In less than 3 months (on July 24th), I will be turning 30. I don't feel 30. Sometimes I feel 50, sometimes I feel 5, but never 30. 30 makes me think of the successful career women in those 80's Hallmark movies, with power suits and empty pantries, like Diane Keaton in Baby Boom, although she was much older than 30 at the time.
Everybody needs to believe this.
You never liked your first name, Harold. I didn’t like it either, until I saw the movie Harold and Maude. I felt like this classic dark comedy redeemed the name Harold, but you didn’t believe me, so we decided to watch it together, when we would meet in Vegas.
Until then, we listened together to the theme song, “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out”, by Cat Stevens. I said, this would be the soundtrack to our Vegas trip, this and all the other Cat Stevens songs from the movie. We were going to stay up all night and walk the strip, or watch movies in the hotel room; we were going to be so happy and free, truly deserving of this song.
We never made it to Vegas. It’s been more than a year since I last heard your voice. I miss you every day, every single day. I wanted to mail you a little birthday gift last year, but then I thought, I’ll save it for when we meet. I’m so sorry I didn’t do it, but what can sorry do now?
Happy birthday, Tommy! I hope you can feel, wherever you are now, that we think of you all the time and that we will never really “move on”, because we don’t understand how that is even possible. Happy birthday.
At first, his messages were shy and tentative. He wasn’t sure if I wanted anything to do with him anymore. I was still angry at him, but I wanted to rub it in his face that I had moved on. Costly mistake. Soon, he became more daring, and told me he was more in love with me than ever, and that his life had no meaning without me.
That summer, he had attempted suicide, with sleeping pills, and he had been in a coma for almost two weeks. I didn’t know whether to believe him or not, but I was overwhelmed with pity. Months later, his mother confirmed, in a tearful confession, that it was true, that he had indeed tried to take his own life.
He begged me to let him see me, if even for a few minutes. He was willing to travel all the way from France to Bucharest just to exchange a few words and tell me, face to face, how sorry he was for what he had done. I said yes, almost certain that he wouldn’t do it. A week later, he was in Bucharest, and waited for me with a huge bouquet of flowers. He walked me home from the subway stop, as I was returning from work, with tears in his eyes. I let him kiss me, but my heart was no longer moved by his touch. Continue reading
When I feel down. Like when I'm about to lose my job, or when the man who occupies my heart tells me we should stop talking, or when I'm in pain and my medical coverage has run out, or when I miss my family so bad that I feel like screaming. Like in these past couple of weeks.
A few more months passed, and another Easter approached. He announced another visit, and gave me the good news that his wife had finally agreed to end their marriage. To celebrate, he organized a road trip for us in some of the most beautiful parts of Romania. His knowledge of the country was incredible; he knew every little village, every monument, and even roads and shortcuts that don’t show up on most maps. Even my father, a very experienced driver, was impressed.
Those two weeks were the single happiest times of our relationship. He catered to my every whim and bent over backwards to fulfill my every desire. We visited several beautiful monasteries, with luxurious gardens and centuries-old paintings. We told stories and sang along to French oldies on the long drives between our stops. We spent Easter day in a lovely cottage, and then went on to Iasi, a large cultural centre, where my parents had gone to University. It’s said to be the most romantic city in Romania, with long lanes bordered by fragrant linden trees, full of cozy cafes, famous restaurants and adorable little shops, many of them with a long and interesting history behind.
On the way to my town, we stopped at the summer palace of a 19th century princess. I, too, felt like a princess, walking the luxurious halls, with him by my side. “This is it”, I thought, “this is how our life is going to be, once he is free.” A life of romance, art, trips and pleasure, because real life is always like that, isn’t it?
Do you remember that day, Professor? October 27th, 2005. One of those impossibly beautiful days of Indian summer that made our Transylvanian city look like a collage of postcards. You and I, in that secluded park next to the railway. It was our first date. We stopped by my friend’s house, picked up his dog and took it for a walk with us. I can see it all now, before my eyes, the perfect blue sky, the blanket of bright-yellow leaves, and a black-and-white dog running around the park.
Eight years later, I’m in Canada. I’ve built a life here, with homes, jobs, friends, studies and break-ups, a normal life. Now, as I’m typing this, there’s a pot of chocolate cream cooking on the stove. I’m making a cake for Easter, I have guests coming.
Like every heartbroken person, I thought my life ended when we broke up, but it didn’t. I’ve even been engaged once more after you, so don’t imagine for a second that you, as a man, were irreplaceable. I loved once more soon after you, and, recently, my heart soared again, after many years, but, you see, it had forgotten how to fly and it fell to the ground. I moved on after you, but I moved on broken and hardened.
I don’t want to write this. I don’t want to soil this space with even as much as the shadow of your memory. I’d rather write about beautiful and interesting things, and you are neither. But I have to, because I don’t know how else to exorcize you. I have to walk again through all the painful moments of our love affair, because I buried that pain so deep inside me until it grew long, monstrous roots and wrapped itself around my every organ and every bone. Continue reading