Dayna Brayshaw, WA

Senior Writer

Dayna Brayshaw wanted to be a writer from the moment she wrote her first word. Her older, wiser sister informed her that the only thing a writer needed to do to be a good writer was to “Go experience everything.” So when Dayna was 19 she set off to do just that. She has since lived in six countries, learned four languages, forgotten four languages, and gotten lost (and then found) at sea. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Western Washington University, and has recently finished her first book, a memoir which chronicles her travels and the stories she collected along the way.

As a Story Terrace writer, Dayna interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Never Say Never

I had just arrived for a visit with my friend, Billy, in Madrid for the weekend, when his bedroom door was kicked open and his landlord/roommate – a hefty Ecuadorian girl in neon yellow stretch pants – informed us that she wanted both of us out in ten minutes or she was going to call the cops. Her reasoning for this eviction was uncertain. There had been some kind of mild dispute with Billy in the kitchen a few minutes earlier about wine glasses. Now he was attempting to reason with her in his terrible Spanish, which made me giggle, which then made the situation considerably worse, because people who are in the middle of an irrational emotional outburst do not like to think they are being laughed at.

And this is how, fifteen minutes later, Billy and I found ourselves under the gentle supervision of a tired, grey-haired Spanish policeman, staggering out of the house bearing the weight of six months of his life. Two backpacks, seven ripping, overstuffed plastic bags, and a pillow. It was one-thirty in the morning and we were in what was considered to be the ghetto of Madrid, a city notorious for its thievery, with Ipod, hard drive, two cameras, two passports, and all of the euros that either of us had to our name. We staggered onto the subway and collapsed in a corner. I’d spent the last two years living in Israel, and after witnessing first hand what long term conflict can do to people, I was feeling sensitive and emotional about the terrible ways humans treat each other. “My faith in humanity might never be restored,” I lamented to Billy.

“Never say never,” he said, patting my hand.

Eventually we came to what seemed like a good enough stop to get off, and then Billy and I were staggering again, attempting to exit the subway, while the only other man who was in there with us, who had been eyeing our stuff with open interest, stood also. I was suddenly very aware of the weight of my wallet in my purse – fat with my only euros – when the man reached out his hand and, with a soft smile, flipped open the subway door for us.

We ended up leaving our bags with a group of Moroccans who owned a cafe on the corner of a dark street. “It will be safe with us,” they’d promised. “We have hearts of gold,” and Billy shrugged and said to me as we walked away, “They have all my things. And they will be there or they will not be there tomorrow. BUT – ” he smiled triumphantly, holding up the one plastic bag he did decide to take with him — “I have the bread, and the Greek yogurt.”

So we ate it.

And made it through the night. Made it back to the cafe the next day to find all of the bags still neatly tucked where we had left them.

I thought, it is that simple. These moments of faith restored.


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