The lights dimmed, the line formed at the cloakroom, and you walked on sticky feet toward the exit with the music still riveted to that part of the brain that won’t let go if it knows it’ll get a little more serotonin in return. It happened to us for years. And then we headed for Avenida del Paralelo or Avenida del Carrilet, where that French nightclub was. Sometimes we ate something and looked for a place to continue the party as if the sun, fatigue or the three missed calls from your parents were not enough to understand that the end had come. Sometimes, we would hold out until the afternoon game. And when someone had tickets, we crossed Barcelona to see him on the field with dark circles that reached the locker room. At that time it was no longer worth going to bed without knowing the result. Because let’s say it clearly, some of us have serious difficulties to say enough. Although certain months insist on forcing us.
September is a cruel hinge where what Antonio Gramsci warned at the beginning of the 20th century is suffered. “The old world is dying, the new one is slow to be born. And in that chiaroscuro the monsters appear”. The aberrant creatures, in this case, are us facing the first brown spots at work, the disappointments that the tan hides for a month, and the disastrous results of a striker who looked like Maradona in preseason. September is the end of almost everything, but it hasn’t just been the beginning of anything either. And it’s almost always time to say goodbye. And that may be the most difficult. Unless, of course, you are Casemiro, capable of leaving knowing that nothing will be more important than your five Champions. Or Judge Pedraz, with that strange gift to say goodbye in the WhatsApp chat. “What I would like is to settle this issue. This relationship has been broken, that each of us continue our lives, our path and, well, I return to my routine, taking my dog to the hairdresser and doing my sport.
The phrase is disarming. And on top of that it works like a Swiss army knife. Messi could have saved a year of tips at Barça if he had used that formula in the burofax that he sent to Bartomeu. And probably also some sterile agony, tears and some humiliation on the pitch. But it is difficult to detect when things end and not be swept away by the pathos that extends them beyond their nature. It is always useful that there is someone on the other side of the mirror who reminds us of them, as Florentino Pérez – Judge Pedraz of soccer presidents – did with Raúl, Casillas or Sergio Ramos. Perhaps that is why history is full of athletes who have not been able to say goodbye. It happened to Totti himself in Rome, who ended up sucking the bench, sowing discord in Trigoria’s offices and remembering his entire life as a meme the day Real Madrid wanted to sign him. The legend of the Capitano is another, but last Saturday he returned to the memory of the final of him seeing the faces of Piqué and Jordi Alba on the bench.
The music, as far as we were concerned, was still playing somewhere in the brain when we returned home after exhausting the last hours of Sunday and our strength in the stands of the stadium. From September the monsters arrived, and that sensation was already mixed with the noise of the goals, the smell of cheap sausage sandwiches and beer cans. And we always laughed at the fans who got up earlier to avoid the queues. They were the same ones who ran to the cloakroom before the music stopped. For one thing or another, we always liked to leave last.