Probably, she thought, she would end up going through them all. In her imagination, during those stormy years behind her, she was got ants in her pants. Why one when she could visit them all?
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She looked at herself in the mirror, fixed her hair, made up, and drew a smile that the mirror instantly returned to her. She would go to the airport, look at the list of flights and choose the first one that met her expectations. He took the wad of bills from the wardrobe, locked it with the key, assembled that enormous, newly, heavy suitcase with wheels and dragged it as she turned off one light after another and thought that, with each one of them, one stage of her life was faded into black. As she came out of the gate, the sun shone on her head. New opportunities. Each ray of sunshine was a bridge to some better place, over which her fantasies of freedom fluttered.
She continued on the sidewalk to the right and walked for a few minutes with no fixed course. The issue of the passport had yet to be resolved. Then there would be time to call a taxi; why not enjoy for the last time such a beautiful city as Madrid? She toured several cafes and, tired from the weight of the suitcase, finally sat down on one of them. She stroked her hair and enjoyed the gentle breeze of that splendid morning. She looked around. There, in the background, at the last of the tables, a couple laughed and fiddled with their two children. Mia had to bow her head a little to be able to observe them with precision.
She smiled. It was a happy family, one of those who had already made their way and, with effort, fulfilled their aspirations. An opportunity she never had.
To the right, closer, another couple conversed with their fingers intertwined with each other. She envied and recognized that brightness in her eyes, the brightness of illusion, of love and of the total correspondence between two free souls who now held hands and began their journey along the path of life.
A little to their left, two friends who were perhaps too old laughed and told each other gossip. She looked at their clothes, their hairstyles and their jewels. They certainly had nothing missing in life, though they were already walking their final stretch. Without losing her smile she looked at the blue sky, back at the sun, and was dazzled.
That, the first day of her life, had a lot to do with him. From the astro emanated the light and intensity she needed for her new adventure. She closed her eyes, dropped her arms and fed on that pleasant radiation of optimism and vitality. She let his imagination fly again on those paradisiacal beaches, full of kind people, perhaps of new loves, but definitely of new life.
When she opened her eyes she found herself facing that young boy who, book in hand, was waiting to satisfy her most imminent desires. He asked for a lime tree. He looked at her, admired her beauty and waited for those make-up eyes to open and emerge from them two enormous honey-coloured suns. She finished her lime, got up and dragged the heavy suitcase back across the sidewalk. That lightweight slope added an extra load of effort.
She wandered a couple of hundred feet with no apparent destination, wandering those extraordinary streets that would never see her walk again. The sun continued to rise and the rising light seemed to make them bigger, and the squares, and also the people who passed through them, happier. She was facing each other, and smiling at them all. Some of them noticed and responded with a greeting, and even turned their heads as they passed by.
Along the way she was aware that each one of them had its own story. The girl who smiled as she wrote on her cell phone was probably talking to someone she liked, perhaps her partner. The guy who shook his shirt and tightened his tie was probably going to an important date. And the inquiring boy, who went hand in hand with his mother….
The whole city was oozing life.
A city is its inhabitants, she thought. Each heartbeat of each person marked the degree of happiness or sadness of that great soul that was Madrid, to which she would never belong again. Because her destiny awaited her with open arms, full of new souls, new cities and new stories. She passed by a cinema of those who are almost no longer there.see url
A family cinema. She had seen it a couple of times, but she loved it. She took out a ticket and, with the laborious suitcase, took a random seat in that empty room. As soon as she began to pay attention, the protagonist turned to his beloved. She enjoyed the play again and, while the Nazis were doing theirs and the great Benigni was trying to convince his son that it was just a game, Mia was thinking about whether life itself really was a game. There are bad jokes whose grace lies in the ornaments, and good jokes that are badly told.
Her life, until then, looked like a bad joke badly told. When the Allies liberated the concentration camp, she observed the scene of the boy on the tank. It was the prize and the surprise that his beloved and self-sacrificing father had promised him. Those sweet madnesses that he told him as they melted material to make war, or ate crumbs of hard bread in the barracks, came to life in those last minutes.
She would tell him stories, all funny, embellished with a pinch of nice lies. To tell you the truth, it was in projection since the previous afternoon. With her head erect and always dragging that heavy suitcase with obvious effort, she went to the nearest police station. This was an old one known to her; it was part of her previous life. She passed the ten steps with one hand on the handle of the suitcase and the other on the railing.
With her renewed smile, she entered the deserted facilities and, after realizing that everything was so calm that she did not have to stand in line, she approached the table that issued the passports. He gave and received the good days with the same exquisite kindness. She slowly opened the zipper of the suitcase and took out a set of papers with all the documentation. Beneath them, an opaque and silvery bag kept inside the necessary luggage to jump from the trampoline to that sea of happiness that awaited him in her new life. Then he walked through the streets trying to catch some more cracks in the soft breeze that was caressing the capital sweetly that day.
Finally she stopped and called a taxi. As the taxi gave him the encounter, she once again reveled in images of transparent waters, caribbean cocktails and beautiful men whom she would know more or know less. She had spent the whole night thinking about the strong symbolism of that place. Queen Victoria. His penetrating dark eyes drew a harmonious picture with his mouth ajar. Surprise and fear continued until he finally got an answer.
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On that bridge, ten years ago, Mia had met Antonio. She had a great memory of those moments. He complimented her, she smiled and blushed like a child. An arrow pierced both hearts on that sunny day a decade ago. They loved each other almost from the first moment, and married a long time later. Then, years later, misfortune would come. Fortunately, no children were born from that romance, children who had to mourn the death of a father.
She got out of the taxi after paying for the journey and politely said goodbye to the driver. She walked with the suitcase until she stopped right in the middle of the bridge. Right at the place where love had knocked on her door. The taxi driver delayed the march a little until he was sure he did not have to regret any greater evils. She tried to lift the package to place it on the metal balustrade, but found it impossible.
She was a fine, delicate woman, not a tanned weightlifter.