November 30, Monday
The first one to arrive at the Seville´s bus station is Alberto who checks his walkman for the long road. The morning seems not too cold, perhaps because we fear the temperature waiting for us in Paris. Something before 8:30 o'clock Javi arrives, with his stack of milanese steaks and other dishes. Both comment, with a hidden longing, the delay of the other two components of The Sound of Simon. Then Paco's shape with new beard appears in the distance, up the perrons, . He seems to have a confusion about if they all had been dated inside the station or outside by the perrons. Last the 8:45, when the nerves have appeared for blame of Aitor who arrives late 15 minutes alleging that he´s been waiting for us a good while to the entrance.
The four ones are already together, backpacks on shoulders (except for Javi who brings a too obvious trip bag), all willing to undertake a trip that short before it seemed for them very unlikely: going to see Paul Simon.
The bus starts and, looking through the window, someone hums Graceland or America; nothing else right for the occasion. After few minutes of the trip they all begin to think of the way of fun for the next six hours, so the backpacks checking begins. Alberto seems to have filled his own one in a store with everything one dime cost, because he´s got everything: food, handful of cassettes, markers, small speakers, etc. He opts for the walkman and a couple of tapes, just like Paco, with a lighther baggage. Javi just looks at the landscape, because he´s left the walkman to fill its place in the bag with 6 packs of juice. The astonishment rises when Aitor says everyhing in its backpack is just some T-shirts (short sleeves!!) and some Paul´s vinyl sleeves including the disks inside of!! ("so that Paul leans on better when he autographs"). The surprise continues when Paco shows off Alberto that his walkman is not repaired with insulating tape because it works stupendously. Then Alberto takes his walkman and, joking, he makes the gesture of throwing it to the floor because "it no longer works"... And he really throws it!. It´s slided from his hand, you know, but the walkman is crashed definitively.
Counting the cars
On the New Jersey Turnpike.
They´ve all come
To look for America
All eats to look for America
In Madrid, just after getting off the bus, we locate the underground line that will take us to the railwaystation; there is not too much time and we cannot be delayed. Located the way, we make the first meal of the trip, when Javi and Aitor reach an agreement, the first one gives him something of eating whenever it is the omelette sandwich that he doesn't feel like; Aitor, on the other hand, tastes it delightiously.
Taking underground and then the train (but by airplane or by horse, they will use all the ways of transport). Along the small tube trip they take several pictures. The problem: the Javi´s camera and its... spool of pictures.
They arrive at the station. Endless turnarounds until on the screenboard the number of platform is despicted. And, suddenly... Delayed. What?!, How?!. Line in the Information window . They ask, but answer doesn´t convince them so they ask again. Just a mishap apparently,a half an hour delay. However, the idea they all have in mind is that of a police inspection. That same morning the fucked ones from ETA had commited murder in Madrid and as that train is going to France, where those murderers use to be hidden, well, you know.....
After 30 eternal minutes it´s OK to get on the train. Car 80 beds 25A -26A -21B -22B. The four ones in a mousetrap, but you know scabies with pleasure don't itch (that we say in Spain). The bad thing is that suddenly a Fu-Manchu´s great-grandchild enters saying "Twenty five, twenty five"! and he sits down there, in one of their seats. "We will look for the train inspector", Paco says. "However you want" the asiatic one would think, but the guy doesn't get off and he begins to undo his baggage in front of them all. Slow and angry the train inspector arrives to make justice and to send to the oriental guy to the "twenty five"! in the 81car.
The train starts. They glean in that minuscule compartment and they get calmed, they have dinner; one eats sandwiches, another one steaks, another sandwich, and Aitor, just dry fruits. Short before somebody passed asking surprisingly: "Will you have dinner in the restaurant"?. Aitor asks him politely: " is it free"?. No comments answer.
Night is on and Paco asks with some fear : "Is it usual the train trembles so much and noisely"?. As awaiting the beds are opened, they begin the creation of the poster they will wave proudly before the New York´s singersongwritter. After several proposals, it is chosen the one that prays: "From Spain. No Money. No Hotel. Just Simon". Aitor has brought a sheet piece on which he has painted Paul's curious cartoon that will finish off the sentence which, unnoticedly to them just now, later it will become a kind of a slogan for the next days in Paris.
Sleeping time. Or, at least, time to turn off the light. The nerves, although none recognizes it completely, they get tied up in the stomach and they only leave place to the jokes and comments. Alberto takes out a tape recorder from his suitcase and he uses it to pick up anthological sentences of the trip. The midnight passes and, while they see the Castilla landscape passing by, they begin to do lists with their favourite Paul Simon songs. But, "solo or with Garfunkel"?.
In a place of the north whose name cannot be remembered, Alberto, naked chest, greets a station guard. This one, being hotter than a marine in Ibiza, makes him certain nasty expressions with his stick and Alberto thanks the train has already departured.
Now they all are sleepy. Nevertheless Alberto, sighted once more again the ghost of the 4 railway."
Still and silence. Only the the train crack. Although, in fact, they fake to sleep. In those moments, their minds are a box of resonances, where the echoes of The boy in the bubble, Still crazy, Diamonds on the sole of her shoes or The Boxer recover images of concerts, interviews and performances where they have seen Simon, and they imagine how the moment will be when they see him appearing on the scenario.
It is one of those awakings, when Paco and Alberto notice that the train stops suspiciously and some guys inspect with lanterns under the wheels. It seems to be Hendaya. A new ghost, softly, fat, with small mustache, greets rising his arm far away.
Poorboys and pilgrim with families
and we are going to Graceland