Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Font

This week will be the last week that we call the Font Magica our neighbor. The Font has been a loyal friend these past twelve months (the first half of which I was only a visitor to the Font rather than a true neighbor), its music thundering into our apartment at exactly 9:30pm every weekend night during the spring, summer, and fall. It shines and dances even now, when the summer crowds have thinned and fewer tour buses clog the curbs. It’s no less grand, no less elaborate, than it is during the height of tourist season. Last Thursday, I watched the Font from high up near the Palau Nacional, sitting with a glass of wine on hard cracked stones. The music is quieter there, the Font a more manageable basin of colored lights on water. But from there it looks even more a part of the city, dominating Plaza Espanya swallowing the headlights from the traffic that flows in front of and towards it.

It’s been nice living near the Font, always a happy sight as we walk to dinner or drive in a taxi home. But it struck me last week how nice it is also to walk out the front door of our apartment building and melt into an ambling, chattering crowd of tourists—to weave through them and their maps and cameras and find a quiet(er) place to sit in the dark Barcelona night. It’s pure anonymity. The only permanent faces at the Font are the workers behind the counters of the small open-air cafes; all the others will swiftly go, back to their buses and hotels. For all anyone knows, I’m part of this tour group, or that one, thinking about a long flight home. No one knows I’m here, for now, to stay, that after the Font’s show I’ll actually be home again in seconds, still hearing the Font’s music as I crawl into bed.

When we move, we’ll still visit the Font, but we won’t be neighbors anymore. Seeing the Font will be something we plan, decide, to do. And afterwards, we’ll take the metro or a taxi home. The Font’s music will follow us only so far before disappearing.

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