As I inched my way through the tediously slow immigration line all I could think about was getting water into my body as quickly as possible. Lots of it. I was still sporting the once classy looking outfit from the night before which now yelled “I don’t have my shit together at all”. My lingering hangovers was certainly noticeable though I didn’t care as much as I probably should have. This was the final day of what was an inexpiable, and outrageous semester long stay in Europe.
Tossing off my shoes I was greeted with a monotonous yet piercing voice instructing “Laptops in a SEPARATE container, SEP- A- RATE people “. The small handful of folks near me had heard the guidelines no less than 5 times within the last minute both in French and English, relax lady . Still, the more I thought about it the less I blamed her. The people she must deal with on a daily basis, I couldn’t imagine. As I entered the X-ray machine and lifted my hands to the back of my head I caught a breeze of myself and Jesus , it was not pleasant. Stale cigar smoke stuck to my wrinkled blue button down while cheap rum still hung on my breathe . I felt dirty. Belongings filed down the conveyor belt and I quickly grabbed mine so as not to delay the clearly rushed woman behind me. As I slid on my belt and shoes I glanced down at my ticket: C 19 , it read.
After briefly surveying the arrival/departure boards I made my way towards gates 11-20. Rather than listening to white noise and the speaker system repeat itself, I plugged in my headphones. ” December, 1963 (Oh what a night) ” was still up on the screen from the evening before,actually from just a few hours ago. Running on an hour and a half of sleep on what would now be an 11 hour flight: worth it? Absolutely. I’d catch some sleep on the plane I justified to myself. As I scrolled through my phone I noticed a txt from my buddy Jake from back home, “when’s your dumb ass getting back to Cali?” Seeing his txt pumped me up, I couldn’t wait to see all of the boys, still all I managed back was a boring reply of “taking off soon man, txt u when I land ”.
It had been 5 months since I had seen most of my close friends aside from Lauren. Lauren, my friend from high school studied abroad in Spain while I was doing anything but studying in neighboring France. Nevertheless, I somehow got all of my credits. Classes were a joke, simply breathe and you’d walk out with a B, breathe and occasionally study: A+. Lauren was cool, we met up a handful of times early on but by the second month she had gotten tied up with some soccer boy from portugal.The one time I met him it seemed he didn’t seem to speak more than a few words of English but I don’t think conversation was what she was after. I remember she said to me something to the extent of “do you see how nice he looks? more guys should dress like him.” He was, I must admit a very stylish guy, he sported the refined European look. I still had not figured out how guys made scarves and strange hats look appealing, but more power to them. I couldn’t blame her for not hanging out much, we were enjoying the newness of this experience, we could hangout anytime at home.
I too was pre-occupied: taking day trips to different countries, seeing sights I had only seen in Social Studies text books, being rowdy and unruly with my roommates, and hanging out a lot with an amazing girl I met in Barcelona. Her name was Camila. A short, sexy Spanish girl who was way out of my league. I had originally met her at a park while playing frisbee with my friends. Camila and her friend were sitting on a blank relatively close to us when my buddy Brendan had recognized them. “Those are the chicks me and Chris were talking to the other night. That blonde one is dope, the brunette is no fun though, she didn’t even want to dance with me ”. Chris shouted back to him, “Not many do bro, I don’t blame her”. We all laughed, except Brendan of course, “shutup Chris” he muttered. Chris and I eventually ended up saying hi to the two girls as Brendan and Ray continued to play frisbee. The brunette was Camila, and Brendan was sorely mistaken about her being no fun. Sure she was quiet at first, and maybe wasn’t the crazy party girl Brendan was into, but she fascinated me. I had never felt so weak for a girl right off the bat, though I tried not to show it.She was reserved yet not standoffish or unapproachable. She was quiet yet confident in herself. I don’t know why but everything she did was extremely attractive to me, I just wanted to know more about this girl. Anyways, that’s where it all started with Camila, at Parc de la Ciuatadella. She instantly mesmerized me on that warm September day, and now late December here I was, trying to comprehend what had happened .
Nearly knocking over a woman and her luggage I slightly tripped and came too from my daydream. “I’m so sorry, my fault “ I said as I tried to gather myself. She smiled half-heartedly and kept walking. Naturally after almost knocking someone over, my next move was to bury my face in my phone and be at risk of knocking someone over again. Making my way down the long catalog of playlists I landed on one I had made for a college skiing trip to Montana about a year back. I hit shuffle and as I tossed my phone in my pocket I was blessed with the sound of A tribe called Quests “Can I kick it”. That first riff got me every time, beautiful. Instantly I let out a quick smile, and carried out a steady and subtle head nod. For some reason the laid back beat sounded even better than usual today, strolling through the airport. It was the perfect song for this moment in time, it just fit. Suddenly I felt more confident, more aware, I was still barely awake yet I somehow felt more alive than ever. I felt refreshed.