The train emerges from the black tunnel into orange morning light. I squint my eyes as the train car fills with the hazy brilliance of the sun. Outside the dusty windows, I watch as buildings clad in stone white stucco and red tiles whiz by in blurry succession, basking under the Mediterranean sky.
Two police officers standing nearby chatter in Catalan, swaying with the movements of the train. I feel shut out from the lives they discuss so fervently, in a language I do not understand. Lives born and lived in this city by the sea. Lives I will never know, but can only guess at or imagine. But imagination is an empty confection, conjuring vibrant scenes of friends, food, and flashing streetlights held merely in the head, but not in the hand. I feel a dissonance, gazing sleepily at the ochre landscape outside, with the sights inside my mind. Much like memory I suppose.
The train arrives at its final stop, and I follow the flow of passengers onto an airport shuttle bus. Later, it lurches to a stop in front of the terminal, where I pause and step away from the herd rushing determinedly towards ticket counters and boarding passes. As I light a cigarette, a shiver passes through me in the crisp morning air. Its blue fingers graze my skin, like a lover left behind in bed, never to be seen again. It seems strange that this cold air and the orange sunlight exist in the same world, are sight and skin truly experiencing the same thing? Or are they planted in separate universes, grasping at different things? I exhale harsh grey smoke from my lungs, watching it dissipate and disappear into the sky.
I drag my bags and body drowsily through airport security. Walking through the concourse, towards the airplane gate, I feel as if I am already entering a different land. But I am not yet ready to leave this city behind. I feel it slipping away, like a scarf blown away by the wind. Was it ever mine? Was I ever really here? I watch helplessly as these memories begin to wash away into the murky turquoise waters of something dreamt, or imagined.