English was nearly perfect. He listened patiently when I tried to speak my imperfect Spanish, with a smile that stretched from his eyes down to his chin.
We started the night at tapas with some of his friends, me trying to speak Spanish, them trying to speak English, and despite the language barriers, we were still able to communicate.
After tapas, his friends headed home and he and I headed to a flamenco bar
“What should we drink?”
“Well …” I began, weighing the situation. “I like Jameson.”
The decision was made. Two Jamesons.
This could get nasty … or something.
Peter and I stood at the bar for a bit, talking about our lives … learning different languages, how we both yearned to be like birds and be free (albeit very different versions of free).
Later, I discovered in a corner of the bar, a man playing guitar to an empty room, so I grabbed Peter and pulled him into the room. And then, I discovered the other room, where girls stood, stomping their feet and clapping their hands. So, I pulled Peter into that room.
We sat in the dark, smokey flamenco bar listening to men sing their howling, passionate tales of love, occasionally clapping our hands. I was utterly transfixed by the music and sat next to him, sipping on my Jameson and Coke, caught up in a moment I knew I would never relive.
“I think we go somewhere else now,” he said, nudging me to leave our table.
The two of us wandered the streets for a few minutes, looking for the next place to visit. It was on the way there he reached down and picked the little cluster of red flowers and gave them to me, and it was there I tucked them behind my ear.
It was nearly 3 a.m. when we came across the reggae club. Just as dark and smokey as the flamenco club, but much more energized, Peter and I bopped around on the dance floor, him twirling and swirling me around, until we were staring into each others eyes, faces centimeters apart. And then, there was no ‘apart.’
“We should leave,” he suggested in my ear, moving one arm behind my back to lead me out of the club.
“Si,” I whispered back.
“Let’s go to my house.”
“Si.” I had no idea where we were, where Oasis was, and going back to his house sounded perfect.
Hand in hand, we walked back to his flat.
This could be a hot Spanish affair or something.
But, I didn’t want that. Well, I did, but … the thing with Peter was I actually liked him. I enjoyed being in his company, and I didn’t want that to change.
Especially since the next day we had plans to go to La Alhambra.
I am pretty sure if his blinds had been opened, we would have watched the sun rise into the morning sky before we went to sleep.
Wrapped in each other, we spent the day sleeping. Well, kind of. A lot of the time I found myself laying there … thinking … enjoying where I was … but mingling with my brain more than anything else.
It was the first time on my adventure I had skipped out on my hostel, opting instead for someone else’s bed. And it felt amazing. I forgot how nice it was to wake up next to someone. To lay in a bed and feel safe and secure. To have the heat from someone else’s body radiating onto mine. I knew it was temporary, but I laid in his bed and just relished the feeling.
Whatever that feeling was.
When we finally emerged from the darkness of his room, it was nearly 6 p.m.
“I take you back to your hostel now, D,” he said.
I went back into his room and gathered my belongings. As I walked out, the red cluster of flowers caught my eye. I smiled to myself and then we headed back into the Granada afternoon.
“Will you write about me in your blog,” Peter asked.
“Si, por supuesto,” I answered. “But I will give you a code name.”
“Si. Peter,” I offered.
“No!,” he said. “Not Peter.”
Clearly, I did not listen to his objections.