A housewife

Let’s imagine her life. She has two teenaged daughters. They look like her and her husband. They have her lips and his eyes. Her mother is Srilankan. Her father is American. She grew up in London. At 25 years old, she met her husband. He was handsome. They got married a few years later. She got pregnant at 35 years old with the first child. Then the second one at 37 years old. She gave up her model career for him. She followed him to his country as his career was more important for him. She was happy being home and raising the kids. They spent their vacations in Australia, in India, in England. When the kids were small, they lived a happy bohemian life. They could travel around Asia by motorbike for months. They spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the mountains in Switzerland, in the village where her husband was born. Ten years ago, her husband got an important contract in Spain. They decided to move to Madrid. They bought together an old flat in the Old Town and he renovated it into a loft, keeping the structure of the flat but adding a few modern details for the kitchen. There were no separation between their bedroom and the bedrooms of the kids. They lived in an open space, husband, wife and daughters. Their kids could sleep and play wherever they wanted to in the flat.

Eventually her husband started to become well-known. He got more and more contracts. His design in architecture and ideas of keeping raw concrete material in construction were appreciated. He opened two more offices in two other cities in Europe and started to travel more. At the beginning he stayed two nights in a hotel where he first opened his office. After six months, he said he was tired of travelling back and forth too much and asked her if she would mind if he rented a room in one city where the second office is. She said that she would understand if he found it more convenient.

The next two years, he moved from the room to another studio in a nice house. Same city. He practically only came home to Spain on the weekends. She did some charity works, mostly unpaid. She took care of the kids alone during weekdays. The weekends when he was home, he was invited to work events and networking parties. She followed him everywhere they were invited. She dressed up for him. She did not feel particularly happy about it but she imagined that could help him to show an image of a happy couple. People seem to fancy about how beautiful and harmonious their life was. She could not do anything about it. People always seem to think or imagine something. Would anyone imagine her in the laundry room during the week, in the kitchen, cleaning the bathroom, ironing his shirts? Would anyone imagine how it could be to sleep alone four days a week, in the master bedroom designed by him? People could imagine their lives and love life and marriage life as a successful life. No one could imagine the loneliness and the resilience that she has accepted to live through these years.

Eventually, he moved from a studio to a bigger two bedrooms apartment. He built the building and kept for himself the flat. He always came back home. He was more and more tired. Ten more years passed by. They talked during dinners on the weekends. They went to events, still. They went on vacations where he had the construction sites. Their sex life was nothing special but hygienic.

Eventually, the arrangement suited them. Their feelings were fading away or were a pale memory of what they were before. But there were the two beautiful kids and there was the celebrity that kept them together. She imagined and knew that he had mistresses or lovers elsewhere. A divorce was out of the question. It would cost them a lot emotionnally to decide for a separation, even though it might have cost them more to stay together all these years.

She imagined her husband with other women in his room then in the studio then  in the big flat. What did they look like ? What were their professions? How old were they ? He chose them carefully enough. They would not bother her, or them, or her couple. They slept with him and left. He gave them nothing. He took from them nothing but their bodies. He gave her nothing either but took from her everything.

Why did she accept ? As a mother to her kids ? As a wife to her husband ? She knew there were other women. He tried to be discreet, not only to protect her, but also to preserve the marriage and the family. She never knew why he would do that ? Their marriage was not what it used ot be. There was nothing bohemian about their lives these last years. What kept them together in this loft built in concrete walls was merely the laughs of their kids. And the idea of being a family, in a traditional way, a husband, a wife, the kids, the father, the mother. What he did outside, in another country, in another flat, had nothing to do with her. Or it had everything to do with her but she preferred to ignore. All these women whose faces unknown to her. As long as she could not imagine them more than some vague associations of images and fantasies of her mind, she preferred to ignore their existence. That was how she opened the door every weekend and greeted him with a smile. A sad one. But enough to preserve a family.

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A Tinder match

He is 52 years old. Two grown-up daughters. Lives 4 days in your city, 3 days abroad during the weekend. Works in both places. On his profile, he put his website so you could easily check his background. A successful man, well-known career. He is an architect. You browsed the images of the buildings he built. They were well done and stylish.

After two seconds of exchanges in Tinder message, he gave you his phone number. You did not chat a lot with him. After maybe three messages, you agreed to meet him for a drink on a Saturday evening. He was extremely handsome, just plastically handsome. On his website, there was a description of his work and one sentence: lives with his family. You connected with him on Facebook, he had almost 5000 “friends”. You browsed through his friends for less than 10 seconds. Most of them are gorgeous women.

Saturday 6pm, you agreed to meet him at one finest bar in your city. You came to the bar 5 minutes earlier. The bar was full of eastern sophisticated girls in fur. He arrived 10 minutes late. He made you nervous by arriving late. He was just as gorgeous as all his pictures on the website and on Facebook. Self-confident, warm. Over self-confident. The way he smiled to you. He already knew you would never walk out of this bar alone, without him tonight, you would go with him to wherever he wanted to go. The smile of his could put any rational thought of yours upside down. He was totally your style. Totally. Totally. Totally. Copy paste this word Totally 1000 times, that would still be true. You asked the first question after 5 minutes. Are you married or separated. He answered: oh too soon to ask this question. It is complicated. You knew right at that moment that Mr. Totally My Style would just be an affair;  best case scenario you would become a mistress; worse case scenario a one-night stand. But you looked at him and you said to yourself: Who cares. You would protect yourself deeply because he was totally your style but not a boyfriend or partner material. This, if you could do it, you stay. And that was what you did. You stayed.

You went from this bar to the best restaurant in town. Best one and also the most expensive. Over self-confident man, he greeted everyone in the restaurant. He seemed to know everyone. The bar was dark so you could not see his eyes properly. In the restaurant, the light was bright enough for you to see his blue eyes. His eyes were wonderful. He was perfect. What he said. The way he held your hands in the middle of the meal. The way he laughed. He was witty and smart and charming. All the subjects were put out there on the table for discussion but you were delicate enough to never ask about his family situation again. You respected him. It was none of your business. You would not want to contradict these blue eyes, this smile and this tanned skin of him after some weeks in Bali. You would not want to confront him. You would never ever confront him. Not that evening and not the other evenings either. After the dinner, he suggested to go to a piano bar where you have never been. The piano bar was cool. People dancing, singing. Old, young, cool mix. After the first vodka tonic, he kissed you. He kissed you again. And again. You felt like a teenage. You enjoyed the kisses. They were cool, normally cool. He was shocked when you qualified them as normal. The kisses were normal because it was a normal denouement of such an evening. You would kiss him for sure. Again and again for sure. He would have his hands caressing your body, your legs or your neck. Normal process. Two wolves out there kissing each other. Craving sex, tenderness or even affection. Who knows? Even love. But you were clever enough to not throw your heart to anyone just because of the kisses. The evening was perfect like him. When you two left the bar, there were some cabs in front, he asked if you would like to go home or come to his place. You waited 5 seconds and went inside the cab with him.

You went back to his place. He just moved in the building he built the week before you met. Boxes, empty place. Dark concrete but beautiful. The idea of the window that opens completely and becomes the balcony was brilliant. The best place you could imagine to have sex with a stranger. The sex was good. You have got better. But it was honorable enough for the first time. You asked him in the night if you should take a cab to leave like the other women. He said you could stay. And added: Usually they leave earlier. Over self-confident again. You woke up several times in the night. His body looking for yours. The kisses in the dark. The smell, his and yours. Delicious and usual smell of sex and of sweating bodies. In the morning, you did not feel awkward. You told him you had to leave. He said that a coffee and short brunch would be fine.

It was a rainy Sunday. You picked a trendy place of brunch. He was nice and gentle. He looked you into the eyes. That could make you melt if you were amnesia and if you could forget about his complicated family situation. He could look at you deeply, you still would not forget that. You like the smile and the gazes. Yet you knew you would represent not much for him. He left you at the tram stop, kissing you over and over again. His kisses smelled like the rain. He got hard. The kisses were soft. It was cold. Leaving him was normal process and ending.

The few days after that, you exchanged with him some short words, mostly to say hello and sending each other a normal kiss. He was again nice. You would totally fall for him if you were 25 years old. How could you resist a man like that? You could not. Then you agreed to meet him again for another dinner a week after that. You came back to his place. Same beautiful building. Same open balcony. Same light from the street and from the soccer court downstairs. Magical place. Sexual meaningless relationship. You had sex. Good sex. For the second time. As two consenting adults enjoying each other a lot. You came more than twice. He came more than twice. Then he gave you a t-shirt. It means you could stay and sleep over. The next day at 7 am you woke up, called a cab and went to work. His kiss goodbye was nothing special. A polite kiss in the morning.

You got out of his apartment. You were relieved. You thanked him for being just so beautiful, so gorgeous, so perfectly perfect. He had given you just sex. You could have fallen for him so deep if he did put some efforts in disguising just a bit your relationship into something more romantic and less sexual. But he did not. You thanked him for being honest and so self-confident to not even want to show you something else than just sex.

As you have predicted, his text messages got shorter and shorter. Just to make plan to hook up. The third time you met him at his place, he cooked for you some pasta. He asked more questions about your life. But somehow you felt like he was just being polite. Even though you two watched TV hands in hands, the air was empty of emotions. You did not judge him. He has his life and choices. You have yours. He gave you the same t-shirt. You slept over. Same routine. You took a cab the next day and left at 7am.

You enjoyed every moment with him. The politeness. The indifference. The distance. The short conversations. You would like to have less distance and coldness though. A more friendly touch, a slight gesture of intimacy, not only the physical one. A small something that will elevate your relationship beyond the trivial sexual needs. Not too much to get attached, but just enough to feel that the sex exchange was not just a transaction. Consenting adults should not be afraid of warmth after sex. He would be always safe even if he gave you a kiss goodnight. He would always be safe even if he hugged you goodbye in the morning. You two had an agreement. An affair agreement.

Ultimately your heart, you would save it for someone else. If you were 25, you would miss him inside the bedroom and outside the bedroom. Now that you are 45, you were wiser. In the end, you want love. You know that. And thanks to this gorgeous man. You know that you were not cynical enough to put sex above love. You know that you would never want to be that cynical. Eventually you would go on for a while. You did like what happened between him and you. Eventually he would keep you for a while. Eventually the agreement would last. But you would always want love to prevail sex. At 25, or 45 or 65 years old.

The air coming from outside of the cab window was fresh. You smiled and looked back at the building he has designed. Concrete. Grey. Luminous. Imposing. Just like the day you were about to embrace.

 

Possibilities

She wakes up this morning knowing she will be happy. There is a space inside of her and beyond her where an infinity of possibilities just dancing in front of her eyes.

There was that moment when she left him the other day in the morning. That precise moment very short, very furtive when she knew. What she knew, what she felt was common to her a long time ago, the time when she was in love. When she left his apartment, when they kissed goodbye, when he held her in his arms, she knew that love has hit her. Gently, softly but very clearly. And that was just it. Like an evidence. Not a surprise. She did not think of what could happen after that feeling. Would it work out between them ? Would they be available for each other ? Would he love her back ? These questions were not relevant as the present moment, the moment of this new-born love, was more important. She was honest to herself. She accepted to be in love. With him and with them and with their story. In this space where they are and where they were, anything can be possible. They are who they are, and they can be no one, and anything could happen to them, as long as there is this connection and intimacy. Because to be anything else, first there should be a connection.

Even knowing that she could get hurt or she could suffer, the suffering is still part of this infinity of possibilities. They have found each other. Somehow, somewhere in their lost souls and extreme loneliness, they have met and they have made space for each other. Short moments, long moments, intense moments they gave to each other. The kisses. The talks. The gazes. The naked bodies. What they offered to each other was never insignificant. Their lives so apart and yet so close, close in the search for another soulmate, or simply for a beautiful connection.

She wakes up this morning, accepting that kind of destiny. The kind of destiny that includes the love for him or the beginning of the love for him. Her heart is full. That is how she starts her day. In a space of infinite possibilities and he is one of them.

Should we criminalize Tinder for killing love? (a log book of 10 weeks on the apps)

One evening during a dinner with some young male friends, you realized they did not listen to you anymore, but were all concentrating on their smartphone, doing something apparently more interesting than listening to you. You asked them: Hey guys, I am talking alone here. What is so cool on your phones? We are swiping on Tinder. Show me. Oh she is cute, ok then I swipe left. Don’t you have Tinder ? Nope, what’s that? And in one second, they installed the apps for you. That seemed to be a fun idea. You broke up three months ago. You were free. You were ready to date again. The last break up left you with no particular feelings or emotions. He was15 years old younger than you. He was a rebound. Then the whole eight months after that you just asked yourself how to stop the relationship without hurting him. Mainly because he was jobless. At least you did not meet him on Tinder.

Your friends started to swipe left a lot right after they installed for you an account on Tinder. They said it is good to give everyone a chance. The next day you received about 50 messages. Mostly a short “Hi, thanks for the like”. You did not answer. None of them was your style. The next day you received about 50 messages, a bit in an angrier tone “why did you like me and then you don’t answer” or “answer me! Now!”. You did not answer, frightened. They were still not your style. After that, most of them unmatched you. You were glad they simply disappeared without you doing anything.

Then you started to check for yourself. First minute you got bored. You only swiped right. No one was your style. You were on the train, commuting. You could not even know for sure their location as you were moving yourself from different locations. There were so many men out there. Just not your style. You remember your friends telling you about this: “that is because you are ugly yourself, so they only give you ugly men…this is your level of possibility”…Thanks guys, always good to be your friends.

Then came some first matches.

“Hi, how are you ? Are you in S & M sex ?

No.

Bye then”

 ****

“Hi, how are you ? I saw that you live far. I am married. Want an affair. You are too far for that. Bye then.”

 ****

“You don’t want one night stand? Come on, everyone wants ONS and open relationship. You are so naïve. I have an open relationship with my wife. I tell her about my ONS, she is very happy about that. You are so naïve. I am sad for you.”

**** 

After a few matches like that, you decided to put more precisions on your profile. You do not want just a hook up plan or an ONS, you want a serious relationship with trust and respect and love. All of that, you put on your profile. You hope it would do the job and pre-select for you at least some matching profiles.

Then came more and more matches. Almost daily. When you got enough time to get into the apps.

You put the range of age +48, you hoped you would meet some more mature men. You still remember how painful it was the last time you dated a young man. Even though you were pretty sure it was not because of his young age that he was not able to think or articulate his thoughts. One bad experience with the young age should not discourage you that much. But for the safe side, you decided to only choose mature men this time.

You tried to remember them chronologically, hence the structured and numbered description from here on:

1)       He is German, 60 years old, living in the south of France. His messages were very quickly too flirty. He got married twice. The first one lasted one day. Good to know. Thanks for your honesty. Two grown up daughters. He wrote to you daily. More and more flirty. But in the old style. Never sexual. He called you one evening. He called you but had nothing to say. Mainly you had to lead the conversation. You just wondered during the whole phone call why he has decided to call you if he had nothing to say to you. You did not understand what he told you anyway. He was trying to live in a house with some friends and tried to renovate his part or his room. He was so strange that you finally asked him if he were in a kind of religious sect. Why not living alone at 60 years old? Every day after that phone call, he said that he would call you in the evening but never called again. Then he wanted to come to visit you, 800 km apart and he was willing to make this trip. You said no. He insisted and then one day he officially asked you to marry him. Because he was so convinced you were the right woman for him. You said no. He insisted. You said no again. Then he disappeared for a week and came back sending you a picture of his mother on a dead bed. She was white. Like a corpse. You freaked out seriously. He said : “My mom is dying. It just feels so right to send you this picture because you would be the daughter-in-law whom she would love to have.” You never answered. One week after that he left you a voice message saying that his mother passed away. It was the last time he ever contacted you. You ended up deleting the picture of his dead mom. It was gross.

2)       He is Swiss. 49 years old. After one day of chatting, you decided to have dinner with him. He lives in the same city where you work. It is always good to shorten the chatting and rapidly meet the person. You waste less time. You thought it was a good way to do. It still is. The dinner was fine until the moment he started to tell you an “incredible” story about him. The first hour of the dinner, he told you about his very important job and position in a big well-known Swiss firm. He told you which strategies he adopted to manage a team of 25 persons. How he used teamwork, the synergy of dynamic at the workplace. His unbelievable story was about him having a metastasis cancer 15 years ago and he survived it thanks to a piece of stone given to him by a Filipinos guru met in Philippines. When he rubbed this stone, he could heal and bear all the chemotherapy sessions. Since then he became a healer, he works for the hospitals. He told you he could even talk to the dead people. Four hours of dinner. He told you everything existing in the world about healing, sickness, yoga, meditation, philosophy of life of Hawaii people, of Vanatu people, of anything. Four hours all about him. He has four kids with four different women. At least having a last stage of cancer did not stop him from having sex very frequently. You got out of the restaurant that evening knowing you would never see him again. You could not even communicate with living men, would you be insane enough to start dating a man who talks to dead people. Everything he pulled out was the first sentence of Wikipedia. You declined twice drinks with him again. After New Year’s Eve, he wrote you a text message telling you that he wants to be friend with you and he has met THE WOMAN OF HIS LIFE the day before New Year’s Eve. 49 years old. Four kids with four women and the guy still believed in “WOMAN OF HIS LIFE”. He was not a healer. He was a miracle.

3)       He is Argentinian, 55 years old. Divorced. Two grown-up kids. Good-looking man. After some exchanges, you told him that you have been living in Argentina. He was extremely happy about that. You were too. You told him you could even come to his town (which is also your hometown) to have a coffee that following weekend. What bothered you during the chats was that he asked you so many questions but when you asked him back a few questions, somehow he always managed to not answer them. And when you delicately asked him again, he always answered: which question? So you ended up very quickly stop asking questions. You were about to organize your weekend to visit him, when, in the evening, Facebook suggested you to connect him as friend. You saw his last name. Fuck ! The first thing you scream out of your mouth. This family in your hometown well-known for some medical scandals and big scams. They were three brothers, known for being playboys and for having slept with all the escort girls of the city. They got bankrupt after having rent a huge sumptuous building by the lake and being sued for malpractice. In your hometown, usually when you hear their names, you run away, you do not want to have anything to do with them. They literally got thrown out of the city and had to run to the French border to buy another property, once again by the lake. They might have liked the view on the lake or maybe just because these kinds of property attract more girls or to be precise more gold diggers. They still threw parties after the bankruptcy. So, that evening, you asked your Tinder Argentinian good-looking match, is XXX your family ? Is he your brother ? First he ignored your question by asking you a 1000 of questions about your past. As usual, you insisted and asked again your question: hey is XXX your brother? No, we are a big family you know ? You asked again: So XXX is not your brother? No. Really ? No. (You thought: Jesus, your pictures with your brother were all over the web. And you still lied.). You did not say anything. You just never talked to him again. And he either. It is called: unmasking someone. Short operation. Too bad, he was good-looking.

4)       He is Swiss, 49 years old. He is a high-school teacher in economy and art. He looks like a well-known French actor but much shorter and skinnier. You spoke French to him. You both come from the same city. He was educated. You both shared the same French culture. You had the same jokes, same references of books, arts, TV shows, movies. You liked him. Really. This was someone you deeply cared about. He was leftist. You hated that. He was ecologist. Of course. Like all teachers in high-school. Leftist and ecologist. At this stage of the “relationship” you would not mind. There were subjects that you would never talk about with him. Other than that, he was more than fine. You saw him three times in one week. You never wanted to kiss him. You did not even know why you never wanted to kiss him. There was nothing wrong about him. Except maybe, after the first date, you went back to his place, it was on the 25th of December. He told you that he had baked two cakes and he forgot to bring them to the Xmas dinner. The next day he had to go skiing so it would be a pity to throw away the cakes. You accepted the cakes with pleasure but you had to go back with him to his place for that. It was a studio. With ugly furniture or with things that you use as furniture when you were a student. He had books. Which saved you from running away immediately. Everything else was ugly. You knew that you would never want to be back here every now and then to be with him during the weekends. You called yourself superficial or a bitch, it is just the way it is. You are too old to hang out with guys who sit on a piece of wood pretending it was a chair. The salary of a teacher in your city could allow him easily to furnish his apartment decently. You saw him again twice. Every time after the dates, he asked you why you did not kiss him and hesitate that much. You could not tell him that you could never sleep with him in that studio. His life did not make you dream. You wrote to him a long message telling him that you would not go further. He said he was sad but felt that you were too egocentric and selfish to be able to share with him his personal issues. His almost burn-out, his father’s illness, his brother’s breakup, his kids’ issues at school. He said it would be difficult knowing that you would never move back to that city for him. All of that was so true. You would never do that. You would never share any of his issues, not at this stage of your life, not at this stage of your relationship. No kiss was given. However, you kept an excellent memory of him. A kind of sweetness taste of your three meetings.

5)       He is Swiss. 56 years old. More than good-looking. He had a face of someone who is intelligent, who has lived interesting experiences in life, positive and negative, every wrinkle on his face seemed to be at the right place. He was perfectly good-looking. He spoke a bad English. He looked more like a farmer than a professor. But at this point, who really cares. He had such an expression on his face that you could forgive him anything. Almost anything.

You met him for a first coffee on a rainy Sunday, pouring rain outside. The coffee session was not very interesting. But again, his face. What a beauty. After one hour of coffee, he asked you to change place and go for another coffee. You agreed and the two of you walked across the city under a heavy rain of January. One umbrella. He walked very close. You could feel his arms and body. You arrived at another café. The conversation was no more interesting than the first one. He told you he owns a bar in a trendy neighborhood of the city and has a share in another very trendy restaurant. He was never married; his longest relationship was four years. He has never lived with a woman. You saw red flags pulling out over your head by a dozen. 56 years old. Yet, you listened to him, or no, you looked at his pretty face with all the wrinkles falling under their perfect places. After another hour of coffee, it was 7pm, he asked if you had another plan and if you would like to have dinner with him. As it was not particularly interesting and in spite of his beautiful face, you declined by saying that you would like to go for groceries. He was quite surprised with your answer, yet, he proposed to bring you to the shopping mall. When you said goodbye, he insisted to meet you again. You said yes. At this point, who could resist such a beautiful face.

Ten days after the coffee, you agreed to meet him again for a dinner. He waited for you in front of a ramen restaurant but you ended up going to another restaurant. The dinner was nicer than the coffee though not more interesting either. Mainly, you talked about travelling. You told him that you want a serious, exclusive relationship. The fact that he has a bar and is handsome could be a problem for you. He told you that he is now old and he is not interested in sleeping around. He also wanted a serious, exclusive relationship. The only thing he asked you to understand him was that he did a lot of kitesurfing and he had to travel a few months a year in places with strong winds to practice that. You told him that it would not be a problem as long as there is enough trust. He talked a lot about trust and relationships with trust are essential to him. Freedom and space would not be a problem for both of you. He agreed with you like a student agree with his teacher. After the dinner, he took you to his bar. He was proud of his bar, which was a very cool place. You liked it. You told him about it. The evening got good vibes. The two of you left in an enjoyable mood. He brought you to the station where you should take your train home. You avoided kissing him on the lips though you thought you could. But, then you did not and instead kissed very close to his lips but yet not on his lips. It was a promising kiss for both of you.

Days after that, he wrote to you good morning and good night daily. Sometimes even more, he always wrote to you a lot. He seemed perfect to be with or at least to try. During the first dinner, he mentioned to you he lived in a big house quite far from the city because he has done drugs in the past and he had to move far away from temptations of the city. He also mentioned that he rented a small room to a woman 50 years old, divorced, jobless, depressed and lost custody of her kids. He said that he could not ask her to leave his house because she was too depressed and helpless. He pitied her. He mentioned her name and called her “roommate”. You listened to the story without paying really attention.

The third time you saw him, you went to see a movie. You liked him. That you knew. You picked a romantic movie but you entered the wrong room. You ended up seeing with him a historical movie about the queen of Scotland where there was no sex scenes but just dry scenes of battle of war. He enjoyed it without complaining. During the movie, he made lots of comments in-between, which usually annoys you a lot. That time you tolerated but you knew that in a few months, you would be horrified by the idea of going to the movie with him. He had a pretty face so even the annoying noises he made during the movie seemed acceptable. After the movie, you went for dinner. In a nice place. Everything went perfectly fine. You went for another drink. He was fun. He repeated again that he wanted something serious with you. You agreed. When you entered his car on the way back to the station, you noticed on the screen of his car the most dialed phone number was the one with the name of his roommate. Another red flag above your head. He kissed you to say goodbye. The kiss was natural as if you were already together. The kiss was like a natural outcome of the evening. No more no less. It was not passionate. It was just fine. It was a Friday evening. He asked to see you the next day. You said you could not as you had two birthdays. He said that he would be very happy if you could make time for him even if it was just for a short coffee in between your parties. You said yes. You liked him. Then he said that he would meet you on Sunday too if it was possible. At 3pm, we just needed to fix the place where to meet. You went home, got his thank you message. Thanking you for being you, for being there with him, etc. and etc. Promising, you said to yourself and fell asleep.

The next day, you received a message of him, all nice as usual saying that it would be better to meet on Sunday at 3pm for a coffee than on Saturday as he was very busy with the bar. You answered him that there would be no problem. He thanked you for being so understanding and kind to him. That Saturday was the first time you did not hear from him anymore. No more news. No more good night messages. First time ever. You went home exhausted after your two parties. You were not friend with him on Facebook but you could see his pictures. For some reasons, all the red flags were flying in front of your face. You decided to check his Facebook profile. All of his pictures were “loved” by this woman whose name was the same as his roommate. Red flag. Another one. You decided to go on the page of this woman. Lucky you. She had a public profile. Semi-artist, semi-photographer. She let everything open for everyone. You knew that it was her the roommate he mentioned as the picture of the house was his house. You saw some short videos in black and white she made and called “our home”. You even saw a short video filmed from a car called “A day with D. “…The reason he did not text you the whole day. He was out of town. You were even luckier when you saw that she works in the same company as your best friend. Bingo.

Sunday, you woke up and called your best friend. You asked her about this woman. Lucky you once again. Your best friend knew everything about her. But the most important thing was that she lives with a guy who owns a bar. This guy was so in love with her that he offered her five years ago his home, his heart and everything else. She was/is a drug addict and accepted the offer. They were/are together and she got fired from the company a few years ago because of the drugs problems. Bingo. The guy who wanted to be clean from drugs still lives with a drug-addict. You did not even feel hurt. Somehow you have predicted it. You had left him with so many opportunities to tell you that she was not just a roommate. You have decided differently. Maybe just sleep with him with no expectations. He had a pretty face, remember ?  But hiding the whole story. We were still on Sunday and by 3pm, you still did not hear from him. You knew that there would be no coffee. At 10 pm he wrote you a message saying that he had a big long story to tell you very soon and he needed to go to sleep as he was exhausted. Not a “sorry” about the coffee at 3pm. You wrote to him a message telling him that for some reason you got to know about his roommate and it was over not because of him but because of you, you would be too weak to be with a man with a bar, and a woman at home, and absent four months a year for kitesurfing. The next day he sent you a text message with a rose saying that he would tell you the whole truth when he got some inspiration. You laughed about that. He really needs some good inspirations to sell another lie. He had a fucking pretty face but it was not enough.

6)       He is Swiss, 53 years old. Two daughters of 12 and 13. Excellent exchanges of mails. A good decent man. You live 34km away from him. In the 3rd mail he asked you if you would move in with him right away as he had to take care of his kids a lot and you live a bit too far away. You never answered. 34km apart  had cost you this good decent man. You wish him to find quickly someone in the same town, or even better in the same building.

7)       He is half German, half Swiss. 50 years old. One daughter, young. He wrote to you more than you wrote to him. He never gave up. He wrote even when you did not answer for weeks because you were busy dating other persons. His messages were always polite and very decent. Always a touch of someone who is not stupid, who is intelligent enough to not make a fuss out of silence. So, one time, knowing that he was back from a business trip and would transit the airport of your city, you told him that you would be pleased to meet him at the arrival and have a quick coffee with him before he headed back to his home. It sounds romantic and a cool idea. You went to pick up at the arrival. Not nervous. He was fat. None of his pictures showed how he could be that fat. You sat down for a coffee. He was interesting. The conversation flew. He asked you to go for a dinner right after the coffee. You declined. He asked you if you would see him again, but then told you not to answer him right away. You knew by then you would never see him again. Just because he was fat. Tough life of dating for those who are fat. What could one do? You said goodbye, he wrote you a text message asking how you felt about meeting him again. It took you six hours to write a draft message to answer him. He was a good guy and very interesting person. You would not want to hurt him. You would not want him to think that the meeting was not cool. Yet, you still need to tell him the truth and the truth is that you was not attracted to him at all. After your message, you did not hear from him again. But two weeks after that, he wrote to you a message on Tinder, telling you that he was sad. He had your Whatsapp. He wrote to you on Tinder as if he wanted to start all over again and you would forget by now, after two weeks, how he looks.

8)       He is Swiss. Unknown age. You guess around 48 to 50. The first time you started to chat, you asked him if he were divorced or separated. There was a long silence. You lost him there. You thought he would un-match you right away with this question. He came back saying that he is married but he would totally understand if you want to stop chatting with him. You said: why stopping? There is no commitment so far. It will be just a chat and a discovery. Let’s see. You very quickly connected in a great way with him. You could share and discuss with him about everything. It was like you have known him for ever since. He was like a good friend, an old friend. He is handsome, polite and gentleman. When you started to write to each other, his wife was looking for an apartment and was about to move out of the house. He would be the one who stays and takes care of the kids. All grown up too. His wife works with him in the same dental practice. You two wrote to each other not only every day but for hours. For two months. He told you most of the time that it would be a shame to start with you a relationship after 18 years of marriage and then it would not work out between the two of you because he would not know what he really wants. He never once called you to hear your voice. He was not curious about that. He did not even envisage coming to visit you even when his wife actually moved out and had a boyfriend on her side. You suggested to him several times. Every time you hear the same answer from him. After two months, your relationship started to lose its momentum. You could feel that he was tired to listen to your stories and you were tired to listen to his excuses. You did not know what to expect anymore. You just wanted to meet him because you felt so close to him and it was the moment that putting a face or a voice on words could help. But there was nothing. He knew you were dating other persons. He warned when someone sucks. He behaved like a good old friend. But you felt that you both made the first error. The friend zone was now larger than the seduction. You know he was still looking around. You know he might have kept on talking to you because he could not find better matches on the apps and because you worth more than the other profiles, mostly escort girls or Eastern women looking for a husband and a residence permit. When you told him that he was handsome, you felt like he was scared that you would ask him to date you right away. You felt that he was scared to own you an explanation of what he might want for himself right now or in the future. You felt that you were going nowhere with him. Your mom could say several times that he was the best one and he is a keeper and he is decent. His recent separation from his wife is a no-go. You wish you could keep him as a friend. He explained to you the notion of sex friend that is totally not yours. You wish you could see him in flesh and bone one day. As a friend.

So, should we criminalize Tinder for killing love? For sure, no. For hell, no. Let people live, let people love, the way they want, the way they decide, the way they feel. Sometimes they will be disappointed, sometimes they will be sad. And then sometimes they will be happy, finding a match, the one, if the one exists. In the end, it is just life with all the inconveniences and the beauties.

 

 

 

Sunday walking through a park

Sunday early evening. You walk with him through a quiet park. It is icy cold. The air is pure and fresh. The park is desert. He was born in this neighborhood. He says that he knows every single house and building near this park. As a kid he used to distribute advertising and newspaper in exchange of some pocket money. He tells you that. “Are you cold?” he asks. “Yes, a bit”, you answer. “Come closer to me”. You take his arms. “May I?” you ask. “So this is where you grew up…”. You feel like you had known him since lives, before you were even born. He walks you through his neighborhood. The bus stop where he waited for the bus to come as a kid. The hospital where he was born.

Sunday noon. You arrive at his parent’s. You are invited for lunch. You are sharp on time. You kiss his mom and dad. You are in the kitchen with his mom. He arrives with ten minutes late. He kisses you greetings. He says that he likes your dress. “Is it new?” He smiles at you. The lunch lasts for five hours. He has a healthy relationship with his parents. They laugh a lot. He teases you most of the time. Conversations split into two camps: you and his mom, him and his dad. Everyone teases everyone. You defends his mom. He teases you and defends his dad. The basic jokes on women and men’ differences. His mom shows you his pictures when he was a baby, then a kid, then an adolescent. Sometimes he caresses your cheeks. You blush as you are in front of his parents.

Sunday early evening. You say thank you and goodbye to his parents. They give you cake and food from Italy to bring home. Each time is the same. You never go home empty hand. He kisses them goodbye. You two leave the house together. There he shows you the park and his neighborhood.

It is icy cold. Your heart is warm. His hands are warm. His arms are warm. You wait for the bus with him. You can feel his breathe close to your cheeks. You cannot look at him into the eyes. He kisses you a thousands of times goodbye. He looks for your eyes. And lips. Your bus arrives first. You bite his lips gently and say bye. You walk toward the bus and still feel his eyes behind your back. You imagine you are twelve years old and him too. You imagine him exactly like on the pictures of his album. You are already with him by then. Your love has lasted the years of childhood and until now. And this Sunday is not the only one as there has been tons of those Sundays before this one. He is beyond time as so is your love for him.

New Year’s Evening

There are two people on earth for whom the New Year’s Eve is not important. No big deal. You and me. We talk about this every year when the date is approaching. Each year you spend it alone. I usually have more invitations or let’s call it – obligations. Last year you were in Phuket, alone, doing nothing special, you texted me at midnight my time. I was miserable in the mountains with people whom I don’t know well, with conflicts in couple. I wrote to you. You told me to get out of it – the house or the relationship. I sent to my stepfather a SOS text, asking for advices. My 31st 2013 was terrible.

This year you are alone. I am too. I would not have been able to escape obligations if it was not because of my lumbago. I need calm and rest. I need to reach the first minute of 2015 alone. I feel like it would be the best way to end the year. All the years I spent the 31st evenings alone have always turned out fine. I feel like I have my destiny grabbed firmly in my hands at the very first minute of the year, with no interactions with other people. The more I grow old the less I have the capacity to stand small talks, dinners with people I don’t know well, and specifically on the 31st evening. After all I think I do care a lot about this day, I would love to spend it with the loved ones but not with strangers. Last year I was surrounded with strangers, stuck in a house, in couple. I have made efforts for the couple to be with strangers at dinner on the 31st. This year, at this time, at six hours before midnight, I already feel the serenity. I let go.

I stop thinking of you today. Not forever. Just today. Every day of the year I think of you. Non-stop. This would be the only evening when I think only about myself without letting you down. But strangely enough, the moment I stop thinking of you I instantly feel you even closer to me.

 

 

And now you have a decent coffee

IMG_9212In one night snow covered the whole street and the roofs of the houses were shining in a bright sparkling white, partly because of the snow and mostly because of the reflection of the light on it. Yesterday I had a severe lumbago for the fifth time this year. The discal hernia is not getting any day better. It is just a matter of time. All was calm outside. You put on the music of the movie “Fresa y chocolate”, an old Cuban movie, one of my favorites as well as the soundtrack. You came for dinner but I could not move. I did not try to put any explanation about the pain in my back. There would be no psychological explanation this time. I believe my back was just in a very bad shape since a year. Or maybe if I dare, I have been living not such an easygoing life this past year.

You brought a small coffee maker, a metallic one, enough for two persons. I always drink instant coffee and for you an Italian, it would be a bit a pain to share an instant coffee with me even if politely you had never once criticized the awful taste of it. You said that now I can have a decent coffee in the morning. You showed me how to prepare it. You showed me how to wash it. You insisted not to use any detergent and only water. You showed me how to use the washing machine as for years now I have always washed the dishes myself. You fixed the broken lamp in the kitchen. The one in the living room and in the hall. You cleaned my computer. You installed all the apps to make it safer. You showed me everything possible that would make my life easier with a computer. You cooked as I could not. You said that you are the boss so that you could put any ingredients you like in the recipe. You cooked and cleaned. You gave me a back massage. A strong one as if I was one of your free fighters. You used the Thai massage oil – the one you gave me after your trip in Phuket.

Outside it was still snowing and even more intense. You looked outside the window and told me that you could never forget our week together in the mountains three years ago. It was two months before you left the city for the first time. We went through the memories date by date, month by month. I was surprised you remember so much about us. I told you that once before you board for Thailand I was in Tokyo, in a hotel room, waiting for your call, I was taking a bath when you called. When the phone rang I jumped out of the bath without a towel, all soaked and talked to you, naked in the room, so scared to miss your call. Funny thing is that I pretended to be totally cool when you asked me: “How are you? What are you doing?” I answered: “Oh you know, nothing special”. Yesterday night I told you the truth. I made you laugh. You remember my birthday card, a card written with a “I f…king love you” with a huge red heart on it. I gave you the card two months before your birthday so that you could have it on the birthday while traveling. But you could not wait and opened it the day after. And you told me that when we met again. I was so ashamed. It was always easier to declare one’s love by message than face to face. I told you I was ashamed and should not be doing that. You answered: it was really alright, I love the card.

We went through our years together. Upon dinner. We have our ways to talk about things without being too sentimental and yet we are. Maybe it is just the way we look at each other and the words we use are very simple, very innocent. Would it be different if we talk to each other in your mother-tongue language. You said several times you loved being with me. You used the word “love” just like that. You said you loved my hands, my smile. Simple like that when you said “love”. In your mouth it sounds simple and pure.

I told you about the tattoo of your initial once I wanted to have. You said that luckily I did not do it as for now I would regret it and a lot. No, I don’t. Even now I would not regret it. I said. You looked at me. I could read in your gaze a bit of surprise but also a bit of sadness.  “Really?”. Yes, really. You should not doubt it. I did not say it out loud. It was intense enough.

I wish I could find another way to describe “us”. I wish I had a word stronger than the one I used to define “us” and our connection. This morning I woke up. My back was still in pain. I made my first coffee with your coffee pot. It tasted much better. I washed it only with water. The snow has stopped falling for a while. The street was white. The color of the sky too. All is calm. I have always loved the next morning after being with you. Life seems different. The whole perspective of life seems different after you. Life is full of dust and you are pure and completely out of our conventional system that seeing you always make me want to accomplish greater things. You are the only person who makes me believe that I can be different and better.

I looked at my cup of coffee, half empty and half warm. I miss your eyes. I miss the way you look at my heart which is full of our memories.

In one day we enter 2015. How can I define “us” ? It is everything. From my cup of coffee which reminds me of you to anything else that exists between us for more than three years now.

2015 could be anything. I believe. If things stay this way. The question of what we would become is so secondary. Because we can be anything. You give me this. Faith and perspective.

IMG_9211

Routine

The alarm of the clock on the wall was set to end each training session after five minutes. 9pm sharp he finished the training and came toward me. I was sitting at the reception area. He touched me from behind the neck and asked if I would like something to drink. He said that the coffee here was good and strong. I said: No thanks. Wait for me I will go shower, he added.

Before he left for the shower he introduced me to the owner of the gym and his partner, then some of his sparring partners. When he came back he asked me if I wanted to visit the gym. I said yes. He told me that he liked the color of the wall, a kind of old pink color. He said he came here every evening, mostly because he is the principal coach but also because this place is his second home.

We left the gym and waited for the bus to come. The night was bright as it was full moon. It was not cold at all for a month of October. We went downtown for a drink. He did not talk a lot this time. Normally when we met each other he seemed happier. He told me not to worry as he was not in good shape. I told him that it was okay, we don’t need to talk a lot. For some reason I did not feel the need to talk a lot either. We had each of us a green tea. We looked at each other in silence. But there was no embarrassment in the silence. For the first time since we have known I asked first if we could leave. The idea of seeing him with a sad face made me even sadder than him. It was 11.30 pm. The last bus would be only in one hour. Usually we stayed until there was no more buses passing by. He said ok and held my hands for less than thirty seconds. We walked slowly to a square where all the buses stop. My bus arrived first. I kissed him very quickly on the cheek and entered the bus. He waved at me and sent me a kiss. I smiled at him and waved back.

Later in the night he wrote to me a private message on Facebook: “I am sorry. Bad mood lately. Always a pleasure to see you…”

I answered him early in the morning: “Don’t be sorry. It was nice seeing you though I never like to see you down…”

Then I opened my blog and wrote again after one year and four months of absence. About him. My inspiration.

Later on during the day I wrote him a long letter. I did not say in the letter how much I still love him. Just how much I care.

Later on that night he sent me a good-night song just like he did every night since one year and four months.

It is always here

Rapperswil

No matter how far I travel

No matter how many strangers I have  met

This is here my home

It is always here

As it is always you

The beauty elsewhere

The excitement elsewhere

The novelty elsewhere

My distraction could be a second even a minute

It is always here

And it is always you

In the end

Rapperswil1