Note No. 18

June 21, 2009

The streets are quiet for once. It is 3:30 am and my boots hitting the octagonal paver stones are the loudest thing on the block. I am making a familiar trek home, having met up with friends to have a drink, only to find out that we are to go dancing at a place we used to frequent, one just as known for its tiny space and smoke-filled dance floor as it is for mixing soul tunes with 80s and indie rock.

Now, several hours later, I have the satisfied feeling of having stayed up to the last possible point of comfort, the alcohol having seeped out of my pores awhile back and the last fragments of an endorphin-fueled high keeping me going just long enough to get me back to the apartment.

It does not feel as if I have been away from this place for a year and a half. Everyone looks just enough the same and the shops have stayed just enough in place that it truly feels as if I went on an extended vacation, one that gave hair time to grow or be cut, a few babies to be born, and the odd vegetable shop to move onto the block.

The same waitress is still working at one of my favorite restaurants, though, and my old flatmate is still living in the apartment we shared for almost six months, just as the Sagrada Familia is still covered in scaffolding and a T-10 pass for the metro still costs less than 8 euros.

“Do you miss it?” This is the question everyone wants to ask.

I do not hesitate a beat. “Yes. I really do.”

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