The Madrilenian (part 3)

I will start a new life. I will create my own future and make love the foundation.

The Madrilenian (Part 3)

By Adeola Aderounmu

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Unknown to Pablo, his sisters took up the task of finding out more about Patricia since the day he invited them for a family reunion. It was a day he ate well and spoke the most to them ever. He had a little drink and spoke about everything that happened to him in St. Petersburg.

What he told them was enough for his sisters to hire a private investigator to locate Patricia in Madrid. This family has adequate wealth to do the things they actually set their minds on together.

Pablo’s sisters travelled to Madrid when the private investigator brought back his reports. They thanked him and paid him the outstanding fees.

Patricia is single, has a decent job and lives quietly on Castellana Drive-a part of Madrid that is about 0,5 mile from Santiago Bernabéu.

She laughed when she met Aleksandra, Cecilia and Viveca.

She spoke to them earlier on the phone and was open to meeting them. They even brought their children and spent a few days in Madrid. Together, they went to Santiago Bernabéu and saw Real Madrid won against Atletico Bilbao.

Since their first meeting in St. Petersburg, Patricia and Pablo have remained in constant touch with each other but like all emerging strange hearts trying to make love work, they were yet to agree on a few things.

Should she leave Spain for Catalonia or will Pablo leave Catalonia for Spain?

They have met once in Madrid and twice in Barcelona in recent months. They always joke of having different nationalities and they think that politicians are crazy citizens.

The future is always undefined; therefore many people always want to remain close to their families.

The family remains the greatest source of comfort and solace both during war and in the time of peace. It took Pablo a long time to realise some of these elements and values of family.

Did he suffer from a sort of disorder that heals with time and age? What went wrong when he was growing up? There is no need to worry about the past. For his family the best gift for the future is the present development in Pablo’s life.

For Pablo it felt good to get have this bond and to look forward to ways of finding the missing puzzle bits in his life.

Patricia promised to think about the proposals that the sisters brought with the wonderful, introduction visit.

Aleksandra is a top executive in Girona. Her vast experience in human resources and consultancy means that she can connect people with newer opportunities in Catalonia and other places in Spain.

The sisters came with a job offer in Girona for Patricia. Patricia may have to choose between all the comfort she has now and a future where she can have a new family.

I will think about it. She said as the sisters headed for the airport and flew back to Girona.

As she thought about what the future may bring, she asked herself, why did l travel to St. Petersburg? Was Moscow not enough for me? But she asked these questions not out of regret but fear.

That night as she lay on her bed looking at the dim lit lamp hanging from the roof, she took herself on the memory lane and thought about where she was coming from and where she could be heading.

Then she conquered her fears. Only cowards are afraid of changes she told herself. I am a Madrilenian and I should not be afraid to fill the vacuum in my life.

I have comfort, but I also still have a need. She tries to find a permanent reasoning that will stir her mood in the most positive way possible.

She went deeper in her thoughts in search of the positive energy locked in her soul.

She must find the conviction that that this change is the next stage of her life.

If this will be my future, so be it. So she decided she will go to Girona, to Pablo and to Pablo’s lovely sisters and their beautiful children.

I will start a new life. I will create my own future and make love the foundation.

She told her family about the latest development. They wished her well and promised to visit her often.

Patricia had been living in Girona for 2 weeks before she found the air that took her to Pablo’s house.

She turned off the location settings on her mobile devices when she left Madrid. She tested her new job, she lived with Pablo’s parents and she started to find her way around the town. Luckily she didn’t run into Pablo all of those times.

Pablo didn’t know that Patricia was living in the same town so he was obviously not looking at every person or object until now when he saw that someone was sitting in his garden, with back to the main street.

When he turned around and saw the face of the person sitting in his garden, he was speechless.

It was the same dumbness and reaction he had the first time he saw her image in the glass at St. Petersburg. She is beautiful.

Patricia was already crying before he arrived. Pablo could not hold back his tears too.

She gave him a gift she brought from Madrid. The packet contains a bracelet with the inscription, The Madrilenian. He thanked her.

They hugged each other and went inside.

(Concluded)

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The Madrilenean (Part 2)

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Pablo was immensely attracted to the image of the woman in the glass. His heart skipped some beats. When he turned around to look at the woman, he met a smile on her face.

Then she said excuse me, I didn’t mean to distract or disturb you. I am sorry if I did.

For the first time in his life, Pablo felt that someone spoke to him so kindly that he thought he heard the voice of an angel.

It took him more than 5 seconds to utter a word. Oh…no……it’s alright. You did not disturb me. 

As the woman was leaving, he said my name is Pablo. I am Patricia she turned back and replied.

Then Pablo knew from her accent that she is from Spain. So they continued their conversation in Spanish.  First he made a joke; I would rather say you are “an attraction”.

Then he asked her if she now knows where she was going.

Yes, I do she replied. I found it on the same map you were looking at.

She was laughing because Pablo said she was an attraction. She knew he was making reference to her first comment.

This was also the first time that Pablo had on his own spoken to a girl that was not his sister.

He had no control over what he was going through. He was actually talking to a complete stranger and making a joke he didn’t know how it would be received.

But it seemed he had the confidence and will to continue the conversation.

He remembered not knowing the meaning of love or how to express it. He remembered his promise never to love anyone because of those deficiencies.

But love is stronger than anything else. Love has its own language. It is universal and indomitable.

You can pretend to run away from love but when the time is right it will find you no matter where you are. Love is freedom from bondage.

Love is nature itself. It is the reason for night and day.

Love is the reason for different seasons.

The next day Pablo had coffee with Patricia at The Coffee House close to the central station in St. Petersburg. They sat outside partly because it was a sunny day and partly because they dislike the smell of the cigarette that filled the shop.

Patricia had been around in Moscow for about 2 weeks and she came to St. Petersburg because she wanted to see why the city is the cultural center of Russia. When she met Pablo, she was checking how to the get to the Main Port just as she had planned in Moscow the day before.

What was not in her plan was meeting a man from Girona in Russia. In 48 hours she will be flying home to Madrid. But first she must get back to her hotel in Moscow where most of her belongings are.

They talked about almost everything and anything: work, family, living in Spain and living in Catalonia. They spoke of Catalonia as an independent country and what may happen in the future.

That night Patricia went back to Moscow.

Pablo stayed in St. Petersburg for 7 more days. Every day he thought about Patricia. Every day he went back to the map at the central station. He wished that Patricia will change her plans and probably come back to check the map for newer directions.

At the end of his short stay, Pablo flew directly from St. Petersburg to the local airport at Girona.

His colleagues at the factory noticed something strange about him. He was more open and more talkative. They thought that he would stop when he had finished sharing his travel experiences and the things he saw, but it went on.

So in good fate the people made many jokes. One man asked: what kind of drugs or stimulants do they sell in Russia? One lady said Russian Vodka has the longest hangover effect.

His work mate in the engine room added: when you are in Moscow don’t drink coffee at a smoky coffee shop. He misunderstood that The Coffes House bar was actually in St. Petersburg. Pablo heard none of the jokes or gossip that passed.

When Pablo’s sisters received his letters asking them to attend a family reunion, they called one another and expressed shock. Cecilia said the letters cannot be real. The eldest sister always has a way to show her age and wisdom. So she asked: what shall we lose if we drive home to mamma and pappa even if the invitation for a family reunion is not real?

But they knew the invitation was real, it was just hard to imagine it coming from Pablo.

Pablo’s parents are glad they are still alive. They will host all their children at the behest of Pablo.

They are happy because they know that though it appeared strange, something has definitely happened to Pablo.

He’s getting close to 30.  He now knows the meaning of love and sharing.

His father remembered how he promised himself never to worry about Pablo again. He believes in the spirit of the puma and he thought that the puma has met Pablo in Russia and helped him find his way.

One day when Pablo returned from work. He found a stranger sitting in his garden. He walked round the person to see who it was.

(read the conclusion next week)

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The Madrilenean

“I will go to a place where nobody knows my name, a place where the language is different”

The Madrilenean

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Pablo grew up in Girona. This town has about 100 000 people. His childhood went too quickly or maybe not. It depends on which perspective he chose. When he thought about the years he had to endure with his sisters, then it was a long, uneventful childhood.

On the other hand when he thought about what could have happened if he could turn back the time, then it was a period that went rather quickly. As a result of his feelings during his teenage and college days, he forgone many things that many other children his age did.

There are many things that Pablo will like to forget. There are so many things he hoped will be left in his thoughtless moments.

But what happened to Pablo actually that almost destroyed his life especially his relationship with his family. Here is the story.

Pablo has 3 sisters. He is the only son of his parents. At a very early age, he started to pull away from everyone in his household. He felt totally different. When his parents noticed his strange withdrawal, they tried to pamper him. Pablo’s withdrawal became more intense and his parents regretted that they did not consult a professional. Where did we go wrong? His mother pondered.

One day his father decided to take a long walk. He thought deeply about his family situation-how his daughters are having the best days of their lives and how his only son is turning to a complete stranger. He slipped at the edge of the pavement and broke a toe. He is a man who believes in omen. His favourite is the spirit of the puma.

Once he had a twisted ankle when he was taking a walk in the woods and thinking about Pablo. When he got a broken toe walking on the other side of the town, he decided that he will never worry about Pablo again. He thought he may develop a serious health problem like stroke if he worries more about Pablo. A twisted ankle and then a broken toe will do. The spirit of the puma will guide Pablo, he reasoned.

It didn’t matter what anyone did, Pablo did not feel that he was loved. At home the conclusion was that Pablo was acting the last child or the last born. One day Aleksandra the eldest sister told a joke and said, mamma, maybe you should have let pappa make the 5th baby. Maybe Pablo wanted a brother to play with. He doesn’t like us because we are girls.

Pablo was 10 years at the time and the joke turned out to be a bad one. He locked himself in the room and skipped school for 3 days. He came out only when everyone had left home and helped himself to some juice and biscuits. His mother cried. She was completely devastated how bad things turned out socially for Pablo.

Pablo had always thought that his sisters are getting all the attention at home. No one is sure exactly when he got that perception but it must have registered in his brain quite early. His mother even said, maybe he heard too many voices when he was a foetus and got fed up with everyone even before he was born.

On the surface everyone at home knew that Pablo’s feelings or perceptions were incorrect. But deep inside they don’t know what approach would make him cherish and love them the way they love him. So the most difficult task at home and sometimes at school and at the playgrounds was how to correct the impressions and help Pablo get along socially. He was growing up and his family feared that he may become a social misfit. This trait is uncommon in Catalonia.

What was obvious was that Pablo did not know how to feel as a boy because everywhere he looked in the house, he saw girls and things that belonged to girls. This made him uncomfortable and sad and he thought he was different from the other boys in his class. His heart continued to grow cold as he grew up.

Pablo hated school. It is a place that brought him in contact with many other categories of people. However he learnt to dissociate his social deficiency from his academic needs. Therefore he excelled even as a withdrawn student. This was one of the reasons his parents did not seek professional help for him. His future looks bright, his mother said to his father one day when they looked at some of his results after a quarterly conference with the school teachers.

When he was 18 Pablo started to work at the postal agency. He saved a lot of money because this is a work he had no need for. His father is wealthy and even his mother inherited a lot of fortunes from her grandparents. His parents understood that Pablo took the job so he could skip encountering his sisters at home. It was one of his weird ideas of what freedom means.

By the time Pablo became a graduate at the age of 23, there was only one of his sisters left unmarried. With only Cecilia at home, Pablo was beginning to see the world from another perspective. But he had a hard time to express his feelings. He never liked his sisters yet he’s feeling the vacuum created when Aleksandra and Viveca left home forever.

When he was a young boy he promised never to love anyone because he doesn’t know what it means. I will never know what it means to love, he told himself. He hated his childhood. He does not like to remember it. He felt lonely, quite often. These women have ruined my life, so he thought. He cannot remember when he started hearing their voices but it appeared like forever until now that Cecil is the only one left.

Despite all his troubles Pablo turned out to be one of the outstanding engineers in Girona. People have noticed that he likes to be alone but they have also come to appreciate his effectiveness and productivity at work. This was also an outstanding observation his former boss made when he worked at the postal agency.

Pablo found the courage and will to rent his own apartment. When he was 25 and Cecil was preparing to get married, Pablo decided it was time for him to move on. That’s what he did.

One day Pablo was tired after work. It was his third year at the factory and he had accumulated his annual leave. So he decided he will travel to another city in another country. He made up his mind to travel to a place he had never been before.

I will go to a place where nobody knows my name, a place where the language is different. So he left. He travelled by road to Barcelona and flew from there to St. Petersburg.

One day he stood at the central station at St. Petersburg. He was looking at the map, trying to find his way around.

But the map he was looking at was inside a frame made of glass. So it also looked like a mirror. He saw himself as he looked at the map for directions.

Suddenly he saw the image of a woman too. There was a pretty woman looking at the same map. She stood behind him.

(Read Part 2 Next Week)

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No Love Lost  

One of the remarkable ironies of life is that we see other people’s problems more than we see ours. Life is short and problems don’t disappear. If we paddle our canoes hard enough, maybe we will still be rowing when the storm is over. Life is just too unpredictable

NO LOVE LOST

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Lucy lives in Zambezi, until now anyway. This is where she has known all of her life. She was born here and this is where she blooms. She is a very beautiful woman. Some people spoke about her and said maybe she is a goddess. There was an artist in the town and he was convinced the gods took their time to mould her. He meant to say that Lucy was made with perfection.

Ever since she was a little girl there has always been an admiration for her beauty and her personality. People generally agree with Lucy. In her neighbourhood almost everybody she met respected her.

When she left home for the City College at Mongu, she already knew that respect and admiration were not going to be substitutes for love. We all need someone or some people to love us. So when Lucy left college the emptiness in her life began to manifest. Still she continued to pull through with the admiration and respect that folks have towards her. When she is alone she often asks herself: who will satisfy my soul?  Respect is a wonderful quality but it is not love. Even admiration is not love.

Now a working class lady, Lucy almost gave up on love. It was not hard to find a job when she graduated from Zambezi University. She is a brilliant woman and with her kind of beauty, she can open any door. But when it comes to love and satisfaction for her soul, she seemed to be lost. No one knew this but her. She knew that she is not perfect like the artist had insinuated.

One day she was waiting at the bus station. Quite unpredictably the sky turned cloudy that morning and it started to rain heavily. As it rained, Lucy started to cry. The buses were not coming because of the heavy rain. But she was not crying because of the rain or the buses that were not coming. It turned out that the weather gave her a picture of her life. She thought that her life was cloudy inside. She was alone at the bus station, and then she cried even more.

This is not the first time Lucy cried. She has read a lot of novels and she had known about the travails of many characters in tragic literatures and even in some romantic books. She learnt to cry when she is sad because tears wash away sorrows, so she thought. Once she read a book where it was stated that the men who committed suicide are often those who refused to cry because they did not give in to their feelings and pains. When people cry, they feel refreshed and often that gives them the hope that they can carry on.

Lucy was so carried away in her thoughts she almost did not notice the car that had parked right in front of her at the station. Someone had stopped to her help get to work that morning. The man did not know that Lucy had been crying. He thought it had rained over her face. In addition it was too dark to make clear observations. The man recognised Lucy though and that was why he stopped to help her.

That weekend Lucy saw the man again as she took a walk down the street. Thank you Paul, you are kind, she said. It was nothing he replied. But on this occasion Paul noticed something unusual about Lucy. Are you alright he asked? Then Lucy looked at him and started to cry again.

Paul gave her a tissue and she wiped her tears. But Paul was shocked. Until that moment he was one of those who thought that Lucy could have anything she wished for in her life. Lucy did not speak about all of her emptiness but Paul knew from the short conversation they had that the vacuum in her life is enormous.  

Paul was almost thinking out loud. So people can be beautiful, they can have good jobs, they may be admired, well respected and still be sad. Indeed many people often ignore the roles of physical beauty and clothes in covering the darkness and emptiness inside the human body.

In Zambezi there is a man who cannot finish his expressions without the use of proverbs. Paul thought about the day the man had a conversation with him. He remembered one of his sentences: lizards are always lying on their bellies, so we don’t know which among them have stomach problems.

He gave Lucy a hug and they parted ways.

Over several months that followed, Paul was visiting Lucy. There was no attraction between them because Paul had a woman in his life. But with his company, Lucy felt better. They talked about many things, some memories of growing up and now working in this commercial town where the fourth largest river in Africa took its origin.

Lucy also met new friends through Paul. These after-work and weekend companions helped Lucy to forget some of her problems. They filled some gaps in her life. Some of the people who admire her are no longer at a distance.

When she remembered how an unexpected rain facilitated her meeting with Paul, she cherished the moment. Then she decided to buy a car so that she does not have to be at the mercy of another man from the town on another rainy day. She already knew how to drive.

Lucy is happy. She felt she had leaped out of a shell. It was definitely a step in the right direction when people not only admire her but showed her some love through conversations and doing things together. Some people she spoke to talked about their travels and adventures.

Lucy became inspired and she decided that she will also take to travelling. She had always had the opportunities to travel but she never took them. She felt that it was a lot of hassles but now that she had listened to the stories about Paris, Berlin, London and Stockholm, she got motivated.

However she promised herself that she will not travel far. She learnt in geography about the different places and seasons in Africa. I will see my world in Africa before I see the rest of the world she told herself. In her mind she also made a decision to find love and never to let it go.

Lucy spent some of her weekends in Harare and sometimes she is off to Johannesburg. She also travelled to Accra because of the gold at the coast in Ghana. Once she was covering her hair in Cairo. Now she has a handful of pictures, maps and souvenirs from the West, East, North and South of Africa in her study at home.

One day, Paul left a note for Lucy. He wanted to see her again. Lucy did not understand. She just came back from Cape Town where she went on holidays. Zambezi had been warm and she wanted some experience of winter from the bottom of Africa. Lucy is a woman in search of balance and fulfilment. She came home to Zambezi and found the note in her letter box.

Paul’s relationship with his long-time girlfriend had fallen apart. They did not get along as they had dreamt. They had a few problems and they both agreed on one thing only: to end the relationship. It was a sad occurrence but they both felt it was better to do it now rather than trying to make it work at all cost. They have no children yet. He is now 32 and she is 28, so they still have their lives ahead of them.

Sometimes things are not always what they seem. We all make mistakes and our passions can mislead us. One of the remarkable ironies of life is that we see other people’s problems more than we see ours. If people stop pretending, maybe they wouldn’t have to run away from their problems. Life is short and problems don’t disappear. If we paddle our canoes hard enough, maybe we will still be rowing when the storm is over. Life is just too unpredictable.

Lucy met Paul at the coffee shop down the street. She was sorry to hear Paul’s sad story. Paul’s heart was obviously broken. But he cannot blame it on Lucy. Lucy did all she could not to be a distraction. They are close friends, true. Still there was neither attraction nor intimacy between them. Lucy was missing something in her life but her head was clear about what she wanted and desired.

In her mind, she knew that Paul is confused. He has just broken up with someone he had spent a substantial part of his life with. Lucy is quick to draw inspirations from books, stories and her own life. So she said, give it sometime maybe you will find someone new. Your heart will heal and you will go on with your life.

She continued: When I went to Johannesburg in February, I met Vincent. I like him a lot. He adores me. He respects me, but above all he loves me and I love him too. We spent the last two weeks together in Cape Town and he’s planning to find a job in Harare. Apparently 7 months after their first meeting Lucy and Vincent have concluded plans to move to Harare as expatriates.

Paul is not a novice. He too had always known that people must learn to pass through their own troubles, their travails. They must learn to conquer their fears. They may need some time and a little help but they must learn.

The best way to learn is through real experiences.

Goodbye Paul. I must go now. Take care of yourself and we’ll see sometime.

Paul was close to tears but Lucy showed no emotion whatsoever.   

She gave him a tight hug and left.

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(c) Adeola Aderounmu 2014