Winning the lotto had changed so many things in his life. Joey however, was a gift from the old days, and they were celebrating 20 successful years in the import business this May, and 30 years of companionship. Neither man was gay, they would both describe their sex drive as ambivalent, but they had given up trying to convince their families and friends years ago. It didn’t matter.
They had just arrived in Barcelona last night; one of their favorite cities in the world. La Boqueria, how could any other market in the world compare to that bustling building full of vendors, and colors and tourists and locals and smells. It always felt like a homecoming and he could find his way to Las Ramblas and the entrance to the market, even if he somehow lost his sight or his mind. It was a haven, a delightful journey away from the rest of the world. Driving into town from the airport sitting on the sticky back seat of an old taxi cab, gazing out the window at the crypts built into the hillside, at the enchanted steeples of the old cathedral, shop front after shop front of gorgeous shoes and handbags and flowers.
On their last visit they scored on a truckload of Mallorca pearls, the big chunky ones so in fashion now. And silver was coming into its own-the shops filled with trendy new designs and 60s classics.
Everywhere they looked the plazas were full of people of all ages walking arm in arm, chatting in small groups greeting their friends, walking their dogs, or following a tour guide speaking into a walky talky, a herd of poorly dressed Americans from one of the cruise ships in port.
They stopped into a local cafe and ordered a cava, instructing the waiter to serve them at an outside table. The glasses came first, and then a bottle, opened with a flourish tableside and then placed into a bucket of ice just behind them.
We didn’t order a bottle they protested, and the waiter just smiled and shook his head, and nodded towards a little hobbit of a man standing in the doorway. He was barely five foot tall and was completely hairless, not just his head, but his entire body. He had two curious prominent upper teeth which gave his face the look of a rabbit, the eye tooth on one side was missing and he looked like he had been in some sort of horrible accident years ago, the scars thick and swollen together in vertical lines on each side of his face.