I’m back in Madrid for the first time in nearly five years. It seems almost impossible that it’s been that long. I have a nervous energy that’s similar to calling an estranged friend.
“I’m sorry, I should have called sooner…” Anything to blurt out to break the ice. A guilty energy.
To my surprise I’ve missed the city. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my time in Madrid, it’s that despite all of the time I spent here, I never felt like I lived here. I was too involved in my studies, in a relationship, in a bubble, to ever really feel a part of something. So it’s surprising when I feel the excitement of familiar sights. Unlike Prague, or Chicago, it doesn’t carry with it the weight of ‘what could have been’. I was never going to stay in Madrid. But as a result it’s light, and lacks the hollowing feeling that normally accompanies me to my old homes.
This is familiarity without the existential baggage, and I need that. I can’t remember if I was happy when I was living here, that was a strange time. But I’m happy now. Returning to a place without expectation is a rare and enjoyable thing.