As soon as he set foot in Granada, he felt his strength wane. The dualism of Mudéjar art, that blend between Christian and Muslim, reminded him irremediably of her. The city’s streets breathed that same mix which, for him, had been synonymous with love.
They’d experienced that dualism together. At first, it felt curious and enticing; later, when families and traditions crossed paths, it was fatal.
He visited the Alhambra once again and was unsurprised to find it different, as always. On this occasion, he came across two girls sitting at the entrance to the Patio de los Arrayanes. One of them was reading a legend while the other listened. The tale recounted one of so many love stories cut short by an uncomprehending family, constrained by custom. Perhaps it was about the Dama Blanca de Castril, whose father murdered a servant believing him to be her lover; or maybe it was about Elvira Padilla and her white marble fountain, where young couples now go to pledge eternal love.
Observing a group of little girls splashing around in the Realejo Fountain, which is said to bring beauty and good health — people never miss an opportunity for improvement, however remote or ridiculous it may be — he wondered whether he was to blame. Perhaps, when he visited the Sacromonte Abbey he’d accidentally brushed against the white stone, which has the power to break couples up.
Or maybe that Arabian beauty with her overwhelming personality wasn’t meant to be with him; perhaps they were two more characters in the same legend of frustrated love that repeats itself with different names. Perhaps she would have to remain this way in his memory, like the Alhambra; captivating many but belonging to none.