I arrive 2 minutes late. There’s him, her and her father – lost glances, they are looking

for me in some other distant place. I can remember how she first spelled out that she

will come with her father.

She was the one who had introduced me to the pole as well. On Facebook too, where

we’ve also met. We wanted to rent an apartment together.

I arrive and we shake hands, as we are all accustomed with the cultural differences we

no longer know if we should kiss or not. “My father” she announces proudly and she

shows him to me as she would a trophy. His eyes would rather be wet with tears but,

he produces a smile full of kindness: ”her father” he says, and he would rather say

many more but the tears would burst out and would flood Gaudi’s street. And we put

forwards our hands. We shake hands.

The evening was cooling down and after searching for some other two or three flats,

we dipped in our chairs.

He is kind, so kind that he could catch a butterfly by its wings and teach it how to fly

again, without even wiping off the traveler’s dust. Through his eyes there is a flowing

kindness as he watches his daughter babbling in English. And he is supporting her

only by his attention and with every moment- moments built on sand only for her- the

girl straightens, becomes as slick as a whistle, earth-shatteringly strong. She takes

over the reins of the conversation, the direction of the situation, the strong revolution

of the clock hands.

The wolf is supportive amidst the shadows.

R: How come you are here?

D (from “dad”): I am! Because she is. To give her a push, for her to settle down here.

G (from “girl”): My brother is gone for good. At least I could come back, or else they

will be left with the dogs.

D (smiling bitterly): When I saw her with two large suitcases! I said to myself, I will

help her move! (to his daughter) and just so you know, we like dogs.

They exchange a few words in Portuguese, just so I could take a sip out of the view of

the street. A lot of people, the city looks like a giant that can’t rub off its fleas. I look

at the girl and I recall what I felt the first time I went away with my suitcase.

D: I do not intend to stay. I’ll help her move and I am gone the day after tomorrow.

And if I won’t finish, you’ll help her. You will, won’t you? Two large suitcases! How

could she carry them by herself?

The pole: The same way she packed them!

And listening to the silence he tries, while grinning, to make his joke known. He fails

and in a few seconds puts his chin down again, recommencing his staring contest

between himself and his phone.

R (still remembering how I left): And how is it for you to go back to Portugal when

Ana remains here?

D: I am proud. I am nervous. I look at her (and their eyes meet) and I am amazed by

the woman that I see in front of my eyes. I sometimes forget and I still think that she’s

my little child.

G: I’ll manage, dad, with the suitcases. I’ll take a cab.

D: If only it was about the suitcases…. (he sights and smiles, his glare is lost in the

pavement. It comes back quick and kindly grins while facing the Pole): The boy will

carry them for you!

(written by Ru on 5-6 October, Barcelona)

(photo credits: Dave Engledow)

(text translated by Alexandra Revenco)