humans – you just have to wonder what we’re up to these days …
you say you didn’t see it coming but
you’re a liar (you have a remarkable history of lying to yourself, there’s no one to match you, I swear)
you just can’t let it go, the immediate high
not even because it’s really all that good (it’s not) but
it’s right in front of you: hot sips of instant coffee from a plastic cup, not good but oh so hot; it warms you up like nothing else (that is, if you ever were to try anything else, of course).
you’ve avoided nine dark alleys
convincing yourself you’re better than that (you did it, ace, nine times!)
only to walk into dark alley number ten
convincing yourself that once won’t hurt (or twice or three times or who keeps track of these things anyways, huh?)
I’m sorry to say this, but:
you’re weak and you’re a liar.
(Am I being too harsh? Don’t cry!)
Maybe you’re just being
human – but someone has to tell you:
your human-ness is eventually going to kill
you, for good.
quit searching through the trash for
the touch of a hand, the tip of someone else’s tongue to lick your wounds;
times have changed, dear:
these things aren’t found on the street and they don’t grow on trees (sometimes they do, but only on trees budding in glass boxes, hidden away so you’ll never ever find them)
no, these things aren’t handed out freely – people keep them sealed up in their original wrapping: they’re collectors’ items, they’re sold (like everything else)
you only give to get (and why shouldn’t you when everyone else is doing the same thing – don’t be stupid)
oh, how we’ve learnt to keep little secrets (from our neighbors, our lovers, our children, ourselves) like our lives depended on it (and maybe they do) and
you should learn, too
just look what your carelessness has
gotten you into
if you keep running around with an open heart like that
you’ll eventually bleed
Soundtrack: Rising Appalachia – Scale down
The question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The answer: “A poet.”
You get up, you breathe in, you drink your coffee, you work, you breathe out, you drink your coffee, you drink your coffee, you work, you work, you breathe in, you breathe out, you work, you go to bed.
The question: “Do people still read poetry these days?”
More questions: “What do you want to be when you grow up? You’re already grown up, so what do you want to be? What are you? Who are you?”
Some answers imperatives: “Choose a career path, choose wisely, make some a lot of money.”
The answer: “No one reads poetry these days.”
“No one reads poetry these days unless it’s scribbled on dirty walls in public restrooms, girl”, says the poet and pours himself another glass of wine from the box. “I should know”
“No one reads poetry these days unless they’re dead drunk and their life has just started unraveling like a badly knitted sweater”, says the poet and pours himself another glass of whiskey from the bottle. “Also, this is exactly when most people start writing poetry” It seems that he should know.
“No one reads poetry these days unless it’s referenced in an obscure pop song, honey”, says the poet and takes another sip from his bottle of dark beer. “And in the end, all they remember is the cute singer.”
You get up, you breathe in, you get dressed, you take an aspirin, you work, you breathe in, you breathe in, you breathe, you drink your coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, you work, you breathe out, you breathe out, you take an aspirin, you work, coffee, work, coffee, bed.
You still read poetry: on dirty walls in public restrooms, on stickers stuck to sign posts, in old books, in new books, in your own books, in borrowed books, on postcards, in magazines; you still read poetry. You still write poetry: in letters, in your notebook, in your head. In your head, in your head, in your head (where’s my notebook?).
The question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Another question: “Do you want to grow up?”
The answer imperative: “Make some a lot of money (and then spend it and then make more money so you can spend more money and then – ).”
Answers: “You still read poetry. Poets still write poetry. Some many people still read and write poetry. You can still be a poet.”
“Choose any career path, girl – as long as you continue writing, you’re probably a poet anyways”, says the poet and pours himself another cup of black coffee. “Trust me, I should know.”
In with the new …
“It will be the year of courage!” she announced. We were having a very late New Year’s breakfast, still in our pjs; uncombed hair, uncombed thoughts.
I liked the idea. “Here’s to that.”
When was the last time you felt courageous?
While jumping on your bed (even though you knew it might break and spit you out or eat you up)? While eating spicy food (even though you knew your mouth would burn and rebel for hours afterwards)? While rolling snowballs with your bare hands (even though it would make your fingers turn blue and go numb)?
I’d say there’s plenty to feel courageous about.
I’ve never had a slogan for a new year, so this is the first new thing of 2017.
… out with the old.
I do believe making mistakes is a necessary part of becoming a better person. That being said, I don’t like catching myself making the same mistake twice (let’s be honest: three times is more likely). So how about not making old mistakes anymore?
How about: “Don’t fool me twice.”
I’m sure there are enough new mistakes waiting just around the corner.
What good is a letter if you never send it? A very good question.
Well, just as some words are left unsaid, some letters remain at the bottom of a drawer. Because that’s where you’ve hastily stashed them away right after you were done writing. You don’t know what I’m talking about? You’ve never done this before? Good for you. God knows I have.
Here’s one of them.
Did you know that thinking of you still makes me so sad? Sometimes I think it’s because I know that I will never be the one you want to fall asleep and wake up to. I hate the thought, but I suppose there is someone else whose eyes are your very own dawn, your very own dusk; whose taste is the only flavor that doesn’t feel odd or wrong in your mouth.
There’s something else, though, that makes me even sadder: to wonder whether I’ll ever see you again. To think that maybe I won’t is breaking my heart. Over and over again. Of course, there’s nothing original about any of this. It’s a cliché, the size of a billboard. It’s hard to miss. To me, though, it feels painfully unique. Much like an original Van Gogh; like it should be framed and hung up in the Louvre. Or in one of those peculiar cafés that support local artists and always smell funky (that strange mix of stale cigarette smoke, coffee and incense).
It’s strange to think that hearts are broken and the world just goes on and no one gives a shit. Did you know that the average heart beats 100, 000 times in a day? I’ve been wondering how many hearts are broken in a day and whether this means they start beating faster or slower or they just stop altogether and whether any of this is factored into the calculation. I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to break a heart and not even know it. Have you ever wondered about something like this? I think you might not even know that you’re breaking my heart. I really think you don’t.
I never told you: did you know that I’d be happy to simply sit next to you and not say a word? Every now and then, I would catch a glimpse of your eyes or your smile or the way your hands can’t stop talking even when you don’t say a word. It would still break my heart, but it would be a different kind of heartbreak. More bearable. In a way, thinking of you is like listening to a requiem: it pulls apart each and every corner of the soul and yet it’s impossible to stop. It’s so heart-wrenchingly, hopelessly and incomparably beautiful. I keep thinking of you – a silent lament; lacrimosa. Nothing’s ever made me feel so alive and so numb at the same time.
You must think I’m silly or crazy or maybe just a child to think and feel the way I do. Get over it, you might say. I guess that’s the reasonable thing to do. Hopefully, someday I’ll be able to think of you differently. I might simply think of you as that one beautiful and sad and inspiring boy who made me write all these words, hushed songs and love letters (who made me drink and smoke a little too much for a while). If I was an instrument, I could simply think of you as the one who pulled one of my strings, pressed one of my keys and created so much music, by accident. The most beautiful melody, just by accident. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe that’s all you were supposed to do. And maybe I should be thankful for that. Someday I will.
No more ‘I love you’s.
PS: There’s a soundtrack, too. In case you’ve been wondering why I’ve been such a lazy blogger lately: I’ve been dabbling in songwriting, This is what it sounds like (but watch out, the sound quality is quite crappy): https://soundcloud.com/lisa-wer
Guess who’s back? Of course, this is a rhetorical question, no one’s hacked into my blog account (yet) and the answer can only be: it’s me!
I haven’t written all that much ever since the New Year flipped on my crunch mode switch aka omg-finals-panic switch when it accidentally leaned against it (that drunk bastard, pardon my language). Not because I spent my days and nights crouched over books and books and more books. That too, but I also picked up my little guitar and wrote a couple of songs (that still need a bit of fine-tuning).
Sometimes, you need to let go of one thing to make room for another. But not all good-byes are forever (whoever came up with that idea anyways?).
This is also what I’m telling myself whenever I think about having to move by the end of the month and I get that tingly feeling in my stomach that has nothing to do with butterflies whatsoever. I’ve always had a hard time letting go of things/people/seasonal candy (so what if I have a craving for peppermint bark in August? Sue me).
Yeah, changes, changes. I’ve finally graduated this summer and I’m about to move (in case I’m able to find a place to move into, of course) so I won’t have to drive 3 hours to work and back every day – which seems like a sensible idea and I hear people expect you to act sensible more often than not once you’re done with school because they think it means you’re all grown-up and stuff.
But more often than not, people are pretty funny and they expect all kinds of things that are not gonna happen. Just sayin’.
What does it mean to be grown-up anyways? Having sensible ideas and making reasonable decisions – are grown-ups allowed to cross a red light and go to bed without brushing their teeth every once in a while or having cereal for dinner or … ? Maybe it’s all about having a mature taste in music/movies/food – but what if I still wanna sing that awful nineties song in the shower?
(This one, no regrets:)
And what if I still wanna watch Saturday morning cartoons, what if I prefer that pizza place around the corner over that terribly chic French restaurant downtown?
Then again, starting this fall, I’ll be teaching 6-10-year olds – I don’t really have to be too grown-up yet, do I?
(I’m sure you’ve all missed my brilliant closing lines!)
Good night y’all (spoken like a true adult).
Do you believe in soulmates? I asked her. It was one of these pensive Sunday mornings, the apartment empty as usual. I’d been contemplating life and love and the many layers in between over (at least) three cups of coffee, and suddenly needed to know what she thought. I believe in sublime connections, absolutely; her answer bridged 3000 thousand miles of Atlantic Ocean and 8 hours of time difference. That alone told me that sometimes connections are deep enough to work, even transatlantic. Thank God, I thought, and then: I knew it. Her words were soothing like Advil or a mug of hot chocolate. Why do you ask love? She wanted to know.
Well, why did I want to know exactly? For one, I’m an over-thinker. I love to think about things – be it the question whether or not it’s really necessary to have light products of things that aren’t supposed to be light to begin with (such as frosting – really, who wants light frosting?) or the question whether or not soulmates might possibly exist, I’ve thought about it, at least once. Simply thinking about questions doesn’t give you any answers, of course. So after I’ve spent quite a while thinking, I tend to look for the answers in books. No how-to manuals, of course. Any book really. I believe that if you come across the right book at the right time it can tell you something. Maybe even if you come across the wrong book at the wrong time it’ll tell you something. I’m not sure, though – I’ll have to think about it some other time.
I’d also been doing some soul-searching for a while and had just finished reading a book about soulmates. A bit esoteric but not too far out there and strangely gripping. I stumbled over it on one of my many amazon binges. Actually, a friend had recommended the author to me almost two years ago and for some reason I had suddenly remembered him. I almost ate, slept and breathed the book until I was done. And although I was out to find answers, it just handed me a bunch of new questions. Maybe that’s a type of answer, too. Of course, a book is just a book; it’s not an oracle, not a life-line. Especially with this book, I had my doubts anyways. I imagined the author’s smirk as he typed the epilogue, bedazzled by the fact that he can make actual money by making shit up as he goes (who wouldn’t love that?).
The problem: I’m a cynic and a believer, all at once. Like everyone else, I certainly would like to return a couple of things life’s handed me down the road. I’ve had days (weeks, months) where I felt like kicking and screaming: was this really necessary? At the same time I’ve always had hope: there’s got to be a reason for all this; it’s got to get better eventually. It just had to. It was the same with the book: I wanted to believe, I just didn’t really trust it. In the end, however, I decided a little more belief and a little less doubt couldn’t hurt. If we’re honest with ourselves: who doesn’t love the idea that one or maybe even two or three soulmates exists for every one of us that we are destined to meet (what is done after the meeting, of course, is free will – (un)fortunately?). Not because the book had convinced me to. Just because I wanted to. I guess, that’s what believing means anyways. Also, because the book left me with so many questions, I’d just found my own answer: another soul that agreed with me and made me feel a little less crazy about it all. A soulmate, maybe?
Sometimes I mean to write about one thing and in the end I realize I’ve been sidestepping the entire time like a rabbit with ADD (that, for some odd reason, knows how to type) so the result is something completely different.
This post’s one of those.
Ladies and gentlemen, your entrée.
It’s not that he broke his vow. There were no vows taken, no rings exchanged. Is a broken promise alone something worth crying over? Does it mean anything at all? If hushed between dusk and dawn, between dinner and dirty dishes, between then and now, without witness.
To some, it doesn’t mean a thing; they just gather (or scatter) their belongings and leave without as much as a good-bye, cracking invisible rings, not breaking vows but breaking nevertheless, breaking only without witness.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If the sky falls in your backyard an no one is around to hear it, does it make a difference? The eternal question, ever unanswered.
If children break bones, they say healing is quick. The younger the faster the better. I can’t say that’s true for all that breaks. What if the first time your heart was broken you didn’t even know how to write your name? What if the second time your heart was broken you didn’t even know about heartbreak, but you knew how it felt?
I’ve never broken a bone, sometimes I wish I could go back in time and trade; get a cast, in my favorite color, have people sign it or draw cartoon characters all over my arm or leg; also, everyone’s a lot nicer when they see you’re wearing a cast.
What if there was a cast for all kinds of things that break? What if it came in your favorite color, and people could sign it and draw things all over? What if we treated each other as if each of us had broken something?
Because I’m sure we all have.
If you’re still curious what I wanted to write to begin with, I have to tell you … what are we talking about again? And who are you? What am I doing? I should really start writing lists.
It’s a Wednesday night and I’m in my sweatpants, drinking wine as I’m writing this.
I’d actually planned to go to this after-work-thing to be a little less anti-social with my colleagues but it was cancelled last-minute – thank God! Now I can be anti-social while pretending I’m not: sorry you guys, I would have loved to go out, too bad it’s not happening (did this sound too sarcastic you think?).
Now I’m officially free to do all the fun stuff I would have preferred to do all along and I don’t even have to feel bad about it: wear comfy clothes, eat in front of the TV, listen to any music I like, blog. Cause that’s fun, right?
Or am I getting lame these days? Is this what I should be doing? Shouldn’t I be out partying after all? Meeting interesting people and stuff? Is this why I’m slowly but steadily approaching my mid-twenties, still half (or three-quarters) in school, half (or one quarter) working, single, home alone tonight? Am I missing something? Was my mother right (and what’s her most important advice again – why can’t I remember this)? What am I doing with my life anyways?
Oh dear, is this it now – a quarter-life crisis?
No, I’m not helplessly neurotic – just a tad bit. Here are a couple more of my most recent thoughts on being (almost) 25.
Vocation or occupation or something else entirely?
Six-year-old me wanted to be a writer when she grows up. And seven-year-old-me, too. Eight-year-old me wanted to become a vet until she found out that they don’t just get to pet the animals all day long and decided to stick with writing after all. Now I’ve almost finished grad school, on the best way to become a teacher. What would six-/seven-/eight-year-old me say? Would they kick my stupid grown-up (and maybe too reasonable) butt? What do I really want? Do I even know?
Of course, being a teacher doesn’t mean I have to give up writing; I could always write on the side (like I’m doing now) – that is, if I have enough nerve and time. Or I could become bitter and cynical and just keep telling my future students about the novel I was writing and eventually going to publish, without ever actually writing anything. And then, 24-year-old me thinks, just because we make a certain decision at one point in our life, it doesn’t mean we can’t make another decision some other time.
I think, if six-/seven-/eight-year-old me made a fuss about it, I would probably turn to them and say: do you remember how one year all you ate for breakfast was Coco Puffs and then one day, you decided you wanted to try out Froot Loops because they looked really good? This is kind of like that, too. There would be a brief moment of silence and I would nod wisely and finally agree with myself. Hopefully.
Also .. what about love?
As my Mom loves to (accidentally?) point out whenever my sister brings her husband and two boys over for lunch on Sundays: I’m still single. While people around me seem to be procreating like rabbits (boy, it must have been a very cold winter last year and what’s with this biological clock everyone’s talking about?), I am a rock, I am an island. I’m going to tell you this much, though: it’s not because I just can’t let go of my precious freedom. I do believe in love – the heart-wrenching, earth-shattering kind; this incredible love that you can feel to the tip of your fingers. I’ve felt it. And then it left me.
Maybe it was just a preview, though. Maybe it didn’t mean what I thought it did. Whenever this silly feeling deep in my gut rears its ugly head and wants to tell me to get real, because life’s not a movie or a fairy tale, that there’s no such thing as fate and that, by the way, Santa Clause doesn’t really exist, I decide not to listen to closely. It’s not that I’m a hopeless optimist/romantic – I’ve just decided that if
everything turns to shit life gets rough, nodding your head and mumbling I’ve known it all along doesn’t help you, either. You might as well have a little hope – even if it’s all you’ve got.
So much for my latest random thoughts. You may or may not want to call this a quarter-life crisis; probalby it’s just an almost boring reflection on life the way people like Socrates already did it way back in good old Greece (in the golden days, when they weren’t bankrupt or so much as knew about the concept of bankruptcy yet). And anyways, what’s in a name, as Juliet would say. No matter the label, it still feels the same.
I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes when I haven’t written much in a while, it’s hard to stop or filter what comes out as soon as I sit down –
it’s like written vomit; it’s like
Long story short: here’s another piece I wrote and actually it was meant to belong to the other two story drafts but maybe it doesn’t after all. And maybe there’s something missing to tie them together, I’m not sure yet. Anywho, I wanted to post it anyways because sometimes it helps to put something out unfiltered to get things in order.
Neurons & Electro Chemicals
The words burst in his mouth like overripe fruit and splattered into my face, sticky and foul. I. Love. You.
Most nights after I came home from work I turned the TV on and my thoughts off – 58 civilians die in a terrorist attack try our Tuesday special it’s delicious you’re gonna need a bigger boat all new next week on ABC frankly dear I don’t give a damn – most nights everything eventually blurred together into a cloud of sounds; white noise.
I felt the weight of three beers pulling me down and had trouble standing up straight. I stared at him for about a minute, then opened and closed my mouth a couple of times without saying something like an actual word. Sometimes too many thoughts shot through my brain at the same time; an explosion of neurons and electro chemicals that made my nervous system even more nervous and entirely inoperable: I basically turned into a half-wit in a matter of seconds.
The words burst in his mouth like overripe fruit, sputtered into my ear, sticky and moist. I. Love. You.
Whenever I worked late I just had dinner in front of the TV: a glass of beer and a candy bar. It was usually the time when I started wondering whether it might be time to clean the apartment again. Mostly, however, the soothing buzz of daily news and commercials put me to sleep before I could even get up and clean up the remains of the night before (an empty glass; a candy wrapper) . That’s why it always made me laugh how much money some people were willing to spend on their nightwear. As if anyone except for your cat and the lady at the cash register would ever see it. I usually fell asleep with my clothes on and no one minded since I didn’t have a cat.
Of course there were a million things I could have easily said. Things that had been said before; things that never sounded quite right because there was nothing to say that sounded quite right in the first place. Things I’d read in books and seen in movies (just that I was lacking empirical evidence, but that usually didn’t bother me; usually, I made something up – but now: just neurons and electro chemicals).
I could have tried the obvious: I’m sorry, I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, I swear. I just don’t wanna ruin our friendship, it’s not you, I promise. Or something less friendly, maybe some of the generic bullshit. I guess I’m just not the relationship type. I’m not ready for something like this. Blahblahblah. I had an entire conversation with him in my head and that’s where it stayed: in my head. The thought alone made me want to cry or punch something.
There were a million other things I needed to tell him but couldn’t. Because often the things you need to say the most are the things that just won’t come out. I already gave my heart to someone else. Someone who, in fact, broke my heart what feels like a second ago because that’s how life plays you sometimes. I’m busy holding my shit together I can’t handle someone else’s. Would it be okay to throw up right now? I didn’t know if I should hug or slap him.
I ended up not saying anything all the way to the train station. He might have said something but I didn’t hear it. I only heard myself think; neurons and electro chemicals. After a while I heard blood rushing through my veins. And car engines. I heard my heart break. I might have heard his heart break in between.
Of all the words running through my head, I chose the only two that felt genuine enough at the end of the night: Good night. I watched him get on the train, watched the door close behind him. I watched the train drive off and disappear. I tried calling a friend but she didn’t answer; it was almost 2 in the morning so I wasn’t surprised. I just took a deep breath instead and threw up right in front of the tracks, then I slowly walked home.
I turned on the TV; I wanted to turn his words off. After 3 hours and 4 episodes of Law & Order I finally fell asleep.
Sometimes life gets so busy, you have to take a moment and recapitulate just so you don’t outpace yourself. And I don’t even mean busy in a spectacular I-just-shot-a-critically-acclaimed-motion-picture-and-now-I’m-having-Spielberg-over-for-dinner kind of way. Because sometimes you’re busy with things that are not that interesting, even though they matter a lot to you personally (like studying, work, cleaning the house or calling your mom). The past weeks, I’ve been jumping back and forth between class and work, trying to (finally!) finish my thesis somewhere in between. I have no idea how people can have a job, get a degree and have kids. The thought alone simply blows my mind. I have two plants (they’re doing fine, no worries), my apartment isn’t a mess and I manage to feed myself and every now and then some friends but that’s about it. So kudos to you guys, you are amazing.
But I digress. This wasn’t actually my point. I was talking about recapitulating, because that’s what I meant to do. So here we go: I’ve had to take cold showers for more than a week because I couldn’t reach the plumber and when I managed to reach him, he forgot about me in the course of his busy day (maybe he should have paused and recapitulated as well). He did come by today, though, and fixed what needed to be fixed – let me tell you: I’ve never been happier about the blessing of running, hot water! So that’s that. I’ve also spent the afternoon with my grandma who just moved into a nursing home. I don’t know about you, but I find the thought alone really depressing. Sleek linoleum covered floors, each and every wall painted in light yellow (because of the soothing effect … yeah, right), people moving around equipped with their emergency medication and wheeled walker. All of this may not be that interesting to you, but to me personally, it matters a lot. Sometimes it’s nice to share something even though it may not be the most earth-shattering of things. Because they are still things that have shaped your reality and maybe they’ve even changed bits and pieces of you as a human being while you weren’t paying attention because you were so busy.
Now, something else entirely! I’ve also written another piece that belongs to my last past, technically. At least, they’re part of one and the same overarching idea, even though it may not yet be apparent. Anyway, I still wanted to share it in its early stages, if anyone has any thoughts they want to share – please do! Enough of my Monday rambles, though. Here goes the next part of the story.
Transatlanticism, pt. II
He was saying that he knew where to go but, of course, I didn’t trust him until we were there. Because I never trusted anyone and also because Nathan’s sense of direction was worse than my own; and my own was already pretty bad.
“Are you sure it’s on Huntington?”
“Yeah, it’s just down the street – I double-checked. I won’t lead you around in circles again, I promise.” He smiled and I could feel that tense muscle in my neck relax a bit.
I smiled back. “At least now I do know my way around Providence.” Okay, armistice.
Not that he could really blame me and my skepticism. When he took me out to dinner the week before, we first ended up getting lost on our way back to the car and then he took the wrong exit which resulted in a two-hour long detour. Not that I minded terribly. I also learnt more about cranberry bogs that night than I thought there was to know about them, ever. You never know when knowledge like that might come in handy, though; especially when you’re a teacher (that’s what I like to tell myself anyways). When he finally rolled into my driveway it was already two in the morning and he felt so bad that he didn’t even kiss me goodnight. I minded that a little bit.
In the end we found the Museum of Fine Arts right away and I tried my best to hide my surprise. I was also still busy trying to figure out why he’d insisted on taking me to a museum, of all places. He didn’t strike me as the type who’d willingly spend his weekends wandering up and down museum halls, eager to learn, looking for inspiration or whatever it is that brings people to museums. That is, unless it had something to do with cars, motorbikes, maybe planes if the design was cool enough.
When we looked at an exhibit of different paintings and drawings, it turned out I already knew him well enough after all.
“Okay, so this just looks like a bunch of shit if you ask me” he snorted.
“Okay, so we should have just gone to see a movie if you ask me” I should have said.
Of course, I didn’t. Because I was the type who would willingly spend her weekends wandering up and down the halls of a museum, getting lost in the wild dabs of blue and green of an impressionist painting; reading about the origins and background of a collection of historical artifacts and other things I’d just forget as soon as I would leave the building. Maybe he’d taken me there because he knew me well enough, too.
I’d realized that we had absolutely nothing in common on our first date already, but I liked his cynicism and his light blue eyes. I also liked that he took me out on real dates and that he openly announced them as such. He always picked me up at home and called me beautiful (and it always seemed like he actually meant it) and so I didn’t really mind that he had a terrible taste in music, movies and that he was rooting for the wrong team. I also didn’t mind that he was constantly complaining about the state and possible decline of America as a hegemon in the world and about the American people as such, even though he was such an all-American guy himself, with his beige khaki slacks and his degree in business and finance. I didn’t mind a lot of things simply because of the way he treated me. I’m sure we’d have had beautiful children. I’m also sure we’d messed them up terribly (then again, who doesn’t?).
The last night I saw him was Valentine’s Day. He came over to give me a single red rose; to say goodbye or maybe I’m sorry or both. Not because he’d also figured out that we didn’t really have anything in common. He simply had to fly all across the Atlantic for work. He seemed to feel just as bad as the night we took the 2-hour detour but at least he did kiss me, his beard rubbing against my chin until it was red and warm. I took his hand and pulled him out of the doorway; gently pushed him into the apartment. Later I took his hand and pulled it out from underneath my shirt; gently pushed it under my skin. There was nothing else left to do.
Whenever I think about it, it almost makes me laugh (one of those stories that doesn’t hurt anymore, you might as well turn it into an anecdote – maybe not for dinner party’s; maybe for drunk and confessional nights out): I watched him climb into his old and way too spotless BMW one last time; I didn’t wave, I just stood on the porch, staring at the tail lights disappearing around the corner.
Sometimes nothing is said and yet: you still know it’s over – despite the promises (“Of course, I’ll call as soon as I get out of the plane”), despite the exchanging of e-mail addresses; even despite the fear of loss, lonely nights and the possibility of falling back into old habits (too many drunk nights in a row and never enough Advil in the medicine drawer to fix all that needs fixing, dear God).
I thought of his eyes and hands one last time and I thought that just couple of hours later he would be able to visit my family as easily as he’d been coming by my apartment for the past months.
Sometimes it’s really hard to beat the irony of life.