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Seville 2020

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The marble foyer of Hotel Casona is cool in the unseasonable heatwave,
my phrase book free Valentine checks in, I admire the sparkling chandelier, offer up a shy Hola.

our urgent need of tapas is satisfied at El Rinconcillo, since 1670 on Gerona Street, delicious Hamon, waxed paper cones of cheese, cold Estrella beer, sated we retrace the narrow alleyways of our honeymoon city.

heat and shade, heat and shade, the sun blinks, what waits in the shade?

we are captivated by preparations for Semana Santa de Sevilla
practice runs for the procession of pasos.
while in boutique streets alongside flamboyant flamenco dresses destined for the Feria de Abril sit the quietly ominous pointed hoods of the nazerenos.

I buy Feria posters and Frida Kahlo earrings which I wear to dinner
at Paco Pepe, resisting not the black honey drizzled goats’ cheese, creamy avocado prawns, thick salmorecco, crusty breads, we feast accompanied by a mellow red wine, obligatory backgammon,

we are at home here, in this place of fire and animation,

newsstand headlines of a virus in China is not part of our after-dinner conversation. as night falls Spanish guitar quietly plays outside Hotel Casona on the Plaza des San Andreas and breakfast every morning leads us back to Bar el Comercio, where my love fluently orders a heap of fat, golden, curling Churros to dip into piping hot chocolate with our fingers, mugs of Café con leche warm us as the streets slowly wake up. Perfecto!

on top of the City sightseeing bus we listen to multilingual commentary on red earphones before entering the magnificence of San Salvador, am I shamed or awed by such opulence? outside, horses and carriages sun dappled by trees, doze while waiting for passengers and at the best flamenco in town,
the hypnotic guitarist plays
laments to rhythmic hand clapping, passionate, dramatic, controlled movements,
on the edge of your seat stuff
in the dark underground basement
I taste beads of sweat from the dancers.

we are wrapped in the blanket of Seville.

four weeks later Hotel Casona, El Rinconcillo, Paco Pepe, Bar el Comercio closed.
San Salvador eerily quiet, horses in stables stamp idle feet, City buses empty.

no Semana Santa, the pointed hoods of Nazerenos wilt in pain,
no Feria, no flamenco.

Oh Sevilla, I long for your heat.

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