Oscar M., un nombre para siempre en mi mente como una persona extraordinaria a mis mejores amigas.
My Spanish could use some work, as could his English, but I read just the other day that 95% of communication occurs without words. That was the last thing I said to him, half spoken, half gesticulated, before he brushed fallen leaves from my hair on a park bench in the gardens tucked away behind the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona.
We had spent the early afternoon eating fresh seafood at the market in La Rambla, drinking beer brewed locally, and steering our way through the subway system with the help of anyone who could point us towards notable monuments, sculptures, arenas, or squares, though he was the most monumental sculpture I could imagine wanting to explore in my short time here.
We traversed to the beach, Font Magico, appropriately named so, collecting sea glass in my shoes and sand strewn about every appendage as I tumbled around in the nook between the rocky fisherman wharfs. On the train ride back I fell asleep upright in the space created where his arm wrapped around my seat, and awoke only once we slid into station.
He had a palm tree tattooed on his left ankle, “stay strong” along his left rib cage, a stipple compass pointing directionally towards “D-I-R-T” rather than “N-S-E-W” plastered on the cusp of his shoulder bone, a map of the world and mixed bicycle parts strewn about his biceps.
His home was simple, a bedroom with a balcony overlooking a busy street in his unnamed neighborhood, at least to us, where he slept when he wasn’t traveling. The toilet was rigged for manual flushing and his roommate came to help me once, shirtless, and introduced himself with a kiss on either cheek which left me flush in my state.
Carrying my backpack and joking that while he traveled with heavy bikes I did so with weighted books, we passed the final bit of time talking about my plans to revisit the city, though I silently decided this would be the last. He stayed at the bus station not only until it arrived, but long enough to see it off as I waved goodbye to him from behind the lightly tinted window I imagine has been barrier to many affairs as unforeseen as our own.