“Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns, it calls me on and on across the universe.” – John Lennon (from the song: Across The Universe)
As we walk from the tapas bar to the night-museum, our hands finally touch. In a suggestive way that is, definitely not convincing but it’s better than nothing. I wonder whether she likes me too. Although this thought suggests that I like her… and I’m not quite sure about that.
It’s a beautiful midsummer evening in a beach-side European city. I’ve been traveling for the past few weeks and the road is starting to feel like home. I’m becoming quite comfortable here, very tranquil, without a doubt on the horizon. Until I met this girl that is.
There’s just something about her. She’s pretty, tan-skinned, but otherwise very ordinary, yet she intrigues me. Perhaps it’s the slight language barrier. Perhaps it’s because she’s staying in the hostel bunk next to mine, making this a ‘girl nextdoor’ type of crush. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve spent most of the past week with another girl, and feel confused about meeting someone else.
Whatever it is, I can’t say that I’m in the zone. The zone, you know? Where everything you do just works for some reason. Or at least you think it does. And when it doesn’t, you don’t care. It’s a sense of invincibility, a kind of flow-state that can last for days, weeks even. Perhaps that’s what I’m looking for in this girl, to get into the zone, to feel alive again! But right now that’s not really working out for me.
The two of us went to the beach today, and while we had fun, there was no touching. If there was any flirting at all, it was very slight. Nevertheless when we went out last night, it surprised me when she joined me in leaving early. I guess the signals were there, it just felt like risky gambling to me. Like I would risk everything, my whole bubble of comfort, simply for trying something with her. But it doesn’t matter, does it? Because here we are, touching hands, near that night-museum, on my last night here.
A lover’s first kiss
The museum’s entrance fee is beyond our backpacker-budgets so we decide to keep walking. And that we do, without any sense of direction. Walking is easier than talking.
We touch hands a couple more times, and I even put my arm around her for a while. She doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about that, nor does she object. I still have no idea how she feels about me.
We buy a couple of beers and finish them on a park bench, I’m glad to finally have some proximity. This might get interesting, except that it doesn’t. Some old toothless lady ruins the moment. She wants a beer and will not leave us alone. We give her one but she creeps us out. I guess we should leave.
So yet again we walk, without holding hands this time, and still no sense of direction. The moon is smiling down on us but I’m starting to feel restless, a feeling I always get when I’m being indecisive. I need to lead us somewhere, no girl would ever want to walk around by night randomly for hours, would they?
I put my faith in Google Maps. It directs us to a small park, which was surprisingly hard to find around the city center. We walk over there to sit down and finish our beers.
We arrive and find ourselves amidst a lovely flower garden. Sadly there aren’t any benches. At this point I’m done being indecisive though, so I lead the way, find a quiet part of the garden and sit down at flower level. I wonder whether she’s comfortable with this but she joins me, seemingly oblivious to my misgivings.
I still have no clue whether I can kiss her. I honestly have no idea. I usually do; whether there’s a touch of hair, an exchange of glances, a bite in the lower lip, I can typically tell whether a girl wants me to kiss her. But this girl… she really doesn’t make it easy for me.
In some way a man gives all of his heart to a woman when he goes for the first kiss. It’s the defining zero-or-hero moment when she decides whether she’ll have him or not. With the hundredth girl it may be easier than the tenth, but sometimes you come across someone who can make you feel like it’s your first kiss again.
That’s how she makes me feel, like it’s my first time. So I nervously wait for a more fitting moment. Any signal, anything, any time would be better than NOW. It’s my last night here so I gladly talk about that, hoping to avoid any uncomfortable silences.
Then suddenly I’m captured by a strong sense of finitude. This moment won’t last, we won’t last. Nothing will last. If not now, then when? All there is, is now. I don’t know whether there will be another moment like this. The only moment I can possibly count on is this one.
This sense of urgency pushes me to take the leap. She never really made long eye-contact before, but when I touch her back she gazes into my eyes, so I go for it. And when our lips touch she responds. Not shocked, which part of me expected, but passionately. Like she’s been waiting for this all day.
A timeless moment
In this moment we connect more deeply than any language can express, on a level that goes beyond logic. It can only be felt, not rationally understood.
We remain here for quite a while longer, enjoying the blessing of being together. Of course this moment won’t last either. Nor will the feeling of connection, nor my ‘flow’ state. I just hold her tightly until it’s time to let go.
In a year it will probably be a beautiful—and perhaps heavily distorted—memory of what once was. And while I know that not even the memory will last, I like to think that such moments are timeless: a first kiss between lovers, a meaningful moment of warmth and passion. And that, in some way, we’ve created something, together. Something that will outlive us all.