Leaving on a jet plane. Last time this year

His nose is buried in my hair, breathing along my neckline as we’re flying together for the first time. There are moments when I am not afraid.

Having spent four hours waiting for the alarm to go off, we are trying to go about our morning routine before going downstairs to wait for the pre-ordered taxi, which is running late.

Is this really happening? Am I really going? Is he really coming with me? I am wondering, unable to relax and my stomach feels like an over-inflated balloon and my thighs are rock hard, while my fingers cannot stop running through my messy morning hair.

It is my third time to Stockholm this year. I started 2016 there, then I went back for two weeks in the summer and here I go again. This time with an extra possibility and an extra load.

“Look, this is the last sunrise this year, look how beautiful it is, look at the cloud blanket, look at the snow”, I tell my travel companion and he abandons sleep for a while to join in my happiness manifestations.

My seat is near the wing and as my eyes are sliding along the lines and arrows and bolts, my thoughts are wondering about the complexity of the construction that a human being is, with all our contradictions and all the changes we are constantly going through.

Later on, he returns to his book about freedom, leaving me to look at the vastness of the sky in the last hours of a beautiful and challenging year.

Freedom and power. Fuel in my journey

Freedom has always been extremely important to me. I remember my childhood, full of restrictions and frustrations and my incapacity to understand why they were being placed on me, since most of them seemed improper, irrational and unfair. Not being allowed to stay outside after 9 pm, getting punished for coming home wet after playing in the snow, not being allowed to play with other children from the neighboring houses when I was visiting my father’s parents, being forced to eat food I resented, not being allowed to cross the one way street in front of our block of flats until a certain age, not being allowed to leave the house for a week when my father was upset with me.

“I can’t wait to come of age and leave home”, I remember telling my best friend in childhood. I must’ve been under the age of ten. We were taking a walk through the gardens surrounding some neighboring blocks of flats in our street. Independence street.

And so I did. I came of age and I left home. Packed my bags, put everything in my father’s old red Audi 80, took my boyfriend with me and had my father drive us to the capital city, where I was starting my university studies. We made a stop on the way to do some shopping for my new home – a rented studio not far from the city center, that belonged to my high school desk mate.

I can still feel that heaviness in my heart when I remember my mother’s eyes, trying to hold back her tears as she was kissing me goodbye before getting into the car and driving back to our home town. I was finally free.

A few days later, when my boyfriend had to return to our home town to his job and I was left totally alone for the very first time in my life, I was crying my heart out in my empty studio and made the decision to walk to university and back home every day so that I had less time on my hands to feel alone. A period of long walks and intense study started. Then friends and parties and beers and laughter. And freedom paid off.

“When I am not in a relationship, I am free to do whatever I want, with whoever I want”, my cancer boy tells me rolling on his belly and hiding his eyes, his cheeks red and a tremble in the tough muscles of his arms giving him away.

And all of a sudden I remember my long marriage and all my affairs and all the lies and all the loneliness and all the unhappiness and the desire for freedom. Had I given up on my freedom? Had I made my ex husband give up on his? Is this what I do? Am I so possessive and insecure that I take away people’s freedom?

And I also remember sitting on a park bench with a former lover and friend and giving a speech about how wonderful it is to feel so free as to have sex with anyone you find attractive and not form attachments, but keep free and affectionate at the same time. And I remember the violent storm that burst out in my lover’s chest and how the pulling of strings from my heart felt so painful. And my guilt. And the strong and clear feeling that I broke something precious and rare and ever so sensitive. Something that I can never put back together again, no matter how hard I might try.

“No”, I reply. “I am free and you are free. We are both free people. I am not willing to give up on my freedom. And I don’t want you to give up on yours. A relationship is not about losing your freedom. It is about being free to choose to be with one person. And this is a choice you don’t only make once, but every day for as long as you are in that relationship. In my freedom, I choose to be with you. And if you need to have sex with other people too, you don’t ignore your need and don’t give up on your freedom. You find a partner who can accept that. You are always free.”

2016 has been the year of my freedom. And in this freedom my personal power could grow more than ever before. And from my increased personal power has come even more freedom. And love. Unconditional love. This is the fuel in my life journey and the purpose and the destination. Love is my motivation. It is unconditional love that I wish to stabilize and serve with my great personal strength. Inshallah.

Another earthquake, another leap of faith

The blond girl waving her pony tail is smiling behind the counter of the small coffee shop at the underground exit, making her cheekbones shine under the heavy layer of bronze blush and her white teeth sparkle under the yellow, artificial light. Her customer is a regular and so their encounter is warm and pleasant.

“It must be so nice to be smiled at like that as you’re getting your coffee in the morning”, I tell him and he smiles in approval, holding my hand tightly and leading me up the stairs and into the morning light.

There was another earthquake last night. A strong one. This time it caught me in a completely different situation than last time. Travel plans already made, cards laid face up on the table, bare heart and warm arms. Another jump into the unknown. Another leap of faith. Come what may. Thy will be done.

Leaving the blond girl behind, we’re walking right through the old city, with its street sweepers all busy and cold, cigarette buds bearing marks of lipstick and kisses and alcohol and promises, lies and stories over what all of us are going through – the pursuit of happiness.

My right eye is upset and keeps shedding tears, all swollen and red, itchy and bad. The eye that insisted on becoming blue last month. The eye I hit against the asphalt. The eye that has got tired of seeing too much. The eye that wants to sleep. I keep encouraging it to show me the truth no matter what.

And still, a part of me, like those street sweepers cleaning the narrow streets in the old city the morning after each party, is desperately trying to clear the area of all the information that may cause pain. I am not afraid of the truth. I know it too well. I am afraid of the impossibility to keep up an illusion long enough to give me the impression I can still be loved.

PS Sorry for the drama. Getting back to happiness mode in 3… 2… 1…

Driving home for Christmas

There is this curiously adorable man between me and the setting sun. He’s sitting on my left, driving us to my home town. We started from hisWe keep thinking everything is always happening so fast. Now I feel it is just the right time. Now, in the golden orange light of the setting sun. Our mouths are silent in adoration of each other. The road is empty. It’s Christmas Day. Everyone is in their home. So am I.

PS For photos, follow a lover of the road on Instagram.

Saying goodbye to a part of me

“We have to pull this one here out”, my dentist says smiling behind her surgical  mask. “It’s not an emergency now, but it can create problems later on. So when you feel ready, let me know.”

I remember how the last wisdom tooth extraction went, about ten years ago or so. This elderly surgeon trying unsuccessfully to numb my pain as the infection in the tooth was preventing the anesthesia from doing its thing. Pulling and stopping to hug me and wipe the tears off my face, all this time telling me about a Turkish writer she liked and Leonard Cohen and concerts and what not.

“I’m sorry I’m crying”, I tell her all sweaty and red, “it’s just that it hurts so bad and I can’t help myself…”

“It’s ok, it won’t take much longer”, she says pushing her big boobs against my chest and neck and wrapping her right arm around my shoulders, pulling me close to her so that my tears land on her white robe.

So now, as I’m leaning back in the chair, noticing how the muscles in my arms and thighs are refusing to let go and keep building up tension, I’m telling myself I’m saying goodbye to the past to start a new chapter. The amazing one.

I’ve been saying goodbye to my wisdom tooth for about three weeks already and kept pouring in it rage, sadness, fear, anxiety and everything I’ve felt no longer serves me. I’ve been touching, liking, sucking, hitting it softly and repeatedly with the tip of my tongue to give it its last moments of pleasure before letting it go.

“Do you want to keep it?” my dentist asks holding it tightly in the shiny silver tongs. The extraction only took about five minutes and was painless and effortless. “I can clean it and give it to you, like I do with children…” she adds, her eyes smiling again above the light green surgical mask.

“No, thank you, I want to let go of it. I just want to see it and say goodbye. Can I have it?” I reply.

“Yes, of course”, she says and cleans it first so that I don’t freak out from the blood and gum pieces attached to it. When she finally places it in my hand, I feel so much compassion for the poor tooth. It looks bad. It’s got a big hole on one side and the big filling looks bad, too. But the most impressive is the root. So fragile, pink and still a little bit bloody, small pieces of flesh still holding on to it. This was stuck in my bone, I think as the tips of my fingers are touching it trying to soothe the pain it’s gone through. This is its first time outside my body. The first time out into the air. It’s like a birth, somehow.

“Thank you, dear tooth, thank you for serving me.” I say and my numb jaw is playing tricks on me as I’m trying to smile, my eyelid heavy and my lips a little bit confused. I tuck it in the white tissue and let it sleep.

“I’m feeling strange… Dreamy and out of this world. And I feel like I’m missing something…” I tell a friend the next day over breakfast at the school.

“Well, you know, teeth are the deposits of memories…” he says.

“I’m saying goodbye to the past. I put so many things in it…”

“It’s gonna take a few days to get used to the new situation. I felt the same when I had mine taken out. A feeling of absence. Physically I was ok, but emotionally it was strange. Another example of how nothing is randomly put in our bodies and everything has its place and purpose”, another friend who is a doctor tells me later on, so I no longer worry. I decide to be patient as attachments are dissolving and a new chapter begins.


Don’t forget your lover’s ex-lovers

When we’re holding our lover I think many of us want to be able to erase his/ her past entirely. We avoid asking too many questions about the past and don’t enjoy getting too much information about relationship history or sexual experience. But who would our lovers be without a past? Who do you think made him/ her who he/ she is today? It all started with the parents in this lifetime, sure. But it continued with lovers.

So if you’re having great sex, please remember to send your gratitude to all his/ her previous lovers for providing good training. They’ve done so much work so that you can now have a wonderful time and only have to make small adjustments instead of starting from scratch. The same work has been done on you. So be kind and cultivate gratitude. The past is over and done with. So that we can now fully enjoy the present.

Lake morning run

The silver water is sending shiny sparks all around, glazing the trees and the grass and the morning runners. We’re silent. No words. I am stretching my tentacles, feeling the air between us, to check whether it’s vertical or horizontal and what temperature it has. My calves are sending signals and I ignore them. I’m bathing in the silence. Finally. No agitation. My solar plexus is quiet at last. Sometimes it whispers. Careful there, it says. Careful with this force you’re handling. The more I’m sweating, the happier I am. Has this city ever been so beautiful before?

Timpul măslinelor

Mă opresc la vitrina cu măsline și gândul îmi fuge pe nesimțite, lăsându-mă goală și nemișcată lângă coșul de cumpărături parcat cuminte lângă picioare.
– Ce vă uitați așa? mă-ntreabă zâmbind ușor încurcată o doamnă mai în vârstă din dreapta mea, mânuind cu dibăcie lingura cu coadă lungă pe care o tot umple cu măsline din toate recipientele și le golește apoi în caserola de plastic din mâna stângă.
– Aștept, îi răspund și-mi dau seama că zâmbetul meu o face să se fâstâcească. Zâmbetul și privirea pătrunzându-i până-n străfundurile ființei prin ochii albaștri, înconjurați de pliuri de piele uscată, în care machiajul de acum câteva zile s-a scurs ca o acuarelă.
– Mă scuzați, nu mai durează mult. Haideți că m-am pus aici și am ocupat tot locul… îmi răspunde și lingura prinde viteză în mâna ei noduroasă.
– Nu-i bai, nicio grabă, stați liniștită.
– De care vreți să vă luați? mă-ntreabă întinzându-mi lingura.
– Pastă iau.
– A, e foarte bună. Eu o amestec cu avocado, să nu fie așa sărată.
– Ce idee bună, îi răspund, nu m-aș fi gândit.
– Ia spuneți-mi, care sunt cele mai bune măsline? o a treia doamnă ni se alătură privindu-ne cu prietenie.
Cădem de acord că cele mai bune sunt cele maro și apoi gașca se sparge și fiecare își vede de cumpărăturile ei. Pășesc printre rafturile înalte, iar impul se dilată și se-ntinde, lungindu-se ca brațele unei caracatițe îmbrățișându-mă strâns și dându-mi apoi drumul ca să mă găsească din nou și tot așa, ca un iubit care mă simte noaptea lângă el și-mi amintește că sunt a lui. Și zâmbetul nu mă părăsește. Iar căldura din palme se dăruiește și mandarinelor și pâinii și ingredientelor pentru prăjitura de Crăciun. 

Later on my chest is burning and I’m coughing it all out

“Are you the one that I’ve been waiting for?” Nick Cave’s voice sings to me as I’m breathing the cold air around the lake in Herăstrău Park, this time with a running companion. It’s past 10 pm and we are running.

“Give me something I’m afraid to lose” Bruce Springsteen continues, sending sharp knives through my stomach. (Yeah, I often speak to myself in songs.)

While my body is happier and happier from the effort, I gradually start feeling this inner pull that’s creating a sort of distance as if to prevent a tragedy from occurring when you are at your most vulnerable time. Looking for flaws, for pretexts, for borders, conflicts and gaps. I try to ignore it and then to fight it and it still reaches out and scratches like sharp cat’s claws grabbing hold of your thigh as the hysterical animal is climbing your leg as if it were a tree. What do I do with this? I try to sweat it out of my system. I try to befriend it. I try to love it. I try to kill it. I try to work with it. I try to live with it.

“You gotta have patience with me”, I tell him as I’m running through the graveyard of my past relationships, trying desperately to find the exit. No matter where it’s taking me.