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Locked Door

Two days before New Years Eve we stayed in an apartment minutes from Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun) in Madrid. That square contains, among other, the famous clock with its bells marking the eating of the Twelve Grapes, a Spanish tradition for good luck. I love this busy and historic place, its close proximity to all major sights and shops and bars and cosy squares. Yet, what fascinated me most on our visit this time was a door. The door to our apartment. That is, the inside of the door with its many locks. And that image has come creeping back into my mind again and again…

 

Locked Door

Still lying in bed she recalled how, a few hours earlier, she’d popped each one of the twelve grapes synchronously with each bell strike into her mouth, and how her gaze had been fixed on RTVE and its life broadcast from Puerta del Sol. She remembered how her friends used to make funny faces encouraging laughter when stuffing the sweet fruits in their mouths and that for far too long she’d been swallowing all twelve grapes without choking. And that she’d got used to jumping up from her sofa shouting A Happy New Year into the room and to the people on TV blowing them air kisses. After the main event she’d watched the late show on TV sipping sparkling Verdejo commenting the music and supposedly comic acts. The only difference this time were the bangs coming from outside at twentyfive to one. Fireworks. Slightly delayed, she thought. But she’d enjoyed looking at them all the same after pulling up the blinds, and probably because of the delay they’d seemed so special. After she’d finally gone to bed in the early morning hours she dreamt of grapes shooting down a large water slide and landing inside a pool of sparkling water reflecting the sun and blue sky. That morning, after finishing her first morning coffee of the New Year she went to her door, turned the rusty key inside the lock, unfastened the door chains, unbolted the iron door bolt and swung the door open.

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