PROLOGUE from “A Spanish Love Affair”




Last night I dreamt I was in Madrid again.


As I make my way up the Gran Via, I can smell the sun hitting the pavement.   The aroma of strong coffee wafts out of sidewalk cafeterias.  The familiar dry, musty odour oozes from the vents of the magnificent old buildings lining the street.   Sculptures of angels and other winged creatures in carriages appear ready to launch from their rooves.

I am young again!



I tap my feet on the pavement and raise my arms in the air, clicking my fingers to the Flamenco music, belting out in my mind. I feel so alive, so rapturous, as if I am going to burst.


Later on, I wander through the Museo del Prado. As I enter each salon, my spirit soars when I gaze upon masterpiece after masterpiece – especially Titian’s generously proportioned women and Goya’s weary dark-robed penitents.


In the late afternoon, I tango up and down the length of the living room in our apartment in Chamatin, with Pedro leading me masterfully, held tightly in his arms while Carlos Gardell’s husky voice belts out his heartache.

When evening draws near I wander down the Calle de los Mesones in the old part of Madrid, where I eat the most delicious tapas and sip full-bodied Rioja. Afterwards, I dance at The Stones Club with all the boys I know, one after the other, moving to the beat, losing myself in the rhythm, singing the words of soul songs, long forgotten.

It is almost dawn when I walk up my street, General Oraa, clapping my hands for the Sereno to let me in. He emerges in a cloud of smoke from a nearby cafeteria and bustles self-importantly towards me with his huge bundle of keys to open the front door.

The hallway lights come on. The door on the first floor apartment opens revealing an old Senora, silhouetted in the doorway. She is wearing a quilted dressing gown and teeters on her high-heeled fluffy pink slippers. Her hair, sprouting large rollers, is covered by a chiffon scarf.  “Muy tarde, Senorita Susan.  Muy tarde.” She says tapping her watch.