I O U (A Love Song)

Barcelona, Fiction

Lukas knew better than to accept the invitation he received on the last night of his trip to Barcelona, but Celeste knew that wouldn’t stop him. Celeste was beautiful—an eight-and-a-half out of ten, easily—and Lukas was basically an idiot.

When Lukas arrived at the small sushi restaurant in the Raval, he spotted Celeste at a table in the corner. She looked up and gave him a forced smile. Undeterred, Lukas sat, and for a while they chatted amiably, Celeste waiting for the right moment to say what she had to say. The opportunity arose about twenty minutes in, when Lukas began to ruminate on the bittersweet feelings he experienced at being back in Barcelona. At this point, Celeste launched her attack.

“It’s the same damn song, every time,” she seethed. “And I’m sick of it. After tonight, I want you to delete my number, and my email, stop following me on all social media, and I never want to hear from you ever again.”

Lukas turned his head and watched the chef slice raw fish. The pain of her words had brought tears to his eyes—tears that he was desperately trying to prevent her seeing.

“Hey.” Celeste’s voice was softer now. “Come on, let’s go for another beer…”

Lukas stared at her, dumbstruck. “No,” he said.

“Fine,” said Celeste, and Lukas asked for the bill. Outside, they looked at each other one last time and then said goodbye, Celeste turning away first and disappearing into the crowded street.

After that night, things improved immeasurably for Celeste: she switched jobs and began to make a name for herself as a music journalist—something she’d always wanted. She was finally unburdened and the city was hers again. Lukas went back to England, and was miserable for a long time until, one day, he wrote a short story, the authenticity of which no-one could confirm except Celeste, and since she had blocked him there was no way for her to know.