Pictures from Spain: Don Quixote

In the courtyard of the Alcázar was a man with a painted face. He stood on a silver box and wore a silver helmet. He held a silver lance and shield with silver-painted fingers.

I saw him from behind, across the square and through the trees. In Spain, only one man carries a lance. Ian was holding my hand; I knelt and pointed. ‘Ian, look! It’s Don Quixote!’ We started walking toward him. I reached into my pocket for a coin, and handed it to Ian. ‘Here, hold this.’

Ian loves money—its presence, not its concept—and his eyes brightened. He also knows that Mommy and Daddy don’t often give it to him. His eyes narrowed. ‘Why?’

‘You’ll see.’

He was surrounded, unmoving, by a small crowd. They were in two semi-circles: the first with adults, the second with a shifting group of timid and smiling children. The children would inch forward and rush back, huddling against their parents’ legs, their eyes never leaving Don Quixote’s face.

A paper cup sat at his base. It was painted silver.

We stood in front of the motionless Man of La Mancha, and Ian caught the nervousness of the other children. He looked at me. Well? I pointed to the cup. ‘There. Put your money in there.’

I was asking him to surrender the coin which he’d had for only a minute, to throw it away in a paper cup. And I wasn’t explaining why. He looked up at Don Quixote, who winked. He may not have known what was happening, but even a four-year-old knows that statues don’t wink.

He dropped his coin in Don Quixote’s cup.

The knight-errant smiled. He bent his head toward Ian and reached down, slowly, his fingers waving in the air. He leaned forward. Ian put an arm around my leg and his feet shuffled backward. I put my hand on his back and gave him a gentle nudge.

Ian took a step, and another, as he watched the silver fingers glinting in the sun. He looked at me once more, to make sure I could explain to Mommy just why he had been eaten, and extended his arm toward certain doom.

Don Quixote took hold of Ian’s fingertips and waggled them back and forth. Ian grinned and turned toward me, mistakenly turning his back to the foe. He jumped when he felt the silvered fingers twirling in his hair, gently pulling strands here and there.

The knight stood, distracted by thoughts of Dulcinea del Toboso, and was still. Ian and I walked away, spots of silver shining in his hair.

2 Responses

  1. Chip Bennett
    Chip Bennett at | | Reply

    Very cool story, and what an awesome trip! (I’m checking out the Flickr photoset as we speak.)

    Hopefully, once Lily is old enough to understand/appreciate it, we can take her on trips like this one.

  2. Isaac Downing
    Isaac Downing at | | Reply

    It’s been pretty quiet around here lately…

    The world is anticipating a new post!

Leave a Reply