The girl with the butterfly hair part 3 - High-heeled shoes on a park bench

Before you read this blogspot I suggest you read the story from the beginning

She sat down on the bench. As she bent down to remove the high-heeled shoes her blond hair fell as summer curtains around her face. When she saw the blood on the inside of the shoes as well as on her heels and toes she made a face. There was no way she was going to put her feet in these shoes again.

She had walked a lot further on them than she had planned. When she had left the house where she had been waiting in vain for the boy with the long eye lashes to come back, she had expected to find a taxi or a metro station just around the corner.  But this was la Moraleja, not the center of Madrid, so even if she had walked far she still had not seen a metro station or an available taxi.

She wedged the heels of the shoes into the back of the bench. She startled when someone spoke to her in Spanish. As she looked up she saw an elderly lady smiling at her.

“Lo siento, no hablo español. Do you speak English?”
 “Oh, yes, as a matter of fact I do”, the lady said and sat down next to her.

The girl looked surprise. “That’s unusual, most Spanish people your age do not speak English!”
The lady nodded. “I know. But since I have lived in London the last twenty years, I guess I am not like ‘most Spanish people’ when it comes to speaking English.”

They both moved slightly so they could look at each other more easily.

“Have you moved back or are you just visiting?”

The girl looked at her with honest interest. The old lady knew she would not be honest back. It was too complicated. The letter that had made her go back, after all these years, still felt like it was burning in her pocket. As if he could hurt her even now, from his grave.

“That remains to be seen”, she smiled, and quickly asked a question back:
“What about you, do you intend to walk barefoot from here?”

The girl lifted her feet and showed the blisters.
“I know. And it is so stupid. All for a boy. I just wanted to look good tonight.”
“Oh, you already do dear. You just do not see it yourself.” The old lady looked down at her hands. At their wrinkles and the blue veins that spread over them like embroidery.
“Youth has its own beauty. A beauty that does not need enhancements, it is just there. The silly thing is that we normally don’t see it until we have lost it.”

The girl shrugged. Too young, too pretty to fully understand.
“From now on I will go back to sneakers. It’s not like guys dress in uncomfortable ways for us girls.”
The older woman moved her head slightly.
“Maybe not. But they sometimes do stupid, dangerous things, just to make us notice them.”
The blond girl laughed as the older woman put her hands on her knees before she stood up. 
“It is time we get you a pair of shoes.”
The girl tossed her hair back. “How?”
“My daughter owns a second hand store.  I have the keys to it. I am sure we can find you something.”

They walked away, the elderly lady and the girl without shoes. They walked away from the bench with two shoes in the backrest. 
Read part 4 of the story here.

Just like with the wine glass (see the girl with the butterfly hair part two) this story entered my head after I came across an unusual sight during one or our walks in the outskirts of Madrid. The real story behind it? Who knows...


An autumn that smells like summer

The birds chirp happily in the mornings - it sounds just like spring.
Outside of the office I hear the lawn mowers and the smell of freshly cut grass makes me think of summer.
But wait a minute. It isn't summer. It is just an unusually warm autumn in Madrid. My associations from Sweden fool me.

To think of summer when it is actually autumn is harmless. I know what month it is, I can correct myself easily. But our associations may fool us when we meet new people too.

It is easy to perceive Spaniards as rude if you measure them by Swedish standards. They interrupt regularly and talk a lot without leaving space for others to say anything. In the same way Spaniards may find that Swedes are really hard to get to know.

Whenever I enter an elevator in Madrid I will be greeted with "Hola, buenos dias" and when I leave, everyone will say "Hasta luego". What a Spaniard will experience when entering an elevator in Sweden is silence. Possibly a small nod and a smile, nothing else. They  might perceive that as very cold and rude.

In the project I am working in (with people from Sweden, Spain, the US and China) we have agreed about how to behave and what respect means for us.
We have agreed to NOT assume, because if you assume you make an Ass of U and Me.

This is not only valid when we talk about different cultures and different countries, It is valid whenever we meet other people.

Remember, what smells like summer to you, may be autumn for someone else.