I woke up this morning and, for some reason, my head was here. In Portugal at the Palácio da Pena in Sintra. We walked the wet paths, clutching our umbrellas, through fairytale mist. The lush woodlands carved out this picture of slippery yellow and grey, dripping to just a blur.
We took the train back to Lisbon and, the next day, my friend Lynn and I met up with Graça, a stranger to me and, up until then, just a woman who penned work e-mails to Lynn. She was barely five feet tall, in a black suit one size too small, cheeks red and chubby.
Graça had a lot to say. About everything. Barely let us sneak in a word. She led us through the streets, always marching many steps ahead, forced baked goods into our hands, analyzed event spaces (Lynn was there on business. I was, as usual, observing…tagging along.) Her judgements were much bigger than her height. She was unimpressed with almost all that she saw.
You went to Sintra yesterday? Her eyes huge with disapproval. What a silly thing to do. To see one of the most beautiful places in the world, in the pouring rain.
I don’t know why I think of Graça and Sintra today. But, for me, Sintra will always belong to the rain.