I met Dominique while attending a Spanish language school in Barcelona. I was traveling alone, and had plans to tour the city and spend a lot of time drinking café con leche and vino tinto alone, contemplating life. The very first day of language school, Dominique invited me to lunch. We were inseparable from there on out.
Dominique was French, and spoke fluent English, but refused to speak in anything but Spanish with me, and I loved her for it. She was supermodel thin and always dressed in a chic, black outfit, put together simply and with the je ne sais pas that only a French woman can do. She smoked long, slim cigarettes and used a classy cigarette holder, and waved it around as she told stories of her travels, lovers and daily life in Paris.
One day we came across live Spanish guitar music in the Barrio Gotico. It was the most beautiful scene, and as I took photos with my iPhone, I noticed Dominique slipped her camera back into her pocket without taking any photos. She winked at me and said, ‘Algunos momentos son para el jardín secreto.’ The key to life according to Dominique, was to keep a secret garden of experiences and memories just for you. No photographs to try and show or explain or to be watered down by someone else. Why? The better cultivated secret garden one has, the stronger, braver, and more interesting they are. That was a few years ago now, but I still think of Dominique and smile when I put my camera away, and add another rare moment of beauty to my own secret garden.