There are moments that are huge when they happen. And time reduces them with it’s slow simmer quality to a concentration of experience and memory. They are tucked into a cupboard, left in the dark, nearly forgotten about. And one day, someone says something that makes it come flooding back. And it’s wonderful. Did it happen exactly like this? Does it matter? The memory of how it felt is so grand, even if it’s not 100% accurate, I wouldn’t have it any other way. You know those moments?
This is one of those.
It was so easy to hide up north, short days filled with work and long nights filled with reflection and exercise.
I was more fit than I’d been in years, but I still didn’t love myself. I still didn’t see myself as truly attractive. I looked in the mirror and thought, yeah I’m fuckable. But only the body, never the woman inside.
Focused on work and hiding, I decided it was time I had some fun. Broke out a bit. So I booked a trip to Europe.
I went with little or no agenda. I started in Spain, flight to Paris, a bus to the Netherlands, associating with temporary friends and intimate strangers along the way. I had dalliances now and then, but celebrated myself as the strange, the novel. It wasn’t me they were attracted to, it was my ability to provide a story of a girl from somewhere else to add to the index of conquests.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved sex, just not myself. I never gave them credit for finding pleasure with me, I could have been anyone.
It was time to leave Holland. I took a tram to the train station. I looked up at the board for the next train leaving for the cheapest price. Copenhagen. I had never even considered visiting Denmark.
Why the fuck not?
While waiting for the train to leave, I looked online for a place to stay. There are a bevy of websites that cater to my rambling state of travel plan and there was one profile that stood out. I messaged him and he responded within moments. When I arrived, I would be on a night train, he would still be at work and so I was forced to wander the city until he could meet me.
I found my way to his place around 530, a friend of his was there, they were about to head out to watch a football match from a nearby bar. I had just enough time to drop my stuff and introduce myself, barely giving a thought that nearly everything I owned at the time was being left in an apartment I wasn’t sure I could find my way back to without the map I had left in my backpack.
We wandered to the bar, conversation coming easily. He was much younger than me by about 8 years, but carried a confidence I still couldn’t muster some days. Intimidated, adrift in a country I knew little about, except what I’d read by Shakespeare, knowing even less about the ins and outs of football and just what it meant to Europeans, I wondered more than once if I was making wise choices.
Halfway through the match, four or so very large beers in, we were trading travel stories and rounds. I could tell that he liked this, a woman, unafraid of traveling alone, who had no expectations of having her way paid. I appreciated that, while he was paying attention to the sportsing on the screen, he wasn’t obsessed with it the way some were, coming to tears and near blows over details that were lost on me and maintained interesting conversation.
I felt the shift. I wanted him. It wasn’t the typical, I’m drunk, you’re hot, let’s do this. I wanted him. And wanted him to want me. Not drunk girl who is going to crash on your sofa tonight, but actually me.
I knew it wasn’t going to happen. He was young, I was old. He was fresh, I was broken. At some point, the conversation turned to sex, as it does.
I spoke of the desire to stay single, the fear of settling down, all the arguments I’ve used for so long to keep myself from acknowledging that the I’ll leave you before you can hurt me is nothing more than a defense mechanism. I said, “you seem like a really good guy. I bet you’d be fun to fuck, I know that’s not going to happen, but being that I’m a sexual creature and know what desirable looks like, you should totally take that as a compliment.” My breath reeked of beer flavoured bravado.
He turned to me, the noise of the bar eclipsed by the look in his eyes. “What did you just say?” I stumbled through the statement again.
“Well you seem like a good guy and you’re cute and fit and I bet you’d be fun to fuck, but I know that’s not going to happen because..” he stopped me. His eyes filled with a smile that ripped open my heart even as it ripped off my clothes.
“Now why would you think that?”
We maintained outer decorum, the match taking a backburner to the tension building between us. His team lost, though he didn’t seem too distressed. We finished the pints and left in a hurry, his friend barely having time to kiss both my cheeks goodbye. He took my hand and pulled me down the street until we were about 100 meters from the bar. Then he stopped, turned and, taking my face in both of his hands, kissed me so hard there were no voices left in my head with enough breath to speak, much less come up with reasons why this was happening. We stumble walked the rest of the way back to his apartment, hanging off each other, kissing while walking, stopping to makeout while lights changed and we missed them, groping each other in the corner store where we stopped for more beers and cigarettes, enough to carry us through.
We stayed in bed for a couple of days, he never let me go long enough to think about who he was interested in fucking. He let me know it was all me. The way he touched me, licked me, sucked me, kissed me, fucked me. Said my name, the syllable stretching to two and more, hard, soft, gentle, rough, it was always me he demanded to see.
At one point, I stretched like a cat, murmuring, “I could get used to this, to you..” and froze. Afraid I had ruined it. He looked at me.
“But I thought you preferred to be single. To be free. You know this can’t last. I’m leaving tomorrow on a trip. You’re leaving for wherever you’re going next.’ I ducked my head and nodded, receding into myself again. He caught me, pulled me back.
“Do you want to pretend? To pretend it’s forever?” My breath caught. I felt the threat of tears and swallowed then nodded.
“Yes. Just for tonight.” He smiled.
“Alright my sweet girl.” And he showed me what forever might feel like. This gorgeous, confident, delicious young man.
The next day he left. Left me in his apartment while he went away for the weekend. I slept in his bed, curled up with his scent and allowed myself to dream of how it would feel to be someones’ forever.
It was beautiful.
On monday morning, I packed up, locked the door, dropped the key through the mail slot and took a tram to the edge of town. I got on the highway and stuck out my thumb, pack heavy, heart light, wrapped up in a luscious mindfuck of a forever dream.
I still remember how it feels. It still makes me smile, every time.
Thanks for that, honey.