Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
The glads have come up. I planted them when we arrived last year in Spring but they didn’t flower last summer. The colour is lovely. It harmonises the pink of the roses with the orange to the bignonias that should start blooming in a couple of weeks.
All these flowers, the colours, the smells, have made me nostalgic. Melancholic. Thinking of Villa l’Africaine and Spain. Someone told me the house is unused for most of the year. It sits closed. All that wonderful furniture locked away. I hope at least the caretakers enjoy the place when they’re there care taking. I wonder if they gave my instructions to the gardener? I left what could only be called a treatise on the proper use and care of the house and garden. The salmon rimmed Limoges china is to be used outside on the cream and green zellige table. The white and gold Wedgwood is for indoors. I even specified the hours in which the sun hits each of the outdoor eating areas. They must have thought I was entirely insane. I wonder if they sit there in fear I might knock on the door and scream at them for having moved a chair or eating at the wrong table at the wrong time.
Deep down I know it’s not actually Spain or the house that I miss. The malaise is about accepting change and the passing of time. When you’re in the same place, doing the same things for so very long, you have the impression you’ve stopped time. That everything will always be the same. Immortality by delusion. That means even though nearly 14 years had passed at Villa l’Africaine and 16 all together in Spain, I still felt like that young student who’d just arrived.
Isn’t that a glorious view? That was my first Spanish apartment. A cute little penthouse in Marbella. Everything was so cheap then. It was before the euro. I still have those big glass candle holder thingies. Goodness knows how they survived so many years. Especially considering they’ve spent most of their lives outside.
I don’t want any more change. This is it. I very much enjoyed my delusion in Spain and I want it back.