There’s a cottage we can’t afford perched between pine trees and the lake. Further, there’s a village that you can see from the cottage porch, lower in the valley. There’s a cobble path that connects all these things, and when we walk on it, we walk slower so that the curve of the cobble matches just right with our bare feet. Over the hotter months the pine needles have fallen, and been brushed aside by the ancient truck the couple who owned the home used to get to the village. For us, its just a 15 minute walk.
This could be where we end up
We found our way to a home in a village south of Valencia, shingled and green. There’s a museum beneath our home that we walk through everyday to get to the stairs that lead to our home. Our home is mostly a kitchen. We leave a television always on right by the open window on a low volume playing futbol. We joke it’ll make people want to come say hi to us, and that we will learn Spanish faster that way. Besides the window is a ladder that leads to the loft where we keep a bed. Sometimes we find our way up to it, but often after our days spent climbing prettier hills, we just collapse on the big armchair we use to get to the ladder that’s just a bit too high off the ground otherwise.
This is where we live now
You spent the past 20 minutes looking at the side of my head. Watching the outline of my face shift upward only slightly when the planes land on the dirt strip. You might be asleep. You might think I haven’t noticed. Maybe you just want me to look over, to show you I know that you’ve been looking. Maybe you’re worried if you look away I’ll look over and then it’ll be like it never happened. Another takes off in front of us, popping blue, yellow, then red smoke. I watch the blades circle around, trying to count them. It almost feels like they’re slow enough to be counted. But maybe I’m just counting every 10th, every 100th pass.
Look at me you idiot I’ve been looking for 20 minutes! Love me!
The old man who runs the museum is named Thomas, but we call him Mr. He says it helps him with his English. We play cards with him for hours before church on Sundays. We aren’t so religious, but the cathedral seems more beautiful everytime we go, so we do. There are birds that perch on the buttresses in flocks and always fly over the forest when they need to go to the bathroom. Mr. says it’s because they fear God. I also saw a man shoot one with a b.b. Gun when it went to the bathroom on the archway, so I wonder which taught the birds fear first.
We sit close to Mr. and we hold hands everytime we sit and touch the tips of our feet together everytime we stand, dropping our hands in case that qualifies as making God mad. I think we just still have the fear of an old professor in us. Mr. sings only when his granddaughters are there, otherwise he is silent; he doesn’t talk, and when he stands, he does so without making the old yew bench croak at all. It’s a wonder how well old people and the old places have learned quiet. When the granddaughters are there they tug at your dress and stare up at your eyes and sometimes ask or say, pintura? Mr. tells us they’re asking for a picture. A painting. I think they like the makeup around her eyes, but I don’t tell Mr. that. Sometimes Mr. and I sit together and you sit with the girls and hold their hands and even hold them when you all stand up. The youngest grabs my hand too and then so does Mr. and then we’re all singing together. Our voices amongst the dozens sound like song, and Mr. tells me his wife used to say that we were the ones who taught the birds to sing. You look at me and I look back fast this time because I learned it means you’re trying to say something quietly. I watch your eyes and the girls do too and I understand what you’re saying.
Is it time?