Fumar mata

It’s ten minutes to 7 and sunlight is pissing through the gaps in the broken curtains. I can feel the gold light on my face and understand the meaning of the term ‘sun-drenched.’ I keep my eyes closed. I don’t want to be alive just yet.

I am back in Spain, at the villa, with you.

The sun woke us up everyday, mid-morning, and we lay tangled and naked under white sheets, dozing, until I’d get up to smoke. I’d pull on a t-shirt and go out onto the balcony, watching the ash fall slowly to the barren valley below, spotting lizards, watching the birds fly east towards the Med.

Then I’d sneak indoors, leave you to sleep, and start on breakfast. Cereal and a cooked full-English for you, plus a mug of builder’s tea and fresh juice. Black coffee and a cigarette for me. We’d eat outside on the veranda, by the pool. I don’t know if it was apparent then that I had bigger dreams than you.

I had exams waiting for me back home, so I tried to revise. I read Confessions of an English Opium-Eater and The Italian, you watched ‘The Hunt for Red October’ and European football. We ate swordfish and the biggest prawns I’ve ever seen.

We shared our first bubble bath, with champagne. We’d only been together for 8 months, I’d been away at university for 7 of them, but this holiday cemented a lot of things. You probably don’t even remember it now.

We drove for miles along the coast and everything around us was unbelievably perfect. We stopped in Benidorm, which is essentially Little Britain, but as I walked in the surf I was thrilled at the prospect of walking the same beach and seeing the same stretch of horizon that Sylvia did so many years ago. I told you that Plath and Hughes honeymooned in Benidorm. You didn’t know who they were.

Before we left Spain I bought 200 Benson silvers, as they were a quarter of the price that they were in the UK. The sign on all the packets said ‘Fumar mata.’ Smoking kills. But so does love. Love kills. God knows you almost killed me. And sadness kills, too, perhaps more often than love. Falling in love should come with a government health warning.

When I open my eyes I am not in Spain, at the villa, with you.

I am sad, scared and alone. I hear sirens, a train, the builders working downstairs. A door slams. I am not in Spain. I realise that we were there exactly 4 years ago to the day. You won’t remember it, I’m sure. You have new important dates to carve on your skull now anyway.

But how lucky I was to be loved by you. I don’t know if the sun smothered me this morning in an attempt to mock me or save me but, wherever you are, at least we are both slaves to the same golden sun. Love kills. El amor mata. How lucky I was…

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