23. 11. 2006
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Britské listy

ISSN 1213-1792


Jan Čulík


Karel Dolejší


Michal Panoch, Jan Panoch

Grafický návrh:

Štěpán Kotrba

ISSN 1213-1792
deník o všem, o čem se v České republice příliš nemluví
23. 11. 2006

A Letter from Argentina VI.

Lief hebben

And then there is love...and men. And pain. I say love and men, because there is love for many things. I say pain, because it seems to come with loving a man. Or maybe it comes with intense love, as in relationship love. I am referring to this feeling that comes with being in a relationship, as if having a mirror in front of yourself all the time, being confronted with things you thought where long gone or never new where there.

As I am sitting here writing this, emotions are running through my whole body, so many and so confusing that all I can do is write to try and understand them. Emotions of pain, disappointment, my own selfishness (which shocks me and disgusts me). And, getting closer to tears as I keep searching for their reason, homesickness. Or maybe just love, or, maybe, to feel excluded.

I was with Pablo today. Love. Well, I find the English language is incompetent to speak about emotions. They lack too many words. What I need is the Spanish word `querer' or the German `lieb haben', or as we Dutch say `lief hebben'. Maybe in English you could use `to like', but then that sounds too cold again.

We where at a really nice, quiet party with beautiful people and a good atmosphere. It was a celebration for the new book from Diego Rojas, a friend of Pablo, who I had met the day before in the park. We where sitting on the floor, eating some wonderful `empanadas' a true Argentine delight, while listening to readings from the book. Then there was a break and afterwards there would be some live music played. It was going to be a wonderful evening, as I felt so harmonious and was enjoying just being alone with Pablo, a night just for us.

Until Pablo came off the phone and said to me in English, something he never does, with panic in his eyes and his jaws tense: "I have to go, right now. My father had an accident". Next thing he did, being the gentlemen he is, was to run around the party trying to look for Diego to explain him his sudden leave and then we were running in the street trying to find a taxi. In the taxi I took his hand and tried to think of something to say but I felt so helpless. What can you do for someone you are `officially' not part off?

We know each other from the nights we have shared together, and this has only been since a month. And only since last week have we dared to take the step towards getting to know each other better. Both withheld, too scared, I think, it might be too much what we might find in each other. But it is an `open relationship' thus, not supposed to get to emotionally attached, obliged to stay relaxed and maybe somewhat distant.

But, honestly, secretly, I am not able to. I feel too much for any human to be distant to them, and especially for one who holds me the whole night, pressed against his body, as if I am something special he doesn't want to let go off. Until, that is, the morning comes and we, once again let ourselves get caught up in the rules of the game of `playing it cool' as you should do in an `open relationship'.

We don't speak again for some days until one of the two gives in to be the first to contact the other. I am getting confused in a web of my desires, emotions and sensibility. I am not made for any games and can feel I am starting to suffer but I always want to play them out and have set my mind to never leave out on doing something out of fear.

Until today, while I am sitting here next to him in the taxi and feel how weird this is. He, someone I can not say in so many words what he is or does to me, but I know it is something, and that he feels close to me. But then suddenly I feel myself thrown meters, streets, alone, away from him, because I am officially outside of his life. I cannot help him in this situation. That is what you have your friends, family or girlfriend for. And what am I to him? I am the one getting out of the taxi with him and walking home alone. What is it I feel? This weird feeling of being excluded. Then there is the feeling of tears that want to come out, as I look surprised at myself in the mirror of the lift while I am going up to my apartment.

Now I sit on my mattress on the floor in my room asking myself where the tears come from. It's not that bad to feel excluded, is it? I have different places, where I am included, even more so, where I am needed. And then, all of the sudden, it hits me. It is exactly that place that I feel excluded from and the happenings of tonight where merely a reflection of this feeling. I am not homesick, I love being in Buenos Aires. I even do not really miss everyone back home; I have gotten used to being far away from them and have accepted my traveler's existence. Five years since I properly lived in Holland, and I have finally learned to carry them with me in my heart and stop missing and needing them so much. But now I feel the consequences of my prolonged absence and the huge distance between me and them. Experiencing a family drama is what upset me tonight. The realization that I wouldn't be there if something happened with my family today.

Furthermore, I wouldn't even know about it unless I decided to go to a internet café to check my emails because my mobile phone only works nationally, so they cannot even reach me. I decide that tomorrow I will once again, and even more forceful then before, try to persuade my landlord to organize the landline for the flat for us. This is getting ridiculous, we had agreed that she would get us the phone line while we signed the contract, but after already living here for two months, we still don't have it. Stupidly we forgot to write it down in the contract and then as the saying goes (or the one I just make up now) `anything not promised on paper in Argentina, might as well be considered never mentioned and worthless to nourish hopes of ever getting it!'

With my parents I have established a pretty regular, good email communication though. It's my brother and sister who had promised me to be in more contact, now that I would be so far away and alone. I have always felt like there is this invisible thread between the tree of us, such a close relationship, something I can never let go off and get tangled up in every time I leave again.

My sister said she got used to saying goodbye to me and not having me around. Something you do not like to hear. My brother, spiritual genius that he is, says that I am always around him and that he carries me so closely with him, that he sometimes forgets that he actually hasn't communicated `directly' with me for weeks! It is already far after midnight now, but I am still sitting here on my mattress trying to figure out more of my feelings as I continue writing.

I think the biggest mystery of my weird being is my heart. Reckless, spontaneous, wide open and big as it is, it has to be in some way be connected to my head, right? My head, where the star sign Libra lives; doubtful, insecure, in desperate need of advise and yet resolute once the decision has been taken. How do these two work together? Which one of them is dominant and wins over the other? I know I have been confronted with big decisions and have taken humongous steps in my life, my still so young life.

I just received a text message from Pablo, saying his dad had fallen off a horse on his farm and had been unconscious. Luckily he was found by a neighbor and now they, the whole family, where together in the hospital. His father would be alright. He only has a few broken bones. Now I am no expert, but he sounds relieved? I would be pretty fucking upset if I would have `only' a few broken bones.

But yes, it could always have been worse, and we have to treasure the fact that it wasn't and that we are all healthy or can heal of the harm done. We can heal. And to this thought I will hold on. Continuing with my plan to never leave anything out of fear. My worst fear would be exactly to do that. And what ever else is there to fear? `Anything that does not kills you will only make you stronger', is how a famous saying goes I think. And then there is healing for whatever else harm might be done.

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