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Wade Bell
Smaller text sizeDefault text sizeBigger text size Add to my bookshelf epub mobi Permalink MapLlafranch, Girona

Every day I eat the same soup at lunch time. Where I live, as opposed to where I used to live, that is, in the Gracia neighbourhood of Barcelona, lunch is more a snack than a satisfying meal. I must say that the food where I live now, a cold place in which for most of the year no comestibles grow, is inferior to what was available to me in Gracia where there is a lovely market as well as innumerable grocery stores. The soup is tasty, though it contains more salt than is probably good for me. It is made in Japan. Just add package contents to boiling water.

The woman I lived with on General Sanjurjo—you can tell that it was a long time ago, back when so many streets were testimony to the vanity of military men—also, for a time, lived with me here in the cold place. She didn’t stay for long, complaining that I, in this cold place, had grown cold. She returned to Barcelona but not to General Sanjurjo, which I understand now has a happier name.

In front of me as I eat the Japanese soup is a book open to a photograph showing seven penguins on an iceberg. The penguins look quite at home. In fact, one is jumping into the sea for the pleasure of a swim. I would rather swim at, say, Llafranch, but that is now impossible. I used to swim often at Llafranch on weekends away from Gracia. I would stay at a villa with María José and José Cordón and Ana Cristina and David and other of their friends. I believe the villa has been replaced by a hotel. To think that is so causes a tear to drop into my salty soup.

It is a soup, as I said, that I eat each day. It is warming, which is important here. I find it charming that a Japanese soup eaten in a place where snow lies all around should conjure a time when love and revolution coupled to sear the air and streets bore lesser names. Perhaps it is the salt. Perhaps it is the flavour of the sea on curves of sun-warmed flesh today too well remembered.

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Copyright ©Wade Bell, 2005
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Date of publicationMay 2005
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