The Plaza hums with people. They’ve skirted the parameters of the square, hugging close to the shops, restaurants, tourist locales. The cobblestones gurgle with suitcase wheels and a custodian’s cart, trash cans in tow, a green and yellow jacket with industrial pants his marker.
The fountain we sit at is quiet, no water spills up and out. The gentle locks of lovers clasp in a ring, hugging the loops of steel, locked forever in this Spanish square.
The sky is a dark gray, the stones an alternating red, black, brown — dirtied and wet from the day’s events.
Here, dogs scamper without leashes, people gather in twos, threes, and fours, protected by the spired red building that encompasses the Plaza.
Few English syllables. A little French. Quips and stories in Spanish. A snap of Chinese. All talking together through this square.
My legs are weary but my mind cannot help but be open and bright.
A small child loses sight of her parents for only a moment — and then– reunited at papa’s pant leg.
A bicycle goes by me, the operator looking ahead, moving with the others through the Plaza de Mayor.
Boyfriends and girlfriends. Lovers. Parents and children and their dogs. Carraiges with infants. A cough. A baby’s nondesript giggles of words. Laughter joins a toddler’s triumphant run over the stones, yet is caught up by mother and scooped into her arms.
Each rounded archway is lit, protected by the pillars that support it, welcoming the people through to the shops, eateries, chocolatiers, cervesaries, creperies, and more.
I sit at the quiet fountain and watch the night unfold, a Monday evening slowing into a murmur. zach’s arm around my shoulder as I lean into his side, feeling him breathe, his breaths moving my body slightly up and down, up and down.
In the early morning, we fly home to Minnesota.