I took a walk in Hampstead Heath today amongst the bare trees and the occasional magpie. The wind started to blow and it resurrected the leaves from the ground. They started flowing, dancing before my eyes and for the first time in a long time, I was humbled by the scenery. I sat on a bench and watched the spectacle, alone. A few strangers passed by me, some were walking dogs, some were running, others were walking briskly, as if they had somewhere to be.
I sat and sat and sat for an hour or so, until the wind ceased. I continued my way, without direction, unsure of where I was headed. That is the great thing about Hampstead Heath, I don’t know it enough to know what is coming next. I felt mentally exhausted, and emotionally jaded, but I knew it was a sorry state to be in, and so I tried very hard to get out of my head. I observed the brittle branches, I observed the pale gray skies, the ponds of water upon which ducks and rubbish were floating. I think it was Bertrand Russell who wrote that introspection only leads to holding a personal diary and psychoanalysis. Well, in my case, it is no longer introspection, as much as it is being completely, entirely, destructively self-involved. My mind has been mostly blank lately, it frightens me. I should probably take up solving riddles, completing the daily sudoku in the Evening Standard. Yes, I will start doing that tomorrow.
Walking did not feel as therapeutic as it used to years ago. I wish I could pretend it was the cold air that numbed me, but I am well aware that it would be lying to myself. It was strange though, London city felt so far away. Funny how something can be part of and exclude that something at the same time.
I came upon dozens of dog walkers, their dogs had more personality and sass than themselves, I came upon a young guy balancing himself on a chord attached between two trees, I came upon a couple picnicking on a bench. It made me want to get a dog, kiss that tree balancing boy and buy a cheap bottle of wine and ask you out on a picnic.
But I won’t do it, because you don’t talk to me anymore, and the last time we spoke, a week ago, I asked you to take me out. You said you would, you said we would go on an adventure and that it will be epic, and then you never contacted me again.
I then came to a vast hill, as vast as hills in a city can get, and there it was, the view of the entire London city presented itself in front of me. I walked towards one of the unoccupied benches and sat, in the middle, facing the view. London, from this distance looked soulless and empty. The view omitted the beautiful bridges, the ever-flowing Thames, the liveliness that surrounds South Bank, the grand historical structures, the city parks, the millions of people, some with purpose, some without. The view was grey, two-dimensional, making it seem as if all buildings were glued to one another, yet I wished you had been there to watch it with me. Would you even appreciate it, or would you demean it? You would probably glance at it fast, point out where your house is, and in jitters tell me “Let’s go get beer now!”
A guy was sitting on the bench in front of me, with headphones on his ears. Behind me, another guy was texting, or browsing the internet on his smartphone, who knows. There we were, three complete strangers sharing the same view, a different moment. I wondered about their lives and realities for at least a minute or two, but then my own problems started to rehearse in my brain again, like an automated message, that I could not even decipher because the voice was so robotic and the words were hastily mis-pronounced.
I gave you until midnight yesterday to reach out to me. I have read years ago, somewhere, could be in a psychology textbook, or in Cosmopolitan, that I must give myself a time-limit to mourn. It may be unfair to you, seeing as you are completely unaware of that time-limit, but I tried my best sending you cosmic vibrations. I already practically lost my mind, so what else is there to lose by trying, right? Right…
On my way home from Hampstead, I stumbled upon George Orwell’s house! I bet you have no clue who that is, you were never much of a great reader, or great mind in fact, but then again neither am I. I think that’s why I liked you so much, from the instant I met you, you appeared as the perfect balance of stupidity and wit. Everything came too easy, you listened to my theories as if I had something interesting to contribute by talking too much, and I quite enjoyed the slightly nasal sound your voice would produce and I enjoyed your convictions. I enjoyed that you thought horoscopes were bullshit, but that there may be a god, I enjoyed the way you laughed at silly humour, yet I can’t recall the sound of your laugh anymore. I liked that you could talk to me in an unapologetic and inconsiderate manner and that it would not make me feel uneasy or slightly insulted, that must have been a first, I’m quite the sensitive type. Your brief presence in my life brought out this ease out of me, and I enjoyed that. They do say that you fall harder for how a person makes you feel, than for their precise characteristics. You did not make me feel special, you did not make me feel safe, yet I felt completely comfortable with how things were, and that right there, for an over-analytical person like me felt like the biggest accomplishment that I needed to hold on to.
And so I tried holding on to you. I laughed at your jokes, I baked you chocolate chip cookies, I made you an origami horse – because you asked me to – I would answer the phone when you would call, I maintained that safe distance so you keep allure of your freedom, and when I would see you, I’d hug you so hard, so you can feel something. Truth be told, I did not even feel a like-love feeling, I just knew I had the potential to feel it one day.
I then rushed out of Hampstead, because my phone had no reception. When I reached the Belsize Park area, I had no missed calls and no text messages, but a watched pot never boils.
You proved it to me that one night about a month ago. I was out on the town with Stella. We went to a new nightclub, I had no reception, and quite frankly did not care to know how your night was going. I met a guy, he looked like you, only younger, yet more mature. His hair was sun-kissed and his eyes were blue. I could always tell a person’s eye colour, even in the dark of a nightclub. We danced, and we kissed. He then took me by the hand and yelled out over the loud bass of the music: “I don’t want to fuck you, I want to eat your pussy.” I nearly spat my gin out
“Excuse me?” I asked.
He then repeated, slowly, confirming I did not misunderstand, “I-want-to-eat-your-pussy.”
I started to laugh and then I said “But you don’t even know my name.”
“So?”, he said, with a blank expression on his face.
I knew I did not want anything to do with someone who did not care to know my name, but he was so pretty and I was so drunk that I just leaned in and kissed him again.
“You don’t have to reciprocate”, he announced as our lips parted.
I laughed even harder.
“Listen, I’ll come over to your place, I will pleasure you, and I will leave. That is it” he persisted.
Agreeing crossed my mind, but I was not the slightly bit excited at the thought of having a stranger over. I have done it before and nothing came out of it but a post-one-night stand shame and seasonal depression.
“Thank you but no thank you.”
He then went into how he doesn’t believe in reciprocity and how he finds it demeaning. I did not quite understand his arguments, they seemed like drunk gibberish and empty words, but he kept on with his new age monologue.
My mind drifted towards you, being the only person I would want to see at the end of a night out. I left the blue-eyed boy and went to look for Stella. Thinking she had already left the club, I got my coat and decided to walk home. Upon exiting the club, I had two missed calls from you and three text messages, it read “We should meet up at the end of the night” , “I miss you” and a sad smilie face. You used to make me feel so wanted, not that long ago, what changed?
I would never dare asking, it would come off as “needy, girly and demanding”, or so they say.
The last time I saw you, I felt like it was the last time I’d see you. We stood on the platform, you told me that I was the most interesting outcome of all and that you want to get to know all sides of me. My train approached, you gave me a soft kiss and said goodbye, but before you could walk away, I embraced you once more and then walked to the car, sat inside, and watched you walk away with a strange pressure in my chest.
Now it’s half past three in the afternoon, and the lanterns are already starting to light up. A child passing by waves at me, and I wave back. I walk up the High Street, to my apartment, go straight into my room, sit on my bed and stare at nothing outside my window.