Valencia’s impressive architecture and lively social atmosphere had grown on me. I felt comfortable wandering about on my own, but my host family refused to let me. They always sent me off with their daughter, Lucia.
It’s not that Lucia wasn’t good company, but she obeyed her parents to the letter, taking me to museums, the aquarium, and to market as a tour guide, not as a teenage girl. She distanced herself from me, making conversation difficult. She was patient and calm and a great listener, correcting my grammar until I didn’t need it anymore, but she was also plain. I missed the spontaneity I enjoyed back in America.
So after we went to the IMAX to see a movie, I asked to go to a club. Her eyes widened. This was not what we were told to do. I begged her, but she was adamant that we go right home.
So I ditched her, feigning getting on the bus, then jumping off. Her surprised face turned angry behind the glass. Neon lights beckoned and bass pulsed out into the street. Soon I was swallowed by rhythm.