By the time Peleón (the fourth bull of the day) came charging out the gates at the shout of the trumpets I was resigned to the gruesome pageantry. He was the shortest bull yet but he looked handsome, like there was even some latent kindness in his face as he bayed, running in circles around the stadium. Then with banderillas in his back like red and white feathers and the matador hiding his sword behind the cape, Peleón started showing the same morbid rhythm in step and in breath.
Looking at the curved path he left in the dirt after the horses, adorned in their pastel finery, whisked him away, I was astounded how on this dirt stage we could see the very incarnation of strength and vitality reduced to a pile of meat dragged away by the horns in a matter of minutes. Watching the bulls enter and leave six times, I did find myself rooting for the jumping bandilleros and the matadors while they danced with the bulls threatening horns near. However, I don’t think I could bring myself to watch a fight like that again with all the morbidity under the pretext of courage.
I have been trying to figure out how to work some sort of bull-fight metaphor for this trip in Spain but I can’t decide wether I’ve been the matador or the bull. That’s not to say that this was a kill or be killed kind of trip but there were challenges, gorings avoided and capes charged at. I can’t say that I’ve become fluent but I have had the opportunity to practice my Spanish plenty. Some people even think I’m a Mexican for the first few minutes of a conversation after I open with “Soy un estudiante de periodismo y soy de Neuvo Mexico.”
Goodbyes are not my strong suit, I don’t have much of a stomach for the sentimental but I will miss Madrid. I will miss the people I’ve come to know on this trip as well. They have all shared in my experiences in Spain and I have shared theirs. They have put up with me and included me and as one of the younger students here and I am grateful to all of them. So ends my time at Northeastern, so long Boston (I will not miss the winter) and so begins my return to the Southwest. Now to go back to the former far flung edge of the Spanish Empire, the dusty tourist town baking in the sun, the same point A to point B as the conquistadors (with better means of travel.)