When in Mallorca, if you wonder if there is a world outside of it, you don’t ask.
Instead, you sit on a hammock attached between two tall trees, whose leaves outline the sky in shapes you didn’t even know existed until then. You eat oranges that you picked yourself from those same trees; trees whose smells thickens the air with citrus. You spend late nights on a wooden porch, feeling the heavy air settling on your arm as your sunburn rests with chilled air. You drive cars down swirly driveways to dirt roads, and you never feel claustrophobic in the heavy canopy of leaves above you. You laugh when you get lost, because there’s nothing you don’t want to see. And I swear that while there, you’ll feel as if your heart is literally going to burst out of your ribcage, and you’ll finally understand why people tenderly place hands on their chests when they feel so much; half attempting to feel it’s fast beat, and half attempting to keep it from falling out when it tries to get a better look.
I spent a good portion of my spring break in Mallorca, and my time was spent with a heavy schedule. Jamie, Kaleb, Erin and I spent our first late night getting settled into our guest apartment that an old friend of mine I met in Costa Rica named Arantxa kindly let us stay in. We set down our luggage for the week, as we had just come from Madrid, would be leaving in a few days for Barcelona, and afterwards, Jamie and I would be going to Venice. Our little, carry-on-approved suitcases were almost bursting at the seams, and we were more than happy to finally let them, and our tired arms, rest after an afternoon of travelling.
When we settled in, we all looked at each other and seemed to think the exact same thought: “How could we have possibly called anything else beautiful until coming here?” We had become so accustomed to the heavy buzz of bodies and transport in Paris. We usually woke up to windows outlined in cityscapes, and our backyards are outlined with cobblestone. Now, we moved back soft, lacy curtains to find nothing other than color. The orange tree was budding with pops of fresh fruit and thick branches, and the grass was a mossy green that extended up the hill behind the property. Arantxa’s house boomed a bright yellow, and we had a purple, kitchen-nook like table on the porch at our disposal. The window was slightly open, and we could hear the sound of water flowing down the hill, and the now-familiar smell of citrus flooded into our room. We didn’t know what to say, but we also didn’t need to.
Hours later, we woke up around 8:30 am, allotting for some down time before heading out. After breakfasts of granola, fruit, sourdough bread and coffee, we sat on the back porch to watch everything around us. Jamie and I read books at the purple table, while Kaleb sat under the orange tree, and we all listened to the soft hum of bees as our background noise. Eventually, the sun started beating down, and we picked oranges and played catch with them until their skins broke and our hands became sticky from the juice. We peeled them back and ate every inch inside, immediately knowing that we would never eat an orange again without thinking of these.
Soon enough, we packed up and headed into town. Arantxa and her family offered us ideas of where to explore on the island, and we quickly had a schedule for the day. We drove down the long driveway to the small town of Puigpunyent, where the streets are built of tan stones and outlined with more lemon and orange trees. We welcomed the sun that we had been missing for so many months back in France, and as we drove we saw the town come alive with store owners opening up shop, townspeople walking down the streets intent on their routes, and cats wandering down alleyways.
We might of had a schedule, but when we drove into Valldemossa, all we wanted to do was wander. We filtered in and out of stores, and I found myself eventually leaving with bundles of cards, a necklace, and a creme and navy colored tapestry with fringe on the sides that I now treat as if it were my own child. While everyone was sifting through knick-knacks, I broke away and went up and down the windy streets. The cafes were reminiscent of Paris, as many people sat on little tables outside, watching everyone go by. When my Spanish failed me and a storeowner didn’t speak English, I managed to exchange words in French. Hearing this, a passerby and his wife continued to speak to me in French, and he told to me how he hasn’t seen Paris in years, and begged me to go to a square in the 9th arrondissement that he and his wife used to go to every Sunday. I told him I would, and after a few more sentences, they said goodbye, but before told me that, “If anything, write down everything that happens to you before you go home” I stared blankly back. His wife smiled and told me that he had told her the same thing years ago, and finished simply,
“It’s made all the difference”.
I didn’t pay much mind to what the couple said until a few days later. By that time, we had explored three towns, wandered the city of Palma, laid on the beaches, swam in the Mediterranean, and had enough Sangria to sink one of the many ships we watched bob on the horizon. And, by then, I had written down nothing. My notebooks stayed blank, and I almost expected dust on their new opening. It wasn’t until I was on the plane to Venice that I really sat down and recorded. And now I’m thanking myself wholeheartedly that I did. Because, passing through my notes, my scribbles, and my small stories, I imagined myself more clearly again on that same beach, with those same people, and driving on those same windy roads.
In a few days after Mallorca, Jamie and I will be sitting at a patio restaurant, watching new types of boats float along on a Venetian canal next to us. We’ll be drinking spritz and filling our stomachs with every type of pasta and pizza imaginable, and we’ll be caught up wondering when in the world we could possibly come back to this place, before our experience there is even over. And at some point in that time, we’ll climb back up the three flights of stairs to our tiny hotel overlooking a sleepy Venice, and I’ll open my notebook and see passages that seemed written worlds ago. And it’ll also seem like I have all the hours in the world ahead of me, although soon enough I’ll be back in Paris, with a newly booked ticket home to Colorado in my hands, scheduled for a short 23 days later. But, I don’t know any of this as I walk through Mallorca, watching storeowners mingle with people from town, watching children tug on their mother’s dresses for money for ice cream, and watching the clouds overhead move quickly by. Because, until then, I was in Mallorca, walking around, looking around, and noticing my how my hand slowly gravitated to the left side of my chest.