There’s a photo Jimena took. It’s just me but when I think of it, I think of both of us in the picture.
Because without her - alone - it’s lacking. Lacking a lot.
Laughing for the joy of the lilac-green sunset sea and the sea that reaches our mid-thighs and is warm and swirls. So warm. Wet, wet, wet and warm. And salty.
As if I had never lived before. Now I do. For this, I have come: to be immersed in this Middle Sea, this centre, this heart of the known world.
This fable, this voice of singing poets and Penelope and her threads and sirens luring, combing and calling. Of burning towers and ancient libraries. Of mingling and melding from Byblos to the Pillars at the edge of everything.
Lilac-green sunset sea. We offer our bodies to the flooding glow. Flooding our bodies, blooding our faces, as it sinks and deepens its blazing. Wraps us in its scarlet purple.
I didn’t know Jimena until that week. An artist. Living in Palma, living from her work: that rare creature. And José’s longed-to-be lover. Jimena is Argentinian, not Spanish. That matters.
‘Never give up your creative dreams, Julie’. ‘Never forget you are guapa’. ‘Guapa’. An ugly word for beauty. And so thin, to translate the full-bodied gloriousness of ‘beautiful’.
Back up the beach, the others in the chiringuito, where Alex and his band will soon start to play and the night will become a more commonplace good time on a Mediterranean island beach.
I have arrived. This is it. The French use the verb arriver to describe an orgasm. And yes – this is it. Est, est, est: here it is. The finest wine. This for which I have come, for which I have made my journey. Tense – present perfect. Because here, I am.
Jimena sees me – I am seen – I have been seen. Present, perfect, passive. Putting myself at the head of the sentence, without an obvious agent. In any language and without language. This has been so longed-for. Sea, sea, sea. See: seen.