She had long blonde hair, brown almond eyes and the body of an angel.
I had lived in Barcelona then for two years on my own, and I was lonely. My business took up all my time and there was nothing left for me. I needed a girlfriend.
One day I read the ‘lonely hearts column’ in a newspaper and found an advert for a group who got together to find new love in their lives. There was a phone number so I called them and a girl answered.
She said we would love to have you join our group but you have to be approved first. So I arranged a meeting with her for the following week. I was supposed to take all sorts of documents including my divorce papers with me; you couldn’t be a member if you were married.
I met her at her own apartment near to the top end of the Paseo de Gracia. To be honest the whole thing made me very nervous. She sat at her desk and asked me to complete a long form in Spanish. Did I have Aid’s, was my mind in good order, did I have a police record, etc.
So I filled in the whole form. I would have just walked out right then but I was fascinated by her.
The process took about half an hour and now and again I looked at her and she looked back at me. I thought this is crazy, God help me what am I doing here.
I had to pay an up-front membership fee so I gave it to her in cash. She smiled and thanked me. Then she asked me why. Why do you want to join a group of strangers who you do not know?
I explained in all honesty and she replied “Welcome to the group. We have a dinner tonight by chance so would you like to come along?”.
The dinner was at ten o’clock in one of Barcelona’s best restaurants right on the harbour. There were twelve of us in all, mostly girls but four guys including me.
She sat me next to her at the table and introduced me to the other members of the club. I found it hard to talk, because I am shy.
Everyone knew each other and I felt a bit out of place. So I looked at my hostess and she understood.
I said “Let’s go to the bar and have a drink.” And she said ok. I told her I did not fancy any of the girls in the group except her. I said you are beautiful. I have fallen in love with you.
There was no need to say any more – she felt the same way.
For many months afterwards we spent our spare time and nights together. We visited all the tourist attractions in Barcelona, and held hands and kissed in secret corners of the parks where only pigeons watched. They empathised in fact, and cooed to encourage us in our love.
She had been in a terrible car accident when she was eighteen. One half of her face was destroyed, and plastic surgery had not worked. So I told her that I loved her anyway, that I loved both sides of her face and to prove it I always kissed her softly on both sides. She was beautiful even with her scars.
One day she went back to the Basque country where she was born, and I was left alone again.
I hope she is happy now. That she has found the love of her life and has a family of her own.
She once whispered to me in the dawn. “Don’t worry if I go away one day – I won’t forget you, Ez dut ahaztu duzu”