My Hidden Lives // Prose

70. about gamblers, lovers, dissidents

9„Come to Zagreb.”

That’s all I can think of to say to him, and it sure as Hell doesn’t merit an envelope and a postal stamp.

Come to Zagreb, to where I am. I’ll show you around the clubs I think you’d like. We’ll drink in uncomfortable rooms with a bunch of interesting-looking people around us, and not notice any of them because we’re so in love. Like the first time we saw each other, talked to each other.

We’ll talk again, we’ll laugh, and you’ll ask to hold my hand again. I’ll say yes again. I’ll say anything you want me to say. I’ll move. I’ll stay put. If only you come.

This uncertainty is killing me. I never know whether I’m imagining things, or if they’re real and there. I know you’re there, but could you be here as well?

Fuck this. Fuck thinking, and half-assed calculations, and pride, and prudence, and being realistic or pragmatic. Fuck the people who tell you I’m not worth it (or perhaps, maybe not, I don’t want you to make love to anyone but me). Tell them they don’t know about the way you took my hand, and how it was the best damn thing about that night even if we did other, more intimate, things after.

I’ll buy you a chocolate ice cream cone. More than that, I’ll buy you the whole damned crate. If you come, and if you stay.

If you ignore reason and  logic and the science that says it will never work. I’ll love you if you only come, because I’ll know we’re similar in a way that defies explanation. We’ll be two crazy people in an even crazier world that boasts of its sanity.

We’ll be refugees, immigrants, blind passengers, lovers, prodigal sons, disobedient daughters. We’ll be rebels, revolutionaries, dissidents.

In the end, we’ll be human (all too human) – putting everything we’ve ever had on a chance.

Gamblers.

I’d gladly bet on you.

I don’t think anyone has ever seen me the way I saw myself that morning in your eyes. Pure. Indispensable.

I know I’m not, but can we pretend, just for a while? Just for tonight? I promise I’ll behave, I’ll be good. I’ll be chaste and lukewarm and all my hairs will be in their place. No stray locks from the firm bun. No cleavage. No temptation. I’ll win you over with words, and then later, as we’re drinking, you’ll say –

„God, I forgot how beautiful you are.“

I’ll play coy and smile. Maybe I’ll even coax a blush out of my sordid bloodstream.

„You make me feel so young,“ I’ll say. „You make me feel my age. No one’s ever achieved that till now.“

You’ll look at me quizzically, but won’t protest.

„You’ll always be young to me, as young as that night when we met in a city foreign to us both.“

„Don’t make promises you can’t keep.“

„I never do.“

„Will you promise something else?“

„Anything.“

„Don’t say that until you know what I mean.“

„Can anything be more difficult than what we’re going to do?“

„I hope not.“

I’ll look at you then, really look. You won’t be some figment of my imagination or desire anymore, of my distorted memory. You’ll be real, you’ll be you, and I’ll have to decide what it was I wanted when I asked you to come.

„Don’t forget.“

„As if I could…“

„No, not this. Don’t forget about the girl that I was. That night, in that foreign city. Promise that, no matter what happens from now on, you’ll remember her. I wouldn’t want to rob you of the only pure and happy memory you have of us.“

You’ll frown, then smile.

„Okay.“

„Okay?“

„Yes.“

„Let’s do this, then.“

The whistle will sound from afar and we’ll run. Make it in the nick of time. Fall into the train heaving from both exertion and laughter. Fall into the train, one body on top of the other. Fall into a future we hadn’t expected, or wanted, not really. A future that was decided for us long ago, on a another platform, hearing another whistle sound a journey’s beginning. I thought it was the end then, but I was wrong.

If you really want to, you can always escape the inevitable. The common. You can break free from science or pragmatism, to make another kind of a decision. Freedom? We wanted to think of it that way, then. But it was so far removed from it, I’d much sooner call it slavery. Or an obligation, to test one’s limits and reach for the unreachable. Just to reach.

No matter if you fall empty handed. No matter if you fail. To reach, with the promise that something will always cushion your  fall. A past. A memory. The reason why you gambled your life in the first place.

„Let’s be happy,“ you’ll say.

„Let’s be happy together.“

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2 thoughts on “70. about gamblers, lovers, dissidents

  1. I like the idea of breaking free from science and pragmatism, for aren’t they our strongest chains…and the possibility of “another kind of a decision” seems alluring. As if such a leap would require a completely different type of decision-making, based on a new premise, outside our normal way of thinking.

    • Yes, it would have to come from an entirely different place, or mechanism. Like relying on your gut, but then, even your “gut” is polluted with expectations and what you were taught when you were younger. I’m still looking (deep) within myself – for this freedom to choose, but choose entirely on my own. I think I’ll probably be at it all my life. But I think it’s a good thing to strive for.

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