The Spanish Guitar

AD: GUITAR.   Genuine Spanish style. Made in Spain, strung with nylon strings. Reasonable condition, good tone. Price £35.

There were flashes of red, black and a rhythmic stamping. Blurs in my vision, clapping. Most of all there was joy and passion. I remembered all that much. The feet were fast, the hearts were lifted, the smiles were wide. That summer had been the last time I felt the pure rhythm in my heart. That burning urge to get up and dance the night away, throw my cares to the wind. Spain never felt as close as it did then. The white hot vistas, the heat radiating off the ground. Siestas and tapas, the smell of thick potato Spanish omelettes, the murmur of animated conversation.

Most of all, the guitar. How I loved to hear my father strumming away, singing old Spanish songs. His favourite was the Paso Doblé. Bullfights, he used to say, were essentially obsolete, but the music would always signify the hot blooded, fiery, red undertone of Spanish culture. For me, the music was the thing. It brought me out, that last summer. I met a beautiful Spanish boy, Alejandro. Music was also a big thing in his life. Alternative music, mostly. He began coming to our famous family gatherings. His family was a modern family – they didn’t go in for tradition much. By the end of the night, he was stamping his feet, feeling the beat. We danced together for the first time, both of us exhilarated. We chatted late into the night, the warm glow of the lamps softly illuminating the angles of his face. His eyes glittering with enthusiasm, the deep rumble of his voice. I was charmed, and infatuated. Infatuated with the heat of Spain, the pulse of the night. I felt there was so much possibility in the world, so much I had to give; and I did. I gave my heart away to this beautiful modern Spaniard.

My father watched the romance with foreboding. He knew that a passionate, expressive spirit like himself could not be tethered to someone who didn’t understand the lure of the guitar. He was angry with me; he told me that it was my business who I loved, but he didn’t want to watch my soul ebb away. Alejandro soon lost interest in music. His next endeavour was business: stocks and shares, his family’s inherited company. He was initiated into the corporate world.

He told me we had to move overseas. I argued, afraid, worried that I would become a hollow, bitter rich woman. He convinced me. We moved to Scotland, cold, unfeeling. I couldn’t hear the music any longer. I was trapped, I couldn’t make friends, I missed the sound of the fiesta and the stamp of feet. Cut adrift, I had a breakdown. My guitar, I felt, was no longer of any significance in this sad existence of mine. I put an ad in the local newspaper, hoping, at the very least, I would find someone who danced to the rhythm. Maybe someone that understood. Somebody with a Spanish soul.

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