OK.. picking up where I left off is hard. It is hard to just jump back into all that nostalgia, but I will do my best. Also, apologies for it taking so long, but I’ve been rather ill. Now, moving right along…
The woman came back into the room with another glass of orange juice, and I thanked her repeatedly for taking care of me, and told her that it made me miss my grandmothers. I told her about how one set of grandparents raised me, and so they are/were very dear to my heart… but I stopped when I saw her tearing up.
I asked her what she had on the agenda, and she told me she wanted a night owl like she knew I was, and someone who appreciated culture as well as the finer things in life… And apparently, one night out someone asked where some spoon went and what some fork was for, and I was the only one able to answer… What can I say? I did the debutante training…. But I thought it was amusing that something so small was noteworthy.
I drank the second glass of fresh squeezed OJ and told her I would hop in the shower so that we could get going. She told me she had the whole day and well into the night, booked! I couldn’t wait! I threw off the covers and raced to my wall to wall marble bathroom, turned on my two person shower, let it heat up, and hopped on in… I found that all my shampoo and conditioner, face and body wash was already there!!! I was definitely BORN for this shower :), and this lifestyle was something I felt pretty secure was for me!!!
So, I got all dressed in non-American clothing, and stepped out to ask her if my outfit was acceptable, or if I needed to dress up or down, and what she thought. She told me I looked fabulous, but that my outfit was only good for most of the day, and that we would have to return to the hotel to change for our evening plans. And as I turned to leave, I heard her mumble something. I turned around and asked her to repeat what she had said, no matter how silly she thought it might be. And she replied that she had said, I looked an awful lot like her granddaughter, and was asking to play with my hair and style it the way she used to do with her granddaughter. Now keep in mind I have long, thick, and A LOT of dark curly hair and bright green eyes…. Naturally, I told her she could do anything she wanted to my hair, but that I did not own a blow dryer, and even if I did, it would take hours to dry; to which she replied, “I know carino”. So, she had me sit at her dressing table and proceeded to blow my hair dry, which took about two hours, and then she added some curls to it, and pulled it up as if I were a flamenco dancer, and then she whipped out a flower she had clearly picked that morning, and it was a gorgeously deep shade of light red/deep pink. When she was finished she took a look and said “perfecto”. And I laughed nervously and thanked her for the compliment…. She then asked me if I wore makeup, and I told her that I did not, to which she replied I was lucky enough not to need it, but would I mind if she applied some, again like she used to do with her granddaughter. How am I supposed to say NO to that? Plus, as I sat there staring in the mirror watching her delicately aged hands move around my hair and caress my cheek, I couldn’t believe I was staring at myself, she had completely transformed me! And into someone SUPER attractive!!! So, I agreed and she began applying all this stuff that I had no idea how to work, and STILL don’t know how to work today!!!
She told me not to look until she was done, but I couldn’t wait to see what other miracles this woman was going to make happen, and so every once in awhile I peeked. And the creature in the mirror looked very regal, sophisticated, far older than my real age, and almost as if I should be stepping onto a red carpet. She noticed me smiling and told me to stop being naughty and keep my eyes closed!!! And as she was applying the make up she was singing Mariposa Tracidionera, and that alone made me smile. Finally, she allowed me to open my eyes AND told me to look in the mirror. And I’ve had my make up done for various benefits, dances, and just when I am shopping for new makeup… and she blew them all away! I was speechless, and that is RARE!!! I started to tear up as she took out a photo of her granddaughter done up exactly the same way she had done me… and oddly enough, there was a striking resemblance!!!! I sat there, amazed at how beautiful she had made me, and honestly couldn’t believe the image in the mirror was my own reflection!!!!!!!!!! I thank her through watery eyes and hugged her tight.
I know I hadn’t known her long, but it felt as if I had known her my entire life, and she had always been a part of me, it just took my running into her for that part of me to wake up. I’ve had that feeling a few times since, but never so strongly.
She reminded me I couldn’t sit and stare at myself all day, we had things to do, so out we went! And everywhere we went, people kept mistaking me for some movie star or flamenco dancer, but I couldn’t catch the names of either. We went all around Madrid and she showed me the historic district, Plaza del Sol, the Ham Museum, the best little known places to get tapas and drinks….and before I knew it, it was 10p.m. She told me it was time to go back to the hotel, change and get the party started! At which I simply laughed, I was already having a ball. But, back to the hotel we went, and she asked me what sort of provocative clothing I had with me…. And I responded, “none”. She refused to believe that, and asked if she could go through my clothes and see, and of course I agreed. After a awhile searching, she agreed with me, and called downstairs and asked for several specific items to be sent up. As it turns out, I was to be wearing some interesting patterned nylons, a Versace skirt with slits all the way up the sides, and some other Versace super V-neck ensemble with, naturally, Spanish stilettos, and ALL BLACK— my absolute favorite color 🙂 It is, really it is….
She got dressed and put some jewelry on me, because a lady can never be without jewelry, and off we went into the Madrid night life. We went into the kitchen of some Michelin star restaurant because she knew the chef and the owner, then we went from VIP room to VIP room. And I tried to break out my camera and get pictures of her having such a good time, and that gorgeous smile she had that could stop anyone in their tracks… but she wouldn’t let me, claiming that she never took good photos…. Finally, after we were all done clubbing, dancing, and drinking, we wound up at a local hole in the wall where all the chefs and seems famous people who wish not be bothered were located. There someone did take my camera, and they told her to get in the picture, and they took a picture of the two of us smiling, and our arms wrapped around one another. I was beyond thrilled to finally have a memento of this amazing woman. We stayed and chatted with chefs, footballers, flamenco dancers, writers, food critics, cinema stars until around 5 am, and then she said she was tired and we ought to head back to the hotel, to which I agreed.
This time, I helped her get ready for bed; putting her jewelry away, and folding her clothes. She came out of the bathroom in nightgown, and I tucked her into her bed, and showed her the photo of the two of us, and she started to tear up. I told her if it was too much she could always erase it, I would forever have her in my memory, and did not need a photo to remind me. I made sure she was tucked in tight, and left the camera with her, just in case she wanted to delete the picture, and then I headed to my room; undressing as I walked. I was super tired and my feet were KILLING me. I didn’t want to remove the makeup she put on, so I brushed my teeth and changed into my pajamas and hopped in bed, and I swear that the moment my head hit the pillow the sun was rising and I was out like a light!!!
I woke up what seemed like a short time later and she was nowhere to be found. I figured she had just gone out to grab something, but I noticed her suitcases and everything else were gone… I began to panic…. I looked around for a sign that she was okay, maybe a note… anything? On her bed, on top, of her pillow was a note, in English, and as I saw this, I began to cry. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it went something like this:
I have never been good with goodbyes, even when I am given the chance. I took the photo of us and made copies for me to carry, I hope you don’t mind. Unfortunately, something went wrong, and the picture was erased. Please know that you gave me a part of my life for which I had been longing for ages. You are living proof the spirit of my granddaughter lives on. You are not only externally beautiful, you are a truly beautiful person who did not have to indulge an old woman so. The fact that we connected and you did means the world to me, more than I could ever express. As long as I live, you will serve as my reminder of all that is good in this world, and that there is always hope and beauty wherever one goes. I know you are not my granddaughter, but I would be honored to be able to call you that and count you amongst my family. Thank you so very much for being you, and don’t ever stop. If every you hit a stumbling block or a rough patch in life, just think me for I will always be with you, watching you and guiding you through life. You alone made the impossible possible, and gave a dying woman the peace she so desperately needed. Please stay here as long as you want, I’ve told the concierge to take care of everything you want or need. I am sorry to sneak out, but I was going to wake you and you looked so peaceful and happy, and that is the way I will always remember you. If ever you need anything, please think of me and I will be there to help. Take care of yourself guapa, for inside you there is a heart like no others’, and that is true beauty. I love you dearly. Until we meet again….. And she signed her name.
I burst into tears, I felt like I had just been abandoned, but most of me knew that wasn’t the case… It hurt an incredible amount though. I clearly had no idea how attached to this woman I really was. I looked around at what had become my sort of safe haven, against all things gone wrong and homesickness, and just felt EMPTY, Part of me was asking, did this really happen, or did I just make this up? I can’t count how many times I pinched myself to make sure I was awake and that this was real… funny how I only did that when the PAIN came into the picture…. And I had the bruises to prove it was indeed, REAL.
As soon as I could stop crying enough and was able to fake a reasonably normal voice, I phoned the front desk to see if she had really gone. I think all of me wanted the other end to say NO, she’s down here at the hotel bar… or something… But instead, I got “Yes, she checked out early this morning, but left instructions for your care. She has said you should stay as long as you like, and do what as you please. You are to have a driver, and anything else you so desire. The salon is at your disposal, and there will always be fresh flowers, daily, for your hair. She also said here not to allow you to shed one tear over her. She said she expects you to maintain the gorgeous smile she fell in love with, and she arranged for someone in the salon to do your hair just like you had it last night. She also asked me to remind you that you were the best thing to happen to her in years, and she expects that you will go through life with that beautiful smile on your face, and think of her from time to time. Also, she left you a couple things down here, which I will now send up to you. She said you will always be in her heart, and that if you look closely, you will see her everywhere”. I said thank you, and hung up, and resumed crying like a baby.
There was a knock at the door, and it was a bellboy. I let him in and he handed me a flower, just like the one she had put in my hair the night before. And he asked if he could hand something in the closet, and told me that I had an appointment at the salon in an hour. So, he placed the heavy looking bag in the closet and said he would come get me for my appointment, I thanked him through the tears, and collapsed on the bed. I didn’t care that she had left anything, I just wanted her. I felt my hair for the flower from the previous night, and it was GONE. I ran into my room and tore apart my bed…. I ran around the room frantically looking for that flower. I tore apart my entire bathroom and I had done everything in such a frenzy I was out of breath and collapsed on the floor in tears, AGAIN. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something that looked like a piece of paper that must have fallen onto the floor after I ripped apart my bed… I picked it up, and it read: “Carino, I do hope that someday you will understand how difficult this was for me, and forgive me. I could not leave you without saying goodbye, and I really wanted something to remember you by… So, before I leave I am kissing your forehead so that a part of you will know I am always with you, and love you dearly. I am also taking the flower I put in your hair yesterday. I know it will wilt, but that is perhaps the most beautiful part. The flower may wilt, but i can dry it and preserve it, and forever save this memory. The flower represents life at a young age, like you. While you are blossoming, you must never forget that you are also parting ways with many things and people, do not take a single one for granted. I know you will go on to do great things, and your heart will speak to many more people than I can ever imagine, please let it. You made a dying woman the happiest she’s ever been, and gave her a bit of her life and sense of hope back. Every time you look at a flower, think of me, and all I saw in you. There will be people who try to shake you from who you really are, do not let them. Always smile and always stop to admire the flowers. If you look for me, regardless of where you are, I will always be there looking over you. I know we just met, but I love you dearly, and will always look after you”.
And so, the crying continued… I walked over to the closet and unzipped the clothing bag the bell boy had dropped off. I nearly fainted I was so stunned. It was an absolutely GORGEOUS blue and white FLAMENCO dress!!! To those of you out there who have no idea what they cost, some of the cheaper ones are hundreds of Euros, but this one was clearly in the THOUSANDS. I wondered why she had asked me what my favorite color was… It was a professional grade Flamenco dress!! Complete with earrings and shoes. It also had a note on it… “I hope you don’t mind, but I took some measurements while you were sleeping and wanted to leave you with something that might stop your crying, and maybe even get you a Spanish boyfriend 🙂 If alterations are needed, the hotel will take care of them for you. Also, here are two tickets to a Flamenco show tonight. They are expecting you early to give you some lessons, and they will be expecting you in your dress. Also, please look in the right shoe…. There is a flower that I would like you to wear tonight, and think of me. No tears carino, this is not a goodbye, this is merely, until we meet again…”
Naturally, I am sobbing. How could I let someone so precious slip away? How did i not see this coming? Why…. And I just quit asking. I took a deep breathe and I could still smell her perfume. I decided I would do EXACTLY as she wanted. So, I placed the flower back in the shoe, and headed downstairs to make her proud. When the elevators doors opened, the entire lobby seemed to freeze and watch me walk across to the concierge and ask where I needed to go to get a jump start on this. He handed me a tissue and sent me off in the direction of the salon, and that’s where the party began. I had all these Spanish women making sure everything fit correctly, and that I knew how to comport myself. They seemed to know that I had two tickets, and asked if I had met my date yet… I said no, and that I was not aware I had a date, and they all looked at each other and giggled. And 5 seconds later, I knew why. After those 5 seconds in walked a drop dead GORGEOUS Spanish man with dark hair and piercing blue eyes. He was in amazing shape!!! He was indeed a business man, but as all good Spanish men can, he was also an excellent dancer. So, before my adopted grandmother left me, she even found me a smoking hot DATE!!!! Is this woman good or what??? I immediately wondered if I was attractive enough for him… And I asked the women working around me, and they said oh yes… and when they were done with me, I would far outshine him!
I sat back and couldn’t help but wonder where my adopted grandmother had gone, and that she wouldn’t want to miss this show, so she had to be around somewhere watching…
And ladies and gents, part 4 will actually be the final installment, and it will be posted soon. Please leave your feedback!!!!
Jamie Bonnette, Founder & Owner
Found In Translation, LLC