“I think we’re cool”, says K.
We’re on the way back to Tarifa, having spent a few days in our favourite; Granada. We have been winding our way through the mountainous Malaga hinterland for nearly an hour and now we are nearing the city itself, crossing the snake-like Guadalmedina numerous times as we navigate its sheer, precipitous valley. A few spots of rain hit the windscreen now and then but the weather is mostly blue sky.
We’re always sad to leave Granada. Always. There are few things, I have learnt, on which K and I agree absolutely and unequivocally (most of our decisions are reached through complex negotiation or protracted periods of mind game and emotional manipulation). This epic city is one of them. It is where – last year on the occasion of our anniversary – we decided to come and live in Spain, and it is where we return this year on the occasion of our anniversary to congratulate ourselves, and to formulate a notion of what comes next. There is so much that remains unresolved for us. I am only half way – if that – to carving something viable out for myself here. To not being such a financial dead weight, to finding a voice, a role. To write, to write…
Both of us have already set our sights on the next round. We are voracious wanting machines. We want life writ large, we want Granada, we want to be unemployed (in a nice way), we want more. We want children, and imagine dragging them up by the scruff of their hopefully cultured necks in Granada itself. I have a bad case of anxiety about “getting my shit together” for such an eventuality; I can feel the hard stare of mortality between my shoulder blades. One day, unless I’m run over, I will have to navigate old age. My thoughts turn towards it now. I feel time poor – I’ve only just decided what I want to do when I grow up and I’m not doing it yet, so I’m in a hurry.
We pass Malaga and follow signs for Cadiz, another city I am beginning to love, the thread of my thinking pulled taut between the distant, yet pressing concerns outlined above and my urgent need for a wee.
We will need better Spanish if we are to tackle a life in Granada; if we are to parent here in Spain. We will need it anyway if we are to avoid living in some kind of expat bubble. K is researching lessons and we are to resume the reading and translation that we had been doing. Spanish folk tales and perhaps after that, Don Quixote!
We will need to wipe our misted windscreen, to clarify our vision. We will need to be brave. We will need to be smart.
Need, need, need…
Want, want, want…
Yes, all unresolved as we head down the Costa del Sol, the country here still hilly and wild but the coastline itself developed to within an inch of its life. If there’s one thing this Costa can no longer offer it’s potential. It’s a place that once did, in bucketloads, but it has peaked now. The only kind of potential on offer is potential decline. Potential problems.
Downcast as we are to be leaving our beloved pomegranate city with it’s autumnal, russet coloured vega and snow-capped sierra, we are glad to be heading past this particular stretch of coast and beyond the conurbation of La Linea and Algeciras to the craggy, windswept Costa de la Luz and our little home in Tarifa.
This tiny Costa, which stretches for just a hundred or so kilometres between Tarifa and Cadiz, still has potential. Lots of it. It will be interesting, and quite possibly tragic, to see that potential realised over the coming years.
Same goes for us I suppose.
“Yeah”, I reply. “I think so too…”.