When I was younger, much younger, I backpacked around Spain without a phone. That was an exciting time in my life but I decided to let that energy stay in my teenage years and not beyond. I am barely twenty-three and I find that I am extremely tired. Constantly trying to be the best at everything is a heavy burden to carry and this summer in Spain, I decided to unload that burden.
There’s a man, Tito, from Spain who visits New York every year at the same time. I call him my once-a-year-guaranteed-hook-up. Anyway, this year was a little different because we didn’t just meet up at night to drink and touch each other. This time, we actually had a conversation (I hate having conversations with lovers for reasons I will explain soon and so, subscribe). We talked about me and then we talked about him. I found out he had a brother and a sister in law. I found out he hadn’t had a serious relationship in ten years and most interesting of all, I found out that he cared that he was twelve years older than I am (it didn’t bother me at all). I enjoyed Tito’s company enough to buy a one-way ticket to Madrid to start my summer shenanigans.
Tito lives in a beautiful apartment in Madrid. He renovated the entire place himself to reflect his personality: comfortable with a pop of spontaneity.
I was home–for a week.
If you know me then you know that my greatest desire at the moment is to be taken care of. Not exactly in the sugar baby sense but I’d like to know that if I failed at making a life for myself, there would be someone waiting to protect me from the fall. I don’t have that at the moment and I can imagine a great many of you don’t have that either. But, for the week I stayed with Tito, I felt taken care of.
Here’s how a typical day in Madrid would go;
Tito would wake up at 7am to get ready for work, clean up our clothes from the living room (I always got naked at random times during my stay), kiss me goodbye, grab his helmet, and drive off to work on his scooter. I would wake up five hours later, walk into the kitchen and walk back out. I’d take a shower, grab my iPad and watch a show until 6pm. And then when I felt the first sting of hunger, I’d grab my phone to text Tito and ask why he wasn’t home yet. He’d send back a cute text apologizing for being late and then show up at the apartment an hour later. He would make silly jokes, kiss me all over my face, and ask me what I wanted to eat for dinner. And then he would watch me take all the time in the world to get dressed, grab his hand and walk down the streets of Madrid in search of a restaurant. While we ate, he would watch in awe as I practically breathed in my food. One time, he made a joke about how most women leave enough food on their plate for their men to have two dinners but I didn’t do that for him. I was too hungry for that, please.
Tito did everything for me without realizing that he was doing it. When I needed to be held, even at 3am when he was deep in sleep, he would make sure I was held. When I was too lazy to dry my clothes after using the washing machine, he hummed a tune while he dried them in his living room. When I cried over when they see us, he let me cry and feel my blackness without saying a word to interrupt my grieving process. When I had a pregnancy scare, he made sure I knew he was with me no matter what.
I was a lazy housewife whose only job was to stay home and wait. Just sit and wait. And I loved every second of it.
I met his friends and ate with his colleagues. I was told by several people how perfect I was for him and how beautiful they thought I was. He would introduce me to everyone as his girlfriend and we would walk everywhere hand-in-hand.
At this point, it seems like I spent my week in Madrid falling in love with Tito but we had an understanding; we did not belong to each other. We did not go to sleep dreaming about the day we would have a serious relationship and get married. We were simply being human with each other for as long as we could: a week.
I might never see Tito again but the week I spent lazying about in Madrid taught me about safety. A feeling I fear I might spend the rest of my life searching for.