I walk past the fruit shop every day except for Mondays, when I actually walk in and buy about 6 euros worth of fruit for the week. Mandarinas are in right now, and kiwis. I’ve been buying fresh ginger and lemon for the past month to fight off colds. It’s mostly been working so I buy some more. I say bye to the fruit man, my roommate knows his name. He nods and smiles. He is beginning to recognize me.
I have lived in almost every part of this city now. Two townhouses, three apartments. A room, an attic, a 4th floor and now a 5th. I lived in front of a supermarket at one point, and then in front of a sports club. By a train station and now by another train station downtown. I have held different jobs in each part of this town. Unfortunately, my living placements have never quite coincided with the job placements (I seem to land jobs close to ‘where I used to live’). But this has allowed me to move fluidly through the city and memorize multiple bus routes.
I have learned about the back corners of Alcalá, like the slanted forest of green that lowers down a hill where 227 passes to take you all the way to Madrid. Or the back trail by the railway, past a cemetery and onto the roundabout with the enormous red and yellow flag. Stop 11, 7 and 10 coincide there. Then there’s the dirt path road that I used to walk through back in high school and that surrounds the school where I now work.
I got off the wrong bus stop the other day and realized I was at the end of a street which I wondered about when I lived parallel to it a few months ago. It is strange, to visit each of these parts and remember different things, or to live such a different life when passing by them now. A lot can change in a small amount of time, and sometimes we don’t get to think through the things we move on from when we move, even if it’s only across the street (quite literally).
Having lived in different spots in this city has prompted me to think through these areas and what they represent or represented at the time. It has also allowed me to extend myself through this city in a way that I’m thankful for. While I tend to ‘label’ the ‘pockets of time’ in my life, I’ m trying not to ask this corner of the city for too much. To let it be what it has to be, for however short or long of a period this may be. In a way, this is allowing the city to reintroduce itself, both with the familiar and the foreign.
If I had to label right now I would only pick two letters.
Prefix. Begin again.