“Who is she?” asked Ätz; “What?”; “The girl?”; “What girl?”; “The one that makes you glow?”; “Glow? Sounds pretty homo”; “Yeah, I know it sounds like something you’d say. Are you sure she has a vagina?”
“Oh, fuck you,” I said with a smile on his face. He tuned in.
“No, seriously, who is she?”
“I’ll show you, you should just come with me, you’ll smile”
“No, thanks. I’m not so much into gay bars”
“It isn’t a gay bar. We’ve been there before, and you liked the girls”
“I am not into white chicks with a touch of desperation and self-loathing”
Ätz laughed. “Okay, next time I’ll go with you…or don’t you want to, now, that you’ve found a new girlfriend?”
“She’s not my girlfriend”
“I’m sorry, wait, what did you call it again… Uh…a bedfellow?”
“I didn’t sleep with her”
“You’re glowing, but you didn’t fuck her? Are you sure you’re not gay?”
This time, it was just Ätz that grinned. I didn’t feel like laughing anymore.
“Hey, man, you seem serious”
“Yes, it is”
“When will you see her again?”
His voice fell into a serious tone of voice. That’s what I appreciated most about Ätz. He was always humorous, but he knew when it was time to put the jokes back.
“Tomorrow I’ll go back. Today she has no time”
“Then let’s stay inside today, chill, you can crash and shower here, then you’ll be fit tomorrow. You have to bring your A-game”
“Thanks, Ätz,” I said. He smiled at me and nodded. I may not have had many friends, but I’ll be damned if he wasn’t one of the best.
“Then skin up” I demanded from him and threw the utensils to roll to him
“All of a sudden he can even give orders”
The meetings with her felt like I overheard others describe good dates. I was nervous, didn’t want to go, then told inappropriate stories, I could have gone away if I wanted to, she could have outright ignored me, but instead, we talked a lot and forgot what we were talking about and after the meetings I wished I didn’t have to leave her. The biggest catch on the whole thing was they weren’t dates.
I ended up being a customer and she was the bartender, which meant I paid her to spend time with me. I made more than one joke about the fact that she was ultimately only a bad price/performance ratio for me when it came to a prostitute. It was appropriate. Because I never touched her. The bar separated us, and the wood prevented all physical contact. Which was perhaps the reason why we had the best time on these evenings when we didn’t have anything to comfort ourselves with. I got her number on the sixth night.
I joked that she would hear me on the phone all the time now and she joked, although I can also hear a little serious that she would just block me when it came to that. It was never the things I did that scared them off. The implications behind it made her nervous. Like what I say to her is corrupted by what I’d like to do to her.
“What would be your ideal partner? A great lover, a funny guy, a philosopher?”
“I don’t need anybody.”
“Just because you say you don’t need anyone doesn’t mean you don’t want anyone, does it?”
“I want someone who respects me”
Most of them just wanted to have edges to make it easier to hold on. This girl had edges so you’d think you could hold on. Because the green, red, blue in her hair was not a fashion statement of being different. It was the expression of her personality and, damn it, I loved it when she stole a rainbow of one of its colors again.
The red, her red, was what I liked the most. I liked it so much, I hardly got a word out without stumbling over it. That’s why I hated her red because my incompetence was anything but charming. It was hard to talk when your jaw hung down and you had to suppress the tingling so that you didn’t start trembling.
I avoided going when she had red hair. I then spent my time more with Ätz again. We were colleagues, business partners, so sometimes I forgot that he was my friend too. We sat around. I talked to him about her sometimes. He used to call me a “fallen in love cuck” whenever I started the topic again.
When we met then, the day after I visited the bar and I started to even talk about marrying her, not today, not tomorrow, but definitely the day after tomorrow, he started to talk sense into me again. That it would be a waste of time to sit there and I didn’t consider how much more money would make money if I stopped. That if she wanted me, she would have let me get closer to her already.
The smoking made thinking easier when he finally said that there is no way she wants me. I was less emotional. The whole day just swam in front of me and when I came home in the evening, I lay down in bed and was gone. Everything went well despite her. The People I met were fun and as long as I was busy there was nothing to get me out of my rhythm. Only I couldn’t drink the whiskey alone anymore without thinking about those brown, dead eyes. They rolled at the bottom of the glass when I drank it up.
“You should feel free to run after I say it, but I’d love to take your eyes out of your sockets…rip them out, put them away and pull them out whenever I feel bad”
“Why would I want to run away if you want to carry my eyes in your vest pocket like plush cubes for the car?”
“I don’t get it either”
She laughed. I grinned.
“You should keep what you think to yourself sometimes.”
“I’ve had done that all my life”
“And now you don’t want it anymore?”
“No, but it doesn’t feel like I have to here”
“Because I can’t run away?”
“Again, no, because you don’t want to run away”
She smiled “You have too much confidence”.
“I’m not gonna treat you like a princess. You can take the truth, princess?”
With the index finger and my thumb formed a crown, so that the index finger indicated the teeth. It looked more like a square missing one side, but she got the idea.
“Do you want ME to treat you like one, the crown seems to suit you?” she said.
“Ha-ha; very funny”
“You sure? I could sell you to a prince for the claim to his lands?”
“If it’s the French one! As I heard from my court maid, the French are the most fashionable people in the world and this way, I can face my fate at least beautifully dressed: The desire of every young lady to be nothing more than an heir to the throne incubator.”
“Well, with your hips I heavy hearted have to say you’re obviously not suited for something else, aren’t you?”
“We can’t all be as talented as you, Van Gogh.”
“Hey, I don’t cut my ear off out of anger.”
“Yes, if you would, you’d both lose in a jiffy because of me”
“I’m glad you acknowledge that you’re the cause of my first gray hair”
“I was wondering why you change colors so often”
We both laughed all night. I drank and in the course of the evening, she started drinking and finally, we sat alone in the bar. She poured the last round and asked me out, so she could sweep the floor. I insisted on helping her, but that made her angry. I liked her angry too, but finally, I got locked out. For the next time, I promised to help myself, the courage to assert my desires against her, but I never proved my words.
There were times when I was annoyed. I sat in silence in front of her, drank my glass and hoped she would give me a word. Whether I was annoyed in the end because she never did it or simply because I didn’t seem interesting enough for her, I couldn’t tell anymore. So we sat silently in front of each other, I kept her at a distance because the first word could mean affection. It’d have been bad if we showed any.
I treated everyone like dirt and she treated me like I wasn’t there. It’s like she was pouring a drink for a bar-stool. And when she didn’t look at me, I looked at her and I wanted to say something and then I had to giggle inside myself that no matter what I said, it didn’t mean anything, nothing meaningful to say about it, nothing great, nothing funny, nothing at all. I had nothing. Before I didn’t care what I said, but now I wanted to show her who I was and what I felt for her. I was nobody and she was my world.
She noticed the giggling once, asked me what was so funny. “Nothing” I answered, and felt even more seduced to giggle. I found my own inability so funny that I gurgled like a Japanese schoolgirl. She couldn’t run away. She was limited to thinking “nursing case” about me. Later in bed, I could laugh about it even better. It always laughs best under self-hatred and tears. I never stayed up late those days.
The next day, late at night, exhausted from a tour with Ätz, I decided to allow myself to think of them. In her eyes laid a sadness that flowed like water through a hole in a rowing boat. I wanted to hold it, but I couldn’t touch it, so I held my breath. Their waters were deep, but I could see life as I sank. That which floated, adapted, or died in it would come to light. I sank deeper and drowned in their black waters, even if I opened my eyes, I didn’t know where to go to. I was lost.
But she gave me a lesson. The new millennium knew innumerable new methods to make an idiot of oneself without sending roses with badly formulated cards. I had her number. I was tempted to report my feelings to her. The inter-connectivity, that’s what the new hell is all about. Because now I knew if she ignored me. This felt worse than being rejected, although the results hardly differed in any way. Because in both cases, you stood there alone.
If I was honest with myself, I would have preferred to be rejected by now. If she didn’t write back, I wasn’t sure if it was because she was busy, had no desire to write or had one on me. Not getting an answer would be obvious.
Most of the time, anyway. Because, as always, the dog was buried somewhere. In that case, in the given circumstance that the message did not disappear and that replying was still an activity that could be put off. If you wanted to. Not wanting it, however, meant a lack of interest. The dog was always buried up to his neck in the ground.
So, when I was playing through all the scenarios in my head, thinking about what I could answer when certain things came back, I wrote a message that I thought was good before I sent it.
It was nice with you, I like listening to you. I think you noticed my staring, maybe I shouldn’t make it so obvious 😉
I am making a fool of myself here at 1:32 am, and I wish I could just explain it away with insomnia, something that might not have to be said. I have a lot of fun with myself. I hope you’re with me, too.
I’d like to see you somewhere else.
I hope, you hope for it too.
Okay, at the risk of that being too much, I’m going underground.
Mexico isn’t supposed to be so beautiful, I heard. I’ll figure something out.
Nothing came back but a smiling smiley. Maybe she was tired, I told myself, it was late, she had to work or think whether she said yes or how she didn’t hurt my feelings. I saw her again and it was all the same. We joked, talked about our lives and joked about our shortcomings. We got into a conversation, I don’t remember how, but she told me that the other women around her were cutting her and I noticed:
“You probably don’t have any female friends because they can’t place you on a spectrum, and you don’t respect them, because they can’t see you”
“How do you think you know that. And why should men be able to do differently?”
“The only category, that counts for us males, breaks down to the question: Would I fuck, or would I not fuck? Whatever the answer, they can be friends with you. It usually ends in them trying to get closer to you in the hour of need. No honor resists sexual frustration. What you do with these fools, you know yourself”
“It’s the only category that matters to men, or is it the one that matters most to you?”
She caught me. One who hid in the crowd. God, I love that girl.
“Here’s the problem: I come for the good talks, but I always leave the store with a bitter aftertaste”
“I know you want me”
“I think, what I want you can’t see.”
She shook her head.
“You’re cheap. Everything you say is cheap.”
“I’m cheap for you, and if I could do so, I would prove it to you.”
I drank up and put the glass down for her. Then I put 30€ under it and put on my jacket. When I was about to turn my back on her, she said to me:
“You might be right about me”
I mumbled “Maybe” and left.
The performance was ready to be filmed. I was about to get an Oscar as I walked out the front door. I stretched out my arms in the air. I left the jacket a little open to feel the cold air. I went back home satisfied with myself.
Three blocks away, I realized what I had done. Because here the film did not mimic reality, but reality the film. No matter what I thought, it looked like I dropped my guard and ran away. I was a fucking coward. A pussy who didn’t face the fact that she had already seen through me and wanted to talk about it.
I pulled out my phone. I started writing her a message. I finished typing them, but I didn’t send them. It was too pushy. It was something like that that put me in this position. No, if she wanted to talk to me, she’d come to me first, I thought. The distance had already happened. A message made me look even weaker when all I wanted to do is talk to her about it. Like I need the distance of two screens to look weak.
I drove home and laid down. I had set my ringtone to full volume. I put my cell phone as far away as possible. There was no message in the morning. I didn’t hear from her again for two weeks.