Foto bij 509. - Lucien

João marks the fourth person in a very short amount of time to bring up babies - three, if you don't count Emma's drunken speech. To top that off, we suddenly see pregnant women everywhere, gallivanting around Lisbon with their swollen bellies despite the sweltering heat. Gabriel would call this a sign of the universe, and when we sit down at a terrace to have a drink and we near the couple next to us toast to o novo bebê I'm pretty sure even Matthew would agree it's a sign. Emma, however, ensures me that even if it was a sign that she's going to ignore it: there are absolutely no babies in our near future. 
After a refreshing ice-coffee we continue our walk-with-no-destination through Lissabon. Emma discovers that one of the many souvenirshops sells old-school analog cameras, of which we buy four with thirty pictures each, and even though half of this amazing vacation is already gone, we vow to fill up at least three of the cameras before we land back in Edinburgh. The exploring becomes a little more fun now that we have the cameras, each of us trying to find the best place to take a picture of. We take photos of the other when they're not looking, an old offers to take one of us together at a marvelous fountain but only after we promise we are going to get married soon, and a young boy of maybe four years old tugs on my trouser leg if he can please have a picture with what his father translates to 'the pretty lady with the vampire skin'. 
"I've got a tan, right?" Emma pouts when the boy and his father head back inside. She makes the mistake of putting her arm against mine: it makes the vampire-comment seem very accurate. I can't help but laugh when she pushes her bottom lip out further. 
"You know, in the old days pale skin was an indication of riches." I kiss her temple. "Because being tan meant that you had to be outside all day to work. If you were pale, you didn't have to work."
"So you're saying that in the old world, I would be buying you ridiculously expensive things?" 
"If I had been able to even get your attention, yes." 
She laughs, giving me playful shove. "I think it'd be the other way around, rather. All the farm girls swooning over the stable boy with the dark locks and the strong muscles… You'd be worshipped like a God." 
"And yet…" I enclose her face with my hands to tip it upwards for a kiss. "That would mean nothing to me, because none of them would be you." 
We continue our expedition, soon stumbling upon what's supposed to be Lisbon's largest flea market. Rows upon rows of stands, mostly offering cheap things marketed at tourists, but every now and then there's beautiful handcrafted items, clearly made with lots of love and passion. Emma buys two small statuettes that fit together like a puzzle, depicting lovers together against all odds - apparently based on an old Portuguese legend, but the story gets lost in translation. We haggle, awkwardly but successfully, to the point where the woman behind the stand offers us a third statue of a turtle riding the waves, the wood carved so skillfully it actually seems to move. Guessing it's rude to decline, we agree and move on. In a spur of holiday-high, I purchase a simple leather braided bracelet for myself, which if I'd ever worn it to the firm my father surely would have given himself an aneurysm over. Emma closes it around my wrist with a smile. 
"Very fitting." She says. When I jokingly ask her if she's serious or not, she touches my cheek in such a tender way, I'm caught a little off guard. "It fits this version of you."
"What version?" I ask, confused. 
"This… free version of you. The way you are when you don't have to worry about anything, except us being happy." 
I don't really have an answer to that, so I just kiss her forehead and say: "No matter where we are, your happiness is always the most important thing to me."

"No - ow! Careful! No, I can't lift my arm up higher!" She hisses in pain. "Slowly!" 
A flowy summer dress, as it turns out, is suddenly very tight when every bit of exposed skin is burned bright red. I can feel the heat coming off Emma's skin even as I hover a couple of centimeters above it as I help her undress. The deep red is in sharp contrast with the white from the fabric-protected skin.
"I suppose it was bound to happen." I offer in support. "Eight days in high summer with maybe three clouds in total?"
"I can't believe I forgot to reapply sunscreen." She mutters miserably, pressing her head flat against her flesh to reveal a short-lived white handprint. 
"We got caught up in the moment." I reply, because that's what happened: in our expeditions, we completely forgot about the time. By the time we got back to our apartment it was almost nine, we still hadn't had dinner - filled up by countless different snacks from street vendors in the late afternoon - and Emma's arms and shoulders serve us a painful reminder of how distracted we had really gotten. I place a tender kiss on the glowing red of her shoulder. "You go take a shower to cool off a little bit, I'll cook us up a quick dinner, okay? Take your time." 
      Maybe twenty minutes later, Emma comes out of the bathroom, wrapped in a towel and with rosy cheeks from both sun and warm water. She looks as exhausted as I feel after walking through the city all day, if not more so - it's been a long time since I had a sunburn, so I can't really sympathise with how she's feeling, but I remember it being exhausting in its own way.
"Can you help with the after-sun?" She asks, her voice sounding so much like she's about to collapse on the ground that I jump up and help her to the couch. She hands me the bottle before turning her back to me. As I lather on the cool lotion, she lets out a soft sigh of relief. I clench my jaw, repressing any kinds of desires my body is throwing at me right now, because I highly doubt Emma is up for any of those shenanigans. Still, I place a light kiss at the base of her neck after taking my sweet time carefully massaging the lotion into her skin. 
"All done, love." I say softly. "I've got bruschetta waiting in the kitchen, figured you wouldn't be up for any warm food. And then we can just hang on the couch and watch TV in Portuguese."

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