Light a candle in the Iglesia de San Isidro.
When you see it extinguished you
will know I’ve come back
by Saffron Flynn
Several months ago you may remember reading a few of my articles. You haven’t seen much from me lately because six weeks after we returned last spring from the “trip of a lifetime” my muse, my darling Pat, died suddenly, leaving me alone to nurture the passion we both shared for Spain—its people, its culture, in fact every blessed thing about it. It’s been hard; so many details to deal with; so many decisions to make.
What is my life now? What is important? What will the future hold? And the big question: Will I ever return to my beloved Madrid, our Madrid, to relive, alone perhaps, those days of joy and intimate moments pacing the Prado, hanging in our apartment in Huertas, arguing playfully about which favorite eating spot we would favor on any given afternoon.
Meals in Madrid were always at the customary a las dos so we might enjoy the chattering chaos of the Museo del Jamon, or that little nameless place on the outskirts of the city we found one day after the tennis championships at La Caja Magica. We were never disappointed, except for that one time. Upon returning excitedly to “our place” not far from the Plaza Mayor we’d discovered it was sold to a nice enough non-Spanish gent. But in the end it didn’t matter; it wasn’t the same. What! No sopa de mariscos!
We had our meal and left. Walking our way dejectedly back to the apartment each of us wondered who would be the first to say it.
“I hate this.” It was me. Pat knew exactly what I meant and seemed happy to clear the air.
“Yea, it’s a bummer. Wonder why they sold it?”
The place had been there forever. But as I know now even better than I did before, things change. While you don’t have to like it you do have to accept it. Coming from New York one would have thought we’d be accustomed to places coming and going like subway trains. It happens there in the blink of an eye. But not in Madrid; Madrid is forever. She offers the certain expectations of a lover. The Prado, the violet lighting on the Hotel Santa Ana, the Tio Pepe sign above the Puerta del Sol. If it goes away you go away, and it’s damned hard to find your way back. Something is missing; it’s unacceptable.
I am missing and that is unacceptable. I wonder if Madrid, my beautiful city, wonders where I am? Where has she gone, she asks, that lover of our life and our cafés and our Prado and that friendly waiter who before she last left said in a manner someone taught him by rote: “Have… nice… flight.” We did, Manuel. Thank you. Will you be there when I return? I hope so. For the healing has finally begun and I know now that I will. Pains of loss have turned to seasons of hope.
In summer perhaps you can expect me; certainly by Fall. Light a candle in the Iglesia de San Isidro. When you see it extinguished you will know I’ve come back.
>Featured image: PD
>Hotel on Plaza Santa/Ben Bender via Wikipedia (https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Reina_Victoria_(Madrid)#/media/Archivo:Cortes,_Madrid,_Spain_-_panoramio_(9)), CC BY-SA3.0
>Tio Pepe by David Adam Kess (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:David_Adam_Kess), CC BY-SA 4.0
>Iglesia de San Isidro by Zaqarbal (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Zaqarbal) , CC BY 2.0
Saffron Flynn is in no way a stranger to the publishing scene. She has worked as editor, senior copywriter and news and feature journalist for major dailies in the United States. She taught creative writing at Stroudsberg University, PA, and was a Spanish Language Film Acquisitions Coordinator for Films for the Humanities and Sciences, Princeton, NJ.
For her Ruins she was awarded a First Honorable Mention from Quincy Writers Guild.
Ms Flynn now divides her time between the art community of New Hope, Pennsylvania, and Southern Spain — when she isn’t somewhere else, of course, as she travels extensively.
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