Vamos al rincón oscuro,
donde yo siempre te quiera.
Let’s go to the dark corner,
where I always love you.
—Federico García Lorca
from Bodas de Sangre, 1932
They touch—someone touches—every hour of every day in the parks and metros and markets and doorways of Madrid.
They don’t abandon PDAs with age.
They dance for no reason and for every reason.
Even their lispy catcalls land softly on the ear.
In the back of a bar frequented by matadors, we’re served cured lomo by a man who slices pig for a living. He was an engineer back in Romania.
After making a promise we would all soon forget, he spins and dips me around and around, the bar shutting down behind us, the music still playing, patrons ignoring the time.
In the street, a matador shows us photos of bulls and red satin costumes on his phone until a street-sweeper pushes us back into the bar.
This city is self-cleaning, and welcomes the morning with espresso, clear skies, and bleary eyes.
And as the sun sets again, Flamenco steps with great intention onto the stage. The house lights dim. The dancers and classical guitarists and vocalists—their faces full of yearning—show us passion without vulgarity, intensity without aggression, the pain that comes with love.