It was one of those days that stays with you long after it’s over: travelers gathering in a gitano cave high above Granada to hear flamenco puro danced, sung, and played by masters of their craft. It was the last day of our Deep Travel Andalusia trip. We had gone in search of duende–Lorca’s famous dark thread that weaves through our lives. After the flamenco performance, as the afternoon light softened outside the cave entrance, the Deep Travel writers read from their work. Mike Bernhardt read this poem–an embodiment of duende:
Together, we survived the terrifying night
of CPR and defibrillation, too many tubes and wires and doctors,
my kisses on your forehead and your eyes kissing me back
until your EKG exploded again and they told me to leave.
I sat outside in the hallway talking softly with you.
In the morning, though your eyes seemed empty,
I dreamed of your recovery and went home to sleep
only to be greeted by a ringing phone and an urgent voice
and I was out again, stuck in traffic on the Bay Bridge,
praying, screaming at God to get me to you in time.
Hoping that curses and prayers might be enough,
I inched and fought my way through traffic and despair
until finally free, nearly drowning
I plunged into the streets racing
to San Francisco General. Sometimes now
I like to imagine what I would have told the police
if they’d noticed. I like to think that I wouldn’t have pulled over
I would’ve just plummeted on at
70 miles per hour up Potrero Avenue letting
them catch up to me in the parking lot as
I ran inside MY WIFE’S DYING! I would’ve screamed
but they didn’t notice.
I ran inside alone
to find my friends cryingand you, dead.
Mike has been married to his second wife, Yvonne for 25 years. After a career in IT, he retired in December 2016 at the age of 60. These days, he loves to travel, write, cook, walk, play guitar, and enjoy more time with his wife. Check out his travel blog at TravelingWithMikeAndYvonne.com for more of his adventures.