Literature, poetry, lots of books and just some stuff I write
I am getting used at dressing for myself only. Here, in my hotel room in Budapest, time passes slowly, according to my own caprices. I am an awful sleeper, even more in a bed that is not mine; even more on my first holiday alone – without you, without the idea of you.
Getting dressed for myself is trickier and easier at the same time. On the one hand, I can follow my gut instinct, my mood swings. I can be vintage one day, sporty the following, classy when I feel like it.
On the other hand, the temptation to avoid looking at any mirror and just tossing out of my wardrobe the first thing I find is huge. Picking clothes was – with you, for you – a religious act: I’d go shopping and, more or less consciously, I’d look at stuff that I knew you would have loved: mostly, romantic, vintage dresses. Every morning, every evening, while dressing and undressing, I’d see myself in your eyes. I could spot the sparkle, the tiny glittery speckles at the corner of your wide, luminous, ambiguous eyes.
Every single garment was lovingly picked, nothing was left to the fate. For I never knew when I would see you, and my hours would stretch achingly into the agony and ecstasy of waiting, waiting, waiting. The endless waiting. For I knew that, the exact moment you spotted me, I would become something liquid and frail, breathing you, living you, existing into you.
I stroll carelessly along the Danube, admiring the way the Duma falls in love with itself in the water, timeless, elegant, majestic Narcissus promenading the river. Trying to recall the moment I broke in one thousand pieces, the moment when I had to give everything up and get away from you. The moment where I left the city where I met you and all the safe little world I had built around me.
It was a weird late winter day. I should have sussed out something was going to happen. I had indeed been dressing again, for a couple of days, as if you were to see me. It was a weird Wednesday, the sun was shining and I felt compelled to go out in the terrace, in the sun – compelled the way you only feel when you are living in Northern countries and you know that a lukewarm, sunny, spotless day it is indeed a luxury and something to treasure, to seize – and do something I hadn’t been doing for a long time: having a fag. Just one, for old times’ sake. And there you were, indeed, in the last place I expected to meet you, sitting on the steps of our broken rendez-vous, drinking your coke, your eyes closed, sun stroking your golden hair. I saw your look – that look – carefully assessing my outfit, lovingly assembled against my own conscience, just hoping, just waiting for this moment to come: layers of carefully mismatched t-shirts, a funky gipsy skirt, colorful tights, cowboy boots. And confusion, and my heart beating savagely as I slowly approached you. You didn’t even look up; you just said “You are doing your hair differently; I liked it better before”.
I sat down and we talked – it was books, as always: our safe haven, our curfew. As we were talking, you stopped all of a sudden and said: “so we bid farewell to the arms”.
When we started our “thing” (you never wanted labels) you once asked me which book I would pick if I was supposed to die in a couple of hours. Instinctively, I skipped my classic faves, like Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights, and also my beloved Anna Karenina: I went straight to Farewell to arms by Hemingway, because I kind of thought it made sense to read about the wild beauty of life and the everlasting battle fought between eros and thanatos in a moment like that.
However, when you mentioned the title I sat there, frozen, because I knew you weren’t recalling that moment: you had simply realized I had given up on fighting for you. I was wasted, I was tired. I was empty.
I felt nothing, I wanted nothing but oblivion.
There I sat, your shoulder brushing casually against mine – the first physical contact we had in months – and I couldn’t help but wonder: that was the chest upon which I used to sleep. Those were your insolent, provocative, cat eyes I had fallen in love with, at first side. Those were the tiny wrinkles I used to kiss, one by one. You were saying something, but I wasn’t listening anymore: I was listening instead to a tune in my head, our favorite singer, Leonard Cohen, or, as you put it, “the patron saint of unhappy endings”:
That was your golden maze, that used to end up tangles in my long dark curls. There was the flesh, the skin, the blood I had worshipped and loved drop by drop – because we where one. Together, we were better, we created a sort of third entity that was us. And “Us” used to be freer and happier and more careless and more adventurous. And astonishingly beautiful. You used to lead me to the mirror and say: “Look at us: don’t we just look better together? Don’t we just feel better together?”
How I wish those were not just empty, shallow words.
I go back to my hotel room. I feel tired, tired of myself, tired of everything. Of this endless waiting for someone who is not going to show up.
This whole trip idea was a mistake. Begging my boss for a sabbatical, leaving my flat in a rush, planning haphazardly a trip across Eastern Europe, since I had stuck mostly to the Western part.
As I lay in my bed, I do something I had sworn not to do: I open up my pc and go through my emails. Sure as hell, your name pops up. Something about a poem you hated, and then one question: when will you come back? And my heart stops, because you are not asking me what’s next, or when will I go back; but when will I come back.
I know it is preposterous and stupid. I know you don’t mean coming back to you. But all of a sudden, I cannot stand being here anymore. I start packing, tossing stuff without really looking at it. Packing for Romania, as I planned to do, or packing for coming back to you?
Words are a powerful – and dangerous – tool. A single verb can change everything.
I stop packing and undress slowly, and, in front of my mirror, start getting dressed, putting the same clothes I had on the first time I met you – your transparent eyes, your baby blue shirt, your tousled hair. The first time I stopped existing an individual entity and started existing as a third part. And in the moment, in this moment, you are mine again. More than ever.