Last night, was hysterical. I was on the roof of Casa Batllo for a Spanish guitar event. The sun was setting, strings of lights hung across the roof, drinks were being poured. There were only a few people at first, and I had time to pick a prime people-watching, guitar-viewing spot. Settling against the railing next to a table I watched as the roof began to fill up, and I started to feel the awkwardness set in.
So far, I had felt fine being on my own in the city, on my very first day. I had landed in Barcelona earlier in the morning and my excitement and interest trumped any worries. But now, in this setting, where couples were reaaaally interested in canoodling, and kissing each other out of nowhere, and holding hands, and giggling into each others faces… well, I felt great.
I don’t really mind couples, it doesn’t bother me that much, they’re happy together and they’re showing it (if you’re happy and you know it, canoodle your mate?) But the stringed lights, the almost-full moon, the music they set the mood with… ironically enough Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra’s All Alone. COME ON! I don’t know why I didn’t start drinking heavily. I felt safe at my little perch.
Then another girl joined me, at the perch opposite. She was very pretty, and I assumed she was just waiting for someone else to come along. I felt sticky, sweaty, and my hair was a ponytail mess. I didn’t make eye contact with her, but I was starting to wonder if she was by herself too.
She left to get a drink and returned to the spot. I waited a few minutes and ducked away to get a drink as well, hoping my precious perch would be waiting for me, or she would save it for me. I made it safely back. The roof was almost full at this point and some people had finished their first drinks. I let mine begin to sweat, and admired the bubbles gently floating to the top. I spun around and watched the moon. I spun back, anxious for the show to start. The people who had finished their drinks were walking around with confused looks. Confused looks and empty glasses always means, Where the hell do I put this? and Give me more, now.
I knew it would happen. A few people eyed our table—I could tell they thought it was the perfect leave-your-glass table, they had that look in their eye of relief, Finally! A place for this glass, holding this glass is the worst thing ever!
A man walked by us. Then he walked by again, each time looking at the empty space on our table. His eyes darted around, and then he decidedly placed his empty glass on his table and turned away, not looking at the girl nor I.
“OH COME ON!”
“What are we, the garbage table?!?!?!”
Both of us spoke at the same time. English! An American! A girl! Alone! I wasn’t the only crazy one on a trip by herself! This was very exciting when it happened and all of these exclamations are necessary!
We laughed and starting introducing ourselves. Veronica had just spent two weeks in Paris, and was leaving Barcelona in a few days. She was from San Fransisco and is a brilliant engineer. She had gone through a crappy break-up and booked her trip soon after. She told me the details. I told her a little bit about myself.
We had a discussion about relationships, honesty, getting what we want, and Javier Bardem as we meandered down the Passeig de Gràcia, and through the maze-like streets of the gothic quarter, stopping for wine along the way. Veronica quoted her favorite Javier Bardem line from Eat, Pray, Love, “You don’t need a man… you need a champion.”
Finally I saw a point of reference and knew where I was. The light blue alcove with a statue of a saint, around the corner from the street I was staying on, Carrer dels Assaonadors.
Veronica stopped. It was where her apartment was too. She was staying at the apartment on the corner of my street. My apartment was only a few hundred feet away from her.
In a moment where I was starting to feel alone vibes creep in on my night, just at the start of my trip, I think the Universe said, Uhhh nope. No crappy alone feelings! Look, here’s someone from your country, she’s smart, she’s beautiful, she travels, she likes music, she has passion, good manners, an amazing perspective on life, an extroverted and friendly personality… and here she is, by herself, just like you.
Meeting Veronica was meant to happen. We’ve both had garbage on our table; everyone ends up with garbage on their table, whether you put it there yourself or someone leaves it for you. All you can do is clean it up, or go to a different table.