Chapter FIVE

Time goes so slow when you are having a bad time, as people say. How right they are! Here I am, laying on my bed, unable to sleep. It is so hot, I’m still sweating since I came back from that disastrous concert, and I can’t open the window in case that damned bat gets in. This bat has been trying for months to get into my bedroom, not my parents’ or sisters’, just mine. I can hear it screeching and scratching the window. Mum says that it’s nesting under my windowsill and that I can’t touch it because it is a protected species, so I won’t be able to use a snake to eat that bat. Although I don’t know where I could get a snake from and most probably I would faint if I saw one!

Anyway, it’s too hot and it’s running in my head over and over again what has happened tonight, trying to figure out a reason, a why, a how, for my disastrous night. And I can’t find one. Not a single one. Everything was planned to perfection, but how could I know that she was going to go mental when she saw her friends? Or that some idiot would take my wallet?

With those thoughts still going around in my head, I fall asleep. A sweaty, miserable night of hell-bent-to-get-in bat screeches and self pity, finally reaches its end and it is a new day! Sunday, a day to enjoy with your family and laze about. Not so much. We are going back to Hi-School on Monday and, as it is my final year before going back to Uni, Mum thinks that I need to be ready for whatever is thrown at me, to get the best results and obtain a good place in whatever I choose to study. And, to be honest, going to Uni right now doesn’t appeal to me for two reasons: a) I don’t know what I want to become and, b) there is only one thought in my mind at the moment: Nola.

So, despite my protests, Mum makes me sort everything out: books, rucksack, timetables, clothes etc. Anyway, I will see my friends back again after a long summer being apart, so we can chat and talk about girls etc. Or, in my case, probably, be teased by the girls at our level. They’re OK, most of them are actually my best friends but they can’t resist teasing me since that unfortunate incident I had about three years ago when I asked Raquel out for Valentine’s Day. Initially I didn’t want to do anything at all because of my shyness but, in the end, after being bullied by my so-called friends, I gave in and bought her a clip-on brooch for her hair with all my savings. Then I was misled by my mates to give it to her at lunchtime, just when everybody are out to go back home and have some food. The magic of the moment took over me and I, red-faced, gave my present to her, wishing her a Happy Valentine. Obviously what happened next it’s not too difficult to guess: she ran away crying completely embarrassed and everybody else but me was laughing out loud. I just didn’t get it.

Thankfully that was then and now I’m more mature and street-wise than those years ago, when I was just a little boy. And now I’m being faced with this mammoth task of conquering this girl that has won my heart hands down. And it won’t be easy. But, if you cannot do it yourself, do it with a little help from your friends.

And that is precisely what the next attempt will be: my friends are going to help me, but it will be hard and we will need some resources.

Chapter FOUR

So there she is, gorgeous as ever, wearing black jeans and a white top and her long hair over her shoulders. Looking at her, her figure cutting the horizon with the sun setting down, I can only hope for the best. –“you look gorgeous my darling”- I think to myself, but the only thing I can muster is –“Hiya, you ok? Shall we go in then?”- So clumsy!

The Olympic Stadium is massive inside, and I can’t believe how many people are attending this concert, there must be at least a couple of million people! That is actually a good thing for my plan, so I grab Nola’s hand so we won’t get lost, but then immediately she gently releases it from my soft grip. I feel a stab in my heart, but no worries, the night is long and I’ll succeed!

Once the gig starts, the people go wild, singing all their songs and so does Nola. I haven’t got a clue of them as they are not my favourite group in the world, to be honest. But the best thing is to follow suit and there I am shouting alongside all these people at the top of my voice. I think Nola finds that funny as I can tell by her smiling at me. Good!

So I’m getting ready to put into practice the second part of my plan and start stretching my arms, ready to go over her shoulders. However, at that precise moment, she starts shouting wildly and running towards another group of people. Some friends of her I could guess. Fantastic.

In the mayhem of the concert and the way that she left me, I manage to lose her or, maybe, I got lost, as plenty of people from behind are pushing forward so at one point I just don’t know where she is or, in fact, where I am. It’s useless to shout her name so I move around trying to find her but there is no luck whatsoever.

Tired and slightly annoyed, I walk to the exit, facing the ungrateful task of walking home alone. However, I had some money prepared to splash out on a taxi ride back home so I could take her like a princess so there I am, heading towards the taxi rank and as I am reaching for my wallet on my pocket I realise that it’s missing! Oh good grief! I cannot believe it! Some idiot has pinched my wallet! Why me God? Why oh why?

I couldn’t have imagined such an end to a night that, otherwise, should have been the greatest success ever on my empty love life. No girl, no wallet, no money and no taxi. Success. And, of course, a long walk home.
After some damning and thinking, I decide to sit down close to the exit and wait for Nola, after all, I don’t think it will be too difficult to see her as she is the only one that can shine so much. So there I am, a couple of hours later, staring at every single person that leaves the Stadium. After what seems like an eternity, the last person leaves and there is no sign of Nola or any of her friends. How strange, I think.

Unfazed, I walk towards the door and suddenly this huge security guard stops me, so I ask him if everybody has left already, which he confirms. Also, he tells me that there was another exit door right opposite to this one. Great, she probably left through the other door and I’ve been standing here for hours wasting my time. What a weekend.

Finally, defeated, I can only resume my sad and lonely walk home through dark and narrow streets. But nothing is darker right now than my mood. I’m starting to wonder whether I’m jinxed or just smashing against a wall I cannot avoid. I take a determination, which is to take a back seat and use a different approach towards my ultimate goal which is, of course, become Nola’s boyfriend.

Chapter THREE

And tomorrow finally comes! After last night walk home, my feet are swollen but my spirits are as high as always! Today is Saturday and I will see Nola again! Now then, the plans might be different from the last few nights. There is this group playing tonight at the Olympic Stadium and she absolutely loves them. Camela they’re called, a bit of a fusion between pop/rock/flamenco and they are adored by the gypsies and, according to dad, by all the truck drivers, for some strange reason.

So, I need to draft a plan, the definitive attack plan to finally succeed on my, so far, hapless quest to conquest this girl that keeps running away from my love. In short, I need the help from a friend, Miguel, who will take his girlfriend (our classroom’s own hottie) to the concert so I can go with Nola and play happy couples! Brilliant!

Just before lunchtime I phone Miguel’s house and explain my cunning plan to him and, being the great friend that he is, he accepts! So we already set a time to meet before the concert and everything will run smooth as silk.

I immediately ring Nola and ask her if she would like to come with us to the concert. She would love it but, poor thing, she couldn’t afford the ticket. No worries, I said, your armed chevalier is ready to rescue you (I thought). – “I have a couple of tickets perchance and was wondering if you could come with me” – I said not without developing a flash cold sweat and shaky voice. -”Great! What time do we meet?”

Wonderful! Everything is running to perfection. I just omitted to mention that another couple of friends of mine would turn up to the event. “I don’t think she’ll mind”– I said to myself- “after all, she’s coming for free!”.

I spend the whole afternoon fretting about in my bedroom going a million times over my plan in my head. It cannot fail. It won’t fail! So, after getting ready, and just before I leave home, a phone call: it’s Miguel. Bad news. After all, he won’t be able to come with us. Apparently Rocio, his girlfriend, does not like Camela, she actually thinks that they’re quite of poor taste and, that if he wants to go with her and see them, he is not worthy of her! Poor Miguel is crying his eyes out, she also told him she cannot see any future for him! Not just with him, but for him! How cruel is that? And more importantly, how dare she ruin my plans to go out with Nola?

Anyway, I go ahead with the plan. Nola will succumb to my charm tonight. It’s a fool-proof plan. When the concert gets going and the lights are dim I will get closer to her and kiss her! Then visions of Nola and I kissing passionately and dancing to the music appear before my eyes and I squeal with excitement.

So, finally, I hit the road and start the long walk to the Stadium. Nola won’t be late.

Chapter TWO

We don’t do much during the week as the classes start in a couple of weeks’ time, so we try and kill the time going to the swimming pool during the day and laze about in the evening, wasting our time talking nonsense. Although, of course, and secretly, I’m thinking of Nola, the girl with the mysterious halo about her that I met the other day.

So Friday finally comes and as usual we are talking more nonsense on the old PVC chairs by the pool. Maria didn’t want to come and I still wonder why, for some reason I haven’t seen her face the whole week, but that doesn’t seem to bother me as I am building my expectations up with this goddess that’s about to turn up.

There she is! There she is! I shout in my head when I see her turning around from the corner, and then my heart starts racing, my face turns so red that’s unreal and a thousand words seem to come together at the same time in my head. *Sigh* I don’t know if I will ever be brave enough to ask her out. I really should change the approach: I will ask Carolina about Nola. Decided, that’s what I’ll do. Yep, there she is, as loud as ever. Will she ever shut up? Ok, here I come.
-“Caro, I need to talk to you”- I ask her with a whisper. – “YOU WHAT?”-She half-shouts. And with that I nearly faint. So I repeat the question, legs shaking and bright red face: “I need to talk to you but please don’t shout” – “Ok matey, what’s up? And why on Earth is your face so red?” – “Never mind my face. You know Nola right? I….well…I *gulp*…kind of like her” –“Really? Oh you poor little devil! You don’t stand a chance! She’s hard to catch!”

Great. That’s all I needed to know. There’s this gorgeous girl that I really like and apparently I don’t stand a chance! We’ll see about that! Ha! And with that I go to Nola and start talking to her. I don’t even remember what we were talking about the whole evening due to me staring at her all the time, her face, her hair, her legs, her hands… she probably thinks that I’m some sort of psycho or a freak…
So by the end of the evening I ask her if she would mind being accompanied by me as it’s too dark to walk alone on the streets and especially where she lives, and it wouldn’t be wise to leave the love of my life by herself in case any big bad man assaults her. Although I’m only little, so I don’t really know what would I do if that situation propped up.

Anyway, there we are, walking together that mile and a half through dark and forgotten streets. Thankfully, it’s too late and there’s nobody out. Just us. The two of us. My chance. My original plan is to ask her out when we get to her front door. And that will be an offer she won’t be able to refuse. So, for the last half a mile I’m psyching myself up, getting ready to that big moment, thinking quite carefully what to say.

However, apparently my tongue it’s an organ independent from my body because it doesn’t seem to work when I need it to! So I just manage to say goodbye to her and that’s it. And now I have about four miles to walk home. Gutted. Maybe tomorrow I will be luckier.

Chapter ONE

The summer’s reaching its end. Although the city is a very hot place at night the temperature drops and where we are is right next to a river: The River Guadalquivir (or Wadi al-Kivir as it was known by the moors some 500+ years ago). There are mosquitoes buzzing around, fixated with the light bulbs that are still working. Crickets fill the air with their usual racket and, if you stop to listen and are brave enough you will notice some little snakes coming from the river bank to the grass and possibly into the swimming pool.

We are sitting in some PVC chairs chatting without a care, if I remember well I am the only boy of the group, how lucky! Sitting next to me is Maria, a nice girl, not especially pretty but nice enough (in fact I wouldn’t feel embarrassed if I ever was to be seen walking hand-in-hand with her). We are sharing that especial moment that is when you start touching her hand and she doesn’t back off. I’m enjoying, relishing, the moment in silence as she does too. The others don’t seem to notice our magic moment and for that I’m so grateful because, just imagine if any other girl of the group realises? I wouldn’t stand a chance with her! I need to keep all my chances open.

And then, all the peace and quiet go away: it’s Carolina and… Who is that other, new, girl? I haven’t seen her before. Plenty of questions start to fill my head but I cannot concentrate on them as Carolina is behaving as her usual self: loud, bossy, she is definitely more mature and experienced than the rest of us. She dress and behaves like one of those hippies, wearing these long skirts, black boots (and it’s SO hot!!), sweaters, pullovers or whatever you call them, you get my drift. Although we don’t have anything in common, she is a very good friend of mine, acting like an older sister, the older sister that I never had. I have two younger sisters, in fact, I think I can hear the younger one roaring on the background, bossing her friends around!

Then Carolina introduces us to this mysterious new girl: Nola she’s called and she goes to the hi-school close to where we’re standing. Nola looks thin, brown hair and fair skin. And when she smiles you can see her perfect, white teeth, all of them right in place. Something must have been in the air, because all of a sudden I feel like talking with her, being all over her and, somehow, I feel like spending the rest of my life with her.

And then, when I thought that I was thinking of doing it, I realised that in fact, I was doing it! So I had stopped holding Maria’s hand and went directly to Nola and started talking to her. About fifteen minutes later I noticed that I’d left Maria alone and looked at her and I saw her eyes full of fire, she gave me the finger (literally) and walked out and I don’t know why? All I was doing was talk to this new girl and then off she goes!

I feel smitten by this new girl, by the time I have to walk back home (about forty minutes going through a maze of narrow streets), all I can think of is Nola, N-O-L-A, how good she looked, her gorgeous smile and shy eyes. So I walk slowly, imagining ourselves in a better place where we could be together forever. With those thoughts I go to bed wishing and begging God that she comes back the next weekend so I can see her again and, maybe, ask her out.