We were enjoying our first dinner together. Well, maybe enjoying is the wrong word. I sat there dripping sweat, trying to stop myself from fainting. Amelia, Josep’s wife, sat resting her head in one hand eating her garlic soup and Josep was feasting on a hearty course of medication.
I had spent my day entertaining food poisoning. It was terrible company, constantly trying to rush out on me (if you catch my drift). I passed out on the metro on the way to my first Spanish class, which were interrupted by several trips to the toilet.
I made feeble attempts once or twice to initiate conversation, which I have translated for you.
“It was good when Spain achieved the world mug”, this was the first time I had ever volunteered to speak about sport. This failure was followed with, “the climate in Spain is not the same for the climate of Australia”.
“Eh?” Josep, cocked an ear towards me, flecks of tablet shell on his chin. He looked to Amelia, “muhrehmurh?”,
“He doesn’t understand what you are saying, Rubbit”;
I tried to repeat myself; Josep shrugged and moved on to his main course of blue and yellow pills. Amelia gave a sympathetic smile to the woozy young man gushing sweat across from her at thetable.
“The food is very go-blgh“, I retched but stoppered myself with my fist and disguised it as a cough. “Oh good that’s the vomit, thanks body”, I thought.
“Pardon me, the food, is very delicious”, nobody seemed to register. We sat in silence.
Amelia cleared our plates, I was hoping that I would be able to excuse myself and go and die a quick death in my room. But out came the cheese.
“This is Manchego, it is typical Spanish cheese”, Amelia informed me, I did my best to look appreciative, my stomach gurgled for mercy.
I drew a haphazard link to the man of la mancha, “like Don Quixote cheese”.
Josep stopped nibbling on his pills, “murhmh- Don Quixote – murhm” then he laughed, he actually laughed. Then Amelia laughed, then I laughed and forgetting my ailments in that moment of euphoria I bit into a slice of Don Quixote cheese. And immediately threw up.
In an effort to be polite I tried to rescue the furniture by throwing up into the only vessel at hand. Literally. I threw up into my cupped hands. But it was in vain the sick spilled over and ran through my fingers down my forearms and dripped onto the table.
“Oh god, excuse me”, I rushed to the bathroom with my hands still cupped trying not to let the fluid spill onto the floor. After several more hearty bursts I composed myself and sheepishly returned to the dining room, following the trail of spilled upchuck. I apologized profusely, “it was not the food”, I tried to explain, “I literally spent my day shitting all over Barcelona”, although I think what I actually said was this, “I am sorry, no food she is delicious, I shit on Barcelona, goodnight”.
Feeling very sorry for myself I lay awake on my uncomfortable bed, being kept from sleep by the playful pitter-patter of a toddler next door refusing its shrieking mother’s orders to go to bed.
Josep’s hacking cough cut through the sobs of the disobeyed mother next door. I got up and peered through my venetian blinds. He lay on the couch looking like a ghost Amelia tenderly rubbed his back. She looked over at my window I ducked out of sight and went back to bed where I lay wondering if Josep’s last memory would be of me throwing up all over the house.