I will wake up today at 7. I will put all of my essentials in my little luggage, and I will leave without any noise, as it will be only 6:50 in the morning, and everybody will be asleep.
I will arrive at the station. I’ll check in with my card, and I will be on my way to Amsterdam. On my way there, I will be listening to Bjork or Zemfira (I haven’t decided yet). I will have thoughts about going back home for Christmas. I’ll check online for plane tickets, and I will imagine going home even though I know now and I will know then that it is still quite impossible. I’ll close all those tabs on my phone, and I will try to spot something through the window in the cold pitch darkness of the morning, seeing only my reflection as through a mirror. C might send me a message, but I doubt it; she usually responds after 9 or 10. She will probably ask me something with regards to Christmas. We did not talk much about the holidays; we already know that we will be all together with K and F.
I will be in Amsterdam at 7:28. I will decide tomorrow if I take the metro or walk. I will want to smoke a cigarette with a coffee, but I won’t. I’ll insert the street on my GPS, and I will walk in a hurry (for no apparent reason). Now here I will stop. I will arrive in front of a blood-red brick house with black wooden windows and an old green door covered in graffiti. I will probably try the golden handle, or maybe I will ring. I don’t know. I really don’t. Obviously.
I’m in front of the door. I’m on the way to try the handle as I hear somebody calling my name. Yes, it is him, D. He politely asks me to wait for a second as I am greeting him with a warm smile. He comes downstairs and opens the front door. We step inside and go to the second floor. The door from his apartment is open. I leave my luggage next to the entrance. We walk along the white corridor. The floor is excessively squeaky, but I like it. The hall finishes into the salon – a rectangular room with a modern kitchen in the left corner, a dining table, an imposing oak cabinet, only one armchair next to one of the three windows, and a repugnant portrait of a little girl on one of the walls. I leave my raincoat on the armchair as I step next to one window to see the view, or perhaps the lack of one, while he struts on the creaky floor to the kitchen. He makes two cups of espresso. We talk about lockdown measures and the number of infections in the Netherlands. Insistently, I keep mentioning that I’m in a hurry. He is very calm, almost too much in comparison to my anxious behaviour. He guides me to my room, a dimly lit room. I’m looking at the desk as he speaks to me about its story. It is an original piece from a prestigious architecture school. I imagine myself writing my exam tomorrow. I thank him for the cup of coffee, and I tell him one more time that I need to leave. He gives me the key, and he tells me that dinner is usually at 8.
I came at 8:30 in the evening. I bought a bottle of wine for the occasion. I was not sure if there was any occasion. He was not alone. They did not hear me entering the house as they sharply reacted to my brusque appearance in the salon. He was with a young woman. He introduced us, and we sat for dinner. I noticed that she looked with a glimpse of charm on her face when I was speaking. It was, from time to time, hard to concentrate on my thoughts, and it was not easy to make eye contact with her or with him too. I found their eyes too distracting. We had pasta. I was expecting the wine to be better. Still, it was not terrible. Only halfway through our conversation, I found out that she is German. She told me once I told her that I am Romanian. She remembered a story about my country. When she was younger, she visited Romania with her Dad, who illegally traded contraception pills in Bucharest.
We had eclairs for dessert, and I also asked for a coffee. She left shortly after. He opened the window in the right corner and smoked a cigarette while occasionally looking down at trespassers. He also greeted one and laughed. I was still at the dining table with what was left of that disappointing wine. We talked about his childhood and his studies. He told me that he also did psychology besides architecture. He told me about his studies of the behaviour of autists. I immediately thought about my inability to make eye contact earlier. I told him about that and about a dream I had years ago. He proposed another glass of wine, and I asked for one cigarette. I kept speaking about my dream while he was attentively listening to me with his legs crossed. I found it funny that he was wearing Nike shoes. We switched between multiple subjects. It was already late, and we knew that it was already time to sleep, and I had an exam the next morning. I went into my room, and he went into his. I heard him rummaging through stuff in the bathroom a little later. After that, there was only silence in the air.
I will wake up at 8. I will make myself a coffee, and I will write the exam until 12. In the afternoon I need to visit S. She will tell me how much she wants us to go together, but she will understand that it will not be possible. I will meet her at the Train Station. We will probably have a coffee. She will kiss me on the left cheek. She will tell me that she will still be waiting for me at home. We will probably joke about how childish we were back home when we lived without any worries. We will kiss one more time, and she will smile at me warmly before leaving. I will go back to D’s place. We will have dinner, and I will talk to him about S.
I entered D’s apartment. He had a guest, but he left shortly before my arrival. His cup of coffee was still on the table. D said he had a change of plans and couldn’t stay for dinner. It’s an old friend of his. D said he was very stressed. We talked about S. I told him about my Christmas with C, K, and F, and he encouraged me to look forward to it. I was, indeed, but not as before. We talked until 3 o’clock in the morning. I went to bed but was unable to fall asleep. I turned on my speaker and played my playlist on low volume. It started randomly with Paradis: Début décembre, à Buenos Aires /Un soir d’été, sur l’autre hémisphère/ Improviser, pour calmer son cœur/ Il va loin pour éviter ses peurs.
I heard D coming, and I turned the volume lower. He knocked at the door and entered. He said he knows the song and told me about how much he likes it. After that, he kept complaining about his contact lenses. We continued our earlier conversation. We were both a little dazed. (We had wine again for dinner. This time it was a good one.) We both felt that it was too late already, but he did not want to leave, and me too. He got closer to my bed while he talked about his plans for the weekend. I told him to lie down next to me. We talked again about my dream (In my dream, I realize that I am an autist through the behaviour of people around me, which makes me question their true selves and my own also). Eventually, I turned all the lights down. There were a lot of moves. He was making himself comfortable for hibernation, but suddenly something changed. He turned back to me and cuddled around my neck. I was expecting that. He also. We fell asleep…
I will wake up before him. I will drink a coffee with a cigarette from his package, which will be in the kitchen. He will wake up shortly after and ask for a coffee. I will make him the coffee, and I will serve it to him. He will probably say something when I will be with the cup next to him. I will agree. I will have to leave after this. The train will be at 11.45.
He said “Goodbye” twice as if he was waiting for something specific in response. I left him with a simple “Goodbye in response. He said that his door is always open for me, and I warmly smiled. I left with my luggage behind on its wheels. I called S. She did not respond. I don’t want to talk with C, K, and F about this. I’m not sure I want to tell S. I’m walking forward with my luggage, and I feel that I am losing a friend, but I don’t look back.
I’m looking forward to celebrate Christmas with C, K and F…
First published Online, December 2020. Newsletter 2.