Podcast | Ep 1 – “Cozy Attic of Barcelona”- Love in the Times of Pandemic
Episode 1 of Love in the Times of A Pandemic
I was visiting Barcelona very often last summer for freelance projects and mostly using couch surfing to stay with and meet locals. But this time instead of me sending requests looking for a host, I got a request from a guy from Barcelona while I was visiting.
He said that he would love to host me, as he read my profile and he too liked to code, play music, “DJ” just like me.
He wrote he would love to show me hidden spots of BCN and offered me to play a b2b DJ set with him too. I thought cool, I like guys who take the pain to read through my profile about my likes and dislikes and not just look at my pictures, but as soon as I saw his striking picture I confirmed my stay with him without reading much of his profile of oops. Oh boy this boy was breathtaking.
He lived near Montjuic, so when I reached his place he had already bought beers that he quickly started stocking in his small rucksack, he handed me a jacket of his and said come on I am going to take you to a hidden hill where you can see the whole of Barcelona. At first I was like hmm what? I mean I had just met him. I didn’t know anything about his guy other than the fact that he looked like a Louis Vuitton Model, besides this sudden,late-night, welcome trip to a hill? Anything could happen on a hill, it was after all 11 pm already. My mind started racing and remembering all the episodes of CSI crime I had watched, but then I took a beer can from his bag, had a long sip, quickly repositioned my dwindling thoughts and said, ‘ Ok let’s go.’ after all I had decided to come and stay with him he had rave reviews by others who had stayed with him before so
During the course of the trek I discovered he is originally French, with a very strong British accent- Painstakingly charming and funny but oh boy those turquoise eyes. oh and he was a normal guy with no CSI episode linkages. At reaching the top of the hill, I was absolutely mesmerized, Barcelona looked like a dream, he asked me, ‘ Go ahead, take a picture. I know you want to .’ I smiled and reached into my bag for my phone only to realize I had forgotten it at his place, I borrowed his phone, chugging the tiny beer cans he had bought and then took a blurry video of him making a spliff for me while we both sat staring at the sort of aerial view beauty of BCN. I then immediately sent myself the video from his phone before we began the dreadful climb down the hill as it had started to drizzle, I was feeling already a bit dorky from the mini aperitivo we had up there.
After reaching his cozy studio apartment, we composed a soundtrack together with his stack of modular synthesizers that night; followed by the most beautiful love anyone has ever made to me. It all started, when we sat on his sofa after making a ridiculous track, smoking the spliff that I was practically feeding him like a little baby, as he insisted he rather smoke from my hands. He then even fed me my favorite biryani that he had cooked specially for my arrival, after digging really deep in my profile, real charmer. He then asked me casually do you want to lay with me. I was like umm we could try haha I mean that biryani was delicious hell!. We both jumped on his bed oops it was a water bed haha I then asked him if he does this with all the guests he hosts? He asked me do you do this with all the hosts? Both our nods were negative. We continued discovering each other’s bodies.
After that night, I kept going back to Barcelona more often than before. Each time, more excited to see him, each time, unlocking him- layer by layer by layer
He was shy. Very. And that I knew.
Very mysterious too!
The times, when I wasn´t in Barcelona, it seemed, that this distance, this “returning back to your lives”, created some strange, unavoidable void between us. I wasn´t sure whether the distance made me more aloof, or whether it was him.
We never really texted much or called each other.But we liked it that way, I think.
Until, I started feeling confused. I was confused whether the void that grew between us was because of my natural, inherent behaviour of aloofness or because I expected communication to come from this shy, mysterious stranger that I kept seeing each month. And if that was the case, I was confused whether my expectations were valid or were they an alarming signal of my narcissistic validation of some sort. This abstract darkness i felt within me because of these confused, questioning emotions, pushed me to get away from him altogether. Sometimes I guess, we intentionally choose the latter in the dilemmas of fight or flight.
So, the last time I visited him, I decided to tell him maybe we should stop seeing each other completely.
It was a rainy day, in his cozy attic of Barcelona, I was getting ready to take my flight back to Vienna. We met once in two months when I visited for work.
It was casual, I never expected him to come visit me in Vienna, but I had decided it was time to end things as I just didn’t want any more complicated relationships, my life was already complicated and I couldn’t afford a love that was complicated too. That morning as I put on some color on my lips, ready to call “whatever this was” quits. But instead, it was him who initiated the goodbye.
He told me he was leaving for Palestine to trace his genesis.
Going to Palestine without a return ticket.
His voice was profound and sure different. He said he got a call from his grandmother and he was afraid that she had Alzheimer’s. I could sense a deep urgency in his words when he said he wanted to go see her, connect to his origins, get his roots stronger. He expressed the piercing guilt he felt each day for not speaking his own language. He said he wanted to go and learn arabic. He said he wanted to do all those things that he has missed out on these years, something he never did before. He wanted to feel a sense of belonging to something he had never explored before but carried deep within. As I absorbed all this sudden information that I asked him you are half Palestinian half french? Why didn’t you ever tell me that before? He coyly said he has an estranged relationship with his mother, whom he hasn’t spoken to in years and his grandma is the only kin he has and he wants to make it right this time and discover his roots, maybe even visit Iraq where his Grandma is partly from.
Something in me changed that night , months of telling myself to forget him- where he never made an effort to visit me, didn’t express much, was always distant and all the made-up rants of my confused longing mind went tumbling down and all I felt was a tingling sense of just wanting him. There is something so conscientiously beautiful about a man who can just reveal himself completely, reveal his fears, his wishes, his hidden secrets, his insecurities. He stood there, transparent and honest in front of me as we continued to stare at each other.
Him opening his vulnerable side not to forget the newfound exotic part made me feel so attracted to him in ways I never was before. Was I so fucked/messed up that I was attracted to him due to the vulnerability of his nationality or the sudden revelation of his identity? but I think it was him opening up to me completely without any hesitance that made me want him more. I said to him ‘let’s meet one last time before you leave next month.’ He said, ‘it’s best we don’t, you make me weak. And that was my answer – he was never distant but closer than ever. ‘
I wonder, as I sit in confinement watching that blurry video of him making a spliff sitting on that BCN hill, I wonder where would he be now as I google the infected cases in Gaza. I hope he’s home and thinking of me somewhere too.