SMALL STATIONS PRESS Publications
I LOVE YOU LEO A. ARRIVALS TERMINAL…?

I LOVE YOU LEO A. ARRIVALS TERMINAL…? by Rosa Aneiros

In this third and final instalment of Leo’s travelling adventures, Leo has been travelling for four months, but an amorous snub received while she is in Paris makes her want to call it a day and go straight home without completing the planned six months of her trip. Her aunt’s insistence and a surprise visit help Leo reconsider her hasty decision and, just as she was expecting to return to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, where she is from, she finds herself on a transatlantic flight to Buenos Aires. When she was planning this trip with her friends, who ended up pulling out, she had never envisaged travelling to South America, but now she will be swallowed up by the infinite grid of Argentina’s capital city, she will be pursued by the shadow of Argentina’s first serial killer as far as the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, she will be entranced by the magical beauty of the famous Perito Moreno Glacier with all its shades of blue, she will finally fulfil her dream of visiting Machu Picchu in Peru, she will be unimpressed by the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, be doused in sugar in the white city of Arequipa and walk under the grey Lima sky. Back in Buenos Aires, at the end of six months, she will face a critical decision, which may lead her to the author of all those messages that have appeared in front of most of the monuments she has visited: ‘I Love You Leo A.’ Who has been painting these messages wherever she goes? And having once set out on her travels, will Leo ever manage to return back home?

Chapter 1

@ALeo90

Paris… Ah! Paris isn’t a party. There are no

fireworks or pretty words. As for city of love,

not a trace!

12 May 2011 at 13:24

 

‘Listen, Leo, you can’t carry on like this,’ declared Aunt Cris.

‘Please, Cristina… Don’t tell me off like mother, I had quite enough of that already,’ protested the girl, who was fed up of so much insisting.

‘But don’t you see you can’t just give up like that!’

‘Why on earth not? I decided I would travel for six months. Six months with six thousand euros. I was relying on my bosom buddies coming with me, and it turns out those bosom buddies had other plans. OK then, so I went off on my own, but now, four months later, having travelled around most of Europe, I’ve decided I want to go back. Enough’s enough. Lisbon, Barcelona, Granada, Marrakesh, Istanbul, Prague, Rome, Venice and now Paris… It’s not bad! And I don’t want to do it any more. End of story.’

‘Are you going to tell me what’s going on? Something serious must have happened for you to react like this from one day to the next. You were so happy just yesterday! Didn’t you have a good time at the Eiffel Tower? Didn’t you like the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe? Paris has so much to offer… And besides, you still haven’t used the Paris Museum Pass I got you so you could visit all the city’s monuments and museums!’

‘It’s not that, Aunt Cris.’

‘What then? Is it me? Am I overwhelming you? Do you want me to give you more space? Go on then, go somewhere else, but don’t abandon your objective.’

‘Oh, what nonsense! First of all, nobody wanted me to leave – you’re crazy, you’re all on your own, what with all the dangers there are out there, think about it twice… And now you won’t stop shouting at me because I want to go home. Mother, most of all… what’s got into her? There’s no understanding the lot of you!’

‘Your mother found it very difficult to accept your decision, but she’s very proud of you. After all, you’ve done something she never dared to. That’s why she doesn’t want you to back out.’

‘It’s decided, Aunt Cris. Tomorrow, I’m getting a return ticket home.’

Cristina – almost forty, tiny body, extravagant air – got up off the sofa and gave a tired sigh. The two women – together with their less-than-twenty-years’ difference in age – were in a small apartment in Paris’ Latin Quarter, a couple of minutes away from the River Seine, Notre-Dame and the Pantheon. Outside, the pigeons were also cooing away with their bitter complaint.

‘You remember what I said to you when you arrived a few days ago? I said, “I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me.” You’re the only person in our family who’s deigned to come and visit me. You know what I say to you now? I know you’re not going to disappoint me. I just know it.’

It was obvious that Aunt Cris wasn’t going to take this decision lying down. When she heard her, Leo felt the anger rising up her throat, but she didn’t back down.

‘Tomorrow morning early, I’ll go to the Louvre and the Pompidou to make use of the pass you gave me. In the afternoon, I’ll endeavour to get myself a ticket. I don’t know why they’re so damn expensive!’

‘It’s the weekend of Galician Literature Day in Galicia, that’s why direct flights are so prohibitive. You’ll have to find another option, via Madrid or Barcelona.’

Cristina muttered this while heading downstairs and wasn’t sure whether her stubborn niece had even heard her. She disappeared down the still deserted streets of the City of Light. Students were already attending lectures in the Sorbonne and visitors had yet to invade the neighbourhood, so the only activity was that of the supply vans stocking up the more touristy restaurants on this side of the Seine with cheap plonk.

The bells of Notre-Dame reminded them that time was still tick-tocking away.

And yet the city didn’t seem to want to shake off the previous night’s sleep. As if it were still painfully hung-over after a foolish drinking spree.

Paris, it seemed, just didn’t want to stretch its legs.

 

Translated from Galician by Jonathan Dunne

Additional Info

  • purchase text:

    I LOVE YOU LEO A. ARRIVALS TERMINAL…? by Rosa Aneiros, the sixteenth title in the series Galician Wave devoted to the best of Galician young adult fiction in English, is available for purchase through your local or online bookshop

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    ISBN: 978-954-384-092-2

    Publication Date: 26 October 2018

    Language: English

    Paperback: 284 pages

    Dimensions: 203 x 133 mm