They traveled well together, the young man from England and the American woman who was old enough to be his mother or, in some societies, his grandmother. That they might do so hadn't occurred to either of them at the staff table of an Elder Horizons Camp in southern Spain where she was teaching Data Collection for Family History and he Introduction to the Digital Camera. Then the plumbing system broke. Since there were only two more days in the session, the scores of pensioners who'd come south for a bit of winter sun and perhaps less instruction were given the option of leaving early with a small rebate or of staying on without toilets. Everybody chose to leave, except for these two who each had Saturday flights booked at the tiny airport nearby. Over a last desolate dinner with the camp director, they decided to go see Granada. Friday morning this unlikely pair set out together with their backpacks.
They managed to board a bus and pay for tickets with the few Spanish words she possessed, and each found window seats among the many that were available, he on the left of the aisle and she on the right. A good beginning, she thought: he won't intrude on me and I won't intrude on him. He's a young man, after all. He needs his freedom.
It was a relief not to be talking, not to be laboring to keep her English simple or to understand the Spanish that drifted about the classroom, as the women spoke to each other of their lives. She turned her attention to the string of pastel-tinted seaside vacation condominiums visible outside her window. They ran without interruption through towns where Phoenicians and Jews and Greeks and Romans and Arabs had lived in the days when—if you didn't count Asia—the Mediterranean lay indeed in "the middle of the land." One town offered a wealth of silver, the next featured sheep's wool, and every town grew oranges, olives, and almonds. She didn't understand how this dry soil could grow anything at all. There was the blue of the sea with its gentle waves, the dark sand, and the light loose soil that didn't look capable of supporting much but tourists' bocce courts and an occasional shopping center.
Then the bus turned west, away from the sea, and slowly began to rise through Vera, where the Romans finally beat the Carthaginians, on up to the larger town of Cuevos with its bright clean supermarket and its Colors of Benetton. Across the aisle Douglas sat with his eyes closed, listening on headphones to something that had managed to make it through the dark, thick dreadlocks to his ears.
Some people don't care about history, she told herself. The visual people, like her husband, dead a half dozen years now, and her son. They live in a thick present that stretches out to either side of them filled with particular, appealing objects and they're usually late to their appointments because time is irrelevant. It's verbal people who care about history. They think backwards to Babylonia and forwards toward the hour and minute that they must be ready to get on the bus, pay the rent, and telephone their husbands, if they're still alive. They worry a lot. At least, that was her theory. She checked her watch against her bus schedule: they were on time for Cuevos. But what did it matter? She was trying to worry less, to be more like the visual people. Apparently, Douglas was one of them. Across the aisle he appeared content. He couldn't be more than twenty-four, twenty-five. "I'd like tha'," he'd said in his vowel-focused English, "Granada." "Me too," she'd replied, though she hadn't been entirely convinced he was actually coming until he showed up at the breakfast table.
After Cuevos, the road continued to ascend into the mountains and soon they were passing through a wide and gently sloping valley between two mountain ridges. Snow appeared on the southern ridge, the ridge outside Douglas' window. "Douglas," she said across the aisle, "it's the Sierra Nevada." He stirred himself. "Wha?" She gestured to the view, "Sierra Nevada." He got out his tiny silver camera but didn't shoot anything.
The towns became smaller and farther apart. Crops lay hidden under plastic. The soil looked browner than that of the coast. There was the dusty dark green of roadside shrubs and plants and the dry hills rising covered with stiff plants. It looked like California, southern California. An orange orchard appeared with the bright globes individual against the dark leaves. Whole hillsides of white-flowering almond trees in neat rows. Remnants of what could be a Roman aqueduct.
Another big town, she couldn't find its name in the signage: Ayuntamiento, meubles, immobiliari. These, she knew, were not the names of towns. Almanzora, perhaps that was it. Whatever its name, there was stone here—the quarrying, transporting, selling, and working of stone. And travel agencies everywhere. Who would come here? Brits, maybe, Danes, northerners who couldn't afford a seaside escape from their snow. Yes, Scenic Valley Estates announced themselves in English. There was wood here, too. Stores displayed wooden furniture in their windows. Outside the town there stood a planted field of tall thin trees in one spot and, next to it, that same kind of tree cut down and stacked for transport. Stone, wood, these are industries a human being can understand. Unlike the digital camera, a mystery to her. Douglas pulled the curtain over his window, cutting the sun and the view.
In Parchena, the oranges were falling off the trees and lying like prizes on the earth below. After this, there was no stop for miles and miles of planted fields, of terraces, of every bit of space being used for labor-intensive agriculture. This is Andalusia or at least the high plateau of Andalusia. She knew it to be the breadbasket of the Phoenicians and of the Romans and of all conquerors or traders since. It was settled even earlier by people with a less familiar name, the people who survived the Ice Age in the caves of these hills and who finally came out to hunt and fish and ever so slowly to upgrade hunting into herding and gathering into planting. Oh, she loved to know these things about history. And it pleased her to see those first fruits of the agricultural revolution still here: sheep, goats, olives, grapes, almond and oranges. When they pulled into the sheltered bus stop in the big city of Baza, Douglas stood up. "Dya know the word for bathroom?" he asked her. "Baños," she replied and off he went.
Her son had worn dreadlocks like Douglas's. Now he ran a basil farm in Vermont, his fields crossed and bypassed by green plastic watering hoses, the greenhouse humid and sweet smelling. Health stores from Hartford to Boston bought his produce and lately he was taking Internet orders. He'd sported blondish dreads when he went off at twenty-four on his youthful who-shall-I-be travels, returning at twenty-six with short curly hair and a sun-browned, muscular body. They'd missed his entire twenty-fifth year.
Douglas re-appeared in the aisle and the driver pulled out of the bus stall. She was getting tired of sitting, though she was glad not to be back home in her quiet apartment, back into a widow's life with its practiced routines and regularities designed to outwit insurance bills and loneliness. Out the window appeared fields and fields of a strange short shrub. Grapevines cut to a comfortable picking height? Olive trees? Really, she didn't know enough about plants. She must ask Matt next time he and Ellen came to visit. Though they couldn't come often, not with a farm to look after. She'd be going to them. She checked her watch, time for lunch. She opened her plastic wrap: hard boiled egg, apple, bread and the last of the marmalade from the staff refrigerator. Douglas was peeling his egg. Then he stopped. Holding it in one hand, he photographed it with the other.
Eventually the bus began to move slightly downhill in its approach to Guadix and the snowy mountains began to loom higher and closer. A Christian church appeared and she recalled the questionable fact she'd read in a travel brochure—that in the middle of the first century the Jews of nearby Toledo had sent a man to Jerusalem to find out more about the recently crucified Jew called Messiah by some. In Jerusalem, the scout had seen the Galilean Peter performing miracles and he'd come back with six missionaries to speak in the synagogues of Spain. From that seed came Andalusia's Christianity, to be overrun by Islam, to be conquered by the Catholic Kings. Shops, a Renault dealership, a Delta office, a bus stop with a father greeting a daughter in her twenties. Such pleasure on the man's face. She remembered the night that Matt had finally come home from his travels, standing in the kitchen making a peanut butter sandwich and telling them his adventures. They'd sat, just looking at him, just taking him in, twenty-six. His twenty-fifth year gone, lost to them. Three young men were getting on the bus, tossing something back and forth, outdoing each other in cool. The bus filled up and a short worn woman took the seat beside Douglas who now appeared to be sleeping.
Off again with fields on all the high slopes and once in a while the black hole of a cave opening in the side of a hill. Some of the caves had doors, one with a white wooden frame around it painted with flowers. In another hour they began to descend and there ahead of them lay Granada. She checked her watch. Right on time. She got out her sheet of paper with the instructions on it—Number 33 bus to Plaza Nueva, walk to the hostel on Cuesta Gomerez. How much would the bus cost? Douglas hadn't opened his eyes. He didn't open them until the woman beside him stood up and walked forward. When the bus was parked in the station and almost everyone else had gotten off, the two of them stood and shouldered their packs. "Where to?" he asked her, this young man on his travels. She said, "I thought we'd try the Information booth."
At the booth, she asked the clerk for the Number 33 and he didn't understand her. He'd been taught British English. When Douglas spoke, he understood Douglas. On the bus the driver was stumped by Douglas's "CaTHEdral" and needed her "CatayDRAL" for the word to reach meaning. We travel well together, she thought. They moved down the aisle, passing four blond girls from somewhere north, each with a huge suitcase at her feet and a cat on her lap. No, of course not, not cats—only folded, fur-lined jackets. The girls were staring at Douglas.
She was suddenly aware that she was moving among white people with a young man of mixed blood at her side. At Horizons, they'd been bound together as the only staffers whose mother tongue was English. Race and age may separate but language is the stronger, and binds. Now she felt protective of him. He was a handsome young man with a strong sense of himself, and with an appealing gentleness as well. Still, she had no idea how he might feel on being surrounded by whites staring at him. Then she realized it was not his skin but his elaborate dreads that were fetching the gazes, and that he'd probably designed his hair for this very effect. Matt had admitted as much himself.
She saw from her map that the cathedral would be on the right and she held out the map to show Douglas exactly where. He paid it no mind, bending down to look out the window at actual buildings. Suddenly he announced, "there ‘tis." She headed toward the front but he touched her on the arm and pointed to the back door that was mandatory for exits, and they made it out a second before the door closed. Then they were in Granada, standing on a corner with people hurrying by, taking in the smell of car exhaust, the constant fartings of motorcycles. "We made it," she said. "No trouble at all." Lately, she was making an effort to enjoy the good parts.
"Well, I'm going to check into the hostel that the director recommended." She'd heard him tell the director that he wasn't sure where he'd stay, maybe he'd just wander about and find a place. She'd taken that to mean that he wanted to be on his own. And so did she; that was her custom in travel. She'd mastered that, since her husband's death. So she said, "And you'll be off to photograph in the Albaycin, won't you?" He'd mentioned an interest in the white houses and narrow streets of the Arab section of the city.
"Dunno. Maybe I'll come with you."
"O.K.," she said, surprised. For all his cool he might be a bit unsure of himself in a foreign city where he didn't speak the language. They started around a statue in a square but suddenly she stopped. "It's Ferdinand and Isabella!" she exclaimed. Well, it wasn't. It was Isabella and Christopher Columbus. He was kneeling to present something—America?—to the seated queen. Oh, so much history right here. She hadn't known that Isabella or Columbus had anything to do with Granada and was about to explain all this to Douglas when she remembered he wouldn't care. History was not his thing. Besides, he was finally studying the map she'd given him and having trouble matching it with the real world. Suddenly he handed it back and pointed to a sign so far off she couldn't see it. "There ‘tis," he said. "I see it with my eagle eye." She laughed and followed him to the hostel.
"You go first," she said. The woman at the desk had no English and so she drew Douglas diagrams of two rooms, one with private bath and one with shared bath. He studied the diagrams and the clerk turned to her: Did she want a room for one or for two people? Suddenly embarrassed, she raised a single finger. But what a lover this boy would make for someone thirty years younger in body, as well as in what was once called soul. Happily, Douglas hadn't understood the clerk's question; he was pointing to the drawing of a single room with shared bath, and soon they were upstairs and standing on the marble floor between their facing rooms. She gave him another chance at freedom, saying, "I'm going to go out to the Alhambra in a couple of minutes. What's your plan?"
"I guess I'll go, too," he said, surprising her again. Perhaps he just wanted company, was used to family life. Or perhaps she was so inured to solitude that she couldn't imagine companionship.
"O.K. Five minutes, then?"
Her room was tiled in green with an elegant bathroom and shuttered doors that opened onto a small balcony over the Plaza Nueva. Taking the heavier items out of her backpack, she tied a nylon parka around her waist and they were off to the tourist bus that would take them up the steep hill to the Sultan's palace. It would be open only three more hours and they'd heard you sometimes had to wait half the day to get a pass.
"What'll we do if we cahn't get in?" he said with some concern.
"We'll get in," she assured him. "It's winter and we'll probably have three whole hours to see it." "Not me," he replied, "I'll take a short look and go on to tha' other place, what's it called, then?"
They got immediate entry, 10-Euro tickets.
"Bit pricey," he said.
"Hey, we did it, no snags."
"Guess so." He still sounded a little lost.
"Well, I'll be back at the hostel about eight," she told him. "I'll knock on your door. If you feel like going out to dinner, we can. If not, I'll go alone."
"Awright then. Here's where we split." He waved and started off.
Following her map, she soon found herself in the wrong place, stopped by an entryway that corded off further progress. She was looking around for a guard or an English-speaking tourist when she heard Douglas calling her name. There he was, coming toward her. "This is not the cahstle," he said, having made the same mistake as she. "It's down there, see?" He waved toward what could be seen of the tops of castles, castles straight out of a boy's book of the Middle Ages. He always seemed to know where he was so long as he didn't consult a map. She could read maps but not find the actual buildings. She smiled at that.
When they reached the Sultan's palace, his cell phone rang and she waved herself off, announcing that she was going to buy herself the audio tour. Holding it to her ear, she entered alone the great reception hall where petitioners from distant places waited to see the Sultan or his staff at this the seat of Muslim power in the medieval West. She admired the intricacies of the patterned tiles and the wall after wall of carved wooden design. A recorded voice explained to her that the wood had been painted in bright colors, just as had the stones of the Egyptians and the marbles of the Greeks and Romans. Now she was moving as she normally did in museums, without husband or child, accompanied by a cheerful audiotape.
It was familiar, this kind of travel, and so it seemed right, easier. As usual, she noticed older couples, the ones who had nothing to say to each other and the ones who did. If Leonard were alive, they'd be making jokes and saving longer observations for suppertime. He'd begun his career in publishing as a caption writer for upscale picture books and could whip off set blocks about the Black Madonna of Puy or the ten foreskin relics of Jesus as table conversation. She missed marriage. But that was over and she was on into another part of life where she enjoyed new freedoms—the ability to travel, to change plans suddenly, not to have to consider another's desires. The smallness of her family troubled her though—suddenly she noticed a young man with dreads on the other side of the reception hall. Could it be Douglas? No, she saw, with disappointment. A jaunty young woman walked beside this boy. Douglas, she hoped, would run into someone like that among the throng of college-aged tourists.
She came to the room where scribes recorded the fates of the accused and then into the room that held the Sultan's judgment seat. Here sat the top man of Andalusian Islam, pronouncing fates. Off with the hand, the tongue, the head. Now that she'd heard an actual tape of a screaming man getting his head sawn off, the prospect transfixed her. Of course there would be violence where there was such tempting agricultural and mineral wealth. Ferdinand and Isabella had taken Andalusia from the Muslims by the sword and now Al Qaeda dreamed of regaining it with car bombs. They would renew a Caliphate spread round the world.
She reached the Alcázar, the oldest building in the complex, an army barracks, the home of first Muslim and then Christian force. She climbed to the top of the watchtower, where flags were waving and the great bell of Christian triumph hung. She stood at a wall and looked out over the vastness of the Sierra Nevada and the fertile plains below them. Holding the recorded voice to her ear, she learned that two rivers ran through this plain and that it was their water that had made this the site of civilization for centuries, the place of irrigated fields. Now it was oil that people fought over. Soon it might be water again. She wondered if Douglas had found some friends.
Back down on the Plaza Nueva, she discovered an Internet Point larger than any she'd ever seen. She sat down between a well-coifed executive-looking woman and a man in Arabic turban. Cyberspace rewarded her with her daughter-in-law who sent a report on Matt's choice of summer interns for the farm. Her former office buddy Nelson appeared with a list of restaurants in Granada that he'd lifted from a website. Then came her neighbor Sally telling her that things looked fine at her house. She answered Ellen and Matt first: Toilets broke at camp so I've come to beautiful Granada. There are more than 150 people sitting here sending notes and maybe the Internet is as remarkable a feat as the building of the Alhambra, though invisible. Home Thursday. To Nelson she said, Thanks for the info. It will help me tonight. I've come to Granada with a young man and have fallen in love—somewhere between mother and grandmother love. The man next to me is filling his screen with Arabic and I'm trying not to think he's head of the local Al Qaeda cell.
She got back to the hostel just before eight and knocked on Douglas's door. He'll be gone, she thought. Off with new-found friends. But the door opened. He'd had a good day, couldn't name what he'd seen in the palace complex or quite where he'd been in the area of white Arabic houses on twisting, hilly streets. Hadn't taken many photographs, just wandered about, getting a sense of things. He'd seen some young African men selling objects off sheets placed on the street but every now and then they'd answer a cell phone and quickly make everything vanish into pockets and bags and a minute later the police would show up. Dogs had barked at him. It was a good place, Albaycín. He was hungry.
"Good," she said.
They walked the strip of tourist bars on the plaza. "A friend of mine sent me a list of some good places to eat," she said, pulling her notes from Nelson's list out of her pocket.
"I'd ‘ave to check out the prices first."
"I know. I only took the names of the cheap ones."
They had to ask directions and then she led and they got lost. They asked again and he led and they didn't get lost. It took them about the same amount of time to discover that the menu for the Plat was not four different things to eat but the same thing in French, Spanish, English and German. It was pork, any way you looked at it. They both chose the chick pea soup to start. He chose the potatoes; she the salad. While they waited for the food, he asked her if she wanted to see some of his photographs and when she said yes, he handed her the tiny silver camera and told her where to press the button.
There was a terrific shot of his hardboiled egg, half peeled. And a startling one of the lock on the back of a bathroom door. "It was so chunky," he explained. "I had to shoot it." There were shots of the African men standing in slouches against the wall, wearing their red embroidered Jackie O hats. A whole series of them in different postures, gathering up their goods, secreting them. There was a dog sitting in the sun beside his master, an old man who was sketching the traditional view across the Rio Dorra to the palaces and the watchtower. There were three cats sitting on a wall. He had a good eye for composition and color. "You're a good photographer," she said.
"Bit discouraged," he allowed. He confessed that he wasn't getting anywhere in the free lance life of an artist and had to support himself as a computer techie.
She told him to keep shooting and to set aside time to market himself. "Most of all," she said, "You've got to keep working."
"Don't give up, you mean.
This was another woman's son, a woman who was probably missing him as much as she'd missed Matt during the year of his travels. Here in Granada with this young man she felt she'd somehow managed to meet up with her own son as he had been years ago making his way from Naples to Prague and down to Gaza. She finished off her glass of Rioja. According to the Plat menu, there'd be fruit for dessert and when the waiter slapped down an orange and a dull steel knife in front of each of them, they both laughed. "This is why it's so cheap," he said, "We're the labor."
A man at the next table was sitting alone reading but it was beginning to feel perfectly natural to her to have someone on the other side of her own table. Yet their orange peels lay on their plates and the Spanish night was young. He should be off, finding young friends. "We're near an Internet Point," she said. "I imagine you're going to want to check your email."
"What'll you be doin', then?"
"I'm going back to the hotel. Got to read the guidebook and see what I missed today."
"Awright. I'll take a peek at the Internet place."
She made her way back to the hostel and up to the pleasant room where she got into her silk pajamas and plumped up the pillows in one of the beds and started to sort the pages she'd torn from her guidebook, the receipts, the brochures, the maps folded the wrong way. The bulb in the reading lamp gave little light and came orange through its shade. A great bell rang out eleven times. She plotted the next day's walk and with her eyes watering from the poor light, finally opted for sleep. She took her vitamins and realized with a start that at this time on any other trip, she'd be taking one of the little pills she carried against anxiety. She didn't need one tonight. She wasn't lonely. She got into bed but didn't fall immediately to sleep. She lay there until she heard footsteps that she thought might be Douglas's. She wasn't sure, but she told herself he was home safe now, and then she slept.
In the morning he knocked on her door and they agreed to meet at four outside the Internet Point. They mustn't miss their bus back to the camp because the director locked up at ten o'clock. If they didn't make this bus, they'd have to spend another night here in Granada, and so, probably miss their flights home. She trusted him now on directions, but not on time. The visual people are so terrible on time. "Don't be late," she reminded him. He headed back to the Albaycín for more photographs. She had her day in view: tea and a biscuit, a look at the sepulchers of Ferdinand and Isabella, a swing around the Arab shops, a bite of lunch, then up to the Museum of Archeology.
The sepulchers were splendidly ornate, Isabella with her heavenward gaze and Ferdinand with his sword. Beside them lay their mad daughter Joanna with her husband Philip. It was said that Joanna had opened her husband's casket each night for years to kiss the dear departed goodnight. Her poor parents were still looking out for her, even in death. You own a big chunk of the known world and discover the new world but you cannot make a mad daughter well.
Pulling off her sunglasses she stepped down the Entrada stairs to the crypt where the actual bones of these royals lay in simple coffins. A young man stood at the railing looking in at them. Death seems so impossible to the young. To the old it's as common as spent teabags. Isabella may even have longed for it. In Heaven, Joanna might be O.K. She turned and walked up the Salida stairs and into a tortuous scene of the Crucifixion. The coldness of stone buildings and the unrealities of extreme religious belief were getting to her.
She needed food, nothing Spanish today, maybe pizza, pasta. She needed a bathroom. The restaurants weren't open yet for lunch, except for the tourist spots on the Plaza Nueva. There she began to peer at the menus pictured on boards set up in front of the storefront restaurants. The inevitable waiter appeared: "Senora, menu, full menu, seven fifty Euros, see picture here. Pasta tuna, pasta Bolognese, and this one Carbonari."
"Yes, yes," she said. Carbonari, that had been her husband's favorite. She hadn't eaten it for years on account of its cream content. She pointed to the picture of a plate of pasta Bolognese and asked if he had a bathroom.
"Yes, yes, lady, sit down."
Well, of course. He needed to be sure she'd pay. She could wait. So she sat and he brought the menu and repeated what he'd already said, showing more pictures of food. Apparently, the Bolognese had meat in it. Veal. As soon as he'd gone into the kitchen she began to worry about mad cow disease. The warmth of the sun was a blessing, though. A raggedly dressed man was playing a Pan pipe as he walked among the tables. A cheerful Chinese girl was ordering various plates for her friends. Such a competent and sanguine person often manages to lead a happy life. You learn things as you go along. She was learning not to worry.
A glass of red, a basket of bread, and a plate of pasta with tomato sauce and cheese arrived. The pasta was better than she'd expected and she was relieved to find no meat in it. She ate slowly, looking across the plaza and up the steep hill to the Alcázar and its watchtower. Three flags were flying on it. From down here the medieval barracks looked like the very fist of oppression. She tried to imagine all the people who'd lived here on the streets below it, the Jews and the Moors who'd looked up at it the day they learned they were to be expelled by the Catholic Kings, their property taken, the doors of their own homes shut to them. She tried to imagine what it would be like to look up there one day and see the flag of radical Islam flying. More ruined children, bombed houses, streets full of corpses. Hopefully, new generations would arise who might be able to shrug their shoulders and go on living as the Spanish and the tourists were doing now.
She found the restroom and when she came out, gave her check and some money to the cook who was standing at the range behind the counter.
"How was food?" he asked.
"It was good, very good!"
"You are lovely u-wooman."
She laughed and wondered if he'd somehow stolen her passport while distracting her with a compliment. But when she walked into the sunlight and toward the archeological museum, she found herself smiling at another possibility. Maybe he was only making up for the lack of veal?
At the museum she examined the carefully-knapped stones in the Paleolithic room. On the wall above them hung illustrations of how the old ones who'd come out of the caves had lived. They'd killed elephants and smaller prey, scraped skins, sewn mantles, cooked with fire. In the Neolithic room she looked at the changes agriculture had brought: the pottery jars and bowls for storing produce for both the living and the dead—all the things she usually loved to linger over. But here in the stone mansion, she began to feel cold and she hurried through the Phoenician room, replete with its gift of the alphabet. In the next rooms, the Greeks brought their red and black pottery, the Romans their Caesars, and the Arabs their metalwork and calligraphy. Somewhere in there was a life-sized stone carving of a seated woman dug up from ancient Baza and there she sat: plump, wealthy, dressed in a decorated gown, wearing earrings in the shape of boxes. You can see her today in Beverly Hills or on the Champs; she's what you get when you control your food supply, your water, your oil. But time, time was slipping away. It was three-thirty and she found that her mind was not on the past.
She had to meet Douglas. She left the museum, stopped at the hostel to pick up the backpack she'd stored with reception and moved out into the sun again. It was still early but she thought it worth checking inside the Internet place. He might be in there reading email. She entered the shop and looked around at the scores of screens but there was no young man with dreads. He wasn't here. And why should he be? It was only quarter of four. She left and walked around the corner and down a couple of blocks to check on the location of their bus stop. Then back to Internet Point. He still wasn't there.
What would she do if he didn't appear? She had to get back to the camp. Was he O.K.? She crossed the street to look in at the shops in the alley. She mustn't worry. But what if he'd gotten caught in some racial thing involving the African men with their forbidden street sales? What if he were in jail? How would she find him? Don't be ridiculous. He isn't even late. It's only five of four. After all, he has appeared wherever agreed upon at every meeting point in the trip. Everything is fine. She spent three more minutes looking at inlaid tile boxes and then abruptly headed back toward the Internet place. He won't be there, she told herself, readying for the worst. But when she rounded the last corner, there he was, sitting on a bench near the shop, a young man on his travels, waiting for her.
Copyright © Zane Kotker 2006. Title graphic: "Rainy Day in Granada" Copyright © The Summerset Review, Inc. 2006.