“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense.”
Behind me I could hear the girl screaming, her cries bouncing off the walls of the narrow streets. The man was a few metres ahead of me, both of us running flat out, and it seemed as if I would never catch up to him. But then he suddenly stopped and turned. He stared at me and slowly bent down, gently placing the phone on the ground, never losing eye contact. In that moment it felt as if someone had hit the pause button. I saw him. And then he ran off.
I didn’t see a robber. I didn’t see a wrongdoer. I saw him. I felt this overwhelming feeling of connection. He didn’t have to gently place the phone on the ground, he could have flung it down or continued running, I don’t know if I could have caught up to him. But in that moment the so-called ‘wrongdoer’ did something entirely unexpected and it was in that moment that we connected.
I had been walking back home in Barcelona and it was about 10:30pm. I had passed a girl dressed up for a night out, something which stood out in a city then largely in lockdown, with no bars or cafes open to dress up for. A few seconds later she had begun screaming ‘ladrón’ (thief) and a man hurtled past me. I gave chase, and as we were close to my house I was able to easily navigate the familiar labyrinth of streets of the old town. And no, I wasn’t being brave. Bravery is overcoming fear and yet I had no fear. I just wanted to get the girl’s phone back to her and was hell bent on doing so.Continue reading “A Tale of One City”