The Big Trip, Day 12: Barcelona – is this now?

It’s raining again.

By now this isn’t much of a surprise. After all, it was starting last night, when we sank into sleep listening to Elvis singing American Trilogy at about 1am after cans of both Estrella and San Miguel. But this is some serious rain, thundering off the van’s plastic roof loudly enough to drown out any music you might want to listen to.


Tom’s still asleep of course. It’s hardly surprising, given that his work takes place in the late afternoon and evening. He can afford to sleep in. Another plus point in favour of doing what he’s doing.

I read the Guardian for a while as he continues to snore. Brexit. More Brexit. Honestly, along with everything else that’s gone wrong in my life, hearing about Brexit has been a major contributor to my depressed state. I know it’s selfish, but it’s going to fuck me over personally if/when it happens, in whatever self-harming form it takes. I wish I could stop reading about it, but it’s like a car crash you can’t help slowing down and gawping at. The difference being that this car crash will drag you into it too.


Today will be my last full day in Barcelona. I love the place, but I’ve already stayed four days longer than I intended to, in large part because Tom needed somewhere to stay. That’s been great, if sometimes difficult for both of us while we adjust to the parameters of our new “friends without benefits” relationship. He seems a little nervous about taking a shower in the van, and asks if I’d think seeing him naked would be “a tease”.

That’s a bit sad, that our previous comfort with each other isn’t as easy as it once was. But we’ve both seen pretty much everything there is to see about each other, and I’m fine with it, even if naked Tom brings back nostalgic memories of what once was. To be honest, I’m more concerned that he uses up the last of the van’s water reserves, meaning I don’t get a shower. Still, I don’t have to teach a class of businesspeople, so it’s probably better that I whiff a bit than he does.

It’s still tipping it down outside, so we spend the morning and the early afternoon just chilling in the van and playing Dobble. A couple of days ago, he schooled me in playing it in German, which I’ve been learning for a while, and I’ve gotten quite good at that (I don’t think he likes it when I beat him at it). This time he teaches me how to play it in Spanish, which I have far less of a grounding in. But I love language learning, and even though it takes a while, we manage. I even beat him at least once.IMG_0699

He also forces me to eat. Well, I say “forces”, but he’s been making a consistent effort this trip to overcome my depression-induced lack of appetite. And he’s been doing well at it, after nearly a week of barely eating before I got here. In keeping with the spirit of trying everything anew, I’ve been sampling stuff I’d previously decided I didn’t like. Cheese sandwiches. Olives. Hummus. And I find they’re actually better than I thought, especially when you discover untapped reserves of hunger.


Tom makes more use of the van’s kitchen than I ever have, and I’m grateful that he bought so much stuff at the supermarket last night. I wolf down a baguette full of cheese topped with tomatoes, olives and olive oil. It’s good. As are the amazingly ripe and juicy pears he hands me. Hmm, perhaps he’s so well -adjusted because of a healthy diet. I should probably try to carry this on.

We probably laze in the van longer than we should have, given that his first class is in the afternoon and he hasn’t lesson planned yet. There’s a gap in the rain, and we head to Rocafort, where his business class is based, then find a handy nearby cafe to get some coffee and wifi. I spend an entertaining while trying to interpret local newspaper La Vanguardia with his help – he’s getting pretty good at Spanish, though he’d been doing it on Duolingo for a while before even coming here.

My thinking hasn’t stopped (however much I wish it might), but I think I’ve burdened himwith too much of it at this point. Still, I find myself loving his every vague pronouncement, random stop to stare silently at nature, and stream of consciousness mumblings. And that’s the trouble. Not only do I find him physically attractive, his personality pushes my every button.

And that’s too bad. I need to get over it. I’ll be honest, four years ago it did my self-esteem the power of good to find that this guy actually found me attractive. It blew all my self-hatred out of the water. But it’s not his responsibility to sort out my ego.

I find myself telling him that I hope I’ll meet someone like him. And I realise even while saying it that that’s not the thing to hope for. Yes, these four years of our old-style relationship have been great. But I don’t need a faux-Tom any more than I need a faux-Barry, and if I’m holding out for either one I’ll probably never find it. Whatever happens, it’s not going to be a desperate attempt to carbon copy previous good times.

Tomorrow, Tom moves into his new, hopefully better roomshare. It does sound good. I’ll help him move there as far as I can, mainly by giving him a lift into the centre of Barcelona (and won’t that be fun), but after that I need to move on. Both literally and emotionally.

After the extra time spent here (which I’ve loved), I’ve changed my Eurotunnel ticket from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning. This was surprisingly easy, and didn’t even cost me anything. Tomorrow lunchtime, I’ll be saying a doubtless rather teary farewell to Tom (and yes, we will meet again) and heading up north towards Calais again. No plan. No agenda. No worries. Let’s see what’s out there.

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