9 A Christmas Carol
Lauren – yoga teacher, blogger, cougar
Sasha – bartender
Roxy – Lauren’s friend dating back to high school
Rafael – performing artist. Lauren’s idol.
(Snowy night. An old classy brick building, windows lit and decorated for Christmas, revealing an empty cafe, and SASHA and TICKET BOOTH GUY talking (inaudible) inside. LAUREN, wearing a white long woolen coat, blue beanie, and black leather high heeled boots, approaches the entrance and tries the door.)
(walks up, smiles, and unlocks the door)
Hi! Yes, we’re open.
(pounding her boots clean)
I know, I called in advance. You were supposed to open 10 minutes ago.
(SASHA holds door open for LAUREN. The moment he closes it behind her front of building slides away)
(tapping a chalkboard sign, with text and an arrow)
Everybody waits next door, at the real cafe.
(placing coat over a stool at the counter)
You’re not exactly selling it. I’ll have a cappuccino.
We only have regular. Still want to stay?
Told my friend I’d wait here. I’ll have tea.
Look at it this way; it saves you a run around the block. All that milk that you’re now not having.
Are you lecturing me on my calorie intake?
Ouch! I take it it’s been a while!
As a matter of fact yes. But how do you know?
Well technically, I was talking about you getting lectured.
(sound of door, ROXY greets TICKET BOOTH GUY off stage. SASHA and LAUREN listen to loud footsteps)
(to SASHA, but looking to right of stage)
I’m Lauren. I teach yoga.
(to LAUREN, but also looking to right of stage)
(ROXY enters stage)
(ROXY and LAUREN kiss. Other people come in. The scene is played with Jazzy music, and inaudible whispered talking. A few tables fill up. SASHA takes orders, waits tables and brings glass of hot water/ tea for ROXY. Music fades.)
(inspects tea bag)
Look, he gave me green tea. People always misjudge me. I don’t drink all that herbal-y shit.
My fault. I told him I teach yoga. He rounded you off to my side.
Should have told him I’m an accountant.
(picking up a foil wrapped cookie from ROXY’s saucer)
At least he gave you a cookie.
(raising her voice and making eye contact with SASHA)
I did not get a cookie with my tea.
(looking up and smiling)
That’s right. You are not getting anything sweet from me.
(turning to ROXY, as if SASHA is not still listening)
Ow…they’re so cute at that age!
(looking boldly at SASHA)
Poor liars though.
(to SASHA, pointing out LAUREN with a twitch of her head)
She’s not having sex for a year.
(LAUREN hops of her chair, collecting her things)
(To ROXY, but with a friendly face to SASHA)
He knows about Rafael. And me being in love. Come. We have a show to catch.
(Cafe stage disappears.)
(RAFAEL stands behind a microphone at the left of the stage. He sings a romantic song about his girlfriend. A line of chairs, acting as an extra first row. LAUREN and ROXY sit all the way to the right.)
(The bar, people forming groups, ordering drinks and walking off and on stage again. Rafael is the center of attention. Everything is moving fast forward, loud music melts with speedy talking. An unintelligible mix of highly energetic chatter. LAUREN and ROXY sit at the end of the bar)
(LAUREN crosses the cafe, passes RAFAEL’s party, walks off the stage, back on, and returns to her place at the bar)
(ROXY and LAUREN get ready to leave. SASHA makes inviting gestures, offering to stay. ROXY and LAUREN kiss each other goodbye. ROXY walks off the stage)
(Half of the people, including RAFAEL, leave the stage. Music fades. Dialogue becomes clear again.)
Is it true you only fall in love with dark men?
Last few years anyway.
And Rafael….he’s not buff or anything. Used to carry quite some extra weight.
Flaws make people special. Do you have flaws?
(shakes head, like shaking off the question)
Did you go up to him? Rafael knows you’re here right?
Rafael has a girlfriend.
He an artist. Not the Dalai Lama.
He left. Guess we’ll never know.
(looking stunned at the remaining party from RAFAEL)
(SASHA disappears at the back of the stage. Then returns)
He’s not backstage either. Damn. I wanted to talk to him.
He stood you up as well. That does make me feel better. Can I have a coffee?
Sorry. Cleaned the machine. Besides, you don’t like my coffee.
The wine is making me sleepy.
(SASHA and LAUREN’s hands move closer on the bar. She takes his hands, and he slowly walks around the bar to her side. Without losing the connection.)
(SASHA and LAUREN looking in each other’s eyes, their hands still intertwined)
Your hands are cold, but they’re nice. You’re nice.
(SASHA and LAUREN nearly kiss, they linger, postpone, and let their lips touch without tongue. Soft music starts to play. He smells her hair, she offers her neck. The last visitors leave, leaving money at the bar. Their first passionate kiss is after all the pausing and lingering. Cluttering at the door. Lights are turned off. Only a pale blue light remains, like moonlight from outside. Music is turned down abruptly)
(voice from off-stage, followed by sound of door closing)
(An empty theater stage, full and plain lighting. A line of chairs, acting as an extra first row, is now empty. Lauren is standing on the spot were Rafael sang his song. Dreamily, she stares to (her own) chair at the first row.)
(Light is dimmed to red. LAUREN holds a hand above her eyes and peers to the technician booth)
(shouting into the dark audience)
Are you moderating the lights for me?
(entering the room from the back end of the audience, as if leaving the technician table, carrying blankets, wine and glasses. He speaks after having made his way down)
(SASHA lays out blankets, LAUREN pours the glasses, and they take off their shoes and sit down, on the floor and blankets, at the center of the stage.)
(holding his glass)
Should we make a toast?
(tipping her glass to his)
To imperfect love! Although your love making is perfect. Where did you learn?
I’ve been really sick. Teaches you to slow down.
(Music starts. What SASHA tells to LAUREN is inaudible. Her face turns serious, she kisses, speaks. He undresses her, she undresses him, down to their underwear. Her skin is pale, his is sun-kissed. A large rough scar runs across his body. It lights up white. LAUREN kisses, caresses and rubs it, over and over.)
(LAUREN sits on SASHA ‘s lap, her legs wrapped around his waist. They hug, rock back and forth, kiss, and stare in each other’s eyes. Music softens.)
This is … wow…. The way our hearts beat together, and we breathe together. Like you’re God or something.
God? Don’t flatter me. You’re rejecting me, just like other men.
(biting her lip)
Maybe in Spring, God could be first?
(SASHA, hands around LAUREN’s butt, draws her closer, thrusting forcefully. Passionate kissing. Music: The Flower Duet from Delibes Lakmé)
10 Carpe Diem
Saturday December 22, 2012
I did it.
When Sasha and I parted, after two more make-out sessions with our coats already on, had we been wearing polyester it would have caught fire, he left me with his phone number, and hints to next times and future dates. But the emotion I had when Sasha then disappeared, never to be heard from again, was surprise and amusement. Not despair. Not anger. Sasha was the best lover I had since Nathan, four years ago. But I wasn’t the same woman as I was then. I’m not even the person I was four weeks ago. I’m colder, harder. My heart doesn’t melt that easily anymore.
Yet Sasha reignited desires to give in, let go, and to be loved. Or to be stamped on if that was to be my fate. We made out with three-lined conversations that were filled with anticipation, wonder, and rhythm. Just like Nathan had four years ago. Sasha enhanced pleasure by naming what he felt, what he saw, what he liked, and what he was dying to do to me. I was with someone who could match me, who thrived at intimacy levels that crushed other men. Sasha and I were of the same kin.
But after we parted and he left my message unanswered I knew one thing: we were not the only one of our species. There was at least one other female. And she got cheated on very recently.
Sunday December 23
YES! Thank you God!
After all those years of not publishing Dutch American Diary, and this blog of painstaking analysis of my resistance, I finally received the missing link. The secret ingredient and catalyst that got me to work promptly.
I will publish Dutch American Diary not as a single volume, but with this (blog) LS Diary as a supplement.
Dutch American Diary
Dutch American Diary is a rounded off story, but the book will be more interesting with this recent diary added.
Monday December 24
Called my mother, who I had not spoken since December 5 at the poetry-battle-also-known-as Sinterklaas. Our family takes the celebration of Sinterklaas very seriously. It took me four rounds of shopping and two days of rhyming to come up with over twenty presents, all accompanied by a rhyme or a song. Popular rhyme topics were; yoga, panda year, erotica and when am I finally finishing my book. Recurring themes for all; Sinterklaas as womanizer, and jokes at the expense of Islamic Zwarte Piets and Catholic Sinterklaas, on which all members of my family are sworn to secrecy.
After already informing my mother on my crush on celebrity Rafael when we were enjoying our Novena weekend away (her comment on Rafael’s picture on the back cover of his book: “Obviously!”), I gave her the update.
1. After an eternity, or two eternities, Valentino and Benjamin are finally out of my head. Rafael must have kicked them out.
2. I had an encounter with bartender Sasha, but kept my panda vows.
“Oh so you didn’t sleep with the Sasha? I thought you did, because you said his lovemaking was so good.”
I can’t say “we just kissed” after having been physically entangled for hours, rubbing, caressing, admiring. Talking, sharing, exploring. “Just kissing” sounds like something you do in the sand box with your 5 year old neighbor boy. And even at that age I preferred playing doctor.
Wednesday December 26
There is a scene in Fight Club, where Helena Bonham Carter has taken too many drugs. Drowsily, she looks at Brad Pitt, suggesting she’ll die or fall into a coma if she would pass out:
“You’re going to have to keep me up aaaalllll night.”
That’s how I felt after Christmas Eve, with best friend Marieke, Christmas’ Mega Brunch with full and extended family, and second day of Christmas dinner with the aunties. On the train home my head was pounding painfully, which was inevitable after the four wine I had. Yet I still suspected the white and dark chocolate fondue. With marshmallows. Mango. Strawberries. Cherries. I feared falling asleep at the train, and kept awake by drowsily staring at my own reflection in the window. If I would fall asleep it would be the end of it. Or I would wake up in a country where I didn’t speak the language. I regretted not having a Brad Pitt with yellow rubber gloves to keep me awake all night. Which is the closest I have come to regretting my panda year, so far.
Thursday December 27
This year, I acquired my own yoga studio, turned 40, struggled to finish my book Dutch American Diary. And thought a lot about death and what to do with it. First my Godfather suddenly died. Another uncle had been hospitalized already and couldn’t be informed about the tragic loss of his youngest brother. My aunt heard she could no longer be treated. In a few months two brothers and the sole sister of my late father, died. They were buried in the days around New Year, and Easter.
With these deaths within our close-knit family, mortality became a biggie for me. I already know people my age too, who are battling cancer. It is very likely I will one day have to make a decision what I prefer: death or treatment.
Giving up control in return for hope, or choose the certainty of death.
And I thought I had made my choice. I wouldn’t run, nor look away, no matter how death came. I didn’t lose my fear of death, but I realized that getting treatment wouldn’t bring me closer towards overcoming or accepting my fear. So I made my plan: I will discard screening and enjoy life, including all years my body will hide illnesses from me. And when time comes, I will hopefully be ready to face and accept death, and learn the last spiritual lessons life holds for me.
I really thought I nailed it. Until Sasha came along, and his shirt came off.
It was dark, a small rough cut caught my eye. I let my fingers trace it, and as my eyes started to focus the full length of the scar became clear. Sasha told me about an invasive treatment. This young body would have died a long time ago, had he refused treatment. A medical team had stretched the boundaries of their abilities to save him. And here he was. His warm skin against mine, his heart beating under my hands, and his breath in sync with mine. I was having the most intimate, cherished night in years, with someone who wouldn’t be alive, if he had shared my line of reasoning.
11 Girl Gone Wild
“That looks funny,” I conclude, inspecting Louka’s bowl of soup next to my bag of fries-a-la-table.
Louka looks keen to dig into the pea sludge.
“Fantastic huh? Not that smooth shit.”
For the past months we have been taking each other to our favorite hang-outs. Louka now knows where they serve the best bitterballen, and I know where all graduates flirt. Louka has fallen for the furry charm of the cafe with the cat, and I worship the photo model at his coffee house.
“Our friendship ends the moment you relapse to wild jungle sex and black cocks,” Louka warns me.
“When does your panda year end?”
“March nine. And stop turning me on.”
I have reached my goal to forget Valentino and Benjamin. And being celibate was definitely appealing compared to fucked and dumped by still-suffering-his-karma Samuel, definitely has its charm.
“I will be good though,” I assure Louka.
The fries with mustard mayonnaise barely leave me time to talk.
“No more bad guys for me.”
“Oh come on! You’re not the type for friendly men.”
I think about the few men with who I made real love. A tender sweet union. And they weren’t all virgins.
“Friendly men can play rape me a little, right?” I beg.
But I see his point. There is a reason I like unreasonable, hot-headed, commitment fearing escape artists who lead double lives. It’s the same reason I don’t fall in love with the sweet ones.
“I’m in love with Marieke. She’s nice,” I try.
“All platonic. Doesn’t count,” Louka insists.
We finish our meal discussing commitment, anal sex, and the seductive quality of mustard mayonnaise. Louka receives a message. A girl wants to practice Greek with him.
“Lucky devil. You should respond that the desire is entirely mutual.”
We pay and Louka throws a glance at my shopping list.
“A fitted sheet? I need a new duvet. Just out of curiosity -where do you buy such a notepad?”
It is a pink paper with flower and angel embellishment.
“All bedding is on offer at Hema. Want to come?”
The snow slashes our faces, but we refuse to put on a scarf or a cap for fifty meters. After a few minutes of Hema Louka is standing next to me again, carrying a four-season duvet. I study the empty shelves.
I touch the parcels.
“Only single. Red. Singles only. And this one is for kids.”
“That’s way too sweet for you,” Louka hands me a blue fitted sheet in the right size.
“I love sweet,” I sigh.
“But in March I will turn into the whore of Babylon. Everyone thinks that anyway.”
“Step up and own it,” Louka says.
On the escalators, moving down again.
“We are ending our date between the sheets,” he chuckles.
“Let’s see who is the first to get them dirty!” I answer.
Two child breeding shoppers going up throw me distorted looks.
“If I win, it’s the end of our friendship though,” I sigh.
“Not so quick!” Louka objects. “I said cocks. Plural. And it must be really dirty. No stories even a Greek could pull off.”
Outside his phone beeps. The girl got the joke.
This is not a good time to be late. In fact, this would be the only time, where I could benefit from my short menstrual cycle. The relief of not being pregnant would outweigh the general annoyance that my body is eating a way through its bag of eggs like there is no tomorrow. Only a paper-thin layer of rubber between anxious semen and my fertility.
And not once, nor merely one night of passion, no. Two rip-your-clothes-off evenings. Two take-me-harder-make-me-come nights. Two love me like you mean it mornings. A day of 4,5 hours train and 4,5 hours sex. And one lewd act in a parking garage. The latter being the only thing that will not get me pregnant.
All those years of being single I was fine using just condoms, but had the intention to get an extra layer of protection du moment those crazy wild times come when you find a mutual love. Not just because you have sex so often, but also because if it would go wrong, it would be gruesome to abort something that belongs to him. It would have his dark hair, his brown skin, his wide nose. I don’t want to get rid of a baby version of a man who already made me throw myself at him exclaiming:
“You’re so adorable! Like a big brown baby boy!”
It would kill off our love and my sanity.
Thursday February 28
One month anniversary
“Even I don’t date at Burger King. See you at the entrance of the station.”
Jax had been playing with his phone when I spotted him, other hand tucked away in the pocket of a velvet-trimmed overcoat. His hand was smooth, like a teenager’s. We greeted with a kiss, he was my height. A whiff of a familiar scent blended with his last filter cigarette.
“There’s a cafe across the street.”
A chilly January drizzle, his light leather shoes avoided the puddles. He opened the door for me. Rugs on tables. Two bored personnel members and 15 customers, in different stages of not being served.
“Both on the couch right?” I informed him.
We ignored the chair and squeezed ourselves in the corner of the bench. First his coat, then him, me, my coat, and at my feet the O’Neill bag, of which he would conclude on our third date that it most likely held my life. He got the waitress with us, and smiled so sweetly at her while placing our order, that her irritation about his demanding attitude vanished. Blushingly, she repeated our order if she got it right. Jax folded his arms after she left.
“It’s just 48 hours after I added you on Facebook,” I said.
Jax was the older cousin of a friend.
“Yes. And you told me I had a week to prove myself. Am I on schedule?”
“I might still kick you off day 7,” I warned.
“Don’t get too comfy.”
He granted me a smile.
“I’m already comfortable. You’re taking down my wall.”
“I’m not doing anything. If I was, you’d know.”
He drank black coffee with enough sugar to bake a cake with. We both ate a toasted sandwich with ham and cheese. He would pick up a whopper before going to his car, I would buy a chocolate croissant for on the train.
Jax’ kiss took me by surprise. The last time a man beat me to that moment, we were not even eligible to vote yet. He folded his arms back after a minute of soft, gentle French kissing. “You’re going to evaluate me. That kiss will score me an extra point.”
I was flabbergasted in a most pleasant, rock my world and then me, way.
“I may even keep you on Facebook.”
My yoga classes pulled on me from one side of the country, and his clients needed him from the other. We broke up our date and made out on the pavement in that cold drizzly city that was neither his nor mine, but halfway. As Jax predicted, I evaluated him, nibbling on my croissant. Rated his destructive eating habits, against his loyalty; his flirtatious behavior to his sex appeal, I gave points for minimizing drinking and eliminating screwing around, and even more points for doing both of those things extensively when he was working in a bar. Until I realized in shock that I liked his bad habits as much as the positive ones.
I just got my period. No baby. Plus one since I don’t want children. But so many points off because I could have had even more of him to love.
Wednesday April 17, 2013
My passport expired. In 2008 I showed its ghastly portrait picture to my then best friend Lara.
I had wrapped up a year of dating men that were old, unavailable, or unreliable and some lethal combination of the three, and was still living with my ex on a less than steady income. Of course I was scared. Yesterday’s portrait looked friendly, open, and blushing. Providing they really have the new document ready before Paris, everything couldn’t be better.
In 2010 I wrote a post describing my ideal man. Jax is that hardworking, dark, ambitious man I ordered with the Universe. Sturdy and my height, like Nubian Prince and my idol Raphael. Asian, like The Virgin and Valentino. Rough and judgmental, like Samuel, and the matching thirst for strong sex. Like Valentino, Jax worked in bars in his early twenties, with a fervor for sleeping with its clientele. Jax is like Benjamin, a cold hearted, sharp dressed professional. For three months now, I get all the dark men I longed for, wrapped up into one: Jax.
Thursday April 18
Instead of weights (more accurately, skipping one fitness session after the other) I started walking. Instead of yoga (drawing up complicated hour long sessions and doing zero seconds of them) I read books. Instead of not-working on a Real Project (a book, a business plan, a revamped website) I write these entries and play house. I even started ironing my clothes. And loving it.
Why did I spend my whole adult life planning things that apparently, I don’t want to do?
When there are so many lovely things that I do enjoy?
Why row your boat upstream when going with the flow will bring you to the ocean? Hour long bed time calls with Jax won’t help me lose weight. Afternoon naps won’t result in a good book cover. Home cooked meals won’t bring me fortune. But neither did years of planning, inconsistent exercise and failed dieting.
In 2005 I reached my maximum. The era of eating whatever I wanted came to an end, capping the scales at nearly 70 kilos. I stayed away from our (my ex’s/ then boyfriend and mine) monster cookie jar and started cycling on my home trainer that I had already bought during my college years. I had considered ditching it every time I was moving and had to pull the heavy thing up 3 flights of stairs, or every time it was blocking doorways, and taking up a lot of space. But in 2005 the pain of having dragged it from house to house paid off. I started using it. Often. And in 5 months I lost 10 kilos.
I bought a new home trainer this year when my scales were threatening to make me fat again. But after putting it together, and testing it, I took it apart again and sent it back. It was completely dysfunctional. Instead of buying a new, maybe more expensive model, I made my peace that 2013 was not going to be a rerun of the 2005 Miracle. Clearly God had other plans. And then Jax came on my way and instead of turning thin, I gained. My breasts got bigger, my face started blushing, my abs remained feminine and strong, and my new rounder hips still fit into my size 8 jeans.
In 2013, it was okay to be a real woman.
Wednesday May 1
International Worker’s Day
I know these gargoyles. December 2008. Nathan had broken up with me and in drizzling gray Paris the pain was sinking in. I lingered at the sandy park behind the cathedral. There wasn’t enough rain to make the demons spit. Gypsies were pulling pranks with a ring, forms you had to fill in, or demanding more money after you gave some to one of their children. The Seine looked muddy, as if the primitive fishing tribes were still populating a marshy Île de la Cité.
Today, museums and department stores are closed, leaving this area with gift shops and cafes swarming with tourists. After days of sun, which I visited Disneyland, discovered the romantic locks of Canal Saint Martin and walked the streets described by Henry Miller, clouds are pulling together over the medieval streets. When I cross the streets to the familiar grounds of Nôtre Dame, it starts to pour.
14 Gang Bang
And then I discovered
It couldn’t get worse
You were building my coffin
You were driving my hearse
Bang Bang, shot you dead
from MDNA by Madonna
Monday May 13, 2013
Middle of the day the doorbell rang. In bed, not expecting anyone and with no intention of getting the door, I feared Mr. Stalker had found a new way to bother me. It rang a second time. My phones were switched off, like usual when I take a nap. The letter plate rattled.
Louka has pointed out that prank ordering pizzas is usually done by someone who can watch them being delivered at your door.
“I’ve tweeted and blogged about my stalker,” I said. “Which must have been equally gratifying for him.”
I decided to not give my stalker this satisfaction anymore. I didn’t tweet or blog about a threatening email that shocked me, spare ribs delivery after midnight, and the countless other times I received prank orders. Always two or more in a row. Fucking bastard. Hope they cut your penis and hang you by your balls, you motherfucker. I didn’t write how I am now on a first name basis with the neighborhood police officer filing all my reports, and visited every cafeteria, pizzeria, and Döner shop. I self-requested to be on the Black List of every food delivery in town.
“Let’s order pizzas!” I joked to Jax, last time I was with him.
“I can’t do that at home!”
Curious, yet worried my stalker had found a loop hole in my defenses, I got out of bed and went to the door. A business card in the letter flap with beautiful handwriting.
“Panda must be in bed! Kisses J.”
Jax! Probably visiting a client in my area, and decided to drop by. My phone seemed to take ages to unlock. Jax answered, turned around, and was at my door before I was dressed.
“I finally have you welcoming me in bathing robe,” he smiled.
Thursday May 16
I canceled my MRI appointment. This is NOT a brain problem. The pains that have been moving through my body for years, the swollen glands and now the numbness in my face that earned me a referral to a neurologist.
“Your complaints are very common,” she said. “But let’s do an MRI of your brain to make sure. Although nine times out of ten, the scan won’t tell us anything about what’s going on.”
Not going to do it.
“Do you still want a second consultation with the doctor?” the assistant asked when I canceled.
“Please. But in a few months. And I want to be tested on Lyme’s.”
Scheduled for August.
Monday June 3
Day 18 of my menstruation, and HALLELUJA it stopped! Pulled out my new contraception Nuvaring four days ago, at the two week anniversary of my period. You start your first ring on day one of your menstruation. And nowhere in the brochure does it say that this may cause your menstruation to turn into a month long blood bath. Out with the Nuvaring. Not going back on the pill either. Those condoms will just have to pan out.
Tuesday June 4
Inspired by my pending test for Lyme, by my facial numbness and pains in my jaws, I have started to switch to healthy habits. Today I peaked! Didn’t watch TV. Studied and practiced yoga. Kept my glasses off all day. If my eyes can heal, I can heal. Had two health smoothies, one clay sandy solution with the woolly name “hail earth”, and countless combinations of fresh mint/ ginger/ cinnamon/ green tea. I also had a daily latte and chocolate, because I decided that was health food too.
Wednesday June 5
On the rise! Literally. Got out of bed at 6, owning those first few hours of the day. No TV. No internet. Brewed my magical four ingredients tea, a green smoothie for breakfast, engaged in some soothing ironing, meditative yoga, a long shower, self-massage and will wear a whole clean set of clothes now every day (this will also ensure plenty to iron every morning, no doubt). Had the controversial idea to recreate my desk area: now I’m sitting crossed legged on the floor with my computer on a low table. Good for hips, spine and most of all: mood. I’m not creating health, but happiness. And I am good at it.
Monday June 10
I suppose one day shouldn’t matter. Not if you’ve wasted hundreds. Didn’t do yoga either, nor went outside for a breath of fresh air. Skipped drinking my clay, my wheatgrass juice, aloe vera and even my cacao banana almond milk smoothie. The latter because I was too lazy to go buy groceries. I got up at six only to reminisce all day about how I am now really, really, going to publish my book. I even decided the afternoons were the best time for me to do it, since this task would keep me from regressing back into afternoon napping. But then when I found myself napping at 4 pm, instead of behind my pc, I realized this was too much to ask. Publishing was something that would only be feasible with pajama days, early morning abuse of social media and countless coffees.
When overcoming years of resistance, one should not try to drink wheat grass at the same time. I just made that one up.
Dutch American Diary had a promising start, when on a Sunday morning Spring 2010, an Australian woman rang the studio bell half an hour before class. She was new. Could she join?
“I’m so happy I found a class in English,” she said after I let her in.
“I’m so happy I found my language editor,” I smiled back at Jacqueline. She looked as if I had just invited her to my sex dungeon.
The following months she edited the story of me hitting it off with guys half my age, falling into the hands of a flesh eating American, and my best friend Lara screwing me over. I published it as a blog that summer and was determined to make a paper version. Yet never did. I even had a party in 2012 for my 40th birthday which was supposed to be a book party, but turned into a book marker party instead since that was the only thing I managed to get printed that day. Jacqueline and I have even stopped talking about it. All the hours she put in, the classes she has stopped taking, or the work she did on covers I never used. We are friends despite it. And next week Jacqueline is migrating back, and the option of receiving her help is leaving with her.
Friday June 14
Pakistani? Arab? Like most at Jacqueline’s potluck going away party, the woman with the luxuriant hair and the olive skin was a native English speaker. The Eastern beauty arrived with a gay giant. At the beginning of the evening, he and I shared fantasies about Ian Somerhalder. We were both still ignorant of his best girlfriend throwing fatal glances at me. After the Tiramisu, he started to ignore me, ensuring there was at least five meter and a group of talking expats between us. I planned on breaking into a conversation to inform Jacqueline I was leaving, when Princess Jasmine suddenly addressed me.
“You know Nathan and Lara right?”
I coughed my wine into the sink, at the sound of their names spoken out loud.
“I heard they’re back together again,” Cleopatra said when I wiped my mouth clean. Nathan, the promiscuous American who cheated on a girlfriend-of-Arab-descent, this girlfriend, with me and 37 random other business contacts, beer buddies and exes. Cleo finds Nathan’s lewd text message, throws him out, half a year later I find out he’s fornicating Lara, my best friend. EX best friend. What had started with one man failing to keep his pants on, ended in three women calling each other whore. At least for my part.
In a quiet corner of the kitchen we sat down and talk about our shameful past. Nathan’s loose morals. The sheer impossible task of getting over him. Lara’s betrayal.
“I’m sure Lara misses you,” Cleo said compassionately.
“May she rot in hell,” I toasted.
To us. To love. May Nathan rot in hell. May Lara give him herpes. The Giant offered a refill and asked what we are having.
“We’ll drink anything,” Cleo assured him.
“The only one I ever had so much fun drinking with was Lara,” I confessed.
Cleo smiled. “Well, Nathan did always have superb taste in women.”
15 Love Spent
Frankly, if my name was Benjamin,
We wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in.
from MDNA by Madonna
Friday July 12, 2013
Weekend didn’t start off with my night at Jax. I had already packed my bag, showered, dressed up nicely and was leaving a clean house, a freshly made bed, half a pie and a little note to Marieke, who was going to look after the cats.
“Oh, and Willem is not eating properly, his gums must be infected again.”
And the moment I was drawing a smiley with it, I wondered what in my right mind I was thinking to let somebody else take care of a sick cat. I am lucky if the gum treatment I resumed will do the trick, and I don’t need to take him to the weekend vet. So I cancelled Jax.
“Of course Panda should stay home,” he responded promptly.
“I hope Willem recovers soon!”
It’s almost midnight and Willem has tricked me into giving him half a can of meat, and I saw him stealing dry food from Max, which is different to his. I’m pretty sure Willem is not in excruciating pain.
Sunday July 14
Usually Willem wakes me up too early, but apparently his gums are still bothering him (or I overfed him, returning half-drunk from the city) because today I could sleep in. Since I’m dating Jax and Jacqueline left the country, I rarely go out, and now that I did, I found myself thinking of Valentino on every street corner, bar, and at the sight of every man his age who believed he was good looking. And I thought: “Valentino has more beauty in his left nipple, than you carry around in your whole body.”
Still remember tonight’s dream of Valentino vividly. It was a party at someone’s home, there were beds, people cuddled up with three or four, trying to sleep. Some people were flirting. Valentino and I were put together in the same bed, with a third person. Patiently, without talking to each other at any point, we waited for the lights to dim and the people to fall asleep.
Monday July 15
Went to the city with Damian yesterday night, hoping to find some closing on me having wet dreams about Valentino.
“Unfulfilled desires!” he concluded after my dream report and praise over Valentino’s unprecedented beauty.
“Good luck with that one honey.”
Instead of checking out the new Dutch publishing options at Brave New Books, I spent the day tweeting with Rafael, chatted with two exes on Facebook, and invested hours writing an erotic story. Posted it to my blog. A solo woman, roaming the forest, camping alone, building a fire, and devouring a roasted chicken by the light of the full moon. Rawr!
Tuesday July 16
Visited my great-aunt, the one I had Christmas dinner at. Since she moved into a hospice I visit her biweekly instead of twice a year. Took Dutch American Diary with me on the train to edit. I can’t believe I once was so heartbroken over Nathan. Sucker. Goes for him too :D
Thursday July 25
Today started with breakfast, coffee and a surprisingly pleasant yoga practice, flowing from pose to pose, care-free, not aiming for weight loss or more muscles. I wondered if I could captivate this moment, bottle its magic, and how a little sip of it would enable me to always enjoy such an elegant work-out.
Yesterday I turned 41. Just like the royal baby, son of Kate and William, I didn’t have a name at first. In my case because my parents had been so certain I was a boy, they only had a boy’s name. Camiel. That name that would have every fetus demand a prenatal sex change. I received a holiday birthday card from my sister from France, and a card from my mother with a photo from my play tree in Africa. My great-aunt (the one who prefers solitude, not the one in the hospice) sent me a yoga chick lit, and I already identified with the owner of the small studio on the back cover. Too bad she has children and a husband who is a self-absorbed jack-ass.
Marieke came over for coffee, homemade cherry pie and I got a yoga book I wanted. In the afternoon Jax arrived, excusing himself for being late because he had picked a fight at the square. He and Marieke saw each other for the first time, and I just knew that Marieke would not like him. She’s on my team, the peaceful vegetarians who use public transportation. She’ll remember the time when Jax argued with me over wanting to see Tour de France every day, that he insists that I serve him meat, or that he kills any animal that is not a pet, whereas Marieke saves even mosquitoes and I have evacuated maggots from my kitchen after the tropical temperatures had turned my trash bin into a breeding spot. Marieke is loyal. I can forgive Jax, but she never will. Just as she still corrects me when I remember something odd, striking or amusing about Lara:
“Oh, you mean that whore.”
“I think it’s stupid you call her Panda,” Marieke expressed her annoyance about my cute nickname.
“Real pandas don’t have sex.”
“She calls me Buddha Baby when most people just call me arrogant.”
Marieke rolled her eyes to indicate she would be one of those.
I made them pancakes and Marieke pointed out to Jax powder sugar was not an appropriate topping for a savory pancake.
“I would like another pancake,” she entered the kitchen.
“Providing Panda does not bake it in the bacon pan.”
Saturday July 27
More erotic dreaming. Benjamin and I were finally together, he looked young, like the singer from a Dutch band who I went to see at a free music festival yesterday, with Roxy. I know their music but it’s his real life beauty (sleek half long hair, deep brown eyes, and caramel skin) that lifts me out of day dreaming. Didn’t think of running into Valentino, even though I know he has visited this festival in the past. My slipper broke and I walked to my bike barefoot. The sand was cool under my feet, the dark asphalt warmed them. I felt joyful as a fairy. Am now soaking my foot in baking soda trying to get a glass splinter out. Taking the 9.00 a.m. train to Jax.
16 Falling Free
Saturday July 27, 2013
First train back
His shirt. I still have last week’s T-shirt that Jax wore once, and then gave to me to sleep in. He must still have mine as well. Because of the heatwave neither one of us wore it. And after today, neither one of us will.
We started the habit of shirt swapping after the first night we slept together. Originally, our third date was going to be a walk on the beach, a bite to eat, and we would have a whole day to enjoy each other’s company and figure out how to work around me being a panda and him being a man. But because of a funeral we had to change our plans, and the only alternative was a Sunday night. I would have to sleep over.
Having met Jax twice, and impressed with his classic clothing and strong minded confidence, I tried to assess him on the two hour train trip. It was still an unfamiliar route. I thought about M50, a man with a condo, cash, and a career in the Mossad. At least that was in the end the most logical explanation for his closed-off behavior and the irregularities in his background and identity. Luca. Not a rich photographer, but he reserved his real emotions for others just the same. You’re not in love Lauren, it’s infatuation. By the time I broke things off with Luca and M50 I had written off older men for good. I preferred the generation who was still in diapers when I was in high school. They were not easier to deal with, nor of higher moral standard, but their beauty and enthusiasm were worth the effort and the heart break on my part. Jax was a smart dressed business man, with a sexual rep sheet that I could barely handle with my ever lurking phobia for STDs, but he was also just in his early thirties and called me every night to put me to bed. There was only a slim chance sex would turn care bear Jax into a middle aged narcissist.
I thought about oral-sex-only with Jonathan and Nathan. Jonathan had licked life back into my troubled teenage body, after a former boyfriend wanted too much too fast. And Nathan had wood me, given me all the excitement and romance I longed after a 14 year relationship with someone I would still love to have as a brother. Nathan was no brother. Neither was Jonathan. Both were untrustworthy, promiscuous assholes for whom I kept longing long after our sexual fluids had dried up. Oral sex, the one I looked forward to having with Jax in my remaining panda weeks, had amplified my desire. An ocean of sexual potential waiting to be enjoyed, and then they walk out on you.
I realized having “just” oral sex had the potential to turn Jax into a Nathan or a Jonathan, and have me mourn over him for years.
I texted Jax that I had changed my mind about staying a panda. We were going to do it. And I would see to it that every sexual desire was fulfilled, every need met and that before things ended, the ocean of love was emptied out, down to the last drop.
I hope my effort to thoroughly enjoy Jax the past six months will pay off.
Second train back
“This was the most awesome relationship ever, and this is the best break-up ever,” I sobbed.
Neither one of us had woken up with the idea of ending things today. I brought salted licorice, cinnamon candy and a Harry Potter dvd. Jax had picked up fresh pastry, soft white buns, and the car smelled of warm sausages he bought for me. He was never hungry before noon, but knew that after a train trip I would welcome pork more than anything. Even the sex we had, half an hour before I cried my eyes out thinking about how good it had been, was an intimate way to let the idea ripen that one day we would have to let each other go. It wasn’t break-up sex. There was still a part of us that had not given up, that didn’t think about him wanting to start a family, our work 200 kilometers apart, and how to merge his dog with my cats. I like change. Going for kids at 41 is cool. Moving house from the city to the sea, and becoming a yoga teacher there, sounds like the beginning of an HBO series. And maybe I could even overcome my repulsion to share a house with a partner. But altogether I dread the prospect of becoming an out of work last chance mother, with an absent husband and fighting pets. I would crash from being a potential Carry Bradshaw to a definitely desperate housewife. And Jax felt equally troubled at the idea of staying my weekend lover till the end of time. There was no way out, without one of us sacrificing happiness.
Our conversation had started enjoying a sausage bun, over a broody acquaintance showing interest in him. Jax admitted that although he held no romantic feelings for her, it made him realize he didn’t know where he stood. Should he say he was single or in a relationship?
“When did these thoughts start?” I asked, suddenly aware that our nightly calls had vanished.
“Weeks ago,” he answered. Jax and I progressed to the couch.
“I don’t want you to stop looking for your Misses,” I swung my legs over his lap. “You’ve had this dream of your own family all your life.”
“But how?” he asked. “I don’t see myself dating another woman as long as we’re together.”
I agreed that was not a safe scenario.
“Or I’ll go Bellatrix Lestrange on both of you.”
We smiled, laughed, kissed and he stubbed out his cigarette;
“Let’s go to bed.”
Jax went to the bedroom with the dvd and candy, and I took my bag to the bathroom. I still smiled at the sight of the spotless sink, shiny tiles and the neatly folded towels he had laid down for us. A stack of washcloths for my post-sex rituals, removing the condom and cleaning him. I freshened up and undressed in the guestroom.
“Oh, that looks good,” Jax looked up from screen and remote to approve of my body, new underwear or maybe both. I slid under the sheets and snuggled up against him. With a happy sigh he placed the remote on the night stand and turned onto his side. His hard dick brushed my thigh, but he pulled me closer without his usual brazenness and kissed me. The delightful Zwitsal scent blended with fresh cigarette, and my limbs eagerly wrapped around his smooth robust body.
“Do you have to have children?” I begged at the thought of giving up this affectionate lover.
“Can’t you leave that to others?”
Jax chuckled in my neck.
“Would you change?” he returned the question.
I took an unsettling deep sigh.
“Listen, I think I may have kept a few things from you. How much do you know about Benjamin?”
Ten minutes later Jax knows all about Benjamin, Valentino, and that he’s not the only one whose thoughts have run astray the last few weeks.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever outgrow them,” I conclude.
“They’re part of who I am.”
My voice is firm and strong, like I’m standing up for civil rights instead of defending a complete lack of character. And Jax kisses me in that bold, demanding manner. My scalp tingles, my spine shivers and in my belly a warm liquid spreads to my groin and floods to my heart. My hand reaches for his dick, the same moment I feel his fingers on me. We unite, deeply, and his eyes keep asking me if I’m okay, tuning into my needs. The orgasm comes with overwhelming joy, exactly like the first time we were together. Maybe that should have told me it would be the last.
The face of God that stands above,
Pouring over hope and love,
That all of might and life and limb,
Could turn around a love again.
When I let loose the need to know,
Then we’re both free, free to go.
Falling Free by Madonna
This is the final chapter of LS Diary (2012-2013)
My next book is the Dutch diary De Candystop. I will publish the first part Sunday January 22.
Here you can find the overview of all my work that is temporarily available for free.