Tuesday, 23 October 2007

once upon a time in madrid

I was a tourist, walking the streets in a daze. I couldn't really tell you what was in front of my eyes, everything blurred into my peripheral vision. Narrow streets, little shops that sold everything you would need for your brand new imaginary life, windows opening into crowded, low ceilinged bars. Life swirled around me, I didn't need to look at it, I just absorbed it.

As I waited for some traffic lights to change a noise which had been tugging at my senses swung into the front of my brain. A grating, gritty, dragging noise. I looked down to my right and saw a girl. About 13, she had big, docile eyes like a cow; they looked around but no trace of her thoughts ran across her face. She was wearing a pink velour tracksuit. The lights changed and she set off across the street, beside her on the pavement she pulled a small, red umbrella. The tip of the childsize umbrella grated on the concrete, creating a constant high pitched scraping which slowly retreated into the distance.

I stood for a minute, trying to focus on the girl. I wonder who she was, what she was doing and where she was going. Then, shaking my head, I crossed the street.

I walked across a huge square, trees around the side and skyscrapers walling us in. It was dark down on the ground but when I looked up there was bright sunlight shining onto the yellow stone of the buildings. I sat for a while and watched the people with things to do. After about 20 minutes I heard the noise again. A slow scraping coming towards me. There was the girl, her vacant eyes looking at nothing. And now she had two umbrellas, the small red one and a bigger black umbrella with a curled wooden handle. She carried one in each hand, letting the tips trail along the ground behind her, a constant background of white noise accompanying her journey through the centre of Madrid.

No comments: