I have safely reached Barcelona and settled in. I have a sweet little apartment that overlooks a narrow alley. I often shut my lights at night and look down into the alley. Sometimes, I catch a group of friends smoking, sometimes a couple making out. It reminds me of all the times we did both of those, got caught and had to bribe our way out of it.
I also visited Sagrada Familia yesterday, like you asked me to. I am going to be attaching the photographs that I took there. It was unreal and I imagined sitting there with you. The thought instantly put a smile on my face. I imagined you gawking at every door, every arch, and every spire. I know how much you love Gaudi's work and I wished for you to be there with me. I even tried calling you, but I guess it did not get through.
I miss you Ayesha. I know I caused an upheaval in your life and then left for Spain two days later. But, I know you will forgive me some day. You have to believe me when I say that Ayaan was not the right partner for you. Trust me. I am saying this as your childhood best friend and not as your ex-boyfriend.
Anyway, it's my birthday in two days. I do not expect you to wish me, but I hope that you do. I want you to know that the only reason I have been able to make it to Barcelona is you. Do you remember how I used to come over to your house for lunch but would stay for dinner? We would finish lunch and talk about everything in the world while sitting on the dining table. We would laze around on the dining table, then on the sofas in the living room and then come back to the dining table for dinner. We'd always joke about how we can extend and merge all the meals of the day with each other. You know what, this practise has a term here in Spain. It's called sobremesa. People don't just finish their lunch or dinner and leave. They extend it to several hours, just sitting on their tables, talking to each other, sharing their stories, their experiences. Turns out, it's an alternative to the long siestas that was the culture here in older times. Afternoon sobremesas are just more practical than siestas.
Turns out, we were already practising Spanish traditions since we were little. Those hours-long sobremesas helped heal me more than anything else ever did. I would always turn up at your house unannounced and you would always welcome me in without a single question. Those were days when mum and dad would be fighting or when I would be feeling the need to eat the sleeping pills from my mother's drawer or when I'd have spotted my father's new shaving blade and would have the urge to use it on my wrist. Those were also the days when my results would come in and my parents would invite their whole family for dinner without once acknowledging or congratulating me on my result or the days when I knew that Khanna uncle was invited and that no matter where I hid, he would find me and take me to the terrace.
Ayesha, your unquestioning acceptance has been healing me for years. It was your dream to come and live in Barcelona. Please, come soon, for your sake and for mine. I know that you will heal me once more and the city will heal you.
Ayesha, I feel like Julian from The Shadow in the Wind. Barcelona is beautiful just like Julian described, but with every passing day, I am inching closer to the Julian that became in the end.
I miss you.
Hope to see you soon.
We can build many more castles in the air here than we did back home. You see, the policemen won't throw us out or threaten to lock us up.
Almas Sadique is an architect, an aspiring writer and a perpetual daydreamer. She loves old buildings and vintage paraphernalia. Her guilty pleasure is reading too much of Wikipedia. She also writes short stories which she posts on her blog: almassadique.blogspot.com. She is mostly active and reachable on instagram @almassadique.