It has been an extreme week, not like the previous few, no suicidal stalkers or almost exotic Euro-dalliances.
No intense work-meetings and only a little disordered eating.
It has certainly surpassed the last few months worth of highs and almost been devoid of the lows.
I’ve been wanting to write as this has been unfolding, really wanted to just organise my thoughts and try to understand them before they become someone else’s and the sentiments mutate slightly.
I don’t know where to begin, with the facts, at the “start”?
It seems like too tall an order, to try to condense a fortnight’s worth of emotionally-charged excited exchanges.
I have the words stored and I re-visit frequently, but, they are “our” words.
Where did it start? Wasn’t the bed laid in advance, a sort of ground-work occurring that afforded such possibilities the chance to take hold and flourish? (Oh dear, gardening metaphors!)
Were the uncharacteristically dramatic day-to-days of the last quarter, the out of the ordinaries, the chaos, insecurity and the fragility of recent times what made me susceptible to this, now?
It would be foolish to disregard the notion outright, even so, I don’t think that’s the case.
True, I’ve been through a little mentally tumultuous time of it, very confusing to boot, but, it doesn’t take away from or even serve to explain how I got to now.
How “they” did, too.
I think the above ruminations could do well to explain my Flemish fascination though.
That plus the more predictable and obvious intrigue (a new place, a different nationality, a cool accent, great features, fear mingling with attraction and all that).
I mentioned back here, that, on a fine (Belgian ^) suggestion, I’d taken to the internet, like many do, as a distraction to angst.
A new preoccupation.
A way to surmount the impractical unfocusing.
A conversation was sturck-up, a little match lit. We are maroon strips on the sides of a box. Outside the box.
We talked about usual things in slightly unusual ways.
Image-making, memory, misunderstandings and music.
Each with a refreshing ease and depth.
It grew and became tinged with anticipation, excitement. The thrill of communicating with words, physically too.
Things were fascinating and scintillating, and then, whoosh!
He said he had something to give me, post, actuall post, other people's images, found, the redistributed, shards from the lives of others and words from his own.
I suggested a "drop-off" and he loved the idea.
It was passed midnight when I went to retrieve my package. The envelope smelled amazing, incense and a note of subtle man-fragrance. The contents bowled me over!
What on earth had I done to deserve such consideration? How had I come to be linked with the mind of this man, so that he felt comfortable and confident enough that I'd both welcome and accept the surreality of the situation (it was right up my street) and be absolutely clamouring to get at the contents (Other. People's. Photographs. Yes!).
Was it wise to get so caught up? Was it something he did often?
Was that his scent?
More messages. Much gratitude. Loads lightened and shared soundtracks.
I wanted to make him something. To share something of myself.
Exactly 10 days ago, on Sunday the 17th of May I spent the afternoon sticking things into a small, found, excercise book.
I told him about my day's work. He was excited.
I was nervous.
Dear reader, it is one thing sharing my ill-conceived and poorly communicated thoughts with you, sometimes I have your faces in mind (oh you loved ones know who you are), sometimes it's just the silent darkness of the unknown, I can send things out to "you" and not worry too much about the consequences of that action.
It is another scnario entirely, physically posting something to someone you feel an affinity with, do not want to disappoint but desperately want to share with. Getting the courage, in the 3rd dimension, to walk to an unknown house with a fragile package of image and text.
I posted it. That Sunday. In the inky blue night.
After a while there was a lengthy e-message from he. Absolutely beautiful. Considered, grateful, something was really growing.
(I hinted towards some of the sentiments shared here. There was so much feeling that it is almost un-share-able though.)
Eventually, he: "I'm glad we haven't met yet. I'm glad I didn't greet you as you posted the envelope. What happened instead has been so incredibly meaningul..."
And that was just the beginning.
He had an idea that for our first meeting we might go to the park for sun-up to hear the birds at their most vocal time of year. He worried it was weird. It. Was. Not.
It rained that Sunday night into the morning though, and, we abandoned the picnic and just met in-doors.
The best first meeting.
Everything was so easy. For two slightly awkward over-thinkers it could have been dire, especially after so empassioned a series of exchnages were made prior.
No weirdness. No judging. no negatives at all. No. No. No.
Yes. Yes. Yes!
So, we pretty much spent a whole week's nights together, 'round midnight he'd call around after work and we'd share between 2-4 hours sleep (and more speech).
I shouldn't objectify men like I do, but, I don't know, maybe it's ok, maybe their not having had to endure a lifetime's street appraisal, smarmy gestures and yelled requests from strangers for anal sex means that this once, commentary on physical appearance is permitted.
(No malice intended.)
Equality and all that.
(I also suppose that I'm prone to condensing whole characters into curt sentences and perhaps only partially apposite adjectives, is that summation of personality any better than subjectively selecting traits of appearance and scrutinising them?!)
Also, it does matter, the outward image.
I am a weird one, I exist in this mind, tossing and tumbling things over, too much thinking. Picking apart.
I even sent him; "It really was sensational, I shall leave it at that, don't want to risk "talking it up" or "wearing it out" with words and inadequate descriptions at this point"(which was appreciably received with echoing sentiments I believe).
I was worried, it seemed a potential meeting of minds (finally!) but, would we fail, physically?
I think sometimes that the social-media-image-selecting-process says more about a person's personality than it often does their physicality - and, how much can you garner from a little "thumbnail" anywhow?
He seemed handsome, but, nothing could have prepared me.
I thought I'd already met the most handsome human, Shay the poorly photographed Israeli with the one partially albino-eybrow.
The way his skin feels, how my body responds to the aromatics of his. His eyes, almost entirely comprised of pupil.
Dilation. A perfect nose.
Crisp shirt-sleeves on forearms. Then shoulders 'neath collar.
Near-black curls framing face. I just... It's mad.
I couldn't have consturcted a more beautiful human, not even with professional assistance.
More than that, the mannerisms, his voice, that laugh of his, the light behind his expressions the weight beneath the brow. Simultaneously sprightly and solemn - how!?
We went on some crazy misadventures, both agreeing things could have been abysmal with even our friends as replacement company. Those unexpected turns of events - potentially relationship-ruining in other circumstances.
It was so exhillerating and odd, serendipitous and ridiculous, I couldn't describe those times in detail because they just wouldn't translate. Images do little justice but at least the light is alright.
I think, "they" have a magic that just follows "them".
She feels so fucking good.
So, here are some images, I might caption better another time, but, for now, here are they. At 5 this morning I awoke to a(nother) beautiful message from "him". I went for a run. It was hard but the light was wonderful and the streets were desserted.
I thought about trying to organise my thoughts, trying to explain away some of my recent binge-eating in light of my otherwise amazing feelings.
I remembered something I'd read about anxiety, that being anxious itself isn't inherently bad, it's the things we do to avoid/cope with those feelings that can be detrimental. Addictive/compulsive behaviours, anger, self-mutilation, binge-eating, all kinds of avoidance.
I also remembered to question why. Are those female hormones encouraging my hunger? Is it a recent increase in my excercising (a few more 3 mile runs than this body is accustomed to)?
Or am I afraid of something, like a sort of fight-or-flight-lite (in the absence of actual threats to our survival I think our bodies have trouble differentiating between what actually should cause an adrenaline surge, like, almost getting hit by a car and having to scramble out of the way, and what actually passes for a rush-reason nowadays, like, almost/feeling like you're going to trip up the stairs or accidentally getting on the wrong bus/potentially being late for an appointment), am I worried about losing this?
What am I scared of?
It's ok. I'm deciding now, today, not to be worried about this new vulnerability.
I'm going to manage suitibly.
We will see what happens and overcome misunderstandings.
We are excited to see how it develops and grateful that we "have" each other.
So, here's some of what they saw, thus far;