I am not quite home but I have left Granada, unsure of when I will return again. My suitcase lays on the ground, an open mouth trying to swallow all that I feed it. Watercolors, sketches, Moroccan slippers, worn clothes, a tapestry, Pera cotton towels, ticket stubs, pistachios, a kimono, olive oil and postcards smile back at me. I manage to fit them in my suitcase under the fifty-pound weight limit, “them” being the tangible things, the easily collectible things. But the intangible– the moments like a feather eluding my grasp in the air– that wouldn’t fit in the suitcase, that couldn’t fit in the suitcase, I collect and stuff in my pockets and in the indents of my collarbones, or into the strands of my hair. When I return home with my suitcase I will carefully unpack. I will scatter the new amongst the old on my shelves, I will put the bit of sand I took from our hike in Cabo de Gata and keep it by my bed so it whispers to me of times that are fleeting. But I will never unpack those things that did not fit in my suitcase and they will continue to walk as I walk and speak of the friends I made and project memories in the space of my eye like a small movie theater.
I have never been good at saying goodbye. At this point in our lives it becomes harder and harder because sometimes people disappear into the chaos. So when we say goodbye sometimes we must say it forever, like a bell stopped mid ring. In saying goodbye we must swim back to the top of a pool that we dove deep into. We must walk out dripping wet and attempt to collect the drops soaking into the ground. Even the soil beneath our feet becomes damp with the memories drenching our clothes.
But a mass of water implies uniformity and what I experienced in Granada was anything but the monogamy of uniformity. It was everything above and below the surface, an ocean that swallows the sky. Sometimes we walked for blocks talking as the heat of the day dissipated, looking for a tapa bar not too full and not too empty. Sure, we had our regular places but sometimes we just liked to pick one by the expression on people’s faces inside– the life in their hands and eyes. I walked a different path every weekend; I walked to different parts of the city everyday. I forgot what a schedule was like and absorbed the day as it came to me. I ran, I walked, I swam, I laughed, I cried after laughing, and probably cried (a little) saying goodbye, and I learned. Observed. Became. Missed. Loved. I broke with uniformity in order to let those things seep into my hair and the wrinkles in my clothing until I smelled of Granada; I smell of the Spanish language. I smell of oranges, olive oil, and salmorejo. I smell of old buildings and the Alhambra. Of tinto de verano. Of pomegranates. And the narrow streets. Churros. The dirt of the hills and sunshine. I smell of Spanish and the smell may fade with time but it will linger just as my memories will resurface and the beautiful people I’ve met living in this wondrous place we’ve lived in, will remain forever a part of me.
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<p>My name is Anna Suszynski and I live in Colorado. I will graduate in 2016 from Colorado College having studied to be an English major, Creative Writing Track. I love to read, ski, go to as many concerts as I can, hang out with my mom, hike, take way too many photographs, and get lost. </p>