#129 and I eventually tore ourselves away from Barcelona, spent a night in Valencia, then travelled on down to Murcia. We decided to go there because when I was eighteen #20 and I worked in a factory in Germany with a bunch of Irish, Polish and Spanish students, and the Spanish ones seemed to primarily come from Murcia, which didn’t seem to be a place that visitors to Spain went to all that often. I hadn’t lasted long in the factory. I’d written a couple letters to the Murcia boys but inevitably we didn’t stay in touch. It would’ve been one hell of a coincidence to run into any of them when we showed up in Murcia, but I was inspired to check out the place regardless.
What actually happened when we showed up in Murcia was I discovered I had a lot of trouble understanding the local accent, plus figuring out how to get from the bus station to the centre of town was a needlessly arduous process. Once we finally got to the hotel, the receptionist talked to me as if I was an imbecile, rather than somebody who was just having difficulty with his accent. Then we found they’d given us twin beds rather than a double. We dumped our baggage on the floor and flopped onto the beds. “Fuck Murcia,” we proclaimed.
Oddly enough, a few glasses of wine and suddenly I could understand everybody just fine. We cultivated a joint crush on the bartender at the place where we wound up. Her friend gave me a Powerpuff doll and swapped phone numbers with me, even though we never contacted each other. We got the bartender to marry us. It was 25 September 2004. Our original plan had been to make it to Gibraltar by this date, and get married there. We’d decided it would be hilarious because neither of us believed in marriage. We’d get married in Gibraltar and then the next year we’d have a ceremony in Toronto where we’d renew our vows. The marriage plan quietly got shelved when we considered that we’d have to fork over money, even a small amount, to make it happen. So we got the bartender to perform a quick ceremony instead.
The bar closed, but we didn’t want to finish up yet. In an alleyway, we asked some boys if there was somewhere we could get some food at this time of night. They showed us to a convenience store, then suggested we might as well get some alcohol too while we were at it. We wound up drinking with them in a park. Botelleo, they called it, rather than the default Spanish botellón. It was a good night. #129 was bonding with one of them and they were singing A Las Barricadas together. #140 was another of the boys; he had a passion for britpop which I couldn’t really get behind, but he was a nice boy. We were saying goodbye in the street at 7am and he was just going to give me a kiss on each cheek, but I lunged instead.
We’re still in touch occasionally. He says that he found me kind of a mixture between a “fantastic and very strange person”.