First date (repost)

She looked at her phone again. His last message read: Looking forward to tonight. Mailed you the address of the restaurant. x
The words hadn’t changed since the last time she had read them. They wouldn’t change, but the clock was ticking, and she was running out of time. She needed the stress to get ready for a date. Loved it even.

With a towel around her head, she walked naked from the bathroom to her bedroom. In front of the floor length mirror, she stopped and put her hands on her hips. She was just an ordinary girl. Maybe a little curvier than others, but she didn’t mind. Her hourglass figure was an asset to her. Turning left and turning right, she looked at herself. She felt sexy. A good sign for a first date with a man she had never met before. But she liked him from his emails and their calls. She opened her wardrobe and pulled out a pair of black jeans and a blouse. She threw both items on the bed and opened her underwear drawer. It was the right occasion to pull out the lace lingerie, but the question was which colour. Would wearing red underwear send the wrong signals? What if he wouldn’t see it, then she would feel attractive, and it would be her secret? What about the gray or the purple set? Or even the black? She decided to postpone the decision and pulled out bright green socks. It was a quirk, but she liked her colourful socks. She put them on her feet and moved back to the mirror. She hadn’t changed. Still naked, apart from her feet. She wriggled her toes and smiled.

A short look at the alarm clock on her bedside table told her that she had twenty minutes to get dressed, dry her hair, and put on some make-up before she had to go. She opened the other door of her wardrobe and took out a black dress. It had a deep cleavage but wasn’t too slutty. She liked it a lot. Nodding, she pulled out the red set of lingerie and a purple pantyhose. She pulled the socks off her feet again and threw them on the floor. There was no time for being tidy anymore. She wrestled herself inside the delicate pantyhose hoping not to rip it, pulled up the zipper at the back of the dress with many acrobatics and cussing, and took a final look in the mirror. With a content look, she thought: Yes, this is it.

Behind her on her shelf, she grabbed for the Hugo Deep Red and put some of it on her neck and wrists. She loved that fragrance; it was, without a doubt, her favourite. She put her bracelets on her wrist and her necklace with the star around her neck. It was said to keep evil spirits away, and although she didn’t believe in things like that, good spirits were always welcome, and she had no intention challenging the bad ones that day. Next, she debated which watch to wear, but then she grabbed the yellow G-Shock she wore daily. It was an eye catcher, and if the conversation would slow down, she could always bring up the fact that Chris Martin from Coldplay wears the same watch occasionally.

She shook her head, and the towel came loose. She let it drop to the floor and walked to the bathroom. She left the moist towel on the hardwood floor and she didn’t care if it left stains or not.
After spraying herself with deodorant, the next decision was due. Keeping the hair curly or straightening it? Thirteen minutes left and another curse-word. She put a product in her hair and began blow drying it with a brush. It took seven minutes to get it the way she wanted it. It wasn’t perfect, but she was running out of time. She put on a little bit of foundation, rimmed her eyes with black eyeliner and applied some dark brown mascara. Nude lipstick topped her looks. One last stroke of the brush through her hair and she was done, with one minute to spare. And she needed it.

She smoothed her dress against her thighs and sighed. She felt uncomfortable, and her hair and the dress didn’t look good together, and maybe she was overdressed for a casual first date anyway? She went to her bedroom again, and in a frenzy, she undressed, threw the dress and the pantyhose on the overfilled chair in the corner by the window and slipped into the black jeans and blouse she had planned on wearing all along. She couldn’t find her second sock in her haste and took a new pair out of the drawer. When she bent down to put them on her feet, she realised that her pants were too loose and she needed a belt. But where was her belt? I’m going to be late. I hate being late!! Frantically, she searched for the accessory that was supposed to keep her pants up where they belonged, and she finally found it on the pair of jeans at the bottom of the pile of clothes on her chair. Pulling hard, most of the clothes hit the floor, but she had what she needed. Her bedroom looked as if a bomb filled with clothes had exploded. She didn’t have time to tidy up or waste a thought about it.

Running down the stairs while pulling the belt through the loops, she didn’t waste time to find a matching pair of shoes. She slipped her feet into her cognac coloured boots and buckled the belt then bent down to pull the zipper from her boots. She put on her faux-leather jacket, the long scarf with the stars and grabbed the white tote bag with the red handles. Keys, phone, and off she went. She looked just like any other day, but she felt very different.

In the car, she put on her favourite song and hoped that her deodorant would keep her safe. She was stressed. Excited. And it was hot, which made her sweat. She put the music a little louder and concentrated on the road ahead.

A parking space was easy to find, but calming down her racing heart was another issue. She sat in the car. Two minutes to spare. She looked into the mirror to make sure that her hair looked good. Out of habit, she brushed the lipstick from her lips and wiped the corners of her eyes to get rid of black smudges. Her breath came in erratic pants. She felt like driving home again. But she was also excited to finally meet the man who had promised pasta and the best chocolate mousse in town. She rechecked her phone. No new messages. Which she took as a good sign. She closed her eyes and took a couple of deep breaths through her nose and released them through pursed lips. You’ve got this. She told herself when she opened her eyes again. Rubbing her sweaty palms and her thighs, she was finally ready. Go! She whispered when she got out of the car.

She got closer to the restaurant and kept her eyes on the floor. The heels of her boots made a lot of noise on the gravel. Maybe it was just in her head, though, amplified by her nervousness. She raised her head, and there he was. He was biting his thumbnail, looking every bit as nervous as she felt. He looked in the other direction, but it was unmistakably him. She slowed down. How was she supposed to greet him? She readjusted her blouse and ran her hand through the lengths of her hair. Her throat felt dry, and her entire body was trembling. He was taller than she had imagined him to be.

He let his thumb fall from his lips and in slow motion, or so it seemed to her, he turned his head. A bright smile erupted on her face, and he mirrored it. She took a couple more steps towards him, and he joined her. Both their smiles hadn’t faltered. And her nervousness was gone. All she wanted was to be in the presence of this man. Hear his voice, smell him and maybe, even touch him.

They stopped in front of each other. Close. Closer than strangers. She looked up to meet his eyes.
“Hello,” he said. His voice was hoarse.
“Hi,” she answered and felt her cheeks blush. He bent down to kiss her cheek, at that exact moment she turned her head, and his lips landed on her lips. Her eyes went wide, and her heart rate sped up again. His pale cheeks were tinged with a red colour too. He shrugged with a smile. She smiled back. He had nice lips. Smooth. For a while, they stood making small talk about the drive to the restaurant and the weather before he suggested to get inside. He took the lead, and she liked that. A lot. He held the door for her, and she lowered her head.
No one had ever held the door for her. It was cheesy and incredibly cute. It also showed that he was born in a different generation. Ten years of age gap was already making a difference. They walked close to each other, and when they waited to be seated, their arms almost touched. But not quite. They didn’t talk. They just smiled awkwardly.

At their table, he waited until she sat down, and when the waitress suggested an aperitif, she ordered a glass of white wine. He ordered a Perrier, and she blushed again. Right, he had mentioned briefly that he didn’t drink anymore. Not the best start for the evening. She opened the menu and scanned it without seeing the words she read. Under the table, their feet touched. Their eyes met briefly over their menus, but both of them lowered their gazes again. Awkward!

They sat with their menus on the plates, and she began to chuckle.

She: this is surreal, sorry.
He: yes, it is.

He laughed too. There were deep lines around his eyes, telling her that he was no stranger to happiness.

He: It’s hot in here.

He shuffled out of his suit jacket to reveal a pristine white button-down shirt when he put it on the back of his chair. She liked his look a lot. It was casual and not. With his button-down and the black suit-jacket, he wore dark jeans and black Converse shoes. His hair was tied back with a hairband, and only one lock fell on his forehead. He reached for his water, and she noticed his long slender fingers and the blue veins on the back of his pale hands. He took a couple of small sips. It was weird and cute. Under the table, their feet were still touching. Not moving, just resting against each other.
In her usual habit, she put her glasses to her left, and when the waitress came to take their order, she ordered a San Pellegrino and let the wine go back. He rose an eyebrow, but her mind was set.

She: you don’t drink. I don’t need it either.

He nodded with a smile. Apparently, he liked her thoughtfulness.

He: are you left-handed then?

He waved in the general direction of her rearranged cutlery and his watch and her right wrist.

She: Oh, no. That’s just an old habit. I move my hands a lot when I speak. Just precaution.

She blushed, admitting her clumsiness. He smiled at her.

He: I move my hands a lot too.

He took another couple of small sips of his water.

He: I have a dry throat and sweaty palms. Nervous.

It surprised her. She had no clue why an ordinary girl like her could make a man like him nervous.

She: don’t be. I’m just me.

He: exactly, and you look beautiful tonight. Gorgeous.

For a moment, she forgot how to breathe and how to think. Her eyes met his, searching for the joke in this, but all she found was honesty and sincerity. She had to lower her head to hide her embarrassed. She didn’t take compliments well.

He: look at me!

It was an order, firm but gentle. He knew exactly what she needed and how she needed to be handled. They had talked about it multiple times. She looked up.

He: just telling it as it is.

She: Thank you.

She wished for the food to be served to have something to do. This wasn’t going well. Or maybe it was, and she was too busy thinking herself down to let it happen. She sighed and gave herself an internal pep talk. All the time, his eyes were on her.

She: for how long will you stay in town?

He: depends…

He smiled, and she was saved from more awkwardness when the waitress brought their food. His pasta looked delicious. Hers did too.

He: Bon appetit.

She turned her plate 180°, another quirk and took her fork. His eyes were still on her when he took the cheese and sprinkled his pasta with it.

He: cheese?

She shook her head.

She: no thanks. Maybe later.

He put a big bite in his mouth, and his eyes closed. She almost expected him to moan. His mouth was still full when he spoke.

He: this is so good. Wow. How’s yours?

She had been busy watching the sensual way he was eating and felt caught in the act. Her food was good, but nowhere near as fascinating as her company for the evening. She felt bold when she loaded her fork and offered it to him. She had never done this before, but it felt like the right thing to do. He smiled, opened his mouth, and let her feed him. Again he closed his eyes, savouring the different flavours on his tongue.

He: spicy. Very good. Now you.

And he did the same she had done. Red sauce dripped off his fork and into her water glass. She chuckled, he shrugged. She opened her mouth, and her heart began to race. A tingle spread inside her. He took care of her, and she liked it. He tilted his head, awaiting her verdict.

Perfect, she said,

because the evening announced itself to be a success. After this, the conversation became more comfortable. And he had been right; he moved his hands a lot when he spoke. They discussed their beliefs and their faiths, and although she knew she was eccentric in that regard, she didn’t feel judged. In fact, they shared many views. Absentmindedly, she played with her left ring finger. There used to be a ring, but the man she had loved for so many years had never been as close to her mind as the one across the table. Smirking, she realised that this was the first date she had as a grown-up and independent woman. She smiled at him, and their conversation jumped from topic to topic naturally. The more they revealed of themselves, the faster her heart beat in a good way.

She was full. Half of her food was left on her plate, but as much as she didn’t want to waste the food, she couldn’t eat anymore. Her stomach was in knots anyway. Their conversation was filled with laughter but also with serious topics. It was effortless to talk to this man. She felt appreciated and attractive and completely forgot to be self-conscious. He made her feel as if she could be herself without the need to pretend to be more or less than she actually was. It was nice to lower her guards, and inwardly, she felt proud to do all of this without liquid courage clouding her brain. This was all real — her perception of reality anyway. The waitress came to clear the table, and with a simple look into each other’s eyes, they decided to wait before they ordered dessert. Conversation without words was such an intimate thing and rare too, but it was right for them. With the plates out of the way, the table looked large, and they had space for their hands. His pale hand reached out for hers. And there was the familiar embarrassment again. While his hands were pale and hairless, hers were rough and dusted with dark hair. She wasn’t the kind of woman to wear nail polish or to have long nails. She clipped them and kept them neat, but that was all she did to pamper her hands. She wanted to pull back, but he wouldn’t let her.

She: I don’t have beautiful hands. They are too manly.

He took her hands and inspected them, turning them this way and that.

He: they are beautiful. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

He ran a finger along the indentation her wedding band had left behind.

How long have you been divorced?

She: two months. He nodded and kept running his fingers over hers.

He: I have a child. Did I ever tell you about that?

It was her time to nod. There was nothing to say, just to listen as his eyes grew distant. He loved his child, it was written on his face, and she was learning to read him like an open book.

“Her mom moved them to Cyprus. I don’t see her often. I’m afraid to become the strange uncle at some point in her life. I only visit twice a year”. He took a deep breath and smiled. “But we Skype and I send her letters and little presents. I was never married.”

She opened her mouth to say something, but the waitress’s timing was awful. He let go of her hands and ordered dessert for her.

He: I told you we’d have chocolate mousse for dessert. It’s my favourite.

She didn’t object. She wasn’t too fond of chocolate, but the way he smiled left her silent. The smile faltered on her face. There. At that exact moment, she realised that she was slipping on a mask again, to be who he wanted her to be. She couldn’t let that happen, not after the kind of evening they had spent together.

She: I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.

He: You’ll like it. I promise.

And she believed him. She liked him. She trusted him too. There was just something about him, maybe it was his eyes or maybe the way he talked, maybe it was just his charming ways, but he made her feel good about herself. It was the second time that evening she realised that small fact, and while she was aware that the end of their date was nearing as the waitress set their chocolate mousses in front of them, she didn’t want to see the evening end. He waited for her to taste the sweet dish, and she scooped up a little of the brown mousse. She looked anywhere, but at him, the way he watched her was unsettling. The chocolate on her tongue melted, and he had been right. She moaned and blushed at the prominent display of pleasure.

She: Wow.

He smiled victoriously and dug in too.

He: told you so.

The light ribbing had become part of their conversation, and the way their sense of humor clicked was another indication that she was falling slowly for the man across the table. Despite having eaten entirely too much, she emptied the dessert, and he hummed in appreciation.

He: you have something on your lip.

She blushed and wanted to reach for her napkin. Moments before it had been on her lap, but now it lay on the floor. He reached across the table and with his thumb, he wiped the chocolate from her lip. She didn’t overthink it and sucked his thumb clean. He chuckled, and she ran her tongue over the pad of his thumb. His eyes widened, and she could only assume the effect this little not so innocent gesture had on him. She smirked when she released him, but she kept his eyes fixed on his.

She: delicious.

He coughed when the waitress appeared out of nowhere again.

She: I’ll have an espresso, please and for the gentleman, a mint tea, please.

He looked shocked but didn’t argue.

He: do I have bad breath?

He breathed in his palm and tried to determine why she had ordered a mint tea.

She shrugged: payback for ordering for me.

He laughed out loud, and more curls fell from his hairband. He put them behind his ears, but they sprang right back up.

He: right. I’ll remember that and for the record, don’t make me drink that herbal brew, please. I need coffee, too — even more after dinner.

Without missing a beat, she waved the waitress over and changed the order from tea to coffee. The waitress rolled her eyes but scurried away again.

She: she thinks that I can’t make up my mind. I swear I am not that complicated.

She shook her head, smiling and put her hair over her left shoulder.

“Well, maybe I am very complicated, but she doesn’t know that.”

He laughed out loud again, and she loved the sound. She really didn’t want the evening to end. But when the coffee arrived, he asked for the check. She wondered if she should offer to pay or assume he would pay or maybe she should just pay her half but wasn’t that too fussy? She sighed and watched his delicate fingers as they stirred sugar into his coffee. As always, she drank hers black.

“So,” he said her name and the way he spoke it made the butterflies in her stomach do somersaults. A warmth spread from her heart all the way down to her most intimate place. She was surprised by the impact his voice had on her, but there was no denying. And it was hot in the restaurant.

“I had a great evening.”

He played with her fingers again. An electrical surge went through her. She inhaled shakily. She couldn’t rationalise where the sudden need came from, but at that moment, she would have done everything he could ask of her. And the mood shifted. It became loaded with promises and longing. Want and need were showing in dilated irises. He licked his lips, and she mimicked him. A kiss hung between them. The atmosphere was crackling. Until the waitress interrupted the moment, they had. They broke apart and chuckled like teenagers. He reached for his wallet, and when she wanted to do the same, he glared at her.

He: what kind of gentleman would I be if I would let you pay for our dinner or even half of it? Next time it’s your turn. Maybe.

She didn’t argue, but her annoying brain was back. What did ‘maybe’ mean? That there was maybe a chance to a second date? Or he would let her pay, maybe?

He: stop overanalyzing.

He chuckled, and she felt caught again.

She: that’s just part of me.

He: we’ll work on that together.

He put his credit card on the tray with the receipt. And once again, she believed him. There was just something about him that made her feel cared for. It was like coming home. But instead of being bored by the known, he excited and aroused her with his sheer presence.

“So,” he said again. “What are your plans for tonight?”

A panoply of possible answers came to her mind, but she wasn’t bold enough to ask him to go home with her, and she wasn’t daring enough to ask him to go for a walk. She worried her lower lip and was lost for words. “Just say it,” he smiled. On his face was something like hope.

She: I don’t want the evening to end.

A bright smile appeared on his face.

He: Okay. I don’t want it to end either. We could go for a walk. You could show me your city by night?

She beamed at him.

She: I would like that very much.

The inevitable end was pushed back further into the night. He paid and added a generous tip for the waitress. It was just another piece of the puzzle that made this man her perfect match.

He: are you ready to go?

Instead of answering, she shrugged into her jacket and put her scarf around her neck. He waited for her and held out his hand. She looked at it and took it. He walked in front of her, and she followed, looking at their joined hands. And maybe at the curve where his back met his behind.

“I hope you’re enjoying the view,” he chuckled, and she blushed. He hadn’t caught her starring, he was just teasing, but since he was right in his assumption, the embarrassment was back in red spots on her cheeks.

She: very much so, thank you.

He held the door for her again.

He: likewise.

He didn’t even conceal the fact that he checked her out from head to toes. There was a gleam in his eyes. They walked on for a couple of paces when he stopped abruptly. She almost stumbled. He took both of her hands in his.

He: I’m glad we finally met in person, and I would really like to kiss you if that is okay.

It was more than okay; it was desired. She stood on tiptoes and let the moment happen. The magic of a first kiss. He pulled her closer and lowered his head. She felt his breath on her skin and his heat coming closer and closer still. His lips were dry and smooth. The kiss was gentle but persistent, and when his hand pulled her closer, she licked his lips. It was just a quick touch of their tongues before their kiss was over. She opened her eyes and looked straight into his. He was smiling again. He put his arms around her and pulled her against him. She fitted his body perfectly. She wrapped her arms around him underneath his jacket and squeezed tightly. He put a kiss on her hair, and they broke apart. It was the natural thing to do. Hand in hand, they strolled through the illuminated streets. They showed each other interesting looking things, and once in a while, they stopped to kiss again. The bells of the cathedral announced midnight in the distance, and she yawned.

“Wouldn’t it be great if this date didn’t need to end?” She mused out loud.

He: it doesn’t have to end. You could come home with me.

As much as she wanted to say yes, she declined his offer. It was too much too soon. The mood shifted to one of regret. A missed opportunity created a distance between them as they walked back to their cars. Inwardly, she scolded herself. She had ruined a perfect date, or that was what her brain was trying to tell her. In front of her car, he turned her in his arms again.

He: Thank you for this perfect evening.

And he kissed her again. They said goodbye, promising to get in touch as soon as they were home. She got in her car and watched him turn away. She cursed and exhaled deeply in the sanctuary of her car. She started the engine, and when she was next to him, with his hunched shoulders and lowered head, she stopped.

She: the night doesn’t have to end like this. Would you like to go on a second date?

He turned to face her.

He: yes. When?

She: Now. Get in; I’ll take you on our second date.

He: are you sure?

She: yes.

Her heart beat too fast again, but she couldn’t stop the smile on her face. The second date with this man who was buckling his seat belt next to her was about to happen. She drove them to her house and saw him blink.

“Home,” she explained, and he grinned. “Are you coming?”

He: not yet, but I am sure I’ll be there in no time.

The suggestiveness of his words made her smile, but it had been exactly what she had wanted to hear — a perfect first date. And the second date would be successful too, she was sure.

The Chemicals Between Them

She looked at him. He was more than she had ever expected him to be — a lot more. His green eyes were so pale, and his ginger hair was just leaning enough to the blond side to look beautiful. His fingers were long and slender, its tips worn and hard from playing his instrument daily for more than three decades. There was something very gentle about him. It wasn’t just the voice that was deep and a little raspy with a sensual lilt. His hands were animated when he spoke. There was life inside this man. A light that shone brightly. There had always been something mysterious, vulnerable, strong, and sensual about him. He knew many demons by name. Some, she knew too. He was known for being difficult, too sure about his talent and himself, but that confidence was something she had always admired. And now she sat face to face with him. When they had talked on the phone for the first time, she had been starstruck. But soon it became normalcy to talk to him weekly, sometimes only monthly. There was a bond. Too many similarities to ignore. For both of them. She didn’t want to be his groupie, and she didn’t feel like it either, but now she didn’t only like his music and his lyrics, she had grown to like the man himself too. With all his flaws. They made him human with all his arrogance that shone through too.

She didn’t know what he saw in her, but since he had repeatedly told her that she was beautiful and that he liked her mind, she didn’t question it. There was no use. He saw things in her she didn’t see. And he inspired change within that she hadn’t known to be capable of.

Sometimes they didn’t speak in months. During these months, she felt lonely and unhappy. Incomplete. Even though they shared this connection and this inexplicable bond, she wanted to leave him his space. She saw the music as being his job. There were times when he didn’t do a lot and other times when he was too busy to do anything but write and record a new album. She refused to intrude. She took it as a gift when he spent time with her, and she was content that he always seemed to come back to her.

Like now. He had insisted on making time for her tonight, even though he was working. It was the first time they sat face to face. But it was apparent that the chemicals between them were stronger than she had ever anticipated.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

He looked at her. He had loved many women in his life, had been engaged twice too. Opening up to this woman and trusting her the way he did had been a challenge. She had touched him at a moment when he had craved connection. Something had made him take his chances. And he knew how risky it had been. There were still one-night stands who wrote less than nice things on the band’s Facebook page. She was not like them. She was respectful of his work. And she had put him in his place once or twice when he had become too cocky. He liked that. He also liked the undivided attention she offered and that she didn’t conceal how much she loved his talent. She was the one he had always missed, but he hadn’t known it until she had become a constant part of his life. And gorgeous. She was gorgeous. Her brown eyes were full of emotions and her hair; it was gorgeous. There was no other word he could think of to describe her. Her skin was unblemished. No tattoos, no piercings. So different from the girls he took to the hotel for one night only. Of course, he knew about the self-harming scars, and he had seen her many beauty spots on her olive skin. She was a little chubby, but he wasn’t thin or muscular, either. He was soft around the middle and conscious about it. And then she had told him that she loved his hairy belly. It had made him smile. It was then when he had realised that she was so very different. At first, he had had no intention to meet her. It had been a fantasy. A game. But there was something very mysterious about her. The connection grew, and that bond too – a bond he had only felt with his siblings. He felt safe with her. He had offered to meet at one of their shows, and she had immediately said that he was working, and she didn’t want to intrude. It had made him want her even more. She took herself back and was respectful, polite, and there was a sense of humour that matched his own. She was so much more than he had ever expected her to be. And now they sat face to face. Around them, people were busy getting the venue ready. Lights were checked, guitars were tuned, the bar was stocked, and the stage was set for its final look. And he only had eyes for her. He had promised to make time for her. And he needed to know that when he played in her city, that she would be there. He wanted to look into her eyes at one particular moment. When they would play a new song for the first time. She had no idea the song was for her, but he knew she would know as soon as she heard the lyrics. He had used words she had said to him. After the show, when his duties were fulfilled, he intended to take her out. Maybe for a walk under the winter’s sky. Maybe to the hotel. Who knew where their journey would lead. At first, he had been afraid that she was just another groupie. Now, he was scared that he was about to fall in love. She smelled so good, and her smile brightened the dim room. His heartfelt something he had sworn it would never be allowed again. There was no use fighting it. The chemicals between them were so much stronger than he could ever have anticipated.

Love.

Fifteen months

(Repost from September 16th, 2016)

And then it happened, and her demons won. Just like that and without a fair warning. They didn’t play fair. For fifteen months she had fought them off, and now she had lost the battle with her self-harming demons. Just two small cuts. Usually, she only made one deep incision. But cutting along existing scars proved challenging. And fascinating. The way the skin stretched without breaking. The way she realised that the pain from cutting her skin stopped the moment it began to bleed.

But something wasn’t right. Something was not like she remembered it. She didn’t feel the usual calm settle down over her like a relaxing fog. This time, she stayed agitated. Unsettled. Two cuts. Very small, yet there. They hadn’t opened the valve that allowed her skin to expand and give her more room to breathe. Not this time. This time, the cuts were a testimony to her failure as an adult. She was broken beyond repair. They were affirming her failure. Affirming that she was just a freak. Nothing more.

She grew restless. She was determined to punish herself and her body for all the things that weren’t right – mostly her mind.

Transfixed, she watched the drops of blood sliding down her wrist. Had it ever bled this much? Had she cut too deep? Was she done, or was there more cutting to do to ease her troubled soul? She started shaking violently. She cleaned the box cutter in a hurry, before returning it to its place on the shelf. She couldn’t stand its sight anymore.

She ran her arm under the sink and still reeling, she lit a cigarette. She claimed to be a non-smoker but once in a while; she liked the taste of her Luckies. This time, it was different – not calming her nerves, and still shaking all over, she felt so nauseous from the smoke that she put the cigarette out.

She considered drinking a shot of vodka, but she had promised to herself to be abstinent from alcohol and carbohydrates for at least two weeks. She had no intention of breaking that vow. Even under these circumstances. Or was it despite them? She had to stick to something.

But what was she supposed to do? All alone. She called her best friend, but she was busy. It was the usual scenario: she needed someone, but the world was too busy to care. She never pretended to be the centre of the universe, but she gave all the time, and when she needed a shoulder, some support, nobody was there.

On a whim, she messaged her ex-affair. It would have been their first anniversary. Did he know? He didn’t, but it was okay. The moment she heard his voice, she had to swallow down a wave of tears. She hadn’t believed that he would pick up the phone, but he had. He had always been a good listener. And even now, after months of silence between them, he did the same – he listened. Giving gentle advice, never judging. He held his narcissistic self under control while she confessed and confided in him what she had never confessed or admitted to anyone. She had harmed herself. Now she felt ashamed and exhausted. The tension hadn’t left. But his voice was reassuring, comforting. She never wanted to show him his weaknesses, but now she had done it anyway. He knew. She was naked, soul-stripped in front of him. He stirred the conversation in a different direction. And she let him, fully aware that he was asking for something in return. Nothing was for free.

On a path to self-destruction phone sex with him was just another step towards her final demise. Was she his prostitute? For him, she was. She was allowed to unload her emotional crap as long as she paid her debts with her body. She hated herself either way. This didn’t change a thing. And yet, she felt proud when she heard his moans and his erratic breathing. She didn’t feel dirty or ashamed that he had made her cum twice too. It was just words. A fantasy. Orders she bs followed. But sometimes, it was more. It had released the rest of the tension that had kept her on edge for so long, and when he told her so, knowing exactly how she felt, she had laughed out loud — a genuine s.
The earlier thoughts were forgotten. Not really forgotten, just pushed aside. She was still shaking all over. But there had been someone who had caught her, and it meant a lot to her. On a day, when she had hinted so many times, in front of so many people about all the things that weren’t right, and nobody asked if she was okay or needed help; on a day when she felt invisible and unseen, one person had seen her. And he had loved her. For how long it would last didn’t matter. He had been there when she had needed him. And it had indeed changed her day. Her demons were still hiding in the shadows. Bloodhounds. She wasn’t sure if she could keep them at bay, for she would try — fifteen months or longer.

I shared this piece of fiction because I stumbled across it today, and I liked that comment so much. The music I had added was Help Me by Maximilian Hecker

Greed

Not a finger – I need the hand
Not the hand – I need the arm.

Not a country – I need the world
Not the world – I need the stars.

Not a minute – I need an hour
Not an hour – I need the day.

Everything – give me everything before I lose my mind.

Not a sentence – I need an paragraph
Not an paragraph – I need a book.

Not a whisper – I need a scream
Not a scream – I need a song.

Not a like – I need love
Not love – I need care.

Everything – give me everything before I lose my mind.

(repost from May 2018)

Throwback – I’ll never stop giving up

*stream of consciousness*

I sit, and I wait. Sitting and waiting. And I hope that no one will ask what I am waiting for. I would answer “Life”, and they would quote John Lennon “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”. And they wouldn’t even know that it’s not a simple quote but that this sentence is a line of lyrics from a song he wrote for his beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy Julian. And I would bite my tongue because information like that is plenty in my brain. It’s just – no one cares about it. And that’s why I keep sitting and waiting. For life to happen. And to understand it. But that is not entirely true. Because from my place, I have a nice view. I observe and analyse, and I keep to myself. The things I know, are not the things I need to share. But on the other hand, all the half-truths and snippets of misinformation I know, are not the ones others want to hear. It’s a circle. And if I don’t find the right corner to get off, I will stumble, and my clumsy attempt to catch myself will end with me lying face down enduring the spiral, the slipstream that brought this upon me. Upwards or downwards? Which way does it go? Maybe just sideways? Either way, I will end up puking on the floor and emptying what little is inside me. All of it, until the heaving is dry and the acrid smell of bile chases everyone away. Everyone left the building. Including me. I need to pay attention to the little things. Hold on tight to the pillars of this meagre existence, to keep myself from stumbling. And while I am doing just that, all these unfiltered thoughts are rushing down onto the screen.

I put the cigarette to my lips and inhale. No filter. Rolled with my own shaky hands. Because – yes, why? Because it is edgy. Cool people roll their cigarettes themselves. It’s all pretending anyway. Oh yes, I’m a great pretender. Who gives a crap about my cigarettes and my thoughts. But I keep writing. Someday, the romantic voice inside of my head suggests, someone will read the mix of weirdness and eclecticism my brain produces. They will beg me to publish a book – a memoir – a biography of this writer and all will be good. At least, I have dreams. The other possibility, far more probable, is that the words stay unread. I will die in a stuffy room with overflowing ashtrays and too many empty bottles.
Maybe a cat or two. Sheets of papers with the start of the next big novel is strewn across the floor and the bed — music loud and on repeat. And in the centre of it all; me. Picture me like Jimi Hendrix, suffocated on my own vomit. A rock star death. Don’t be alarmed, though. I am not a rock star. I don’t play the guitar well enough and all in all, I am just a coward who never did any drugs. On second thought, aren’t most rock stars ridden with anxiety? Isn’t that why they turn to alcohol and drugs and whatnot? Always on the hunt for the next high? But one day your brain (and your soul too), are just too used to the girls screaming your name and the papers printing your photographs, your name in the headlines. And while you pretend to crave your privacy, the thought of being left alone and forgotten scares you to death. And so you power on, with some chemical help, because you couldn’t do all the shows and interviews and all that other crap that comes with being famous, without it. I don’t envy these people at all — not one bit.

And so I stare out onto the lake. The sky is grey; the water is too. And I wait for the next idea to come up. A real writer wouldn’t wait. They would write. Or am I wrong and a real writer would draw charts and write every idea down? Being organised? Where’s the fun in that? So – no labelling my ideas. Just sitting. Waiting. Staring. Smoking. And while I am doing that, the music plays softly in the background. It’s not loud enough to drown out the voices that keep telling me that I am a waste of talent. I can still hear them judging me and how I spend the days. For them, I am doing nothing. For me, I am savouring the moment. It’s as a friend told me once: We need time to understand who we are before someone else comes along and makes us into the version they want us to be. So maybe – just maybe, my answer to the question “What are you waiting for”, would not be “Life”, but maybe the truer answer would be “To understand”. I guess the reaction would be close to the same. They would urge me to get up and do something.

But, if they don’t see it, does that really mean that I am not doing anything? Because in my mind, eccentric as it may be, I am doing a whole lot. I am not giving up.

###

Author’s Note:

Written in March 2016.

I haven’t had a cigarette this year… And, I don’t know how you feel about it, but I think that the last paragraph in this piece of writing is the most important thing I have ever written. Whenever I encounter people who are struggling with their mental health, whenever I am struggling myself, I remember these words. I am not giving up, even if people are not seeing that I am fighting.

*throwback* cold coffee

I pushed the door open with my foot, startling you. Your eyes were filled with sleep; mine were full of mischief. I came to your room with the intention to wake you up with the smell of coffee, but seeing you like this; naked, hard, embarrassed; it did things to me.

You were a guest in my house — a friend. The polite thing would have been to apologise and leave. But I couldn’t. I was hungry. Starving. And not for food. You looked at your erection, then at me. I licked my lips and tried to find a safe place for that cup of coffee in my hand.

You sat up and reached for the sheets to cover yourself. I shook my head. “Don’t, ” I croaked. You rose an eyebrow, probably intensely aware of the situation too. I kept my eyes on you, avoiding to see myself ungracefully join you on the mattress through the mirror on the wall.

“Hi, ” you said as if you were seeing me for the first time. Your hand was already in my hair, pulling my head; my lips, to yours.

Outside, rain was joining the wind that had been up all night. Inside, we were joining too.

Everything fit. Profoundly. Almost overwhelmingly. The natural flow of things didn’t take us back. It didn’t leave room for doubts or vanities. Every touch meant something. Every time I felt your tongue on my heated skin, it felt as if I was becoming a part of you. Your hands explored my body as if they had never done anything else. The weight of you on my tongue was exactly right, and your taste made me swallow you as often as I could. I was drowning in our lust.

When you finally penetrated me, it only took a moment before the world exploded for me. Shivering, sweating, swearing, I encouraged you to keep moving. But you didn’t. You lay on top of me; your hands were caressing my hair, your eyes were searching my face for something that I couldn’t pretend wasn’t there. A smile appeared on your lips. Proud of yourself and how you had undone me, you kissed me. You were pulsating inside of me, but not moving. Heavenly torture. I begged for more, gyrated my hips underneath you, but you were stubborn. And too close to be consumed by our lust too.

Two micro moves later, you stopped breathing. Your sweat was dripping down on me from the tip of your nose; your eyes were closed. A strangled noise left your lips just before you started to breathe again.

I had seen you. I had felt you. And it left me breathless; and not only because your full weight was on my body now. The beauty and surprise of us in this situation was overwhelming. You kissed my temple and rolled off me with a loud groan and a chuckle. Your arm covered your eyes, and your hand was running up and down your stomach. The most handsome man who I had ever been with.

I put my head on your chest, your heartbeat sang a song for me, while I retraced the pattern of the tattoos on your skin. Your eyes were filled with sleep again. I covered us with the crumbled sheet, making sure that the wet spot we left was covering me and not you.

In a while, I would worry about the meaning of it all, but right then I decided to go with the flow and let it happen.

Only the coffee had grown cold.

only love

“Come to me…” She heard the whispered words again and again. She saw the hand reach out for her, and she tried to grab it. But it was in vain. Her fingers never touched the ones that were outreached to her. She saw the despair in his face and tried harder to get to him, but the last inch to be there, grab him and cling to him was always missing.

Startled, she woke up. Drenched in sweat and tears. She had had this dream so many times before, and each time it became more real and more intense. She wanted to be with him, that was all she knew and cared about. The yellow streetlights illuminated her dark room, casting gloomy shadows on the ceilings. It didn’t appease her. A storm was raging outside, and branches of the large tree in front of her window whipped against the glass. It made for a frightening soundtrack of the night. She laid down again and punched her pillow a couple of times until it had the desired shape and turned to the side. She never closed her eyes. They stayed glued to the window. She was waiting for him. She waited for the familiar shadow to appear.

~~°~~

“Come to me…” He whispered the words in her ear, trying to soak in her familiar scent. She was asleep and didn’t hear him. He reached his hand out to touch her, and she tried to touch him too, but it was to no avail. As much as he wanted to feel her skin against his own for one last time, it was impossible. He couldn’t hide the pain he felt, and he knew that she saw it. He tried harder to reach her, but the last inch to grab her and take her with him was always missing.

Her time hadn’t come yet. And until then, he had to wait and be patient. He visited her every night, but on one particular night every year, she could see him. He sat on the windowsill and listened to the storm while he watched her sleep with her eyes wide open.

~~°~~

She saw him. He sat on the windowsill with a smile on his face. Occasionally, he looked outside as if in deep thought and when his head turned back to face her, she thought she had seen a frown. This night, this particular night was always the same for her, and she loved and dreaded it alike. It was the night he was back, and her dreams seemed so much more real than every other day. Days prior to this particular date, she didn’t sleep, because she waited for him to appear. She wished he would stay longer than only that night, and she wished he would talk to her. Instead, he sat there and watched her. It was all a dream. A hallucination. That’s what they said. But she knew better. She knew better because she didn’t only see him; she felt his presence.

~~°~~

He smiled at her and watched over her. Occasionally, he looked outside, and it reminded him of that fateful day years ago.

He had been drunk after the party. He shouldn’t have walked home in his state, but he had also known that he was in no shape to drive. She had called him on his phone, and he had slurred that he loved her. He had wanted to see her and took a shortcut through the woods. It had been raining that night and dark. Really dark. He had started to run with an unknown urge to be with her and then, it had happened. He had fallen down a slope, and he had hit his head on a rock. When he had woken up, he had laughed because he had known that the fall could have killed him.

And it had killed him. I took him a while to realise that the lifeless body he had been looking at was his own. It had happened so fast. A bright spark had appeared, and light-tunnel had captured him. He had fought to stay and go see her one last time, but the force that had taken him from this earth was stronger than anything else he had ever experienced. He had made a deal with the invisible force then and there. He had stopped struggling and floated willingly up into his afterlife after negotiating one last wish; he demanded to be able to see and watch over her. And he did. He came back. Every year. Until the time had come to finally take her hand and take her with him.

~~°~~

The night was fading, and the storm was calming down. The shadows on her ceiling slowly vanished, but he was still there staring at her, and she kept watching him intently, trying to remember as much of him as possible. In her mind, she told him that she loved him and that she missed him. In her mind, she told him everything she couldn’t say out loud anymore. She didn’t react when there was a knock on the door. She knew what would be happening next. A chubby woman in a lab coat bent over her and pushed her hair out of her face. He smiled at her and waved, then he blew her a kiss, and she saw him say “I love you”, but she didn’t hear the words. She fought to push the nurse away, but she obstructed her view. When she finally moved, he was gone. The woman who had entered obscured the view to the window again and helped her sit up. She stopped struggling and fighting. It was all in vain anyway. They didn’t understand. They didn’t see what she saw.

“It’s time for your pills honey.” Two cups were put in front of her, and she obediently emptied them both before she opened her mouth to show that she had swallowed everything, just like she was supposed to do.

~~°~~

The nurse patted the patient’s shoulder and retreated. She key locked the door again once she was outside and sighed. Halloween was always the worst day for this patient. It had been five years now since she was with them and although she was better on most days, on October 31st, she was suicidal and had to stay in lockup for her own safety. She had never talked, but everyone knew about the events that had ended her in the mental institution. The nurse didn’t need to hear the details of the tragedy; she knew that only love could make someone lose their mind the way this woman had.

(written in October 2014. I would change many things about this story – more details, and the writing style is weird too, but there is potential in this couple of paragraphs)

101 things I dislike

Throwback to 2016 when I wrote this list. It’s been a long time, and I updated it somewhat — not a lot.

Can you relate?

Without fear of being judged (read: with near panic like fear of being judged) I will try to come up with 101 things I don’t like.

1. The colour orange

2. Flying

3. The cold weather

4. Snow

5. Chocolate

6. Ketchup

7. Christmas songs and decorations in November

8. Waiting

9. Being ordered around

10. People who don’t say thank you

11. Rude people

12. Unanswered questions

13. Lemon

14. birds

15. Feathers

16. The sound of my alarm clock

17. Being tickled

18. Being taken for granted

19. Negative people

20. Emotional vampires

21. Instruments that are out of tune

22. Cocky people

23. Jealousy

24. Drivers not setting the turn signal

25. Wondering if my English is good enough and if others understand what I am trying to say

26. Doubting myself

27. People who make lots of noise when they are eating (!! Important one)

28. Fruit

29. Killing animals – even flies

30. Not being taken seriously

31. People who aren’t getting the job done right

32. Belching

33. The smell of vomit

34. Touching door handles in public spaces

35. Not seeing anything at a concert

36. Payment declined – for no reason

37. Forgetting my pin code

38. Water touching my ears (anything touching my ears)

39. Swimming

40. Crowds

41. Ignorance

42. The smell of cold smoke

43. Sprite or any sweet beverage

44. Anything bitter

45. Having a stuffed nose

46. Being surprised

47. Offering presents

48. Shopping for clothes

49. Animals

50. Meat

51. Saying goodbye

52. Deadlines

53. Gory horror movies

54. Going to church

55. Thinking about negative things

56. Mess left by the kids after eating nuts or grains

57. Jazz

58. Musicals

59. Long fingernails

60. Not having enough sleep

61. Chanel no 5

62. Visiting a home for disabled people

63. The sound of chalk on a blackboard

64. Expensive rents or mortgages

65. Working in a garden

66. Sketching, drawing, painting

67. Pens that aren’t working

68. Coffee with sugar

69. My double chin

70. Milk

71. Hairy feet

72. Star wars

73. Harry Potter

74. Lord of the rings

75. The way eyes itch from allergies

76. Almonds and nuts

77. Bread (with the exception of French baguette)

78. No toilet paper when I am on the loo

79. Autocorrect

80. Forgetting to save my work when I just wrote 500+ words

81. 0 likes on stories or poems I thought turned out great; 21 likes on mediocre poems or stories

82. Questions with obvious answers

83. Gossip

84. Talking bad behind someone’s back

85. Losing track of people who once were an important part of my life

86. Wasting time (mine and the time of others too)

87. Forgetting things

88. Broken promises

89. Being unable to speak straight sentences lately (stuttering, not finding the right words)

90. Dentists

91. Being late (me or people being late)

92. Being intense

93. Migraines

94. Fishing for more things I dislike

95. No network or wifi

96. Social media knows everything about us (bye bye Facebook)

97. Being watched while crying

98. Being stared at

99. Not knowing how other people are seeing me

100. Oranges

101. That I found 100 things I dislike…

Are you surprised? Why? Now, what do you think?

The wings of a butterfly

Haunted by the butterfly’s wings
Hurricanes and chaos are what it brings.
Small and overseen
But I know what it means.

A flap of its wings doesn’t look like much
Just like we dismiss a fleeting touch.
You see? There is a reason for the smallest things
Did you hear about the chain and its links?

Yes, that’s what I am talking about;
About silence and nothingness being loud.
On the wings of a butterfly, we fly away
To somewhere, where we can watch the end of every day.

A simple touch, a simple mistake,
Often that is all it takes
A blink of an eye, a butterfly’s breath
I suppose you can do the math.

Everything happens for a reason
Just like the change of season.
Love your fate
And remember there is nothing worth the hate.

Free yourself from past memories
And whistle the future’s new melody.
The wings of the butterfly are strong enough to carry us
All it takes is one leap of faith and a lot of guts.

(Repost from October 2nd, 2016)

when two become one (repost)

“I had these ideas about you and now none of them are true…”
“Like?”
“Well… You’re a smoker.”
“Been one for 30 years. What else?”
“You’re smaller than I expected”
*He groans, rolls his eyes and puts his cigarette out with the heel of his sneaker. She’s embarrassed and nervous, trying to find words to say that aren’t offending or insulting in this awkward situation.
“Go on…”
“You are much more handsome than on your pictures.”
*He smiles. She’s back on track.
“What else?”
“I said “no” when you asked about being intimate on our first date. I meant “yes”.”
*The admission leaves her timid and waiting for rejection. She puts a lock of hair behind her ear. It jumps right back to where it was. He stands straighter, anticipating what will be happening next.
“I can’t see how this has anything to do with the way you imagined me to be”
“I judged you. I don’t know you.”
*It’s almost an apology. Almost.
“We spoke on the phone for two years.”
“I know.”
“You know exactly who I am. Maybe not my mannerisms or my daily habits. You know the deeper me. You know me better than anyone else.”
*It’s flattering to hear these words, but she is sceptical. Does he really tell the truth or is this his way of getting what he wants? It doesn’t matter. Who cares? She gives in. No reason to fight the feelings she doesn’t want to fight.
“You had me with that smile, moments before you said hello.”
“Two years ago I told you that I would never fall in love with you and that I only want sex from you. I lied.”
*She blushes and smiles at his feet. She still doesn’t know what he sees in her; she is short and overweight; and he could have every girl he wants.
“Come here… We don’t have a lot of time. Let’s make the best of it.”
*She nods. Their eyes are locked and their breaths mingle, moments before their lips touch. Her heart races and her knees feel weak. Electricity. He tastes of cold smoke and she can feel his smile on her lips. His hands find an immediate way under her shirt. The heat of his skin on her back leaves imprints on her soul that she can never wash off. She needs more of him. All of him. As much as he is willing to give. If he lets her in, she will submit to him, surrender to his needs. She will become his everything. With an urgency, they find the bed  behind them. Clothes are quickly disposed of. There is no time to waste. Not even to appreciate the  nakedness of the other. He used to ask her to tell him that she loves him. For the first time, these words leave her lips without being a lie, just as he enters her and fills her in a way she hasn’t felt in years. Completion. This encounter is more than she ever expected it to be. It is less too. Two lonely humans giving in to their primal urges after building up to this moment for more than two years. Everything they ever said, everything they ever wrote; every picture they ever shared – everything led to this moment. The moment when two became one. And although everything that was happening right there was ordinary, nothing about it was, in fact, ordinary. Moans, sweat, the scent of sex, the creaking of the bed. Two people who stopped thinking. Only existing.