A few days ago I was cleaning my mobile notepad, as a thesis student I take notes of every idea that comes to my head at the least expected moment and everything goes to the mobile. Well, there is also the shopping list, the expenses or the pending ones that I have, the truth is that I like to make lists.
The fact is that in that cleaning of notes I found one that I had made two years ago and that was called: “My love story with Madrid”. He touched me reading it, I didn’t remember that he had it lying around. I always tell the rooftops how happy I am in Madrid, despite the ups and downs, but I had never written it and that is a bit of a straw for a columnist from Madrid by adoption and for someone who believes that, like that people, cities are also spoken to and thanked, so today I want to do it.
There are two words that run through this story. As a Colombian of origin that I am, I still think of many things in Colombian and no matter how hard I look, I can’t find others that replace, in Spanish jargon, the semantic load. They are: tusa and swallow. The tusa has already been taught to the world by Karol G (the reggaeton singer) with her famous song. A tusa is a deep sadness caused by some disappointment in love. You’re excited when you miss that person a lot and can’t be with them. The swallow, on the other hand, is a strong feeling of attraction or infatuation towards someone and, beware! that the swallow may or may not be reciprocated. One can swallow even platonically.
So I could start by telling you that my emotional state with Madrid is one of permanent swallowing and I am going to tell you the reasons now. Walking through it is rejoicing over and over again with its streets, its stories, the tranquility they generate in me, how beautiful they are, I feel that each building can tell me something surprising. I would like to capture in images with my eyes every corner that I find of it. Something that I just can’t get over is her deep and perfect blue sky, before her I had never seen a sky so clear, so huge, so imposing and self-possessed.
With Madrid I was able to feel for the first time the tranquility of going through the streets without fear. And yes, it is part of this socially established femininity that we walk the streets in fear. But I’m talking about another kind of fear. Knowing that they weren’t going to attack me for stealing or that I could talk on the mobile while I was walking without something bad happening to me, or without having to grab my bag all the time (yes, according to their stories, everyone will have their reasons for being more happy in one place). Madrid taught me the real usefulness of zebras. Until then for me it was just thick lines of paint on the ground that had no practical purpose for pedestrians. I still remember the first time I crossed over one and the cars kindly stopped, I couldn’t believe it, what was routine for people here was a real discovery for me.
Madrid taught the girl who came from the country of juices and fruits to drink water. To drink water with food, to drink water throughout the day, to drink water, without more. Still, when I return to Colombia, my mother sees with sadness that she sometimes prefers only to drink water instead of juice. But she perks up when she sees that now I also eat salads and cook vegetables.
In Madrid I learned about the strength of feminism and the largest and most powerful 8M demonstrations in the world and with it the women who inspired me and accompanied me to be free. I met the pensioner dignity in the streets defending their rights. The disability movement claiming autonomy and not charity. The gypsy people resisting and fighting. Migrant dignity. The critical power and social mobilization of the people. I had teachers and teachers who showed me other paradigms. I got to know the usefulness and defense of what is public (although these days it is already a little scarce).
One day I left Madrid and that’s where my tusa began, at that moment I knew that a tusa can also be felt in a city, has it happened to you? There was not a single moment that I did not think of her, that I did not miss her, that I did not plan my return, that I did not dream of meeting her again. That loving her and not being able to see her that made me come back and stay. You see, sometimes I think that we are so different, that our way of thinking and voting is so different (we are not going to argue about this, but it is true that she and I tend to vote differently) or that there are things that separate us; for example, the insistent way in which some make me feel that no matter how much time passes I will never be part of it. And there are many others that I criticize and that I will continue to do so, things are like that; but I, who am a first-rate stubborn person, a stubborn person who does not give up so easily, I have decided to continue loving her and being happy with her. I’ve known her for 9 years and her swallow doesn’t go away.