July 21st, 2017

Charah coffee

In Edinburgh, Post-Amsterdam

Wouter met me at my hotel, waited outside for ten minutes while I changed. He took me to the Sky Lounge at Hilton Double Tree. He bought me a glass and a half of wine. He walked me back to my hotel; it was only across the Amstel, but the gesture is not insignificant.

This morning, he was at the market near his, the one that he brought me to during one of my first few trips to Amsterdam when I was living in The Hague. He knows what kind of stroopwafels I like because he introduced it to me. He texted, saying he was having breakfast there and there was a chance that he could magically bring me my waffles.

The stall wasn't open yet, and it was disappointing, for although I was at the market yesterday, I went to the wrong stall because two years tend to erode the clarity of my memories. And so I rued the waffles that I should have bought and eaten, but didn't.

But what was also lacking in clarity, blurred perhaps by the tears that were somehow brimming in my eyes, was the cause of the disappointment, whether it was more the case that I was disappointed about the syrup waffles; or if I was disappointed that I wouldn't get to see him.


Who else would have done this for me, or formed the intention to do this? I fixated on this thought all the way to the airport. Along with that: did I let a good thing go because of my ego, my unthinking chasing of an ambition that is perhaps irrelevant? Who did I think I was when I slighted him for the things that he lacked? Who really cares how many philosophers a guy can quote, whose works he can explain to me, if he doesn't love me the way I ought to be loved, if he's not devoted to me, if he wouldn't do anything for me? Who cares how many books he's read if I'm always chasing after him?

Was he then the right thing at the wrong time?

But it is just me, though, isn't it? Like I told him, he's better off without me because I am unstable. I am a mess. I am the sole and ultimate cause of my own instability - that is, the perpetual instability of my life. It was because of my restlessness and my wishing to do more, whatever that means, that I went to The Hague in the first place - and therefore, that I even met Wouter in the first place. I cannot begrudge myself for choosing the way I did because I am set in my ways; it was the only way I could have chosen given who I am; and it is because I am who and what I am that I am even writing about Wouter now. And so to berate myself for my choice, to wish that I had chosen differently, is fallacious: if I had been capable of a different choice, I would never have met him to begin with.

So it is about wishing that I were a different person. A simpler person, perhaps. There is no glory in being complicated, just perennial dissatisfaction, chasing a happiness that keeps disappearing past corners like Peter Pan without his shadow. I think that I am slowly giving up on finding something long term. It seems futile, given that I don't even know where I will be after the PhD. Or maybe I am forcing myself into the monogamy mould when it is, perhaps, against who I really am.

I don't know. I am tired.


It was cold when we walked across the Amstel and back to my hotel. I had jeans and a relatively thick shirt on, but I was still cold. He offered me his arm, but it felt inappropriate, somehow.

Somehow, too, it seemed entirely appropriate for me to hug him quite affectionately when we said goodbye. 'You're really tall,' I said, as if I had forgotten.

I had, but only in the sense that it had been two years and my body had forgotten the sensation of stretching itself up to meet his height, standing on tiptoe so that my chin rested on his shoulder. But muscle memory, right?

I don't know where I am going with this. All I know is that I felt a profound sadness the next day when he communicated his noble intention to bring me waffles.

I need to stop messing people up.


Weird dream about Matt: things went south between us. I asked if he would prefer if I stopped showing up at FB. He said, 'Yes, obviously.' Something to that effect.

I don't know where I am going with this either; with mentioning this dream and hence him, and with him more generally. I think too much, that is true. I can't help but feel quite reluctant to inflict myself on him, especially after how I felt this morning.

These days, I don't feel good enough for anyone. I am not in anyone's league. I am shit.