From a Moonlit Bike Ride

Happy Anniversary

You’ll walk out of our apartment in Barcelona a little after 9:30 a.m. A blue sky with long, white clouds pulled through like the glass colors of a marble will shine through the network of close streets. Light will slant over the tops of buildings, the stone warming in the day. It will be a fifteen minute walk no matter which way you choose. You may choose to walk near the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, the twin towers jutting into the air on either side of the large carved gable and door. The buildings on your walk will be light-colored limestone. Wrought-iron balconies hang off of them. There will be no wrong way to get where you are going.

Instead, you may choose to walk through the Placa de Sant Jaume. It will be along larger streets, still cobbled in stone. Perhaps you will buy a pastry and tear off tiny bits as you walk to your destination. The Placa de Sant Jaume is referred to as Constitution Square and has historical significance to the city. Where are you heading?

Your destination will be on La Rambla, a tree-lined pedestrian street that the poet Federico Garcia Lorca called “the only street in the world which I wish would never end.” The warmth of the day will radiate through the soles of your shoes. You’ll examine signs on buildings and then you’ll find the right one. Maybe you’ll smile. Maybe expectation and excitement will bubble beneath your skin. You won’t be done walking, even though you’ve arrived here.

As you enter the building, you will find a large open kitchen, the walls will be painted red. Metal surfaces will gleam. At this point, perhaps a friendly chef named, Candido, will introduce himself to you. Maybe you will be in the blue kitchen with mediterranean tiles create patterns on the walls. Before you learn how to cook Spanish and Catalan cuisine, one of the chefs will lead you out on La Rambla and you will walk to La Boqueria, one of Europe’s most well-known food markets. You will walk through the large, iron gates. Your senses will delight in the smells of fresh fruit and produce. Voices will call out and jumble above the stalls, Spanish will be peppered with the languages of visitors who stroll the market, mesmerized by the abundance. Luckily for you, a chef will be your guide.

The chef will talk to you and the people in your group about the different foods. You will help choose the ingredients. You will meet people. You will experience a connection with those around you. Baskets or bags will overflow with all that your group buys. Laden with your goods, you will return to the kitchen, walking back along La Rambla, perhaps chatting with someone you met in the class.

Back at the kitchen, you will help prepare paella, a fragrant soup, a classic appetizer, and a dessert to finish your meal with something sweet. Once you have learned how to cook these dishes and helped in the process, you will join the people in your group around a large table for lunch. There might be a lull in the moment in which your thoughts wander. In this moment, as your fingers trace along the edge of a water glass, you may muse on the four years we have been married, the experiences we’ve shared together and through stories. I will be in our apartment with our daughter as she sleeps. I’ll be thinking of you. Thinking of how much I love you. Waiting for you to return and tell me all about your morning walk, the market, and the food. If La Rambla is the street which a poet wishes would never end, then my love for you is the love that will never end. Happy anniversary, my love.