The bus 31 took me to his gym. I have never taken the bus 31 to go to this side of the city. Eleven stops from the station. He was waiting for me at 9pm. I arrived in front of the gym at 8.10pm. There was nothing around this area except one small Migrolino – the equivalent of a 7 Eleven in the US. There were only buildings for offices with no light inside. And above the main street where his gym is located you can see a bridge illuminated in the night. I have never been to this part of the city. I was way too early so I went to buy a small coffee at the Migrolino shop. I bought a take-away Starbucks coffee whose taste was disgusting. I crossed the street and found myself in front of the gym. No one in front. No one inside of the hall. I saw the name of the gym on the first door on the left. 8.20 pm. I entered the gym and said to a man sitting at the reception desk: I am a friend of S. He answered: Oh yes please come in, he is just there.
I took off my shoes and entered the room, sitting on a sofa, facing the training area. Here he was. On the floor with a sparring partner. He waved at me and smiled and got back to a jiujit-su position. I have not seen him for three months. And most importantly, I have not written about him for more than a year. Suddenly I felt a big wave of confused feelings all over me. I was happy to see him again. After all, he is my dear friend. I was scared to feel something more than a friendship again. And what I was afraid to face was very real at the moment I saw him on the mat. I was not indifferent. Something did happen inside of me. But I tried to avoid to put a name on it.
Here he was. The man with the eyes which carry the whole humanity like I have always thought. I could see those eyes from far. I opened a book on the table and browsed it slowly. I tried to avoid to look at him train. I have never seen him train. For all those years I had no occasion to come and see him train at the gym although he had asked me more than once.
Three months ago we had dinner at my place. With his parents. When the parents left, he told them he would stay and help me clean the kitchen. We washed the dishes together. When we finished he grabbed me and kissed me. The kiss lasted forever. I kissed him back. My kiss lasted more than forever. We were friends. We had stopping being lovers for a while already. Then the kiss in the kitchen. A kiss which is not sexual. He did not stay. Though he could. I could invite him to stay though. The kiss was the one of regrets, of affection or love, the kind of love which carries the universe, which gives you the world. His kiss was that kind of kiss. And that kind of friendship.
I was still sitting on the sofa, watching him train, remembering his kiss in my kitchen. 8.46 pm. In less than ten minutes he would finish the training and would come towards me and his hand would touch my neck as a sign of greeting me.
And this is the way our friendship goes now after having been everything together. I would say hi to him and catch furtively one of his fingers.
The only abnormality is the incapacity to love (Anais Nin)
I did not ask you the exact date when you are back in our city. I know it should be in 72 hours or something like that. I refuse to know with which airline you fly. I refuse to know when you board, when you land. I refuse to follow your flight itinerary online.
The last time when I knew the exact date of your trip, I stopped the sleeping, the eating, the breathing. The living part of my life. At least a week before that. I was completely exhausted when you were here. Excitement, nervousness, fear, anxiety, joy, everything, I went through all kinds of sentiments.
So this time I promise to myself I will be reasonable. I just don’t want to know. I want to hear my heart beat, in a regular rhythm. I want to feel my breath, in a sustained rhythm. I want to calm the turbulence of my soul.
If I knew the exact date of your arrival, I would cover the airstrip with white roses. I would ask the swallows to fly back and welcome you. I would ask the sun to stay longer and warm up the earth for you.
I did not want to know the exact date of your arrival. My heart will replace the white roses, the swallows’ singing and the eternal sun. I welcome you back with only me. And that is more than enough.
I woke up in this new morning of the brand new 2013. I spent a very quiet evening. Unlike a lot of my friends, I saw pictures of them on Facebook partying, my New Year’s Eve has always been quiet. I have never found the necessity to celebrate that evening. A nice meal was pretty enough for me with nice company. Few people if possible.
So I woke up this morning, quite fresh thanks to no excessive alcohol drinking last night. I listened to this song “Forget it” of Sixto Rodriguez, a wonderful Mexican American folk singer and songwriter who was not as well-known as he should be. His talent was immense. The song was a bit sad for a new year’s morning but the voice was so deep that I could not stop listening again and again. I was not sad at all. For those around me who keep on wondering about my state of mind and soul. But somehow this song fits me perfectly this morning.
When I checked my cellphone, I saw that I received this picture of this new-born baby of one of my friends. I could not help myself but sharing it to you. While the voice of Rodriguez preached for a “Forget it and Thanks for your time”, the picture of this so-cute baby gives hope and love to another year to go. You look at this picture and you just say to yourself: “I am ready for anything”. His parents are blessed.
Then I start searching in my mind for one image of the last year which was still strongly anchored in me. I could think of many but once again, I thought of his eyes. And probably his gaze would always be the strongest memory buried in my mind.
So these are my very first feelings of the very first morning of the year.
I wish you all a special 2013 with love of wherever/whenever/ and from whomever you can get for yourself !
Last night I could not find sleep until 3 in the morning. The snow has melted some days ago and so the rain has taken over ever since. It was raining outside the whole evening. I tried to fall asleep ignoring the repetitive sound of the rain hitting the roof and the windows. My mind wandered. From Thailand to Los Angeles. From one sunny place to another. Where the people whom I care about are right now. My mind wandered back to my place too. People I care about are here too, closer to me. It went on and on like this until very late. I remember in one book Murakami wrote that memories and sensations were usually so uncertain. Memories and sensations to me are so real. As soon as I think of a moment spent with someone who is dear to me, very quickly and spontaneously I can feel with my flesh and blood the prints and sensations of those memories. It always seems like yesterday. Memories and sensations always go hand in hand. I don’t even need to close my eyes to fully remember these moments, the talks, the smiles or the touch. It is always very clear and real to me when I put myself back in memories and pasts.
Yesterday was the same. I could be anywhere. I felt the sand of the beaches. I felt the special light of the day in California. I felt the water of the lakes where I had been last summer. I heard their voices. I heard their laughs. I heard the quiet sound when our days together had come to an end and the days when we were apart.
I could not sleep because all of these memories made me forget the rain outside but kept all my senses awake. Adding to that I let the voice of Audrey Hepburn invading the night, singing “Moon River” to me when I was pretty sure that outside it could be only rain and no moon. Nights like this could bear no moon.
I was attracted to this man for a while. I wrote to this man for a while. We wrote to each other for a while. But then suddenly somehow I ended up writing only common stuff, observing myself becoming superficial with him. The feelings were gone even though I had several times tried to look for them, carefully with my soul and my heart. The words and the feelings could not connect anymore. I wrote empty letters which were less than nothing. It happened and I did not even know why. I guess like everything, things come and go, feelings too. Especially infatuation. It can never equal love and true love. Yes, I felt for him a certain infatuation, which cannot last without proximity and sharing.
I often ask myself what is the real difference between attraction, infatuation and love. I now have the answer. With true love, you go through silence, separation, loneliness and nothing ever changes. The love is deeply anchored in you. You carry this love with you, walking through darkness sometimes, bearing the loneliness in times apart, but it is just still there. All your mind and soul and body just bear the love, powerfully and imperturbably. Silence never means emptiness. Words make sense. Separation survives distance. You connect no matter how, no matter where, no matter what.
Infatuation fades away very quickly once the physical contact is no more there. Love goes far beyond the touching, the talking, the meeting. Those wonderful feelings of love, you stand there by yourself and feel them all, carry them all inside you. Infatuation is nothing in comparison. Barely a sensation of lust.
I had experienced several times infatuation but had loved not more than twice in my life. I guess that was all the difference.
Chicago also known as the windy city. Chicago deserves this reputation. Yesterday the sky was so blue and the wind was so strong between the blocks of buildings. I went for a walk by the lake side. Unbelievable cold and delirious wind. There was something very particular about a strong wind. It was completely wild and out of control. I could not feel anything yesterday while walking. I just tried to move forward, as though I was trying to break through a transparent wall which kept on pushing me in the other direction. When you try to cross through this thick transparent wall, for a few seconds, you have the feeling that you are losing your mind. The wind seemed to tear my face and dried up its skin. Tears started to come out from my eyes. I kept on moving. My hands without gloves were almost frozen. I had been walking like that for more than one hour already.
I had the impression of losing control of everything I had once possessed, my body and my mind at the same time. Fighting with the wind. To keep on moving forward and to stay warm. Concentrating uniquely on my body. Where I could still grasp some heat left. My mind was gone somewhere else. I could not think anymore. It was deadly cold. I was not used to such wind and cold. Yet I continued to walk for hours.
There was something crazy with a zest of masochism walking like that by the shore. At some point, I thought I could not deal with the wind anymore, yet I wanted to reach the endpoint of the island. Sometimes I just wondered if my feelings for you were also like challenging the wind, this kind of wind in particular, the kind of wind in Chicago. As though part of me was asking for a slight pain. Something I could not control, something which could drive me crazy, something which could make me losing my mind, something I could not surrender but it was easy to just stop walking and take a cab back. And yet as though I put my whole soul and body in it, trying to surpass the impossible.
Sometimes I think you are my wind. But the satisfaction was that I did get to the end of the island. For me it was an achievement. Literally I was freezing cold.
Yesterday I compared you to the Chicago wind. If I ever made it for us, you would then become a warm wind, the wind from the South.
What kept me alive while walking was the idea of you, becoming one day the warm wind.
Yesterday I had ten hours ahead in-flight. I had prepared books and work to do, and I was looking forward to having plenty of time ahead to think of him.
One of the music in the radio program was the soundtrack of my favorite movie ever “Love Story”. It was just a movie on love in the 1970s. But I love everything about it. Maybe also because it happened in a campus. In Boston where I had lived for two years. The movie starts with the line “What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me.” (extracts from the book of Eric Segal “Love Story”).
Yesterday when I listened to the soundtrack, I thought, if I ever made a movie, I would start it with a very short line: “I love him and I love Bach”. I don’t know what it would be about. But Bach would be there and him too. No matter what.
Ten hours in-flight. With him in my thoughts. As usual.
“Partir c’est mourir un peu”, in French we say that – “Leaving is dying a bit”.
Traveling is excitement. Traveling is discovery even when we go back to the same place we had already visited and known. Traveling is what I like most. However there is always a moment before closing the door of my apartment that I feel a little bit “sad”, looking at my room, my piano, my books for the last time, as if I would never be able to come back again. I don’t know why I always have that feeling. It just lasts two or three seconds.
I admire people who travel around their whole life, without being attached to anything, anywhere. They just change places whenever they feel done with them. There is something amazing about that capacity.
I am the one who travels a lot and most of the times alone. I always feel attached to the people I met and the places I visited. During a short or long trip. That is why I love traveling but it always costs me a bit to decide for a trip. The balance between the excitement and the lost of something when leaving the place. Maybe because I left my country when I was too young. And had never been back. The scary idea of not being able to go back home still haunted me sometimes.
But for today this trip should be alright. It is just a short trip for work to Chicago. I will be fine.
“Partir c’est mourir un peu”, I guess what it is all about. Just two seconds – A pinch in your heart – Irrational tiny pain.