El Retiro

By Marissa Gonzalez

The turning point was that day we walked from the Plaza del Sol to el Retiro. You were moving full speed ahead and I was lagging.  I wasn’t sure about my sweetie.  You were stellar, but something held me back.

As we walked from your hostel to the bustling sidewalks of Madrid, you took my hand- the gesture that reminded me who you were and all you had done for me.  You were the guy who swooped in when my world was falling apart.  You were the man who said, “I love you expressing it with flowers, phone calls, dates, updates, and “honey you look beautiful”. You were the one who flew thousands of miles to be by my side.  There was comfort, friendship, love, hope and an easy relaxation in us holding hands.

You were telling me how awe struck you were by the city.  “See, I told you.  Aren’t you glad you came?”  “Yes” Like me, you liked the Isamo Naguci exhibit at the Reina Sofia. You said the TV in the hay stack offered a view of a long forgotten time versus the age of electronics.

We passed by sidewalk cafes agreeing that we weren’t hungry yet.  The conversation went to el Rinconcito.  “What a cute little bar.”  We had gone there the night before and shared a plate of olives and bread washed by a couple of beers. The bar, tucked away in a secret corner of Madrid was ours.

I was relaxed being away from Cleveland and that work world.  I felt even more at ease knowing that someone on my side was there with me.  There was no talk of that, though.  We strolled the streets commenting on the things we saw along the way.  “People drive with no fear here.” I didn’t realize it, but as we walked my wall began to crumble. “I love you sweetie.” “I love you too, Dave.” There went a brick.  “Thanks for coming to visit me in Madrid.”  “No problem.” There went another brick.

We walked until we sat on a park bench as you brought me water.  I don’t remember what we talked about on that bench, but when I stood up I felt released.  I took a few steps into the future as I went to hug you.  You were the one.

We spent the rest of the afternoon lying in El Retiro’s grass.  We were sailors.  Our blanket was our vessel and we were adrift on the still waters of a green sea. There were other sailors and vessels all around.  I hardly saw them.  I thought, “Is this really us?  Who cares?  I’m just glad I’m with him.”

The series of pieces in Pink and Cream were written shortly after Marissa’s divorce. She hope it serves as a sign to others that she understands the pain of divorce. Currently, she lives in Cleveland. She spends her time writing and working on her jewelry business

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