Iracema, the pure moment

iracemaI mentioned a while back having to flee Beirut for Cyprus because of a mix-up with Hezbollah that left me with a rattled conscience and a surgical scar.  After several days in a Cypriot hospital I figured I owed myself a time out.  My ex girlfriend, Iracema, invited me to stay with her and her boyfriend in Barcelona and I thought that sounded just fine.  I had some reservations about staying with a couple, especially since I used to date one of them—but it had been four years and I thought we could be adults about it.

Our relationship was one of those flash in the pan romances that burn really bright for a very short amount of time but then, after a brief period of despising one another, flowers into a wonderful friendship.  It’s incredibly rare and should never be taken for granted.

Iracema’s boyfriend kicked her out of the house three days after my arrival.  My Catalan is rather poor but I could tell he said some unforgivable things that really hurt her.  Attempting to brighten her mood, I bought us bus tickets to head up north for a festival in Berga where everyone dances around a plaza, drunk off homemade fortified wine, passing hash from stranger to stranger and chasing a paper machet dragon that spews sparks and eventually explodes, making your ears ring for hours.

“Sounds like fun,” she said.  “Let’s do it.”

Unfortunately the endeavor was too last minute and we couldn’t find a hostel or hotel anywhere.

“Well,” I said. “Fuck it. We’ll just stay up all night.”

We proceeded to get tanked, chasing paper machet dragons and characters with massive heads about the plaza, throwing our arms around strangers and belly laughing in sincere, unbridled merriment.  We had found just the thing we needed to forget about all of those things that the morning would bring.

Around dawn, I remember, we slow danced to an achingly sad melody. A couple of street musicians, one with an accordion, the other with a clarinet, both of them singing something unintelligible but arresting nonetheless.  Iracema and I were so drunk and tired that as we danced I had the sense that we were propping each other up, a delicate balancing act to keep from falling. As sunrise neared, we passed out with our arms around each other on a concrete step by the plaza, on top of confetti, spent fireworks and cigarette butts.  Perhaps an hour later we awoke to a beautiful voice singing to us, some Catalonian punk rock girl who couldn’t have been older than 16, leaning over us and cooing the words, “Bon Dia, Bon Dia.”  Good Day, Good Day.  She leaned down and kissed us both on the lips, then wandered off into the blue and gold morning.

It was too beautiful and perfect. Lying there in the gutter with a past lover, the both of us orphans in our own right, utterly lost. . . but we had found something no one else could ever touch.  I feel infinitely blessed to have this, yet heartbroken in knowing that it will never happen that way again as long as I live.

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