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The Sacred Part of Town

Barcelona looked like a church as I walked down La Rambla in search of a vacant room on that warm morning. The balconies of the flanking high-rise apartments were pews festooned with holy day football flags and bedsheets. The white haired flower seller sat silently with his serrated scissors and buckets of sugar water as if listening to a confession. People who passed me on that righteous path became parishioners with detailed back stories. The mustachioed man walking his dog near the grass was a lapsed Catholic and Spanish novelist taking a break from the tapping of the typewriter. The chubby middle-aged lady in high heels and a skirt, who carried folders and puffed on a quick thin cigarette, was a museum secretary with the curator's copies and a mother who cooked up fish and paella for her children every Friday during Lent. The invisible clouds that wafted from the restaurants smelling of grilled seafood and lemons and garlic were like the prayers that a priest's incense personified. I later spent a humble evening in a small rented room washing my socks and shorts in the white sink and reading the boxscores and baseball epistles from a day old New York Times. I studied batting averages as my underclothes slowly dried on the back of a wooden chair with the help of an electric fan.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

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