Although I’m not leaving Madrid for another 20 some-odd days, I had my going away party the other night. Thursday was a holiday and I wanted to get it over with before everyone shoves off to the beach to escape the inferno that is the Madrid summer. This post is delayed because I spent the better part of yesterday nursing a hangover. Fuck off.
I discovered I am far more popular than I thought I was. Either I’m loved by many, or, as my friend said, they just came to make sure I was really leaving. In any event, fun was had.
I’d say the last four years have been worth it simply for having met all of the incredible people that I have. I love this city and I love the people I’ve met here. I know I’m leaving for the right reasons, but I spent the better part of yesterday drifting in and out of emotional spells because of having to say goodbye to this place and these great humans.
I know there is little to nothing left for me here professionally. I don’t want to teach English for the rest of my life. But at the same time, what is the value of professional experience if it’s in a place I don’t like as much as this one?
Sigh. I am happy to go, but I’m not necessarily happy to be leaving. I’m excited to spend time with my family and I’ve been weirdly nostalgic for things in Upstate NY. I miss New England summers. I want to eat lobster on the porch of my family’s summerhouse and hang out with my grandmother and all the new babies on the South Shore. I miss my siblings who keep growing in my absence. This is right. I know it’s right. But that doesn’t make it easy.
I’m glad to be sad about leaving, though. I would rather feel like I am moving toward something and leaving something precious behind, than feel like I’m running away from something. Which is what I did when I came here.
By the way, I looked incredible last night. Like, the hottest I’ve looked in months. One friend commented that I looked like a sexy librarian. Another likened me to a mermaid. While I recognize that nerdy mythical seafaring creatures might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I find it astonishing that I didn’t even make out with anyone last night. At this point I think it’s safe to say this dry spell has graduated from self-imposed celibacy to California-level drought. Hide the almonds, people.
At the end of the night it was me and three other girls. We parted ways around quarter to six. I hadn’t stayed at a bar until last call in probably over a year. I don’t know how I managed to stay as sober as I did. Various shots were consumed. There was a lot of gin involved. By the end of the night I was certainly not apt to drive a car, to be fair, but was not slurring and I remember everything.
I especially remember the rather embarrassing decision to get a burrito at 6 AM. By myself. I weighed the pros and cons of such a decision outside the nearest Tako-Away after I said bye to my friends. I was sober enough to feel shame, which is probably an indication that I should not have done it. Everyone else in there was with friends. I was the only girl in the burrito line.
But I knew the guy working. Because of course I know the guy who works at the burrito place. I first met him about a year ago when I was on a date. (Yes, I went to a shitty take-away burrito joint with a date because of fucking course I did, do you even know me?) It turned out he’s Brazilian so I seized the opportunity to practice my rudimentary Portuguese on him. Because I am not a nice person and I use people for their language skills.
After that first encounter I started going more regularly. For the burritos. After midnight. Before the other night I hadn’t been in well over six months. (Note here that I’ve had more burritos in the last year than sex. Take a minute to appreciate how much better your life is than mine.) It had been so long, in fact, that he didn’t remember my order anymore. Even so, he didn’t miss a beat in the little routine we’d developed. Every time I go in there the exchange goes like this:
Him: “Did you hook up tonight?”
Me: “If I’d hooked up do you think I’d be here with you ordering a fucking burrito?”
Him: *laughter* “Well, I’ll hook up with you. I always tell you that and you never take me up on the offer.”
Other guy working: “She must have a boyfriend. Or be a lesbian.”
Me: “Ha. Put jalapeños* on that.”
That burrito was delicious. I ate it on my way home as the sun came up above the Plaza Mayor. Some of the rice spilled onto my dress and into my shoe. Quelle romantique.
I love burritos because they are complex, yet uncomplicated. You special order them and they always come precisely how you want. There are never any hidden flaws or details you must put up with. They always leave you satisfied and smiling. Always. You don’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll call the next day. It won’t shame you or tell its friends about you. A burrito will never kiss and tell.
Yes, as a wise woman once told me, a burrito is better than a boy.
I wonder how much I can let myself believe that lie.
In this sexual desert I presently occupy, it’s not even coitus I miss. That I can simulate myself on my own time. In dreams, even. Yesterday I had four (FOUR!) self-induced orgasms. And I am still fucking thirsty.
Well, invest in a new sex toy, you might say. Fine, but sex toys don’t kiss or undress me. There’s no unpredictability with DIY jobs. That’s what I miss. Anticipation. The element of surprise. Vulnerability and mild danger.
For now a burrito will have to suffice.
*I’m always too drunk to remember that jalapeños are not as delicious on the way out. I don’t regret the decision as a whole, but next time I’ll try to remember to give that particular detail a miss. It’s not worth fifty cents to suffer more than I have to.