I am sitting in a sun-strewn park in Barcelona in the shade of the Sagrada Familia on a bench with my brother reading beside me. So much about that sentence makes me happy. That I am in Spain, that it is sunny (the four-thirty pm sunsets of London were a novelty for exactly one day before they just became depressing), that I am in the presence of an incredible man-made structure, and that I am reunited with my brother. And that he’s reading, because, you know…books are awesome.
It’s kind of mad when I think about the fact that Damo pulled on shoes in his side of the world, sat in a car, boarded a plane, then skipped his way across countries and oceans (three planes and two countries for those playing at home), while I pulled on shoes in London, train-hopped to the airport and flew out of England, and that our paths, which had diverged for the past four months, came together again. That in this ridiculously huge globe filled with an infinity of spots, Damo and I crossed an airport, hugged, shoe-tips touching, in the exact same spot in Barcelona. Life is fucking amazing.
For the official record, four months is the longest we have spent apart. And it’s not that we’re the clichéd co-dependant twins that dress the same and finish each other’s sentences, the ones that creep you out a little and you avoid on the train. We’re normal. We hug a little too much, and laugh hysterically at each other’s jokes until you wish that you had avoided us on the train, but besides that, we’re regular guys. The reason we’ve never spent more time apart isn’t because we’re twins – it’s because we’re friends. We hang out. And the fact that we lived together for the first eighteen years of our lives, and intermittently in the intervening years since, also helped maintain our attachment.
When I decided to dig myself out of Australia and replant myself in London, we knew it’d suck not to hang out, but that we’d be okay. We’re our own people with our own lives, and our own wardrobes – we’d survive.
But I have missed the man immensely. It’s not until you’re away from someone that you realise how much of your own identity and self-assurance stems from relationships like the one I have with my brother. Every time he laughs at a joke, he validates that I’m funny. Every time I share a thought and we discuss it, he validates that the thought was worthwhile. Every time I have an interest that he shares, he validates that interest. And every time, and I mean every time, I suggest we go get a pizza, he validates that we should in fact go and get a pizza. It’s a bond we share.
Needless to say, it’s good to be enjoying his company again. To be enjoying it in the beautiful city of Barcelona is icing on the cake. Or maybe I should say chocolate on the churros.
We arrived late Saturday night and taxied it to our hotel, found our room (two single beds – I told you we were normal), then headed out for some food. Literally around the corner from out hotel is a street called Rambla del Poblenou, which is an open stretch of tree-lines road spotted with restaurants. We found a place selling €1 sandwiches and fries, and got to work. The beer was also €1. And just like that, Barcelona had seduced us.
It’s now Tuesday and in the past two days we’ve explored parks bursting with greenery and stunning fountains, tagged along on a walking tour through the gothic quarter of Barcelona, seen ancient Roman ruins, eaten mouth-watering paella, strolled the docks, and pretty much stumbled onto every incredible landmark this piece of Spain has to offer. We’ve also swung on the truck of a Mammoth statue, because, when in Rome…
Barcelona is an artistic city dotted with old-world tenements and modern architecture. The food is fresh and tasty, and, excluding the fact that some of them take it upon themselves to lighten your pockets, the locals have been friendly people. So far my pockets have remained unpicked, and I thank my skinny jeans for this. I have a hard enough time getting my wallet from my pocket, I figure a thief stands no chance. I bet pick-pocketers the world over gave up and got real jobs when skinny pants came into vogue.
I’m going to sign off here because the Spanish sun has made us warm and we’re going to go get an ice cream before our tour of the interior of the Sagrada Familiar.
Hey, what do you know, that sentence made me happy too.