She can hear the noise inside him, the chatter of people talking, the sound of the river in the background, the splashing, the noise of the water in his ears. She feels the booze dulling his senses, the pot lifting him off the ground.

He is late.

She barely exists. Not in the slightest edge of her people’s mind in Catalunya. Not sheltered in her canyon, curled up under the blanket on the couch, now that it finally rains and winter begins. Tomorrow is her birthday, but no one in Barcelona will think of her.

He will forget.

Yesterday, she met a couple at a bar, when she said she was a Catalan they did not know what it was. Barcelona, she had to say, everyone knows Barcelona. Being a Catalan is strange in Texas. Step-nation indeed; had she lived when her uncle Albert did, she would have been killed in the war or she would be Mexican. Not a communist like him, but a beautiful anarchist corpse, better than this half-ass death.

Life also weeps too slowly for him, this they have in common.

She’s been longer here than there, dissolving like a sugar cube in coffee; the smell of pine, the sway of the Mediterrani, and the pearls of Catalan in her brain are suspended in the air, waiting. Unless the old voices continue rumbling down the white walls of Pedralbes, she barely breathes. Here it is, finally, silence, as her mother had wanted it: “All shut up, please.” With a French accent. It’s raining, curled up on the couch with her notebook and huge laziness, she feels a hole in her chest where her country and her sea, and her lover, should be.

She listens to his river.



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