I opted for the commuter train heading north back to Madrid. I would be lying if I said it was due to a lack of seats on the express service. My friend called them milk trains; it was an expression I had never heard before, and I thought it odd. However, I was okay with this because I was leaving Cordoba bound for Madrid; therefore, the slower, the better. Furthermore, I wanted to prolong the trip, even if it meant a pang in my heart at every station.
An older gentleman sat next to me. I am still determining which stop he got on. We greeted one another with pleasantries. I had to talk; no, I had to confess. So, when his gaze fell upon me, I opened up.
"I awoke in a bed, not another world, as I assumed, as I had hoped. And so you see," I told the man," the painting - that damned painting- made me believe I was in another realm."
My travel companion nodded, so I carried on.
"Looking at it from my pillow that morning, I thought I was in a dream world. It was so utterly unexpected. I thought, 'the artist of this work must be truly enchanting.’” I paused momentarily. He casually gazed at me, so I moved forward with barely a moment’s hesitation. ''Yes, she must be indeed someone special."
He acknowledged me again, so I carried on.
"It's about language. It was then that I knew, that I knew wholeheartedly, that she was working with an artistic voice I so desperately wanted to hear - a voice that I so helplessly wanted to be directed at me. You see, oh, that hand that touched the canvas, that breathed life into it. That hand, those fingers, I wanted them to touch my mind, to reach within me and pluck out the very thing that I couldn’t articulate. I knew it was possible; I knew she could. I could see it in the brushstrokes and the color palette; I knew there was a sort of divinity there. Those hands, that mind, that heart could so easily peer within me, step within me, and harvest that which I hadn’t, that which I couldn’t. Surely this is an odd concept, and I'm positive you think me mad for even telling you. But, I must let this out; I must reveal this."
My companion glanced out the window, turned to me, and bowed his head slightly.
"It was desire, a pure lust, but innocent. I wanted her mind. I wasn't pondering her body when I awoke in her room, draped in her scent, greeted by the calls of Cordoba. Instead, I contemplated the world her painting had delivered me to. Oh, that damned painting! That damned painting.”
Evidently, the passion with which I was sharing this story was becoming apparent. Whether this was making him feel uncomfortable or not, I am uncertain.
But it was then that he turned to me and said,
"Lo siento, señor, pero no hablo inglés."