Ólafur Arnalds - nyepi
If I had so summarise this date in one word it would be: Awkward.
I’m not even sure if I should call it a date. At the time I didn’t think it was. I thought I was visiting a friend. Afterwards I did feel different about it, about her. So I’m including it. It is in may way a turning point in our relationship. She allowed me to step into her life that day. It was humbling and exciting. And I also didn’t know how to react to many new things, which mad it very awkward.
Her hospital wasn’t exactly in my home town. I had to take quite a long train ride to visit her, I failed to change to another train, had to wait for an extra hour on some lonely train station in the middle of some nowhere countryside. God. I am such a city kid. I could never live in a place like that. It makes me anxious just to think about it.
It wasn’t really a problem though. We just met an hour later. We had actually decided to go to the old part of the village she was staying at and just meet on the bus that drives there. So, of course the bus is absolutely packed. I have one of the few remaining seats, she gets on the bus with a giant baby carriage that just barely fits between the other two, there are people between us, it’s loud, we can’t really say hi, we can’t really hug, we’re both obviously kind of frustrated by the entire situation and on top of that I decide to awkwardly wave to her. Finally she sits down next to me for a second, but obviously can’t just ignore her child in the back of the bus, so she’s constantly checking on it, eventually stands up again to be next to the carriage, but I can’t join her because there’s just no room. I distinctly remember how weird it all felt. I wanted to say hi to her kid, I wanted to stand next to her, I wanted to hug her and say that I’ve missed her. And I couldn’t do any of these things. And once we finally got off the bus it was obviously too late for my brain to make up for it. Because it would have probably made things even more awkward.
So we went for some ice cream. I continued to be socially awkward. I guess I pretty much just ignored her kid, because I don’t know how to deal with children anyways. I never have. I feel silly talking to them, I don’t know what to say and what not to say. It all comes down to the fact that I don’t have any children in my closer family or circle of friends, no tiny humans to practice being social with. So I just avoid them whenever I can.
She used the opportunity to go shopping, the kid almost suffocated on a piece of pretzel, we walked through a few small stores, spent some time in a book shop. It was actually quite a nice little town. Nothing I would ever want to live in, but nice. I slowly started to warm up to her again. We talked a lot about movie - the only topic I really can talk about endlessly. She had bought a few new shades of nail polish and wanted to test them on me. So I let her paint my nails. I think it had her happy. To be honest she didn’t do a very good job. The paint was very frayed at the edges of my nails. But I liked it, I liked the human contact and I hadn’t worn any nail polish in probably over a decade, so why the hell not? I even kept it on throughout the next week, until I finally remembered to buy nail polish remover.
Eventually she had to get back to the hospital, this time the bus ride was significantly less awkward. We both stayed at the baby carriage, she was hesitant to hold onto me in a steep corner - which amazed me. I still don’t fully understand why she was so incredibly careful with me. I wish she would have just kissed me that night on our second date.
I decided to stay with her at the hospital for a few more hours until I had to catch the last train back home. Only family members were allowed inside. So. Again. There would have been a bunch of park benches, but she chose to sit down on the concrete stairs in front of the entrance instead. She was doing most of the talking. Telling me about all the books she had read and all kinds of gossip about other patients in her ward. I remember suddenly noticing how silent I had been the entire day, but I seemed unable to really do anything about it. I wanted to ask her questions, but all I could come up with were dumb and impersonal ones. Such as, who many patients were currently at her hospital ward. It felt weird. It feels even weirder in retrospect. Maybe this is why so little people are interested in me. I should really learn to talk more.
I did however finally have some interaction with her kid. It was fascinated by my colourful nails and I can proudly proclaim that I successfully stopped it from eating random plants countless times. True life saver I am. I also almost let it fall down a stair-step. Just ignore that.
I think we gave each other a short hug when I left. I walked back to the bus station, the bus brought me to the train station where I joined the three other passengers. It was at that moment that I decided to make a selfie. I still have that picture today. Me sitting next to the train window. My face illuminated by the bright orange sunset, my resting bitch face just slightly broken by the tiniest smile. Like a fire had been ignited inside me. Like I had maybe allowed myself to fall in love just the tiniest bit. And maybe it was going to be ok, no matter the odds. I was happy back then, happy that I took the trip, happy of what’s to come. Hopeful of a bright future.
So what did I do? I wrote her she should forget about the things I once wrote about not being interested in her romantically. I told her I liked her a lot and I wanted to keep spending more time with her. that I was sorry about the confusion, that it’s all a bit much, the hospital, the mental breakdowns, the kid. But I wanted to try again.
Now I sometimes wish I had never visited her that day. I think I should rewatch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Just because I think it might help me answer a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Would I rather experience this? (Remembering the good and the bad experiences I had with her.) Or would I rather forget all of it? Or in other words. Has all of this pain and drama been worth it?
It’s obviously still affecting me a lot. Otherwise I wouldn’t feel the need to write about it. I’m spending the next few weeks in my home town again. Away from my friends. Closer to her. And I’m afraid it’s going to throw me into a huge depression. Should I write her again? Should I apologise? Even though I’m not entirely sure what I would even be apologising for. No. There is a certain level of pride that is stopping me from writing her this time. And we’ll get to why that is in a few dates. But, I am wondering if that pride is keeping me from becoming happier again or saving me from even more pain.