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.

The past

Happiness is an art. I have been looking for happiness for the last 14 months. The more I look, the less I find. I have chosen a wrong path and since then living happily has become utopic.

I have been in couple for 14 months and as far as I can remember I was happier alone. It is a sad thing to say and probably I can hear people around me protesting. I believe I am happier alone. Either it is a true fact and I am just made to be alone or either I have chosen a wrong partner and my life in couple is not what I have expected.

Either way I am far from reaching happiness or the nirvana. I don’t know if I don’t want to be in couple or if I have been in a wrong relationship which led me to think that I am a person who could totally be alone, and die alone (which is even more than a truth).

The first wrong decision was to believe in the past. I was with my first boyfriend for 8 years when I was 16. I left him and we have lost contact for 20 years almost. Part of this was because he was angry at me for leaving him. Then for some reason we got back together after all these years. I have always believed that my past with him and my love for him were the most beautiful thing I had and leaving him was a biggest mistake of my life. When the opportunity showed up and pushed us back together I did not hesitate a second. It was 14 months ago. I have made space for this relationship and put all my soul into it.

The past was far past and the present is pain. The pain is so huge that I have lost all my faith, all my energy on the way to find happiness. I used to be joyful and I LOVE LIFE. I am now reduced to someone most of the time sad and weak. I hang on to the past to understand the difficulties of the present. I have nothing to hang on to except the past. The past of a story when I was 16. Destiny sucks and one thing I have learned from this story is that people do not change. Twenty years after the separation I have found the same person. The reasons that made me leave him twenty years ago could be the same for today. Nothing has changed except we are older and we are even more difficult and less tolerant.

I have been thinking for months about how one decision could jeopardize a whole life. I could walk away for the second time but for some reason I could not. Instead I stay and get sick and am sad. Someone once told me to forget the past, rectify the present so that my future can be better. I think I can’t just accept the second failure with the same person. There were too many mistakes in this decision. The thought of this person was my soulmate. The thought that this love story when we was teen-age was the best story. Now I can only blame myself for believing in the past. I have put aside the present at that moment to honor the past.

My sentimental life seems to go from one mistake to another. If happiness is the result of good decisions in your love life, then I would have to surrender, I would never be happy. Ever again.

When I was back at the gym last week and waiting for this dear friend, I realized that I had no choice to avoid pain. Could I make this past with “him” present again and put the present of the other past behind ? When I came home last week after seeing my dear friend at the gym I got back to my blog. 14 months were put on hold to live the other past. Worse thing in all of this is that I don’t even know what the word “soulmate” means. The one I believe was my soulmate only makes me suffer and the one who was unable to give me more than a conceptual love understands me more than anyone else.

Which past to choose ?

Trust me

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“I really wanted to see you,” I said.

“And I really wanted to see you, too,” she said.

“When I couldn’t see you any more, I realized that. It was as clear as if the planets all of a sudden lined up in a row for me. I really need you. You’re a part of me I’m a part of you. You know somewhere -I’m not at all sure where- I think I cut something’s throat. Sharpening my knife, my heart a stone. Symbolically, like making a gate in China. Do you understand what I’m saying?” (Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami)

She ran after the past, chased ghosts, saw the wall in front of her, stopped, turned around and left. The past. First love never died, she knew it. But present love occupied her mind. She missed her present love. She has missed him so much the last few days. Like hell, she had missed him. She was not afraid to be back in the past because she was convinced of her present love. She tried to let him know that. She wished he would know too without her explanations and all her words the last few days. And he would feel that love, somehow. She was only afraid to have hurt him. By being in the past just for a while. But there was no doubt. There was never ever of any doubt. She might honor the past all these years. But she has offered her heart to the present now. To him. A long while now. Exactly the last nineteen months. In spite of the distance. This love has survived, has grown up. She has fed it with all her energy, devotion. All kind of sacrifices that would help to nourish that love. She loves her present. In its flaw, its suffering, its absence. She once told him: “I love you as an absence, and that will be forever”. There was no idealization in the process. but she had once called him God. She once wanted to tattoo his name on her chest. Because even though it could be the silliest thing to do, she knew she could always say: “I had once loved him as crazy. I love him to death. I tattoo his name because he will never be a regret or a mistake”.  Today her love has reached insanity, craziness, irreality. The present scares her. Not the past. The past was nothing compared to the present. She could go back to the past as long as she wanted. The past was nothing because she had lived it through. But would he understand that without her trying to explain? All she could say now is: “Trust me”.

I have loved you long before us

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I did not know that you had blond hair when you were a child.

I did not know that you had such strong personality as a child. Stories about your childhood were told to me.

I was there in your old room.

I have always thought I knew you well and the reasons which made me fall in love with you were solidly linked to the present, and to our past.

But when I was standing there in your home, my heart was whispering to me all the soundless words to the brightness of that Sunday midday. My love for you goes far beyond the reasons for which I had chosen to love you. It is now all over your home, back to your past, back to your history. The picture of this kid which was you, in front of my eyes. Everything seemed familiar.

Your room stored memories that I did not know but somehow I think I could guess all of them and reconstruct them again, in my mind.

Could that be possible that I have loved you already before having known you?

Standing in your home, I had that feeling. I have loved you before the sound of your voice could reach me.

On my way home, I shut my eyes and let the joy invade my body. I have loved you in no time, long before memories had time to become ours.

I have loved you out of time. My eyes were closed. I remember a tear slowly slipped on my cheek. Out of time joy.

That kind of love

Loving you lightens my mistakes

Clears my faults and guilt

Purifies my past

Delivers me from sins

From weakness and smallness

Loving you is to reborn

Into another person

With a better self

And a better me

Virgin of selfishness and coldness

Loving you is not only love

Loving you is more than love

It is redemption for myself.

Friend to friend

Him to me (extracts from some mails over 15 years…):

…You want unconditional and absolute love with a “wild” man, not a “down to earth” one, free but yet caring. In the world of detective TV shows, you want “The Mentalist” type of guy with a lifestyle of a “Colombo”.  I have seen none so far. If I once saw a guy like that, I’d let you know.

…You are rich in past and in reflections, trying to find ideal solutions to a permanent existential hesitation. You try to search for logics. Solutions offer themselves to you, one day perfect then suddenly not anymore. It is not because of your mood. Just because you can’t live in lies and hypocrisies. In doubt, you feel the need to question things, to fight back. Till you are completely exhausted but you never give up.

…You try to be an emotionally rational person, but you can’t. That is why we love you. I don’t think a “sex friend” approach would ever suit you. You go with your heart and your soul. The “sex friend” thing is a half-way deal. Not for you.

…To not be depressed, just look at yourself a little bit in a mirror. Not for your look, but for your soul. You are a good person and there are few. You are generous despite of your perpetual egocentric desires of love. Your personal story is complex and difficult but you came out of that with rainbow colors. Sometimes aftermaths in life are just there for most of us. Yours is a dichotomy: “I deserve continuous pleasure but I also need stability at the same time”. Such quest would leave you K.O.

…You consume the flame of your love – sexual and emotional – as quickly and desperately as it consumes you in return. You are back to square one in a snap.

…You know that happiness is not reality, unless you are a fool.

…You are generous so when in love or when in the upward phase of your auto-persuasion of what love is, you really go beyond the line of duty to accommodate your partner. You could play the forbidden mistress, a perfect housewife, you went camping and hiking. But although you claim to do all this free of charge, on account of your unfaltering love, deep down you require and request reciprocity, refinement and sophisticated attentiveness.

…Beneath your sexy and submissive Vietnamese envelope lies a solid western woman. Indeed, should our personalities become anthropomorphic, you would fit more in an Uma Thurman’s exoskeleton and I would have looked like an older version of Freud.

Me to him:

Thanks for these kind words. You know what is good when you have smart friends, their intelligence rubs off on you and you benefit a bit of that with very few efforts. You forgot to mention that I have been a profiteer too and not only the generous one.  Don’t you see that I have taken advantage of your intelligence all those years? I listen to your advices and grow up.  You are cynical in a beautiful way. Things are important for you but not heavy. I take advantage of that lightheartedness too sometimes. You see all situations with the eyes of a banker and a poet at the same time, which makes a perfect balance. You were right, you are like an old version of Freud, but you are not obsessed with theories, at least not the boring sexual ones. You are the pragmatic one. ”Take it or leave it. Let it go”.  You are more like that. It has been good to have you around as a friend. Yesterday I posted a piece on my Persian brothers. I did not include you in there maybe because you are Greek. But today solemnly I designate you as my brother too. The Greek one.

I just wanted to say hello

Yesterday I called one of my ex-boyfriends. We had been together for three years during college. I haven’t heard from him for years. He went abroad, came back, moved to another city. We had contacts once in a while. We stayed friends. He was the only one who had not been mad at me after the break-up. I called him because one common friend I ran into the other day told me that his father had passed away a few months ago. I wanted to know how he was doing and especially his mom who had not been well these last years.

I tried the same number. It was still a good one. We talked for one hour. He was fine. He had the same humor. We laughed quite a lot. We talked about our lives but never invoked the past. I told him about how painful it is to learn German; that everything in this language has a weird structure and construction, and it is just impossible to get used to that. “You know, just put the verbs and everything at the end of the sentence and you will be fine. I do it all the time but sometimes I have too many words which have nothing to do one with another at the end of my phrases. ” – he said.  He hasn’t changed a bit. It is the kind of advice he would give you.

I asked him if he has changed physically or he still looks young. He answered: “I don’t know but my face is still very round”.

I asked him if he got married. He said: ” Yes, to a Filipino girl”. I said:  “Oh, congratulations ! Hey, so you are not that traumatized by our story ??!!” (note to readers: I am Asian). He answered: “Hum…no, …no, you know, it’s not the same country…” (note to readers: I am Vietnamese).

The phone call was refreshing and fun.

I wished him all the best and suggested a meet up in summer with some old friends.

Last Sunday I posted something about the past I sometimes wanted to get rid of .

Yesterday night I thought it was not that bad to carry such past.

I also hope that everybody from my past is doing as fine as he is.

What would we do with our past ?

I spent this weekend in my hometown. I haven’t been back the last 3 months. I have a mixed feeling when it comes to visiting my hometown. I am always happy the moment I get in the train. The idea of seeing my family and old friends is enjoyable. It is easier to get to see everyone when you don’t live in the same city anymore. When you are home, you are welcome everywhere. Your schedule is full, you have drinks here and there with different groups of friends. You are invited for dinners on Fridays and Saturdays. You are busy and you don’t have time to think. For me, it is always positive and relaxing when I can stop thinking, even if it is just for  a short moment. My friends have a different life, girlfriends have kids, couples buy houses, talk about mortgages. They have different preoccupations from mine. I feel sometimes like a kid stuck in the world of adults. Most of the times, I have nothing to do there but I am still fond of them because we know each other so well. The truth is that I had left town because I wanted to be alone, to built another life, somewhere else, to live something different, something not planned. And they are my past, and part of my life. As much as I enjoy being them, there is always a moment I feel that I don’t fit in anymore.

When I get back to the hotel after a busy day I always feel a bit sad and melancholic. This past I used to love I still carry it along with me. Every corner, every street, every coffee shop, or restaurants, or tea-rooms remind me of something of my past. It could be nice memories or bad souvenirs. It does not matter and it is somehow cumbersome. Passing by the first flat where I used to share with some people during years at the University, recognizing the bakery where I used to have breakfast with my first boyfriend, or the movie theater where we saw our first movie together. Honestly even though I know that each of us has a past, a unique one which makes us who we are, which enriches our personalities, it happens to me more than once the desire to get rid of it. Not because I have regrets or remorses and want to change my life all over again. Some backgrounds are just heavy and impede you to move forward. I am never sad when I go to bed where I live now. I am always sad before I fall asleep back home. No matter how wonderful I have spent my days with friends and family. I used to compare my hometown to an ex-lover or boyfriend and the new city a new one. Yes, something like that. Something you don’t want anymore but cannot be able to forget for good.

I just wonder if any other person feels like me ? Future is difficult to predict but looking back at the past, when everything is already known and lived is never an easy exercise for me on these weekends. I don’t consider my past life as a failure, I just don’t want to live in the past anymore. It’s a difficult balance to reach out as I sometimes miss my friends and family a lot.

This is just a thought I wanted to share with those who had lived once far from home.