I stayed up for days in that crummy hotel waiting for the sad eyed man from the lowlands to show. He didn't. On the bed I read Lorca cover to cover, listened to Bob Dylan all day long and I found him a wonderful match with the Spanish poet. Yosht and I considered ourselves serious Dylanologists and in this dismal room in sunny Granada I came to the conclusion that Dylan must have found duende early in his career and had kept the rest of the world at more than an arm's length to guard it and not lose it.
In the guestbook underneath Yosht's message I had written: 'Why don't you come see me, King James' (which of course referred to that wonderful Dylan song Queen Jane approximately) and underneath it I added the name of my hotel and my room number. He didn't show.
Every morning I went to the farmhouse and looked at the guestbook to see if he had left another message for me. He didn't. Several times a day I went down to the lobby to ask at the reception if there were any messages. There weren't.
I realized that nor Federico or Bob were not going to solve this for me. I had no choice but to turn on my miserable brain and go looking for a real estate agent.
Marcello Carrera Henriquez is a man who suffers from an overdose of optimism. 'Of course I can help you!' he cried, even before I had told him what it was I was looking for. As it was early in the evening he poured me a brandy, showing off the numerous sparkling rings on his elegant fingers. His smile disclosed a perfect line of equally sparkling teeth. Señor Carrera, the real estate agent, was neatly coiffed, smelled like a rose and had sensual lips that never stopped moving as he complimented me on the jacket I was wearing, the shoes on my feet and the colour of my skin. He himself wore a tailored sky-blue shirt and a pair of very tight yellow jeans, that he believed did justice to his bum. I felt my shortcomings increase with every move Marcello made and with every word he uttered.
Marcello's optimism did not allow him to show any signs of surprise or dismay when I told him I wasn't looking for a house - so sorry - but a ruin.
'A ha,' he said, 'a ruin, of course. Claro.' He looked at me with the eyes of a psychologist who has just fathomed the depth of his patient's mental needs.
I explained to him my love for urban exploring. How a good friend and I used to go exploring empty, deserted houses and buildings. All over Europe, but not yet in Spain. Was he familiar with urban exploring?
'Of course! I love urban exploding!' Marcello exclaimed, clapping his hands together. 'And where is your friend? Why is he not here?'
'Exploring,' I corrected him, 'urban exploring.'
'Of course! And your friend?'
I thought for a minute and then said it was supposed to be a surprise. For his birthday. It was too early to tell señor Carrera that Yosht was a fugitive for the law - and me – and that he, in his message in the guestbook, had suggested we'd meet in a ruin.
'Come back tomorrow,' Marcello said, as he was leading me to the door, with his warm hand affectionately placed on curvature between back and hip, the spot where I'd welcome a woman's hand anytime of day or night. 'Same time and I'll have the perfect ruin for you.' And with that promise he released me into the street.
Back at the hotel I routinely asked the reception clerk if there were any messages for me.
'Yes', she answered and turned around to retrieve a letter from the pigeon-hole where they kept the keys.