Maybe it was a dream. I must have fallen asleep. Earlier I had walked the streets of Barcelona alone, feeling the wind and the humidity.
I felt a tugging at my leg, then I heard a rip. A brave little brown and black dog, the kind of garbage diving mutt that you find in alleys everywhere in the third world was pulling hard, shaking his head furiously.
I kicked at the mutt. He bared his yellow teeth and growled softly, the sound that all carnivores make before they strike. I pushed my heel hard into the soft fold of his scrawny neck. He yelped and moved back quickly, then turned and ran away a few feet.
My pants leg was in shreds. My cotton jacket was still ripped from a failed encounter with a man with a pocket knife, a senior citizen pickpocket. My vision was blurred. I was not having a good day.
I stood unsteadily. I almost fell on the slippery cobblestones of the quiet alleyway. The street dog glared, seeming to tell me that he’d be watching for any more signs of weakness. His head was low, but his kept his distance.
There was a sharp pain in my back, and I felt weaker and dizzy. I stayed there waiting, looking down at the dirty water that ran through the town’s ancient narrow streets.
Before it all, before I got here, I remembered that I had gotten something of value. Slowly I felt inside my jacket. It was still there, or at least there was a small package that she gave me. I wanted to check, to see if it was really there, but I couldn’t stay upright and do that at the same time.
Now I seemed stable. Using the wall for support I started to walk. In the distance I heard the sing-song siren of a police car. It seemed to be getting closer, but then the noise receded as it turned away, I hoped.
I knew that I had to get back to my hotel, the dirty pension in the seedy part of the city before dark. My watch was gone so I could only guess the time. I stood against the wall, waiting and watching.
What now? Maybe I could pass myself off as a drunk--that seemed plausible, since half of Barcelona appeared to be inebriated. Maybe no one would notice me. I looked in my pants pocket for a few Pesetas, but my money was gone. My wallet was still there, nothing inside it. No bus rides for me today, I’d have to walk.
Staying on the darkest part of the street I headed toward my hotel. It was cool and humid but I was sweating. People gave me the look, the one of pity that all downtrodden souls get.
I passed a church and the priest, seeing me, asked if I needed food and shelter. I shook my head no. He pressed a five peseta coin in my hand, and then made the Sign of the Cross. I mumbled a soft thank you, my eyes to the ground, and walked on.
Even the street gangs, the troubled youth of this coastal city, left me alone. I was invisible to everyone. It was a trance, I was walking the streets of the city alone, unseen, uncared for.
I reached my hovel, the pension. The front desk man looked surprised but said nothing. He handed me a large iron key and bowed. I walked slowly up the three flights. I stood at my door getting the strength to put the key in the lock. I leaned against the door and it opened, unlocked.
Nothing seemed moved, nothing was missing. I didn’t have much anyway, just what a typical tourist might carry, especially an obsessive compulsive tourist.
I reached inside my jacket pocket, forgetting to close my door, and sat on the bed. There was a wrapped package, a piece of information, something of value, worth risking for, I suppose. I heard footsteps coming toward my room in the hall. Suddenly I was very tired, and I fell backward on the bed.
I was seduced by the voice in the wind that day. It was a voice that made me listen harder, and wonder about myself and my life. Yes, I heard that wind whisper, but in a language I didn’t understand.