There used to be someone I knew in my life, who used to masturbate to greek statues. I told her to stop, but everytime I was in the museum with her, she got incredibly horny. It was great. You could do whatever you wanted with her in the halls of ancient marble. We mostly went for the toilet, but if you ask me, she would have freed me of me clothes right there in the showroom.
About love, it is important to know that most people, despite assertions, tend to fall in love simply with an idea. You lie next to an accumulation of flesh, bones, hair, keratin, and give them a greater significance, something they stand for in your life. For their symbolism. Stability, security, freedom, funand frolic, intellect, salvation, wealth, competition, truth, fame, but you don’t fall in love with the person, you fall in love with the idea. At first you can’t ask for more, if you don’t know this someone. He has to be a shorthand for brain. The one who understands me. The one that makes me laugh. The one who can boss me around. The one who isn’t ashamed of being bad. The one that makes me feel safe. The one listening to me whine. No, what you need to know is that people tend to fall in love with an idea and even more so, they tend to give up their personality for that idea. It is as if the other person’s care is rubbing off on you, or talent is being passed on, or their strength is making you strong, or their open nature is making it possible for you to approach others more openly. In most cases, one sucks the other one out as a better alternative to the inner hollow being.
An example? Since I started writing, I sleep with more women than at any other time in my short existence. Means nothing to you, I know. It is not because I’m a good writer. Not even because I can express myself or have become more interesting – I myself don’t like to talk about it at all, I just see their eyes light up when I mention it – no, it’s about the women and what they see in me when I mention it. The females tend to not even read it. It’s just about her desire to be with a deep soul. In my case a little bird with a broken wing that they can nurse back to health, so that they can get something like a complete man out of their troubles. It’s about their desire to be with a smoking, drinking, anti-social, insensitive, honest failure so that they can justify me and my way with my talent („in reality he’s completely different from what you imagine“), and if I ever manage it, they’ll be right in the end and be able to rub the success in the faces of their partner choice doubters, especially their friends. And if not, they could still hold it against me when our time has come – but my box is gone?
It was never me who suggested a second date. I never stayed with those women for very long. One night, one week, two, if I found them somehow amusing and I didn’t have to see them too often in a short time window. If I assume (what else can I do) the question of how long a relationship lasts is therefore very much connected to the question of how quickly you realize yourself whether you love a person for his idea and whether you can still love the person when ideals are wiped off the table in times of need. Or you are like me and you realize that people can only love you for your ideal and you would do anything to shatter their entrenched view and then probably get scared and run away, should you feel that you finally have more in front of you?
Unconscious desire, conscious desire, outer goals and inner goals, desire and needs. This is perhaps all that a human being is. In his interactions. With his environment. To value all these interactions of a human being, that is love. If you tell me that you love someone for more or less, then I’ll tell you that claiming to know what your better half thinks at any given moment does not mean that you have a deep connection, but much more that you will spend the rest of your days with a shallow Dick or a comfortable Clarissa. Complicated people suck at happiness, because they make complicated demands to a quite simple building plan. There are no instructions for dealing with the precipitation. If you have a headache, buy the pills. If your dick itches, stick it in something. If life disgusts you, shoot yourself in the head. But if your heart is aching, I can’t suggest a simple remedy. We only ever treat syptoms, the cause is always ourselves.
I may die alone with that attitude, but at least I don’t live in a dilapidated house where the foundation was already fragile when I moved in, just because I had the arrogance to be sure I could handle anything in the future. Too self secure to take a single look down the cellar.
I picked up the phone, opened the app and the red flame signaled to me that things could get hot. I hadn’t had heat since Stacey and she had been more of a flame to keep me warm than a full-grown forest fire that threatened to all out consume me. Past her, I had only defeat after defeat. I had become too cold for the bars.
I was simply no longer interested in which cat pictures they liked, how they imagined their ideal Sunday evening or which family members they hated, loved or from whom they slowly distanced themselves. I couldn’t listen to them anymore. It made me desperate. I was desperate and the frustration drove me to install a fast food dating app. I wanted to have sex, lie there afterwards, maybe philosophize about the world in a post-coital honesty plea, and then run away and never see her again if I didn’t like what I heard. Easy, clean and sterile separation of the contact on both sides.
I didn’t feel much heat at first. I took a few photos of my degenerate face (that even managed to look even more unattractive in pixels), wrote down a few keywords about myself; including that I loved rain, a quote from my favorite author underneath – and then in a quiet minute realized what a full-grown spastic I am. But since it was not my decision which genes were allowed to survive the test of time, I let the female audience decide and started swiping left and right. No matches even after hours. I put the phone down and went to sleep. The next day I woke up at 3:00. I went to bed late. For ages I had worked on the words of a letter to Stacey that I would never send. It said that I was doing well and included other lies, like “I couldn’t wait to see her again” and that I was now starting to make something of my potential. After I had done my morning business in the bathroom, I went over the words again. Nobody sends letters anymore. I was satisfied and threw the letter in the trash basket next to me. Then I took a new sheet out of my drawer and put my ballpoint pen to use.
Afterwards I went to the bathroom again to take a hot shower. My reptile blood took on an acceptable human temperature, but my fingers were stiffer than usual. My thoughts were a little duller, but a valuable concept in the static silence considered worthy of writing down did not come out of my thinking. I washed my body and left the shower room feeling uneasy about my missing ideas and the loss of my creativity. When I had fought my way through the cloud of steam from the bathroom, I first sat down on my bed to put on my socks and then standing up to pull up my underwear. While putting on my underpants I stared at the empty sheet of paper and the pen. I didn’t want to write anymore. I didn’t feel like it anymore. So I let myself fall and stretched out on my bed and looked up into the air. Then I felt like hearing her voice, grabbed my phone, typed a message and didn’t send it. I had suicidal thoughts. Strong for weeks. But I also shook them off. I was just about to put the smartphone away when the phone vibrated in my hand. I was surprised, because in the hours passed I hadn’t thought about it at all, but at the top quadrant of my screen the notification flashed. NEW MATCH. And I admit, I grinned about it for a moment.
“Would you like adrink?” I asked her after we sat down.
“Alcohol brings freedom from self doubt, shame and humiliation by flushing the brain. No wonder that the rum in Coca Cola brings the masses freedom”
“. . .you realize that the Coca Cola is the liberating part?”
“No, but it was just a stupid joke”
“What are you apologizing for?”
“I do that a lot, overcorrecting people. Many say it is my worst quality”
“If that is your worst quality, then it is more of a recommendation than a flaw”
She smiled at me and our conversation deepened. She was witty. Everypoint was in the right place and after each comma she could justify herself in the subordinate clause. I liked to listen to their ideas and attacked when I thought they were too easy. I liked it and less to my surprise, so did she. She smiled the whole time and seemed to be absorbed in it and even lost herself in my eyes. At some point we stopped talking about the world, what it is, where it comes from, where it goes. We talked about more important matters. Yes, after we agreed on an easily avoidable scenario depicting the downfall of the human race, we talked exclusively about us. She told me many little things that at first glance seemed incoherent. She had a brother and a sister. Her brother was older and a crane operator, her sister younger and a housewife. She liked the color green, but not when it was too dark. Olive grey-brown was too much for her and lemon green much too strong. She liked green. Just green. She was simple, she assured me. For her benefit, I didn’t believe her.
We laughed and I told her about my dream and my fear that my purpose was slipping through my fingers under the general pressure to build a stable life, and I ordered my ninth drink when I finally started to talk about my life so far.
It was a short poem.
The beginning sucked, the middle part smelled off sulphur and at the end I sat in front of her again.
Her look stayed as neutral as she manage, but I saw behind it and if the alcohol hadn’t been here, maybe her inner voice would have told her to leave. Especially when I told her that I once killed a rabbit by mistake when I was seven years old, she was shocked and outraged, and before I could explain the accidental nature of the story, she was outraged. She ate vegetarian food out of love for animals, she explained to me, but I think I saw the fear of becoming obese behind it, because she didn’t eat my cheese tortillas, although she had previously claimed to be hungry. I addressed her renunciation with fascination and she only meant that “life is renunciation”.
I couldn’t just leave it unspoken in the room
“Yes, life means renunciation, that’s why I also renounce going to Paris, sipping the finest whisky every day or eating more than two slices of bread a day. To live means to have the choice, even to renounce. What most of them have is a homemade golden cage in front of which they have put a sign with the words
“Vegetarians, so that people stop and admire them when they pass by”
She excused herself to the toilet and I wish I hadn’t said it. I was surprised when she came back. Her lipstick was drawn on. I could tell by tiny lumpy bits that were stillstuck in the corner of her mouth.
She said she didn’t see it that way and we sat across from each other in silence for a minute and so that it didn’t seem like we couldn’t break the silence at any time, we had sipped our drinks.
“Are you romantic?” she asked me.
“No. Maybe in my mind, but I hate the kitsch and the clichés, so I usually avoid being romantic”
“You like sugar hearts and teddy bears and all that other bullshit to sell you love?”
“Yes, but also not. Not in the classic way. I don’t want any lover’s vows, but I like flowers. I don’t like dancing in the moonlight, but I love horse-drawn carriage rides. Despite this, I can’t say that the other person doesn’tmatter. Romance is what two people feel at the moment, until it’s no longer”;
“Your life is only what you feel about it right now, what are you saying?”
She paused briefly, but not because she was brooding over her words, but because she grinned, almost spitefully like a hyena, before tearing the flesh from your bones. She seemed well entertained and I found her spiteful grin charming.
“Then life is a cliché: because society only gives you options and does not tell you how to feel. Everything can be corny when there is a connection between people, even the word “bitch”. People are the kitsch and the cliché; words and deeds are just expressions and what one finds beautiful is just a feeling”
“Sounds to me like an excuse to justify crazy behavior”
“Your theory is lacking. If person A does something where he thinks it’s romantic and person B doesn’t feel it. Then A is creepy and B is simply disgusted. In this sense, society gives you the safest options for being romantic and tells you that you should consider it romantic. Apart from that: Romance is not a shared feeling, it’s a message in a bottle and at best the message is inside, is the one that can be shared” I laughed as if love was a joke, but she didn’t share my pleasure. Her low self-esteem suddenly thought I was laughing at her all the time and that made her angry.
“What are you saying? Are you just bitter because you’re so alone?”
“Okay, if you say so.”
“If a person is like that, Nathaniel, they’ll certainly die alone. You shouldn’t be so pretentious and smug. Nobody likes wise guys who think they’re smarter than everyone else”
“Well I don’t, but I seem to be smarter than you and if I’m not, then you should pull the ripcord now. That for the rest of my life I’m going to put myself into this frame and put myself down, again and again, whether you’re there or not, and if you can’t stand it, what are you doing still here?”
She said nothing. I pushed the half-full glass with the Cuba Libre off me. I was waiting for a reaction, but nothing came. She just looked embarrassingly at her cocktail glass. The little umbrella from the edge slid into the Tequila Sunrise and the colours swallowed the simple wooden and plastic tensioning mechanism.
“But it’s me who’s so alone, isn’t it?” I asked her. No answer, she looked at me with her sad blue eyes. She may not have had the eyes of a fish, but the heart of an old witch cursing men and at that moment she seemed to know what I was thinking because she looked at me disgusted and my heart melted for a second when she asked me why I was acting like such an asshole.
“Because I can; and I don’t choose to be blind or mute”
With the pronunciation of my last word I had thrown my jacket over and had left without another word. I left her money for the open bill and another drink at the table, and took a deep and sad breath in the fresh air. I lit a cigarette and the street lights looked like stars for a second in the darkness and I was tired, so I squinted my eyes together so that they would not dazzle me on my way home.
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