Gifts in Granada
That last post about Tarifa came from an old journal, a paragraph not relevant enough to include in my book, but I enjoyed giving it a little life somewhere else. Another such moment popped up a day and a page later, in Granada. After a long morning walk among the flamenco byways and impressive graffiti of the Andalusian city, I had found a small neighborhood park to rest for a moment.
Granada was messing with me, one moment of still sunlight would make me wish I’d worn shorts, then the next a winter wind gave meaning to my jeans-ing. I was temporarily in the warmer former, in that place where as much grass grew in the paths as between them, when a child ran up to me.
Yellow sweater, yellow stockings, and a green shirt…with yellow triangles on it. All eclipsed by hair so blond, Rapunzel read about it as a child. Given her gouda complexion, I was expecting Swedish when she opened her mouth to address me, but instead I heard Spanish.
“Hello, how are you?” The words were the same as high school oral presentations, but the premise had never been: You’re talking to a strange ethereal five year-old in a park in Granada. Introduce yourself and carry on a polite conversation.
“I’m well. Do you speak English?”
“Yes I do.” To prove it, I switched to my mother tongue to say “And do you speak English too?”
An intent pause as she examined my face. A giggle. A solid look at my feet before continuing, in Spanish. “Why are you barefoot?”
I sited the beautiful weather, and told her I’d walked a lot that day already. She considered this, then repeated her question, verbatim, and added “My grandpa doesn’t let me take my shoes off.”
Oops. I’d been in this situation before, the accidental bad example, during my hippie days at university when my ten-toed sasquatch presence implicitly countermanded the edicts of new-parent friends. Time for damage control.
“Your grandfather is right. There are a lot of stones here, you might hurt yourself on them…” I’m sorry grandfather, I’m trying.
A moment more careful examination, then she ran off, returning with a double handful of stones. She showed them to me, then dribble-dropped them at our feet and cheerfully informed me: “Rain!” A solid giggle. Warmer than the sunlight.
“Wait for me!” And she ran off to my right, disappearing behind a bush. I stood blinking, dazzled by the sun and the unexpected contact with an unfamiliar age group, then she was back, appearing from my left with a handful of leaves and twigs. She sang me an unintelligible tune that ended with a shout of “Christmas!” and the plants flung in the air. More giggles. She repeated the loop-song-toss cycle, first with grass, then with rocks. The last round, the ditty may have been about someone’s culo de caca, not sure what the deal was with that one, though it still ended with “Christmas!”
I was about to ask her about it, but she ran back to play with the other children, and left with her grandfather a little while later. I resumed my journey, so did she, so did the entire city, but it’s nice to remember a golden moment of a giggling child on a sunny day at the end of winter.