Saturday was an unusually wavy day at the beach. The good news is, no one had to worry about losing their top in the sea because they weren’t wearing one to begin with.
Late last week, N. and I decided to take a day at the beach as a therapy day–get out of the city, clear our heads, get some freckles, etc. We very punctually rendezvous’d at the Arc de Triomf around 10 am Saturday morning to make our dreams come true, to-go coffee and half-a-melon in tote. The train was packed; to keep with the aquatic theme, you could say we were like sardines. The further away we got from Barcelona, the more air circulated the cabin, and eventually, there was a seat for everyone.
Sneak a look over my right shoulder.
We hopped off at Sant Pol De Mar and headed to the local hat shop for some sun protection. I used my Catalan to asks how much the hat was (even though it soon became obvious that the price was on the tag). Little victories, though, right?
Trekking 1.5 kms, we came across the prototypical under-the-train shot. (Flowers and graffiti-they go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong). We elected our enclave based on the number of people per square meter, the lower the better. Happily, it also hosted the lowest number of speedos per square meter. Nancy and I politely contained ourselves for 10.2 seconds, and then we started to talk. Every one around us seemed to be a happy couple. We came to the beach precisely to forget happy couples, sort of, at least. The things these couples did to show their love was astounding; if you’re nude at the beach, you’ll need someone to grease your hide…all of it. You also might want someone to pop your back zits (eew. Okay, so that couple was gross). You might also need to be advised, if you don’t exactly have appropriate swimming stature, that “The waves are too big. Stay out!” (This happened when a curvaceous and beautiful bikini-clad sevillana was about to join her man in the surf.) Then, there was the one guy on the beach who seemed to be something of an exhibiitionist, taking great pleasure in every Baywatch-esque, bouncy, flouncy run in and out of the water. N. and I hid behind our sunglasses and cracked a smile. At one point, we thought every couple might just start making out simultaneously, highlighting the fact that we may have been the only non-couple on the beach. Though couples #1-4 were steadily smooching, something prevented couples #5 and #6 from lip-locking (thank gawd). In short, we were beginning to wonder if we would be kicked off lover’s isle!
Each umbrella represents a pod of couple-y bliss.
Six hours or so later, we traipsed back to the train, holding down the taste of bile from the ridiculous PDA. Unfortunately, the train had other plans for us and two sardines again stuck to our face started the touchy-touchy show all over again. For real?
A sweet reality check came at dinner time, or in our case, wine time. We had found a non-descript bar around El Born and decided to go for a glass of Rioja. As you might imagine, we were almost all talked out after a day together, until we noticed a very unhappy girl in the corner. “Nancy. That girl looks really upset.” She turns around to see the likes of Grumpy Cat, personified. This girl’s sourness towards life was palpable in her joyless expression. To our delight, she spoke English. To our delight, we listened in. What proceeded was the all too familiar “I can’t do long distance anymore” talk, proceeded by the “We just need to try harder” talk, proceeded by the checked-out partner asking for the bill and the teary-eyed other-half resigned to her new fate as a singleton.
Maybe it’s bad love karma for me to tell you this story online, but I tell it not to make fun of her, but as sort of a participation in her Wheel-of-Fortune. We are all somewhere on this cycle; we are either in the throws of glory, at the height of the wheel and sucking face on the beach, or even gazing gleefully into the eyes of our new baby–who is the perfect conglomeration of our loved one and ourself, happily–, or we are on the awkward first date trying not to touch our faces too many times as we talk about our favorite movies, or, unfortunately, sometimes we are recently dumped. Some of these stages, obviously, are more welcome than the others. But, they’re all part of the party. The happy couples at the beach may be the most visible, but if you look in the cracks, you’ll see people at every stage…and though we like to think our story is uniquely our own, we start to find that we are really just like everyone else.
So, though nudy lovers seem to stake their ground at the beach, as Bécquer once said, tears are water, and they, too, run to the sea…Our stories are never quite so far apart as they appear.