Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Best Kiss

I was kissed yesterday. It was a wonderful kiss, the kind you never forget. Other than family, I've been memorably kissed by very few people--a couple silly boys in high school, a peck on the cheek from a friend. Everyone I meet in Spain. Two kisses (one on each cheek) is how we greet, and since I've moved here, it has become as casual as a handshake.

But yesterday, this kiss moved me. I'm still thinking about it.

Her name is Consolación. I would not even venture to guess how old she is, but by her bent back and lined face, I know she's older than my 25 year old joven brain thinks I'll ever be. Consolación wears all black, from her dress to her headscarf, and she bends over double over her cane as she begs on the street. Victoria wrote about her today. Click on her name to go to a wonderful, beautiful description of this woman. I'm not even going to try to describe her after reading that.

But back to that kiss....actually, back to 45 minutes before the kiss.

I didn't feel like taking sandwiches out yesterday. We had done the shopping, made the tuna, put them together, wrapped them, and loaded up the backpacks, and I just didn't feel like going. I was tired. I was having people over for a dinner later that night and hadn't even gone to the fruterí­a for the zucchini or the pollerí­a for the chicken yet. I had things to do.

But these sandwiches are important to the people who get them, people who don't take their meals for granted and who don't have the luxury of going to the fruterí­a for zucchini and the pollerí­a for chicken to make dinner for 6. I know this, but I still didn't feel like going.

So as Amy, Victoria, and I prayed before going out, I reluctantly, silently, prayed in my heart: "God, help me to be where I am and not thinking about what comes next. Help me to give my time freely and joyfully."

We started to walk. One sandwich down, two, three, four. A couple familiar faces from the weeks before. A couple new names to try to commit to memory for the next Friday afternoon. And then there she was. Consolación. I hadn't really seen her face in the few weeks before, even when I bent down to help her put the sandwich and juice box into her pouch. Something in me lifted when I saw her hunched frame.

"Hola, Consolación," was all I said, starting to unzip my backpack to pull out the sandwich. Her head turned up and her hand reached out. Her whole face smiled as she pulled me toward her and kissed one cheek and then the other.

"Aquí­ vienes para traerme comida" she said. Then she kissed Victoria and Amy as well.

My head was swimming from the kiss still, from the touch of her old hand on the back of my head, the pull that was so strong, bringing my face down next to her face.

Her eyes shifted to the people across the street watching our exchange. She raised her voice a bit.
"Esos allí nos están mirando porque estamos besando. ¡MIRA, GILIPOLLAS!"
Translation: "Those people are looking at us because we're kissing. Look, ***holes!"

I held back my laugh as she patted my face before we walked on. "See you next Friday!"

I couldn't stop smiling.

The rest of the afternoon, that night during the dinner, and today, I keep thinking about that kiss, that pull, that face, her name. Consolación.

Those are the best kinds of kisses.


Anonymous Troy said...

Beautiful, Kelly. Just a great piece of writing.


7:56 AM  
Anonymous spain dad said...

Thanks for your story. I think you've given me something to munch on as well.

2:12 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

For just a moment there I thought I had stumbled upon a Fabio story, but this was far better. I could really see it all in my head. You are a good writer. Hey, was it in an ally of sorts? That's what I saw in my head. Not a dark alley but a narrow brick road lined with houses. Anyhow, I'm glad this wasn't a Fabio story. That would've icked me out. Besides my little Kelly isn't old enough yet to think about dating.

1:54 PM  
Blogger kelly_w said...

haha! first off, i think i'm the same age you were when you got married, no?

not quite an alley--a pedestrian street in the busiest section of town, actually. picture thousands of people on all sides. but you were right---it is a narrow brick road linked with old-ish buildings.

glad you liked it.


6:40 AM  

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