“I don’t like this. I don’t like that things come to an end.”
"But there has to be an ending to begin something new."
The skies are still light. It is 8:30 in Madrid and Ana and I are having our last dinner together in her kitchen. She has cut her hair and dyed it blonder. She smiles at me, her usual, the one that makes me smile wholeheartedly and without thought. She pulls her chair closer and we eat, talking with our mouths full and listening to the April winds. I tell her that I would like to start reading “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Marquez when I return home. She says that will be great practice but that it will be very difficult. Perhaps I will also read it in English, I tell her.
Four months have passed and Ana and I have talked about a lot of things in this kitchen. We’ve talked about America and fast food, about jobs and writing, about New York and my future apartment in Manhattan, about traveling the world and the beauty of Madrid, about Zapatero and Bush, about tortillas and my mother’s Iranian food. And we have always ended it with al fin, both knowing that every story, every conversation, every night, has its end.
Yet tonight I don’t hear it. Perhaps we have both realized that this is some kind of goodbye, some kind of parting and yet it isn’t. I give her, as my last parting gift, a packet of Starbucks coffee beans, and a thank you note. In Spanish I have written that I will never forget her sweet words and smile, or the taste of her morning coffee. That I will never forget everything that happened in Spain and in her sweet house. I have thanked her for everything and signed it with love. She hugs me and says I am a sweet girl and that she should have bought a book for me. So instead she lets me pick a book from the shelf in my bedroom to take it back home as a memory.
I pick Cien anos de Soledad by Marquez and have her write a dedication for me. And with that, we say good night and hasta pronto, until soon, for there are some things that don’t have an ending.