In my mind
Has driven you out
That short moment
I drift off
You are there
The thought of you
Next to me
More and more I found myself at a loss for words and didn’t want to hear other people talking either. Their conversations seemed false and empty. I preferred to look at the sea, which said nothing and never made you feel alone.
1. Self-Portrait with Black Lamb (2010)
2. Self-Portrait with White Lamb (2010)
All that exists
now, has been before.
a different color
If oceans boil and
nothing has changed.
If mountains collapse
and planets collide,
as it was.
If we dissect and
spill our insides
under a rising sun,
then we will be
as we are now: open
sores and broken scars-
a different color and feel.
It’s 2:00 AM and I’m sitting in my bed. Through my bedroom windows I can see the rain pour into the canals of Amsterdam. But that isn’t the reason I can’t sleep. I have been spending nights awake and days asleep for months now. Sometimes I think I know why and then within a day I change my mind. But tonight I think I’m sure. Maybe things aren’t that complicated. Maybe it isn’t my classes, my career, my mother, my father or anyone else. Maybe it’s simple. Maybe it’s you.
You have been keeping me up. I know this because you are my last thought before I fall asleep and the first when I wake up. I am not sleeping because I can’t. You occupy my mind and I don’t want to turn it off. I don’t want to drift off to my dreams, I want to drift off to you.
In my mind I have declared my love to you a dozen times already. I’ve told you in at least four languages and I have told you whilst screaming, whispering, crying and laughing. And each time it is the start of an impossible romance, which is temporary yet never seems to end. In my mind it always works.
Still I can’t muster up the courage to tell you. By now I wouldn’t even know how. I have long missed my chance. I should have told you that one time we were alone. When you kept on talking, even when I had already been holding the doorknob to leave for several minutes. But I left. I saw you a few other times for work, the last time months ago.
It has been ages since I’ve been so foolishly crazy about someone. I live a block away from your studio now and literally every time I leave my house I hope I’ll run into you.
I’m going to sleep now and say a silent prayer that maybe tomorrow when I walk out the door I’ll bump into you. We can choose whatever language you like…
He was already asleep by the time I had finished writing my paper. It was 2 AM and I was as sleepy as I could be. I quietly shut down my Mac book and tiptoed to the bedroom. I pulled my dress over my head and tossed it onto the chair in the corner of the small room. While brushing my teeth I already slowly drifted off to sleep. Then I heard Z. shift in his sleep and all of sudden I felt very conscious of my lack of clothing. Here I was, standing in nothing but grey tights and a long-line white bra that I doubted was modest enough for this situation.
When I was done brushing my teeth, I splashed some warm water on my face, dried my skin with a towel and put some night cream on my cheeks and eyelids. I turned around to take off the rest of my clothes, when I noticed Z.’s eyes on me. He was sitting against the wall at the head of his bed. “I’m sorry,” he immediately said, “I didn’t mean to scare you. I’m really sorry, I’ll leave you to it. Do you need anything? Maybe a shirt to sleep in? They’re in the top drawer of the wooden cabinet. One of my grey sleeveless shirts shrunk in laundry, that shouldn’t be too big on you.” I gave him a slight smile and quickly took my tights of and got into bed, while he looked in the other direction. I pulled the sheets up and took off my bra. Looking slightly puzzled, Z. said: “Look, I hope I didn’t frighten you. It was just that I fell asleep before telling you where you could find everything. And then I woke up to you washing your face and putting your hair up and… Well, I don’t know if I should be saying this, but I was mesmerized by that view. In another situation I would have told myself to look away, but before I knew it you were looking back at me. And I still had to tell you where you could find a shirt to sleep in. But I am honestly sorry. My offer to sleep on the couch still stands you know, and I fully understand if you want to take me up on that.” I blushed a little and told him that it was okay. It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen something like this before. I smiled at him and he smirked and murmured something like “Well that’s a lie”. I crawled under the covers in his shirt, which was, nonetheless of it’s unfortunate laundry history, still too big on me.
The next morning I woke up early, for the first time in years . I yawned silently and noticed Z. still asleep with his head facing me. In that lovely state of mind one has when just awake, I studied his features. You could tell by his face that life had put him through stuff, his sunken cheeks and pointed nose the evidence. Though his face had been hardened by time, I knew the look in his eyes by heart; every bit of the compassion and sensitivity you could read in them. With my mind drifting away while studying this man’s face, he opened his eyes. He must’ve noticed my transfixed look, because he couldn’t help smiling slightly amused. And with just that soft look in his eyes I was wondering about, he whisperingly asked me why I was awake this early. Slightly more concerned he also asked if I did sleep well. Instead of answering him I smiled, closed my eyes and curled up to sleep for another bit. I could hear him chuckle and felt his hand very lightly touch my cheek while he removed a strand of hair from my face. I slightly opened my eyes to find him staring right into them. He whispered: “Yesterday you said I probably had seen something like you there a million times before; well I haven’t. And I’m not sure if it’s your beautiful pale skin or your piercing green eyes. Maybe it’s the way you look fragile, but are incredibly strong inside, maybe it’s the look that’s in your eyes when someone tells you their secrets. All those things aren’t like anything I have ever seen in someone before. In my mind I know I don’t stand a chance of ever really being with you. You deserve someone so much better. But still sometimes you say something, or you laugh at one of my jokes –and I know they aren’t funny- and I get this feeling that maybe, there is something there. This is probably the worst timing ever in telling you, since you’re next to me in a bed and are now probably wondering how the hell you’re going to get out of here. I want you to know that I would never ever hurt or offend you. I’ll go for a walk if you want me to and I’ll wait outside until you’re ready to go, but I just needed to have this spoken out loud for that feeling that I get once in a while: that there might be a small chance you somehow noticed me. I am sorry.”
“Don’t be,” I said, “don’t ever be sorry.” I looked at him for what seemed like forever. Then I slowly shifted my body into his and rested my head against his chest. I noticed he was still slightly unsure as he cautiously wrapped his arms around me. Very gently I kissed his bare skin. He pulled me closer in his arms and lifted my chin up with one hand. Softly he pressed his lips onto mine as he kissed me. The look I saw on his face when I looked at him was the happiest I had ever seen him. “Are you sure?” he asked me. “I am,” I said while kissing his cheek. “I’ve never been more sure.”
This was the kind of night when everything went wrong for no reason. Here I was, standing on the ferry to the northern side of town, my phone’s battery dead. On the other side of the water, my sister was waiting for me with the keys of my bicycle and my apartment. The bicycle I was on now, belonged to a guy twice my height and I could barely touch the pedals with my toes. Of course the deck of the ferry was filled with his friends. I wondered if they thought I stole the bike or if they were just noticing a girl in a short skirt, alone on the ferry at three AM. I ignored their glances and looked at the riverbank, silently shivering from the cold. I hadn’t noticed you were with them. But then the ferry took of and you started talking to me.
I had seen you a couple of times before. You were the drummer of one of the bands at my roommates gig. One night earlier, someone had told me the drummers always get the girls. Still doubting that statement, I noticed you on the stage. Against my better judgement I found myself attracted to you. I knew we had tons of mutual friends so I didn’t let anyone notice. Especially you. I only watched you from the other side of the room and made sure I kept my distance. I did the same thing when I noticed you at the party the night I lost my keys. I did think about telling my sister about my weird attraction to you. I decided to keep my mouth shut. Better even, forget all about you.
You asked me what I was doing there, alone on the ferry in the middle of the night. I told you about leaving my keys in my sister’s bag, who had left the party early. About my phone battery dying and cycling on a bike that was too big for me. Halfway the river, you asked me if I’d kiss you until we were at the shore. I rejected you immediately as you kept insisting. I must’ve said no at least twenty times until you gave up. I couldn’t help smiling though.
Now I knew why I had to lose my keys. Why my phone wasn’t working and why it took me more than an hour to finally get on that boat.
It was to make me promise to you that I’d kiss you next time. And I know that will be soon.
I am stronger because I know my weaknesses. I am wise because I know I’ve been foolish. I laugh because I’ve known sadness.
I washed my hair
Stole my sister’s shirt
Drank a cup of coffee
With milk and sugar
I turned on the radio
And sang along
With a song I knew by heart
Was late for school
Wrote an essay
About a book I never read
Drank another cup of coffee
With whipped cream on top
Went to your grave
For the first time
Since we buried you there
Over a year ago
My cousin Helen, who is in her 90s now, was in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. She and a bunch of the girls in the ghetto had to do sewing each day. And if you were found with a book, it was an automatic death penalty. She had gotten hold of a copy of ‘Gone With the Wind’, and she would take three or four hours out of her sleeping time each night to read. And then, during the hour or so when they were sewing the next day, she would tell them all the story. These girls were risking certain death for a story. And when she told me that story herself, it actually made what I do feel more important. Because giving people stories is not a luxury. It’s actually one of the things that you live and die for.
— Neil Gaiman (via rookiemag)