Learn to read poetry. Then read more poetry. Write in a form you’ve never written before. Something completely new. Reconnect with old friends. Unclutter. Then unclutter again. Go to an exhibition. Focus on your breathing. Drink spirulina every day. Carry a book with you everywhere you go. Buy a plant (finally). Write about the books you are reading; put together a list of things that inspired you. Write down your ambitions. Spend a weekend in Brussels. Book another trip back home. Work on a financial plan (you are at that age now). Bake a banana bread. Cook a vegetable soup. Eat some Indian for dinner. Give him space and then give him a chance. Listen to Affirmations. Write your own. Wait for a warmer weather. Do everything with an intention.
Writing about February now feels like watching sand slip through my fingers. And picking it up over and over again with the same result. It keeps slipping away. I vaguely remember the last bits of our correspondence, shortly before I decided to hit a block button of my own. Except mine is made of different stuff than yours; mine is made to last and I only need to use it once. We blocked each other mutually and I thought it was a ridiculous thing to do. Because what does it matter? But nonetheless, I’m glad I finally pushed myself to it. Or you did. Depends on how one looks at it. You just need to meet someone and that will be that for us. As if, no chance in hell, I thought, and other things. I thought you’d lost your mind, living in self-denial, which has been your predicament for as long as you’ve existed. Or some version of you. But the thing is — you were right. I always thought I’d hate saying this if I were ever pressed to it, but damn, it feels good. You were right. That will be that for us. It is. You were right, perhaps, for the first time when it comes to anything about me.
I had begun to lose hope. February, the ugly month; the ugliest of them all. Cold, wet, dark. With nothing, in particular, to keep me in Prague. Two friends of mine came to visit me towards the end of the month, after my exams, after I’d finally been able to catch a breath of clear air. They came for a weekend, for mental support, to see me. I was in a really bad place. Recently friend-zoned by a boy who’d offer me books and coffee, and I couldn’t understand what I’d done wrong. But nothing, I hadn’t done anything wrong.
There was nothing there and that’s the only nothing I am capable of recognizing now. Because I don’t miss anything. And so they came to visit me; we planned for a wild ladies night, with buckets (buckets, not glasses) of alcoholic beverages and the busiest club in the city that we could think of. But nothing. Again, the nothing. It was the emptiest night I could remember in the history of my going out. We recuperated from our disappointments with a hearty brunch the next day and laughter that made me forget almost everything. Then my friends left. It was a Sunday and I remember deciding that this was it. I had actively decided that I was going to be okay with being on my own and only focus on working on myself. It was the perfect conclusion to the weekend.
Monday; the very next day.
M was still in the habit of keeping in touch every day; we drank wine together almost every night, dissecting our lives. This was another of those nights. Chapeau Rouge; of all places in the world. A debate on bilingual brains and whether we feel like different people in each of them. Then they showed up; a pack of Austrian tourists on a binge-drinking tour through Prague. I befriended all of them and later took them to Roxy, had three slow tequila shots, and decided to let loose on the dance floor. The thing is — I don’t dance. I am not a dancer, have never been. But that night, for some reason, all the bones in my body were listening to music and there was no other place for me to be than the Roxy dance floor on a Monday night. Some things just happen the way they are supposed to happen.
He joined me in the middle of a song. Didn’t ask whether he could, didn’t touch me, didn’t invade my private space. Yet he was so close I could smell his perfume and the heat of his body. I didn’t lose my tempo, I didn’t stop dancing. I didn’t have a care in the world. The people around us cleared out a circle for us that was only ours. I sensed all the other women staring at us because I was the most unlikely person for someone like him. But it was a mistake to think so. Immediately, I knew there was something different about him. I’d met nearly all his friends that night; a bunch of schoolboys with good hearts but a whole lot of growing left to do. Not him.
Quiet confidence visible through his posture and the way he eventually reached out for my hand when the slow song came on. That’s when he asked whether he can. His perceptiveness meant that I had to say very little and show only the bare minimum. He knew the line between one more song and I’d like some water now without me having to say it. Back at the bar, we didn’t talk much and only stopped to come up for air. There was no need to say anything at all. Our bodies spoke their own language. He offered the last tequila shot for both of us. He drank his own in four slow sips as if to let me know he’d been watching me all night. A smile played on my face and he knew that I know.
And that’ll be that for us.