Monday, 16 August 2004

The Return

An elderly gay couple take a turn in the midday sun on the shady side of the street. They link arms despite the 38 degree heat.

A street person bathes in the switched off fountain. Taking a towel from her shopping trolley load of possessions to dry with.

We, laiden with bags, suitcases and a mirror, wait on the side of the Gran Via Ferdinando for a libre cab to whisk us back to the airport.

Not looking forward to the hours of stale still air, cold or hot cabins, plastic wrapped food to be eaten with tiny plastic cultery and the remains wiped away with chemical-laced freshening up towels. When we will be back from our lifestyle fo sleeping late, strolling to get breakfast in a cafe, wandering around town looking at buildings and streets and popping to the beach after lunch, showering sand out of our hair and suntan lotion from our bodies before walking into the old town for a late night drink. Back to a variety of realities - new job; honest straight talking in the current job; and the mundainity of regular life. Back from a brilliant blue intense sky that heightens colours. Buildings painted brilliant yellow, ochre, red or green and not looking over the top. Back from balconies dripping wiht trailing plants, cactus' and blinds hanging over the edge to protect the room inside from the sun's heat. Back from sleepless nights tossing and turning getting tangled up in the sheet unable to promote a breeze from strategic opening of windows, no breeze but the smells and noise of neighbours drifting in from the tiny shaft all the windows open onto - ones alarm, ones discussions, ones radio, ones first cigarette of the day, ones meaty breakfast. Back from the sandy beach, swims in a warm sea, sun bleached hair coarse with salt and sandy to the scalp. Back. Sigh.

And in Madrid waiting for our connecting flight my eyes are killing me from the assault on the senses the airport has become - lights, flourescents hard and harsh, shopping frenzy to rid yourself of the last of the euro coins that can't be changed back, acrid smoking points drifting all over the place adding to the dry membrane of my mostrils, people, people, people, voices in english - don't drift into the background like a hubbub - all conversations register in the brain because its the first time in two weeks when I understand those around me, endless cavernous airport malls tiled in away to enhance perspective. Eventually with a headache pounding in the back of my eyes I take off my glasses and shut my eyes against the world, when I open them I am in a blur but its the only way to drown out some of the noise.

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