I'm off to Andalucia tonight. Thanks to the clocks going forward, looks like I'm not going to sleep at all tonight as the bus to the airport effectively leaves at 2.15am. Packing a bag and taking off always leaves me in a queer state of excitement, nerves and restlessness, liberated at leaving everything behind. It feels bit like breaking up with someone - in between all the grimness, I see this chink of light opening where the world is again - big and exhilarating.
Andalucia is the place of lovers and break-ups, leavings and beginnings, loss. I first went to Andalucia five years ago with my then long-term lover; on the following trip I walked its streets alone, trying to get over him. On the next trip I broke up with someone just hours before I left for a plane to Almeria, and then fell in love inside a bullring in that same city.
I've rattled precariously up mountains in a bus, someone else's head on my shoulder, fallen cars strewn below me on the way. I've felt the sun on my skin for the first time after a long winter and got drunk on honeyrum in Granada. I've smoked way too much wacky-baccy in a yurt in the middle of the desert. I've let myself be driven home by a pissed madman blaring out Smoke On The Water at ear-piercing volume on the stereo. I've watched mock cowboy shoot-outs on dodgy film sets. And I've been inspired to write, following Lorca's footsteps like a besotted idiot in and out of Granada. I've made it my myth, kept it close, tried to chuck it out, but it’s always crept back inside.
Now, I'm going back, and sharing it with someone else.
I've been thinking about my friend David today. I try not to think about him most of the time. I usually only do so when I see someone pass me on the street that looks like him, and I freeze, feeling a little bit of him back alive again. Then I realise it isn't.
I got flashbacks today to the funeral - images in quick succession - flowers being tied into the wicker coffin, his wobbling father, too many brave words and something crushed in every person in that room who knew him. There were pictures on the Buddhist Centre wall - pictures of a life I never knew - him with his girlfriend, with his baby, dressed up in make-up and a bandana (he was never that frivolous when we were friends), the intimacy of his new world and all the new relatives who loved him, who never knew him as I knew him. And I never knew him as they did. I'm crushed, whenever I think of him.
It's wonderful to be leaving things behind, if only for a couple of weeks. I want to be able to look at my life from over the other side of the water. Get some perspective, get my head straight. I’ll write in my notebook, and maybe even post. We’ll see.