At a moment’s notice, I was going to what appeared to be Spain with a friend and her family. It felt more like South America but geographically it was in Europe.
The first night I was super tired so I went to sleep early. The next day it took a while to find each other but I found her at a bar restaurant and we had a drink. I felt like I needed a shower and said I’d meet her later. We had to catch a bus to another town too. After the shower, I decided to go on the bus ride early and meet them in the next town in a few hours because I didn’t want to go back to the bar.
The bus was loud and crowded. It was a 3+ hour ride. After 2 hours I was restless and regretting not taking the bus ride with them. What was I going to do while I waited? Just then we were coming upon a small town which I had heard of, and I decided I would get out and explore. Then I could get back on the next bus to the final destination and our timing would be aligned. All the while I had been texting her about what I was up to so we could meet in the evening.
The town was tiny. When I first got off the bus, I noticed a building where all the commuters were coming from and assumed it was the station. I had immediately gone over to inquire about the next bus towards Madrid but at the moment I crossed the street they closed the large iron gate and it was revealed that it was more of a church. I noted the streets and location to return for the next departure and presumed it was more of a bus stop than a station since it was such a tiny town.
Coincidentally, though we appear to be in Spain, this Madrid seemed more like the Madrid in the corridor between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. We were in the boonies. This was a landmark, not a destination. Further, our intention was to go to an even tinier town near this parallel Madrid.
I headed towards a cafe for an espresso. When I arrived, a beautiful wolf pup of about 6 months old befriended me. She listened well and wouldn’t leave my side. After she made it clear that she was adopting me, we walked the streets together.
I ran into 3 acquaintances, who happened to be children. I explained that it was time for me to get started towards Madrid to meet my friends. I told them I had only learned Spanish for 1 week and asked for help translating to find the bus as the stop where I arrived didn’t seem to be active any longer. We found a restaurant and went inside but there wasn’t anyone around so we wandered the halls until we ended up passing through a very busy kitchen. No one seemed to mind this. We came out the other side to a tiny bar.
The 2 older girl children were chatting and doing their own thing, but the younger boy stayed with me (and my new wolf / dog Venus Vega). I was stumbling all over my words trying to speak Spanish. It came out blended where some words were Portuguese or French. Before I even began fumbling over the language, it was clear that the waitresses had zero interest in helping me. They were already grumpy and it was cramped and I was just in the way. At this point it was getting late and I was feeling desperate. I knew the busses would be stopping for the night and I would miss my friend and her family for the second night in a row. This was definitely not what I wanted.
The young boy spoke fluent Spanish but he stayed mute after stating, “I don’t want to deal with them.” I couldn’t understand this. He saw me struggling to deal with them and getting nowhere yet he stood there not helping. Why was he even staying?? He suddenly seemed very juvenile but instead of stomping his feet and throwing a tantrum he was simply being a plain old jerk. At this moment I also realized that none of my texts had gone through to my friend, rendering me AWOL. I could only imagine what she and her family were thinking.
A woman sitting nearby started making small talk with me. She was from France and was sad that I didn’t speak French. I tried to explain how important it was for me to remember what little Spanish I knew during this stressful moment. We both wanted to understand each other but couldn’t.
Finally, suddenly, out of thin air, the words came rushing to the forefront of my mind and I exclaimed, “Necessito ir a l’autobus a Madrid!” The entire staff looked at me in disbelief. How did she know these words? Time stood absolutely still. I waited for someone to tell me the answer.