2018 Primetime Emmy
& James Beard Award Winner

Relationships are Fleeting, But Lemon‑Flavored Beer is Forever

Relationships are Fleeting, But Lemon‑Flavored Beer is Forever

Clara in Barcelona

I once fell for a guy from Sweden. He invited me to visit his hometown, and since we both liked to travel, we subsequently flew to Barcelona, where a friend of mine was based and we could stay for free. It was the first time in the Spanish city for both of us.

During our time in Sweden, I had realized that the guy I met in my country—the Philippines—was a totally different person in his, one that was so wrapped up in himself that he didn’t have the time or inclination to care for anyone else. But we tried to make the best of our trip to Barcelona anyway. After all, we were on vacation and in my heart of hearts, I was hoping that I was wrong, that we were good for each other after all.

My friend said that we should try the clara, a popular Spanish drink: a mix of beer and lemon soda. We both fell in love with the sweet, bubbly beverage. It’s usually thought of as a summer drink, but we ordered it as often as we could, enjoying it al fresco in the city’s many restaurants, even in the middle of winter. After all, winter in Barcelona doesn’t compare to the winter in Sweden.

We explored a lot of Barcelona, our constant movement keeping us from facing what was really in front of us, how things were breaking down, how, instead of declaring our love for each other, we declared our love for this fizzy alcoholic drink. The relationship fizzled out soon after. The guy was from the same town as the 80s duo Roxette, so I like to tell people that it must have been love, but it’s over now.

Though I don’t think about that guy anymore, I do think about the drink every once in a while, and of returning to Barcelona, this time in the summer. This time, I’d go by myself or with someone I truly love and who loves me back, and we would declare our love for each other over our lemon-flavored beer al fresco, watching people and watching each other in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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