For a few months a few years ago, I did a lot of writing around happiness and what that means in these times. This is the personal account I put together, to inform the other writing. For the record, I truly believe it was Nick Cave playing that morning, and it was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Not to intervene when it came to you
It's late in the morning, half nine, ten maybe, and the sun has forced its way through the half-closed shutters. There's a beam of it on my face, which feels tight from the heat yesterday, and the drinking, and the salty food, and I suppose the dusty city streets of Barcelona. But this isn't what wakes me.
Somewhere vaguely outside and above us, I hear a keyboard playing, someone's dulcet tones singing in a familiar cadence, a pattern of crochets and quavers I know in my heart. It's a Nick Cave song, Into My Arms, and I realise with a deep, resounding tidal wave that it's Nick Cave day at Primavera: we see him tonight.
I am barely awake but for this sunlight, the cool parquet floor of our budget hostel room and this music. The notes are just barely audible over the morning door slams and traffic of our back street alley. So quiet I know for sure I must be the only other person hearing this, and I never want it to end.
I have no headache from all the Sambucca yesterday. No hunger despite never quite tracking down somewhere to eat anything, in fact no urge for anything. Just to be there, listening. It's someone playing as well as Nick Cave, singing as gorgeously as him, and in those moments it just is him. Why not, I tell myself. Why not. I realise despite the awful flight times home tomorrow, the lack of any normal comfort, the heat stroke and whatever else, today, right now, I am truly happy.
Eventually the music stops. I can't remember if the song ended or if the sound faded away. At breakfast an hour later on our hostel room floor, I try to explain to my friends how much it really was Nick Cave singing this morning, that his voice woke me, that it was the most beautiful morning of my life.
They laugh into their microwaved lattes we've assembled from corner shop supplies and continue to chop fruit.