If I were to write a letter to Matze, I thought to myself, following an incredibly intense day.
I woke up and went to class, like most days these days, one more morning feeling like this Stufe won’t have an end, what a delusion, he attempts to think and feel during the particularly boring and stretching moments, to sit still in the midst of the ennui and cherish the fact that sometimes this ephemeral hourglass life slows to a crawl, or at least feels like it.
And then class was over – – – some time later I met another human, a stranger, a fleetin and brief moment where I laughed a bit, and tried for a moment to be a human exuding warmth and kindness. Sweet and wonderful banalities flowed and then I stretched the corners of my mouth and blew a farewell from between them. I’ll never see the person again, so it was to be, but I went on with the day and was reminded of and thought and thought about love – how long since I’d thought about love, how long since I’d imagined myself with my heart racing and butterflies tickling me, how long since I’d hoped that one day perhaps it could happen again. So easily I forget how unexpected and long life is, how young and inexperienced I am, how much lies before me.
Then an evening opening myself to fears and the new, to embrace the unknown and scary world that I am beginning to explore – and it’s not so bad, it’s just a matter of being myself and following my heart – it’s learning and one more evening’s experience, and then walking away wondering if I could have done better or what I should have done – later I can turn around and sigh and know that it is entirely unnecessary to think about the should would need could have Then I somehow had another chance – if I were to wait, I would have another chance, to do it better, to succeed more completely, to attain what I want. Somehow to move towards, I moved away. And later I found myself standing on the street in Shibuya at the crossing with a thousand people moving around me. And I was anxiety, and I was the little boy inside me who wants nothing but affection, to cuddle and be loved and to love and hug. And time passed, thoughts and emotions and feelings arose and passed by. And then I was wrenched out of my mental bubble and into the present: the one of a kind Shibuya crossing, lights, animations, the place I’d looked at pictures of for years and dreamed about. I stood gazing up at the world, the endless universe of bodies and minds flowing past me, no different than ever. And then I felt completely, one hundred percent alone. I felt independent. I felt entirely on my own in this great big world. I felt full of adventure and excitement about being able to do anything, go anywhere, explore any place, be anybody, at the fact that at any moment I can stand up and get on a plane or a boat or a train and leave to go anywhere if I want to.
A blur and then at home distracted. And then sinking into a grotto of honeyed, nostalgic pensiveness. Thinking about the past, thinking about the people I love and cherish, thinking about the future, thinking and feeling.
I can look back on the day and everything was so ordinary. But sometimes life is so intense and we experience the ordinary with all the magic that is really inside it.
I found myself scrolling up and up to the beginnings of the conversations between us that facebook saves recorded. I go back to reread what was said, because I sometimes feel a need to remind myself that you cared for me, to try to convince myself that you still care. Now much time has passed. We write and I feel a distance between us, a great gap and void between us, a chasm a million miles wide. I want to talk with you, tell you about my life, hear about yours. I know that things are no longer that way and won’t be again, that I can’t talk with you, that I can’t touch you, that time has passed and now things are the way they are. I know that there is a gap between us because time and geography have driven a wedge, and because I pushed you away, and perhaps because you have wanted it.
I go back to search for fragments and snippets of memories that will make me remember. I didn’t write in my diary while I lived in Heidelberg, have no pictures of the time. I remember meeting you for the first time and sitting in a cafe talking about music and then taking a stroll and twelve hours later saying farewells on the platform and going home with my mind abuzz thinking about you, the next day waiting until the time was appropriate to sign on to gay romeo again and write you, hoping you had already written me. I remember kissing you for the first time, how amazing it felt. I remember the first time we ate a dinner you’d prepared at your Wohnung, how earnest you were, and falling asleep together afterwards. I remember many mornings waking up together, and one morning where you stretched and rolled over and gave me a kiss and with a smile on your face said “wait here!” and darted out of the room to make breakfast. I remember going zum Schwimmbad in der Altstadt in Heidelberg and changing in the same Kabine – “du Teufel” sagtest du mir mit einem Grinsen an deinem Gesicht – and splashing around and playing and being obnoxious in the pool. I remember walking from Mannheim to Heidelberg, so many mental images in my head of trees above our heads, the river, fields, tiny and deserted Dörfer, explaining to me was quirlig bedeutet, eating buttered pretzels and a Mops running towards us. I remember evenings walking around Mannheim. I remember a long weekend in Heidelberg, in my tiny and cramped Wohnung, we put two mattresses on the floor and after walking around for hours on a sweltering day came back and napped, I put on music and the window was open and gorgeous, lazy, pale, soft light poured through, the curtains fluttered placid in the breeze and we lay there and the moment felt so perfect. I remember making curry for everyone in the Wohnung, it turned out bland and unappetizing, the rice soggy, but you looked at me and sagtest ‘Ich find’s echt lecker”, and later we walked through the park at night and I gave you a ….. on a bench. I remember watching all three Herr der Ringe Filme. I remember coming home from Europapark – so many delays, so much absurdity with the Bahn, du hattest schwere Kopfschmerzen, and on the final leg in a train nearly empty we sat across from one another, I had my leg resting on the seat next to you and you had your hand resting on my leg, and I could feel the love and affection and tenderness pouring through your hand and you and into me. I write about these things because I have memories of them, but no pictures of them, no diary entries I wrote on those days. I go back and read the conversations we’ve had that are saved because there’s nothing else. I look for pictures and there’s only one – the upside down photo you took one day while we lay on the grass on the river. So I search and search and try to remind myself of what we had, what was. And all I can do is write down what I remember.
And why did I decide to write you? Weil…
Weil ich dir bei FB schreibe und sage, “ich vermisse dich”, and that is such a tiny couple words that don’t carry across how much and often I think about you, how much I wonder what you’re doing, how much I wonder what you are thinking and feeling, wie gerne ich wüsste was es jetzt in deinem Leben gibt, wovon du träumst, wer du geworden und wie du gewachsen bist….und ich beschreibe was passiert in meinem Jetzt, aber alles so oberflächlich, und ich habe irgendwie Angst davor, dir mehr oder etwas Tieferes zu erzählen.
I sehr oft think how wonderful it would be to visit Germany again, to go to Berlin again and dance to amazing music and discover amazing art, to wander about Tübingen and Horb and sigh and revisit all the amazing, splendid memories that exist cozy inside me, how wonderful it would be to see Elena and Iris and Thomas and Chriss, how wonderful it would be to see Deutsch written everywhere on signs and shop windows and to hear it spoken and lived by the people passing by and find it written in countless books in countless shops, how wonderful it would be to go to Heidelberg and go zum Neuenheimer Feld and walk that way through the field and past the zoo and along the river and over the bridge that I walked twice every day for so many days, to go back to Mannheim and eat at that Thai restaurant we loved and see the Wasserturm and the Neckar. But I would more than anything want to see you, to see your face and give you a hug and a kiss, to drink a coffee in a cafe somewhere and then walk around and talk for hours and tell you everything again.
Because I loved you, and think I will always love you in some way or another. Because you were my best friend. Because you gave me so much. Because I hope you stay in my life.
I wrote this letter because I never told you so much, and I think all the time about what I could have told you.
I feel like there is so much that is uncleared and unresolved between us. I don’t know how you feel at this point. Perhaps you’ve moved on, perhaps you look back on the experience and it’s something that you learned from and now is something you want to leave behind and seal off inside your memory. Perhaps you loved me and you think about how callous and cold I was after I left Deutschland and want nothing more to do with me. I don’t know. But every so often we write by FB and I feel held away at an arm’s length. And that’s fair, because you probably don’t want to be close with me anymore. I understand that. But we do write, and staring at the meaningless trivialities I write to you I feel like there is so much more I want to say, so much I’ve never said, so much more that I need to say to you.
So I’ve written all these words and stared at them and reread them and thought about what I want to express and how to express it, and wondered if I should send them to you, what I hope to achieve by writing them and sending them to you.
I want you to know that I loved you, and that I still love you. I don’t want back what we had, I don’t want to go back to the past, I don’t want anything like that. But I want you to know how much I care for you, and will always care for you.
I want you to know that I understand how cold and cruel I must have seemed after I left Deutschland and how much you must have hurt.
I want to apologize for doing that to you.
I want you to know that since then I have always thought back on how I mistreated you after leaving Germany and wanted to tell you how sorry I am. I want you know that I understand why you might want distance from me, or that I understand if you’ve simply moved on.
I want you to know that I hope you stay in my life, that I stay in yours.
I want you to know the truth.
I want you to know that you can tell me anything you want, that you can move on and break off contact with me if you want, that if our connection was something that had its time and has passed for you, then that is something I understand.
And here I’ve written a thousand things, and I have no idea what you’ll think when you read them.
In the end it’s probably a terribly selfish thing to do to send you this letter. But I need to be honest, and forthright, and real. I know of no other way that has brought me happiness.