Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ring The Alarm!

Well, here's a good man
And a pretty young girl
Trying to play together somehow...

The Sad Bastard Christmas tree is now dead. It's a Saturday in February, and I am swearing to myself that I will never - ever - take vacation time around the winter holidays ever again.

A year ago (or close enough, anyway) I was on a ferry, with a girl who I met online - in fact she'd read AnTyx, and was quite impressed. We started talking online, and eventually she asked me to go to Stockholm with her on a day cruise. First time we met in real life, and we were stuck together for two days and two nights. She'd also asked me to take her to the theater, to a play I'd seen and highly recommended. This girl had the sort of life that had no room for theater, or for pleasure travelling - even though she'd been to some very awesome places.

On the first night, we never went to sleep. We just lied there, in our beds, in a pitch-black cabin, talking. She told me about her life, I told her about mine; about my crap experiences, my heartbreak, the girl who thought I'd kill myself over her. She got the not at all unfounded thought that I did not get into a relationship lightly.

We had an awesome day in Stockholm; we had fun together. Back on the ship, I was both exhilarated and exhausted. The excitement of being in a city that I love, with this awesome girl, and the tiredness from walking around all afternoon, put me in an altered state of mind, where I could pretend I was a purer version of myself - with none of the stupid, annoying psycho shit that I cannot escape when I'm in my normal routine. I don't think it would be fair to say I worked up the nerve - it was a form of dutch courage, really - but I did ask if she'd mind if I kissed her.

It could've gone over better; then again, it could've gone over a lot worse.

What she said, was that I should not fall in love with her. That she had a massively busy life, and it was a very important year for her, she had the project of her life coming up in the summer, and she really could not afford to get involved. The most important point she made was that I really did not want it; that it would mess me up.

That night, in the pitch-black cabin - I won't be specific, but I can say that it was very probably the most emotionally extatic night of my life. Morning after, we parted with a hug at the bus station, she going off home down one major highway, and me down another. That night, on IM, she talking about what she thought all day; asking herself why she didn't kiss me.

Fast forward a few weeks, theater, a play she really liked.

Fast forward to the summer, the rocky seaside at a place that a lot of born&bred Tallinners don't know exists; when we fell off a slippery rock, drenching our shoes, and her phone in the process. (It never really recovered.) Sitting on a boulder with her arms folded on my shoulder, the sun shining on her face - that's my mental snapshot of her, at that moment.

Fast forward, when I came back from Israel and she came back from her great project; literally the day of my return (the flight came in at 2am) we drove down to Haapsalu to see Lordi at the ruins of the old bishop's castle. Unbelievably, the show was sold out; so we drove through the night, to Tartu.

The ferry, the boulder, and that was strike three. But things went downhill from there, and by the time the fall came, I felt alone again. She took more and more time replying to my SMSes, and was almost never online. And then I did something stupid.

I took two weeks' vacation over the year-end holidays. Last week of December and first week of January. And if I've said before that I would never be so miserable as to kill myself, then during those two weeks I at least began to see why some people did it. If you've ever remarked upon the destructive power of thinking about your life at night, in your bed, before you fall asleep, you'll know how much you can fuck yourself up when you're left alone with your own consciousness.

Now imagine two weeks of that.

I know it's foolish to somehow rate the success of my year on where I am come New Year's Eve, but somehow I can't help it. That's why early on, I asked her if she wanted to make an agreement - that barring any major events, we'd spend the next December 31st together; and she seemed to get it. Unfortunately, she ended up with some coworkers at the lakeshore instead. And as the last day of the year started, I was a bigger mess than I had been since high school. It got so bad that I could do nothing, except stand in the bathroom, propped up against the sink, look in the mirror and cry for myself.

In the end I didn't have to spend NYE alone. I went to a pretty cool party, held by the German acquaintance of the girlfriend of one of the Gay Vikings. But even before that, I spent a couple hours at a friend's house - a girl I knew from university, who I've spoken very little to before that. When I had no plans for the night, nowhere to go and nothing to do, she invited me over; she was a friend to me when I needed one more than any other time in recent memory. For that, I will always be grateful to her.

I survived the remainder of that week, spending my time at the movie theater watching crap like Eragon. I went back to work. I bought a car. I drank a lot of alcohol with friends in Tartu and in Tallinn, and I decided that I could not go through with such a torturous vacation again, so I allocated my spare eight days and a massive amount of money on a trip to Iceland (in early April; watch this space). And then I had a moment of clarity.

The girl kept telling me, throughout, that I should not fall in love with her, that she couldn't allow herself to fall in love with anyone, and that she definitely did not love me. But I never, ever said the word. Not in those good, early days, and not afterwards. Her presense, her closeness was euphoric; and not having that was horrible. I'd always been good at being alone - yes, I was easily annoyed by people bailing on me, and yes, on a conceptual level I felt like I needed a girl to share my life with. But I was comfortable with spending a lot of time by myself. Being with her changed that: I enjoyed it too much.

After the suicide girl, I was properly heartbroken. After this girl, I am suffering from a black, soul-devouring loneliness.

There are ways of driving it back, and I spend more time socializing now than I have ever done previously. I've not really talked much to the suicide girl - didn't feel like I had anything to say to her. I won't do the same with the loneliness girl, because if there's one thing this New Year's Eve told me, it's that a friend is far too precious a thing to discard. I won't spend a lot of time speculating on her motives. If I want to make myself feel better, I'll say that she's confused and making the horrible mistake of expecting a Prince Charming, denying the possibility of enjoying herself in the meantime. If I'm feeling cynical, I will say that it's the hypocrisy of all womankind, who may talk of personality being more important than looks; but I'm not the Brad Pitt type, so her fascination with my writing, my intelligence and my self-reliance fizzled out.

Lordi is playing in Tallinn on February 24th. I'm going alone.

So don't come here and tell me things that you don't understand
When it's all about the honesty and time for you to learn
Come back, you're always a friend - is that the message I'd like to send?

I want you to feel no more loneliness...
So ring the alarm!
You opened my mind, now I talk to the sign
You cleared up the sights, now I'm up for the night.

P.S. And a Happy Valentine's Day to you, too.

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