This story was written down almost in real-time. So many of the other stories happened and got told and retold profusely before being written that I started to question the credibility of them; my own stories.
I mean, what are we other than a collection of stories? Each collection seemingly unique from the other, but examined collectively the narratives are similar. If you really think about it, even the most absurd and impossible story you know is probably replicated in at least one other person somewhere in this universe. We aren’t as special as we want to be, or we think we are.
But stories are what we are, and who we are. We share ourselves through our stories; the climaxes and morals slowly and carefully exposing to the listener the inner workings of our not-so-unique psychology. We make judgments of other people based on their stories, putting our own filters to suit our frames of reference. We see what we want to see in others, and are disappointed when they aren’t who we thought they were. This is all a result of stories.
4.20pm Sunday May 16th.
So let’s start at the end of this story. It ended with a note (hastily written on the back of a boarding pass) a box of chocolates and a new pair of sunglasses.
“It was so easy being with you. Thank you for a splendiferous weekend. It really was magic… just like you said it would be.”
It’s funny enough a place to end a story, as to begin one. But I know this is an ending. It’s the one thing I know for certain.
We stood in the international terminal of the airport, saying our second goodbye of the day. The chocolates were a bi-product of knowing he has a sweet tooth and the sunglasses a bi product of knowing he lost a pair in the past couple of days. The real thank you in the box was an unspoken gratitude for pulling me out of my somewhat mundane day-to-day life and giving me a story to last a lifetime. The last ingredient in this goodbye is an almost desperate hope that he had had a great time.
When I walk up to him he asks, “Did you find them in your bag?” He is referring to the still missing sunglasses, and to the lie I told him to make sure he meets me at the gate.
“No.” I say handing him the little bag “I lied to you.” I throw my most infatuated smile at him.
“You’re crazy!” he says (a shy smile spreading across his face) accepting the gift with some reluctance.
“I am crazy. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t have come.” I say, and he knows I don’t mean the airport.
9.37am Sunday May 16th.
Earlier this morning we were packing to leave the hotel. The TV was on as usual and he tittered about the room, occasionally stopping to smoke a cigarette and stare at whatever was playing on the TV. I lay sprawled on the bed, watching a movie in my own head, reruns, in fact, of the past 60 hours. In typical female fashion I’m sifting through the abundance of moments to tag the ones that “mean something.” I giggle gently to myself and sigh. None of it meant anything I remind myself. It was empty, beautiful, fun.
330am Sunday May 16th.
Earlier still on this same morning, I’m jetlagged and wide awake. He needs the TV to sleep so I’m watching a particularly jumbled and discombobulated romantic comedy with too many A-listers and too many characters with too much depth to be as light as intended. He moves around in his sleep curling against my side. I’m almost afraid to breathe that he will move again and take away the warmth that comes with his touch. When he’s asleep he looks angelic. Ok, so a dark, stubbly angel. The point of the “angelic” adjective is actually to contrast to his almost constant smirk, and general look of exasperation he wears to deal with the mundane, altogether too predictable world that faces him day in and day out. Careful not to wake him, I trace the gentle curve of his ears. I’ve noticed in the past couple of nights the cuteness of his ears.
I text Em. I’m glad tonight is the last night, any more of this and the danger of falling will be far too real. The ears observation is the real clue.
1230am Sunday May 16th.
On the verge of sleep I fill my lungs with him and say softly, not for the first time, “I hope you had a great time.” He squeezes me quietly to his chest, plants a smooch on my head and says “I did.” Even as he takes my hand and interlaced our fingers – I’m still not sure I believe him.
11pm Saturday May 15th.
I sat, palms sweating, on the bed, my restless legs matching the rhythm of my shaking hands. I practically ran back to the room and rushed to prepare for the surprise; changing my clothes and tousling my hair. He must be putting out his smoke and entering the hotel now. He must be waiting for the ele now. He must be outside the door now. I don’t know how to do this, because I’ve not done it with much success before. I look at my shoes, with the laces untied and the lace peaking from beneath. I’m anticipating the sound of the knock on the door but it still startles me, and with one last gasping breath decide to do this the way only I can- as clumsy, silly me.
He walks in oblivious to my elevated heart rate, and twitching muscles.
“I need you to do something.” I say, not sure that’s what I meant to say. “I’ve not-done-this-before-so-I’m-not-sure-I’m-doing-this-right-or-if-it-will-be-what-you-would-expect.” I blather on without breathing, a rapid succession of words pouring out my mouth. I see the curiosity ring his eyes.
Feigning confidence, “I need you to take my clothes off.”
That impossible smile spreads across his face. He is surprised by the lingerie. I explain my last-minute attempts to get the necessary items. He has been so hard to read. My enjoyment of this rendezvous has been obvious if not redundant. It’s in moments like this I can tell he is happy to be right where he is. This little hint of how he is feeling, a spark of excitement; I love the way he loses control with me.
The sex is strong and fierce. Not flowery, or overly complicated. It’s animalistic and it’s wild. We bite and tear at each other pulling and pushing, growling. No one is trying too hard, and no one is expecting too much. We’re not afraid to ask for what we want, and give everything we can. At least that’s how it plays out in my head. It’s instinctual. It’s hot. Fuck, its good.
430pm Saturday May 15th.
We are driving home from a long hot day in the sun. I’m feeling so grateful. I don’t know how much of the activities he is enjoying. He is hardly ever without his phone in his hand, replying emails and moving meetings around. I can’t help feeling a little guilty. I’m on vacation but he is still working. He’s explained what’s riding on the success of this venture, and his various meetings; fifty thousand dollars is no small goal. I don’t want to be in the way. I hold myself from saying anything, because I don’t want to hear him tell me to “Relax” again.
It’s our last night together; I want to make it a special one. I know how I will thank him- but I can’t tell if he is having fun. I’ve asked a couple of different times if he’s happy. And he’s said that he is. I don’t know if I believe him.
3pm Saturday August 15th.
Walking around the museum, I spend as much time watching him as I do the various displays. He is not unlike this city; a place I’ve known of for a long time, but am finally getting to see beneath the surface. He smiles sometimes, or participates with a snippy remark. We decide to walk 9 minutes to our next destination. It’s 110 degrees outside and within seconds our “healthy sheen” has started to soak through our clothes. I revel in it. After a couple of days of the perfectly manicured inside of malls, I’m ready for the “Real deal.”
“Thank you for doing this.” I say sheepishly.
“I probably would never have done this if it weren’t for you.” he says with a laugh.
“That’s exactly what I mean by thank you. I feel so bad for torturing you like this.”
“No you nut! What I mean is, sometimes you need some external factor to push you into an experience. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to do it.” I smile. That’s exactly what he is to me; that “external factor” that brought me to this city halfway across the world, for a weekend with a man who belongs to someone else.
Some of what we’re doing is purely for my benefit and it excites me more than a little. It feels strange but wonderful to be the subject of someone’s attention, to not be the responsible one. I’ve never gone on a vacation with this little control. No itinerary, no real plans. I even stopped reading about the destination. It was the hardest thing to do, to let go of that control, and put it in someone else’s hands, much less his. But it felt right. I woke up this morning and asked him, “So… what’s the plan?” like I did the day before. It felt so weird to concede like that. But being a little less me, and this departure from morals and rules and responsibilities, has been a large part of this holiday.
1pm Saturday May 15th.
The movie is atrocious. I keep moving around trying to get comfortable, wanting very badly to sneak a kiss in the dark theatre. Knowing that PDA could get us cited by the authorities is more than a little exciting. Finding out that I’m “not allowed” to do it, has made me want it more (I should probably explore this concept as the primary motivator for everything I do- but I’m on vacation.) I smile to myself and sigh, thinking “this is a very effective tool for procreation. Starve them of affection and deny any resolution to the sexual tension, so they go home and fuck like energizer bunnies.” I settle for his warm shoulder, and feel the aggravation ease as he subtly brushes his fingers across my forehead.
Earlier as we enjoyed our tubs of lard disguised as food I asked him about his childhood. I told him I can’t imagine him as a child.
“I don’t remember my childhood. Nothing earth shattering. My earliest memories are from when I was 14 or 15. I was spoiled. I ran with “the wrong crowd” and got kicked out of school.”
“You did not!!” I laugh. We are so different. He wouldn’t be surprised that I was the opposite; teacher’s pet, goodie-two-shoes, responsible older sister.
“Spoiled in what way?”
“You see I was never destined to do great in school. My brother and sister did really well… well mostly my brother. But when he was 16 even, no girls allowed, and if they were in his room no closed doors.”
He chuckles to himself.
“By the time I was 14 the girls were in the room and the door was closed. Why is the music so loud? Why do you think?!”
I can’t help but laugh. It rings so true to the man he is now. Someone used to getting what he wants.
947am Saturday May 15th.
I woke up to the sound of my phone ringing. Dazed I look at the caller ID, and see that it’s him. That’s when I glance across the bed and notice he isn’t there. After shuffling over to the door, and apologizing for what I’m not sure, I come back to bed. I realize he has been awake for hours, and has probably returned from a meeting. He says as much and I don’t know what to say. I barely stop myself from apologizing once more. I feel so pampered; sleeping in, while he works. But so far my protestations about paying for anything, and questions about missed meetings have been met with a consistent demand to “Relax.” Not a hard thing to do with him.
924pm Friday May 14th.
I’m bursting at the seams to be in his arms, but he makes me wait. I sigh deeply- my ego is bruised from being made to wait, but more from the fact that he could control himself better than me. None of this is on my terms. I don’t care. All I want is to stop thinking and let him take me. I’m agitated when he comes out of the bathroom. He kisses me roughly and pushes me down on the bed. A smile fills my face, and my whole being. I want him so much- I succumb to my desires like the hot earth absorbs the rain. That sounds so lame. But really… I succumbed and succumbed again.
640pm Friday May 14th.
The beer is delicious. Leffe is his favourite when he comes here, he explains as we drink these enormous glasses of delicious refreshing brew. I’m reminding myself almost constantly not to reach out and take his hand, not to lean over and kiss him. Inebriation is making it harder for me to remember the rules. We’ve spent a better part of the day walking around the and talking. We spent some time in a bookstore where I was proud of my self-control; I only bought two. I told him about my tradition of buying a book wherever I go on vacation. He tells me that he buys one particular book everywhere he goes. A copy of Catcher in the Rye. He has 8 or so. God he makes me weak in the knees; I don’t care what people say, a man who reads is sexy as fuck.
We did normal things like eat, and watch a movie, and visit the aquarium and see the anti-climactic King crocodile feeding. I realize as the day goes on that he meant what he said about spending time with me. I didn’t know what to expect but this calm, matter-of-fact demeanour is not it. Other than my nervous banter at times, there is no indication that we haven’t been spending every weekend of the last few years doing this very thing. His nonchalance and fucking cool attitude has me in awe. I start to remember some of that hero-worship-level crushing I did back in college.
215am Thursday May 13th.
I can’t sleep. I don’t know if its jetlag or happiness, or mortification from the incident earlier tonight. Being a woman can happen at the most inopportune moments, and of course it had to be tonight. Here I am in bed with this dreamboat, and… I can’t relive this right now. He is fast asleep. I remember instead the way he said “You’re amazing” and the way he held me when i was dying of embarrassment. I had forgotten the intense pleasure of being smothered in kisses and just held. He is such a contrast. Rough and mean and direct, and then soft and affectionate and cute.
So far I feel there is no deception in anything he does. He just does it. This is how he lives his life. Without much forethought, or contemplation. He either gets what he wants, or he doesn’t, it doesn’t matter either way to him.
His decision to get married no doubt came about the same way this vacation came about. A rash idea that grew into fruition. I can’t tell if he regrets getting engaged- he hasn’t spoken of it in the most complimentary terms. I wonder how long it will take him to realize he doesn’t want this little trip. I wonder even now if he really wants this. We have two more nights, and I wonder if he will realize even as he gets on the plane to go back that this was a mistake. I told him in the very beginning that I had nothing to lose, and nothing to regret. It is him I’m worried about. Of all the men in the world I would hate to be in his books as a mistake or regret. I wonder again if I can give him what he is looking for; the magic.
1045pm Thursday May 14th.
In terms of fate and destiny we’ve spent the last 8+ years making our way to this very moment. But fuck that. He made this happen and I made this happen. I don’t know what to expect. We are in a taxi on the way to the hotel. I’m so glad Em is with me.
We step out of the taxi and Em says she will have a cigarette while she waits for him to come out. She knows how nervous I am. I suppose anyone would know at a glance; fidgeting and borderline hyperventilating the way I was. I purposely turn my back to the entrance of the hotel, because I’m shaking and not sure I can watch him walk over. I’m dizzy and my hands are shaking. What will I say? I called him and told him we were outside.
Suddenly she says, “There he is coming.”
I can’t look, but I force myself to turn around and see him walking over. I go into autopilot, as I walk over to him, and give him a hug. His smell fills my head, and the dizziness increases. I don’t know any of the 3 languages I can speak, my manners have left me, and for a second I’m nothing better than a blob of biogenetic material.
Then I introduce them, she heads off, he picks up my bag and we walk into the hotel. We are talking about something, but I can’t remember what the words are. To my “nervous wreck” he is cool as a cucumber. I am watching him as we walk down the hall to the room. It’s so surreal. May be his coolness comes from his certainty that this will be… “Potentially magic.” I hope he has a great time. Because seeing him standing next to me, I know without a shadow of a doubt I’m about to have my every fantasy fulfilled.
10 hours of flight time remaining May 12th.
How did I get here? Sitting on a plane staring at an empty screen. Hope got me here; from a man I’ve admired for the better part of 8 years and oh can he turn a phrase! I mean, my knees are pure jelly when he puts the complete force of his certainty into words. I’m putty in his hands. We talked on the phone and via chat for almost 2 days before this became real. Purchasing the ticket was the big shift.
I’m not, by character, a weak woman. I’m strong willed and fiercely independent. I’m not saying these things qualify me for some Woman of the Century award, but I have a healthy understanding of who I am. But the two passages below and the man who said them convinced me to put aside everything I know about right and wrong, black and white, a good idea or a bad idea for a hope of something life changing.
If the process of breaking down my ideas of right and wrong is like a 100m hurdles race, the first 50m of hurdles was crossed when he said this, “Because Pavi. This has been on the bloody cards for fucking ages. And I want to know…I wanna see you, be with you, spend time with you. And I know it’s downright fucking crazy, if not completely absurd. But there is nothing truly great I’ve ever experienced in life that hasn’t been.”
The rest of the race was won with this bombshell.
“Look this isn’t some teenage angst… This is well… potentially magic. It’s two people who for some unforeseeable reason have found themselves interlinked and have through life experiences seen that while life is more than a series of adventures… it has disappointment and let downs at turns around the way… but it only heightens our sense of it because nothing compares to those highs and we’ll take the labels of “fools” from others knowing that rolling the dice is better than not living life.”
I hope I change his life. Because I’m flying 15-hours for a weekend with a man I have wanted for so long (engaged or not) – my life is already changing.
I hope he has a great time. He seems so certain that he will.
Before you read this I want to tell you… I’m not in love with you.
I’ve spent the better part of the last 36 hours trying to convince my friends also that I’m not in love with you. They seem to think it’s not possible for you to make me so incredibly happy, without me falling in love with you. It’s infuriating. I care about you, I admire you, I find you interesting and easy to be with and generally I’m constantly turned on by you, and want you in my pants. But love? Jesus, who the fuck knows what that is.
You know by now that I’m a completely transparent person. I’ve found its simpler that way. I like to think you like this about me.
I just wanted to make sure I set the record straight, so that reading my little story doesn’t scare you. I took a little artistic license- people love a good love story. I hope you enjoy it.
I wrote it backwards, like a rewind to the beginning. In actuality I just kept adding more on top. Sometimes I took notes on my phone, or sent snippets in text messages to my girlfriends.
Let me know what you think. Unless you hate it. Don’t tell me that.