I had just met him but I didn’t want to walk around a whole new city without someone to tell me what was what. You see, I had arrived in Barcelona only recently and I’m one those people that understands things better when someone else is explaining. I get lost easily when I’m all by myself but I learn rather fast, which has always helped me get through things. Anyhow, I was having my first cup of coffee today and this guy was just really nice and I just asked him if he could show me the city. I know, he could have been a serial killer or something. Actually, it would have been worst if he had just said no but he was very nice and gave me his number, asking me to send him a message at night to see what he could do for me and my request.
I did write to him from my phone and he answered rather quickly. He explained that he wasn’t from Barcelona either and that he understood how nervous I was for being in a new city so he proposed to go out the following weekend and show me the places that he thought would help me get to know the city. The weekend was only two days away so the wait was very short. He came to my place, where I had recently moved. I offered him a cup of coffee but he said he would rather start right away. He seemed very serious and not in the mood to talk, so I didn’t say a word. We just walked a few blocks until we got to a subway station. There was a map where he explained me where everything was: downtown, Montjuic, the industrial areas, the beaches, the mountains and the bars and discos.
We entered the station and he bought my ticket, in order to show me how it all worked. That part was fun because I knew how the system worked, I had traveled from the airport in the metro. But I decided not to say anything because he seemed a little bit fed up with the whole concept of explaining all these menial things to an idiot from another country. We sat down side by side in the train but wouldn’t even look at each other. Maybe it was best if I just let him go and be miserable alone, because I didn’t wanted my own weekend to be spoiled. I would just walk around and people would help me. I had noticed people were very nice so maybe that was my real thing. I had no idea when or how I had decided to ask that from a stranger.
The train stopped and he got out so I did the same. He walked rather fast so it was difficult to keep up with his pace. When we came out of the station, I realized I had been there before: it was the main square of the city called Plaza Cataluña. There were lots and lots of people everywhere but I decided not to be still for too long because my companion had already started walking away. I followed him to the Rambla, trying to get to where he was but it was impossible. After a while, I didn’t see him anymore. Fe up with the attitude, I just stopped and went back to the square. The climate was getting a bit colder.
About fifteen minutes later, my phone rang. It was a call, not a message or a text. And it was him because I could see the name “Coffee guy” on the screen. I smiled because I didn’t even know his name and decided not to answer. But he tried two more times so I finally decided to pick it up. He asked me where I was and why I hadn’t followed him. I told him he seemed too distracted and too pissed off at something or someone and that I didn’t have time to waste so I thanked him for his help and just hung up. But he called again and asked again where I was. I told him I was at a bar, drinking a beer. He got to the bar and, again, didn’t say a word when he sat down beside me. He didn’t ask anything for himself and I just wasn’t in the mood to ask some stranger what was up with his life.
Then, he started saying he had had a tough week. Apparently, he had been into a number of interviews for jobs he would have wanted to get but he got none of them. I told him that maybe he had been just awful in the interviews but he replied that he had been relaxed and charming and had answered everything rapidly and kindly. He just didn’t got why they wouldn’t pick him. I didn’t say anything else. I just sipped my beer and looked at all the glasses and things the barman had behind him. The coffee guy then told me to go on with the tour but I told him I had decided not to tour anything with someone whose name I didn’t even know. He then told me his name was Evan and that he needed to walk around or he would keep thinking about the jobs that didn’t happen.
I just gulped down the beer, closed my jacket and walked outside, not saying a word to him. Evan decided to be nicer and started talking as we walked, explaining the history he knew about the place and his impressions when he had first come to the city. At first, I wasn’t talking at all but he was trying so hard I decided to give in and have a decent Saturday. We walked through the Gothic neighborhood and the historic center, we went by the zoo and Evan promised to take me soon and then we got to the first and most popular beach in the city, la Barceloneta. Not many people were there, possibly because the wind was now colder but some were reading or just playing around in the sand.
We got back into the city, walking along a big avenue and seeing old buildings. I took pictures with my phone and Evan decided to surprise me by getting into some of the shots. We decided to have lunch in a fast-food place and there I had one of the best moments since I had left my home. He was very kind and shared his frustration for not getting any of the jobs. He told me was still getting a masters degree but that he wanted to be able to earn money and just have a living. He told me he lived some blocks away fro me and that he had thought that by going out with me he could forget his frustration.
I just told him I understood what was happening and that I had gone through the same thing over and over in the past. But finally someone silly enough had hired me and now I was working in that beautiful city. He laughed, saying I didn’t even know if it was beautiful but I told him it was love at first sight. He just laughed and told me that wasn’t totally out of the question and that he wanted me to fall in love harder so he decided to take me to the other beaches after lunch. The wind was very cold and the ocean had turned into a grey puddle but we just stood in a pier and watched the weather happen for at least a half hour.
During our time there, we didn’t talked very much. I noticed he was sad again, all of a sudden, so I decided to let it go for the moment. We walked towards the nearest subway station and then he started talking to me about how hard it had been for him the first weeks. That was not because of the city but because he had never left his house before and he had a hard time not seeing his mother and father whenever he wanted or not having his sibling to have fun with. He was all alone and he told me he had remembered the feeling as we walked down the pier. He talked to them every day but it was not the same. You always miss family, he said. And I knew he was right.
After a transfer, I realized we where in a higher neighborhood. He told me that daylight was going to fade soon so he wanted my first tour day to end fantastically. So he just made me walk behind him through some steep streets until we got to a park. It was Park Güell and I had seen it in TV before. I had wanted to visit it and had no idea that’s where Evan was taking me. It was a nice walked inside the premises, taking a lot more pictures and now making Evan pose in some of them. We took very good pictures and he told me there was something else he could do for me. So we went up a road I had not seen before and he took my hand in order not to get lost, because the sun was setting and darkness was starting to settle.
We finally got to the top where I was able to see the whole city in front of me. I could see downtown, I could see the neighborhood were I was living now and also some other features I hadn’t noticed before. The sunset’s light made it all look even more beautiful. We just stood there for several minutes until I noticed the artificial lights went on and the sun had totally disappeared. Then, as we came down the hill towards the park, I realized I was still holding Evan’s hand but he hadn’t noticed or maybe he didn’t care so we just kept it like that until we go to the subway station. He took me home and then I offered a cup of coffee again. He told me he was exhausted and wanted to rest his head but that maybe he would come for it soon enough.
He left and I got in and I realize how good that day had been. I slept like a baby and was even more thrilled the next morning, when the doorbell woke me up early in the morning and it was him. He had decided he wanted coffee right then and I had decided I wanted him to come in too. That they, we held hand a lot. But that’s another story.