It’s Sunday and we had pulled pork and coleslaw with the family. It had been a long time since I’d had beer with lunch, having opted most of the time for wine. Sun all around. It was good and we felt it that way. Clemence has left and Barbora won’t come back. I’ve been thinking about her lately, her smooth strong temper, the expression in her eyes when she wanted us to make love, the terrible blondness of her yellow hair entwined through my fingers. The first times, in the amber light of my bedroom, I got flashbacks of Ilse and had to avoid saying her name. Any way, Clemence will be back in a week or ten days, I am intrigued by that flash of madness that crosses her green eyes for a second or two when we speak. I can almost guess how she’ll be, her moves, her hair, her parting lips… but I can never be sure. I will have to wait and see.
Didn’t sleep last night. Tossing . Turning.
Kelly and her boyfriend came in. They had been dumped on the curb by the friendly taxi driver after he failed to find the address. Kelly stayed and guarded the luggage while Kevin walked the streets until he found the right door and then just started ringing the doorbell nervously. I went down, swung it open, and when I saw him immediately knew who it was before he introduced himself.
We walked the two blocks in the cold and back, carrying the heavy luggage, trying to make small talk and not appear out of breath. I installed them a bit brusquely into their bedroom, told them we’d talk today and went back to bed.
Couldn’t go back to sleep, which is very unusual for me, turned the TV on and mindlessly zapped through the whole tirade a couple of times until I came across a film that looked convincingly old but not campy, it had this blonde guy, a mercenary, being offered a job. It was set in Africa, which reminded me of a friend’s husband who, after knowing them years with me thinking he was some type of traveling salesman, one drunk night made me privy to what he did for a living, basically “either enforced or protected specific interests through the professional use of military knowledge and experience”. Anyway, the movie is called Dark of the Sun, and I do think it was good, in a Wild Geese sort of way. I then turned the TV off and lay there in the dark looking at the ceiling thinking of Ilse. Yvette Mimieux had me thinking of her al throughout the fighting. Some sadness, no regrets.
Ilse to me:
So you “unfriended” me on Facebook on Valentines day… yes, that gives me a rough idea of how much you love me…
Also as someone who has such strong feelings as you say you have, I find it a little odd for you to wait for me to make plans for us to meet up somewhere in the world (which I asked you a couple of times but your answer has always been, no, I can’t), and you say it’s not about the money but I know you wouldn’t think twice about getting yourself a new motorcycle and stuff, you just don’t want to spend it to travel together.
So, what it comes down to is words. Nothing but words. You waiting for me to come. As always. That’s not enough for me.
If you were as crazy in love with me as you say you are, you would not have waited but just came over and you would have found me.
All the best to you.
Me to Ilse:
You’re the most selfish unempathic person I’ve met in my entire life… you don’t know anything about love or family and never will, that’s why you are alone.
You don’t deserve what’s been given to you by life or by those who love you, what a waste, what a shame.
Go on, keep being the eternal tourist, keep on pretending that’s what you want, keep posting empty comments and souless pictures on facebook, keep running away from the fact that you can’t stay somewhere long enough before people start getting fed up with your crap.
I’m the only man who’s ever loved you, but yeah, it wasn’t enough for you, so fuck you Ilse.
Don’t write to me ever again I’m through with you and your shit.
After Ilse I did what any sane man would do.
I hit the road and went on a transandean mototrip, into the valleys and all the way up to the lower jungle, where I got hit by a Hummer and ended up staying in a little town called Saipina while a man called Gunnar got the bike back running… made it back, the bike behaved grandly.
Okay. So Ilse has gone off to travel the world again. Fiji, Australia, probably Indonesia, with plans to be back in Leipzig for Christmas. She’s gone. This has been the backdrop for the past week, with conversations about books, songs and movies, slow casual lovemaking, wine drinking, dining out, morning walks, long motorcycle rides and once in a while, like an explosion out of nowhere, fast, furious almost violent sex. Stupid arguments also, at least once a day, making up, both of us trying to be better humans to each other than we really are.
It was a sad goodbye. She cried a little and held onto my hand. She asked if I’d meet her in Leipzig. I said I would not. She asked if I’d go to bed with other women now that she was going to be gone. I answered that I did not know but it was a probability. She told me I was an asshole. I agreed but told her I wasn’t the one leaving. She shook her head and frowned, exasperated at me one final time. I smiled, she did not. One last hug. A final goodbye kiss.
When I went back home I found her favorite pair of shoes abandoned, in our bedroom, forgotten, looking very lonely there without the rest of her stuff, just laying there next to each other, probably not understanding why she’d forgotten them. I picked them up and sat on the bed, one in each hand. The night feels large and empty now.
Christmas in Leipzig. I’ll have to think about that one.
Estuve manejando, sin apuro, sin rumbo fijo. No lo hacía desde que ella se fue. Cruce el tercer puente, avancé sobre la avenida, me detuve a ver desde la altura. Me di la vuelta y vi casas de colores. Volví a subirme a la moto y avancé hacia ellas, subiendo por calles angostas y empinadas. Era media mañana y el día estaba lleno de sol. No había salido así desde que ella se fue.
I think both views are correct. It is not, I believe, a dichotomic issue. It’s not only up to every person to do what they feel is right, but to learn and trust her feelings through all the advise or opinions put forth. To make it even more interesting or distressing, one can change with experience and different types of dating and relationships develop in your life. I think you can stop seeing someone when it stops being “fun” but I’ve also found out that that’s when emotional meaningfulness comes forth and starts to grow, it is not the good times that make lasting bonds, it’s the difficult and sad times that consolidate our lives with that of others.
You can date to have fun, gain experience or try to know a person as profoundly as possible to finally just move on, or you can be on standby until whoever meets your expectations comes along, either way, it’s going to take a lot of effort to make things work once the initial jitters are over. Ultimately it’s one’s own capacity to love, live, forgive and contribute in creating a mutual life that will make the difference.
So, I would agree with you, Joan, there are people with whom it’s fun to date, others with whom you feel there could be more of a future (whatever that means to each of us) and others with whom it’s just about the sex and intensity. At the same time though, I agree with M. Kundera when he states that our lives are like musical scores, the more you advance on your own, the harder it will be to combine it harmoniously with that of another person.
At this point in my life I feel grateful towards all the women with whom my path has crossed, many of them have made me a better person and some of them stood by me even after I hurt them, teaching me things I never imagined about what it means to love.