By 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)