As I was deciding what to post today I came upon this I wrote three years ago. I think it has had a couple of outings since. It is a favourite. It recalls a true event that happened in my past in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, a city I love and where I spent much time. Just before posting it the news came through of more awful, tragic events there. I decided to post it anyway because it feels right not to grant those who want to destroy joy and pleasure their wish.
Time has become liquid
There is seven of them. They have escaped work, the conference, the day. Comfortable in each other’s company. safe in the velvet night that hovers beyond the candle light, romantic at an outside table beneath the awning sky of a restaurant just off Las Ramblas. The evening is drenched in intimacy and alcohol. They are gently, sometimes noisily, submerged in a warm sea of easy acquaintance which sees them laugh, and chatter, and tell stories, and become friends.
It is getting late. It will be an early start for all of them to travel home to their various countries. Yet clocks mean nothing. They want the time to stretch and yawn, but not show its hands.
But they must go.
He starts to sing. An ancient Leonard Cohen song of leaving that he has known forever from someone else’s life. His voice is hesitant at first, but deep, rich and dark. The others are quiet. Perhaps they do not know the words, or are happy for him to touch the night with the poetry they feel. There is sorrow in the song, but gratitude for what has been shared.
Her voice joins his on the ‘many’ in the fifth line. It is pure and innocent and holy. It lilts and drifts above his own. It harmonises and caresses and then soars and swoops. It glides and caresses, softens and lifts. It thrills the air, and him. She is an angel from a heavenly choir.
As she sings with him he watches her. Her green eyes stay on him, her brave, almost slavic features are heroic and lovely, bathed in the flickering light. A mane of thick blonde hair cascades over her shoulders as she tilts her head towards him.
They reach the close and improvise an ending which dances, then tumbles, falls, and finally soothes like a lullaby, achingly into silence.
It is a rare moment. There is a hushed, almost electric pause before the others applaud and nod appreciative heads. He smiles at her, and she smiles back.
They have become connected, combined, kindred, allied, confederate.
I will always remember the beauty of your voice, the magic of that moment, and the joy of our union that night.
And the memory
of ‘your hair upon the pillow, like a sleepy golden storm’.
© the author writing as Romantic Dominant
Art by Paul Cheng
This song always reminds me of that night. I hope you enjoy it again – despite today’s horror. And also this early recording of the song itself.