Just a feel of the place

The weather has been vacillating between autumn and spring lately: chilly in the evenings, warm, almost hot, during the day. Outside my window I could see the familiar grey patch of winter against the sky moments ago, the kind of grey you get when you mix too many watercolour tones together. Now, the brightest blue of Northerners’ Spanish fantasies as a backdrop to the cypresses.

This place has always felt secretly broken to me, of a quality that makes it feel unwound, ruptured, punctured, razed and, ultimately, unfixable. This is both true of the ‘deserty’ countryside, now all green and pleasant due to some rainfall recently, and of the incoherent urban developments that both spread out in the emptiness and encroach on older, humbler settlements with narrow streets and curiously eclectic houses and churches. This is sometimes true of some people, too, quietly despairing on the lap of luxury, momentarily glimpsing at the great void ahead of each one of us’ line of gaze.

When I think of the Outpost I think of scorching heat and the precious consolation of its short winters, of so many ruins and wildflowers, of old clots of blood on dry soil and the devastating ugliness of unimaginative concrete prisms, of unmarked graves and discarded condom boxes, of roadkills and the shame of erstwhile poverty; I think of the locals’ desire to tile every patio and housing-develop every hill, especially if overlooking the sea; I think of the thin forests on the mountains that cannot usually hide sweeping vistas of barren rock and dust just behind them, in the near distance. I somehow always think of kind Outposters, always of kind people, never of unkind ones. I can even name them. I feel the loneliness of a tired couple who only have each other. I feel them embracing inside a room as if to keep each other from the cold, where there is actually none; I feel their inability to be happy in this ugly town, feeling as they do like trees sometimes, uprooted from and thirsty for the wide open world.

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