The middle of the road
Last time I saw you, we went somewhere only we know, do you remember? It was such a nice chat, I really needed that. Hope it helped you too. I mean, look at us know – deep in the corner of a night, we are lying in the middle of the road. Street lights make your face a little pale, but we laugh anyway. It’s a warm summer night, Friday, mid-July. It was supposed to be lean season at work for both of us, but… But. It never is, is it? We like to keep our heads busy. It’s Saturday though and we can count the planes that flew by, just because.
Way down here upon the ground, when we’re lying in the dirt!
We never actually lied in the middle of the road, completely carefree, with nothing but good moods. But I know what you mean, I missed hanging out. And you, too! So, how’s life? It’s still pretty good for me. The COVID situation is one hell of a shit show, eh? I’m telling you man; the world will be forever changed after things go back… We both chuckle on my words. Yeah, I wanted to say to normal. But what is normal? It’s subjective to all of us. You know, few days ago, I recorded a podcast with my buddy. This particular bit was about Christopher Nolan and his genius work. He is the master of blending subjective and objective writing; he approaches it from three different perspectives: when he creates a world, he first becomes a God. Nolan knows everything there is to know about this world, he knows what can and cannot be done. Then, he steps into citizen’s shoes and explores this world, without using his all-mighty knowledge. Lastly, he watches this world from the audience. Isn’t it wonderful? Bear with me, it’s important for you to understand the concept of “normality”.
Because we agreed, the society agreed that something we call objective is normal, is something familiar, something we are used to. And suddenly, with this virus out there, normal we know… Does not exist anymore.
And drunk we set the world to rights!
No, not really. Look, it’s time for all of us to evaluate our lives; see what really matters, what we should appreciate more. And, on the other hand, what things are less important and we should let them go. There is so much to take in here… It’s a chance, for everyone. We should not take it for granted. But hey, enough philosophy. How are you these days? Last time we spoke, you were uncharacteristically quiet. You’re a good listener and I think you prefer this role in our relationship? Your smile says it all. It’s okay, I’m glad you like to hear my rambling about life. The road feels pleasantly cold, don’t you think? And it smells of rain. You gave me your jacket, so I won’t get too cold.
Few weeks back I went to check out the construction site to see my apartment. I was both scared and excited, you know? My dad got stuck at work in Germany. He would go there with me, because he kind of knows this stuff. But virus changed a lot, so I decided to ask my godfather to go with me. He works in construction slash furniture slash lots of other things that I have no clue about. I really try to keep in touch with him, we went skiing few months back and it was cool! Except me being sick again, but still – wonderful family time. Anyway, I set foot in my apartment. And suddenly it felt so real, so close. All that adult talk, you know? Stories told to me and stories told to you.
Did you ever feel like they were ringing true?
Now even more than ever, my friend. Few days before that, I signed a deal with the notary, so it is really official. I am doing it! Can’t back out now. You know this feeling, this coldness in your stomach, when you make such a monumental decision? I’ve had it, when I signed the reservation deal. I was in this office with my parents, they were so proud! And I wasn’t sure, if that’s what I really want in life. You turn to me, supporting head on your hand. Intrigued? Huh, though so! I still lay on my back, watching the night sky. People pass us by, pointing fingers. They must think we are drunk. Well, we had a drink before deciding to ditch the pub and taking a walk. And you said that this street looked so tempting from our spot!
But yeah, I got cold feet. Because it feels like I am anchoring down, you know? Making my own roots. And it scared me! I’m doing this on my own. Without anyone by my side. Like, okay – I know my parents are helping out, but you know what I mean. It’s a big step, especially for a woman. Yet another “weak” being proving all them alfas that she can do it.
This doesn’t change the fact that buying an apartment means that one plans to stick around for a longer time. And I’m still not sure if that’s what I want. Maybe I should go out there, with my laptop, fly around the world and write. Break into Golden Globe party to interview Christopher Nolan or Pedro Pascal. Or send my stories to publishers and become famous author. And one night, when I was thinking about this (overthinking) I realized, that buying apartment doesn’t change my dreams. It proves, that I can make them true.
Not everything had gone to plan.
Oh yeah. When we saw each other back then in that pub, I told you that I am waiting for outcome of important work decision. Now, that I know it’s not going to happen (thanks, ‘rona!) I can tell you what it was. There was a contest to write a business case for a trip to another location and I chose USA. Mine was pretty strong but… The virus happened and all abroad trips are frozen, cancelled, postponed. Aw, don’t give me that look. I know what you want to say; that I could still go there one day, for work. I’m not sure, buddy. You see, it made sense for me to go there now, with this new system coming up…
Ahh, but let’s not talk about it. I am still part of testing group which is a great experience and fantastic opportunity. Basically, it’s pain in the ass. Your laugh echoes in the empty street and even the plane going above us could not drawn that joyful sound. I’m so glad I made you laugh; can you think of better way to choke?
That’s the thing with plans, I guess. No matter how carefully you craft them, how many different case scenarios you anticipate; some parts will never work. Or you will have to adjust some bits, alter the puzzles to complete the jigsaw. I can see that clearly with the new system testing – we are on phase two now and boy, there is lots of issues and stuff developers did not see coming.
You made the best of what you had, you know?
I can feel your gaze, drilling into my face. You want an answer, but that’s not really a question, is it? But I am trying to. You know, this whole quarantine thing, self or imposed; doesn’t really matter. It drives me crazy; I miss people and I miss going out to the movies. I’m sure, my upcoming gigs (Paul McCartney and Westlife + James Morrison) will be canceled/postponed. We had to put our lives on pause, which sucks big time.
But like I said – it’s time to focus on some other things. I have a treadmill at home, so I train more. I do yoga every day, I eat healthier, I’m getting enough sleep. Finally, I have all the time to catch up with TV series, movies and most importantly books! Ahh, did I tell you about The Dune? It’s a book written by Frank Herbert years ago. Few chapters in and I was in love. I’m almost done with part one. Yeah, that’s right! There are more and I am so excited! The moment I discovered there is a series felt like Christmas. Such a little thing, wouldn’t you agree? Simple pleasure, finding out that there is a series to the one book you absolutely love. You turn on your back again, arm under your head. Air is chilled, feels like we’re at the seaside. It’s so refreshing and it makes your lungs work at full capacity.
The key is to find something to distract yourself with. Like this podcast thing. Never in my life I though I’m gonna do that, and yet here we are. And it feels good! Even if the only listeners are me and Marta, I really don’t care. Like with this blog, podcasts are another step out of the comfort zone. Plus, we’re hilarious.
Was it feeling real?
Sure was. And still is. You know, my brain is working nonstop. I’m afraid that if I would press pause for it, something bad would happen. It’s been months since my last therapy session. I miss it. So, my brain working around the clock is the only thing keeping me fairly sane. Those words leave an impression on you, because you sat down to look at me. My eyes closed, muscles relaxed, steady breathing. I don’t look that bad, do I?
Well. Because it’s not that bad, really. I learnt to cope with this never-stopping train of thoughts. Sure, it’s tricky now since I don’t have access to the professional help. But there was a time, when I dealt with all the mess in my head without seeing a therapist, right? So, it’s just a little step back. I sit up to level my eyes with yours. There’s no looking up in heaven, waiting to be buried.
And then you put your hand in mine and pulled me back from things divine…
I wish it was that easy, my friend. I look around the street. The road light above us is in the ever-orange mode, with its steady pace. 4 am on the clock at the other side of the sidewalk makes me smile. This is a magic moment I remember from way back, when I worked front desk at a hotel. Night shifts had lots of charm, but when I called it a night and went for a nap in the backroom, 4 am was a turning point. Either all parties in pubs around were done and they closed or fresh bread delivery came knocking on our doors. But one was constant – cold. There is this certain point at night, when you are in the “light” phase of sleep, non-REM; the slightest thing can wake you up. In my case, this was cold. We only had one blanket and it’s an old building so… You’re not interrupting, which is sweet, because you know that I’m in my zone. This work was probably the shittiest ever, but it taught me so many things. Patience, customer service, breaking the ice with people.
I am and odd one, you know. My mind floats astray many times, wanders on its own. I broke down all the fences in my head, for it to run free. I don’t like limitations, but you know that. 4 am and I don’t feel the cold. It’s so nice… And all their words for glory, well they always sounded empty, right? We just gotta do what we want, slowly and steady pushing forward. Onward! Great movie, by the way. Had so much fun watching it prior the lockdown, such a sweet story about love between brothers. This is one of the strongest kinds of love.
I’ll take my chances on the curb here with you.
My smile grows hearing those words. They have special meaning for me, did you know that? It’s a love declaration. Aw, you look surprised! It’s okay though, as a writer and hopeless romantic, I seek for unorthodox confessions. It means that no matter where you are in life, how well or unwell you’re doing, I would still choose you. I would rather take this chance, right here right now, then wait for a perfect, “perfect” opportunity. We talked about this, there is no such thing as perfect. We have to… Take the moment and make it perfect, haha! Stop! You are mocking me, right?
Someone opened a window of an apartment by the street and we can hear the music. It echoes nicely through the street, but the tune is distorted. I know the song, it’s been my ringtone for 4 years, until January, but changed it for Heroes by David Bowie after watching Jojo Rabbit, but… I kind of miss it. But it’s complicated. I know what you’re thinking, how can ringtone situation be complicated. It’s not exactly just the ringtone, it’s the band. Something happened and our paths parted. But it’s a story for some other time; let’s not ruin this song…
It could be our song; hymn for this night that started around… Quarter past midnight, was it? When we decided to go on this wild adventure and lie down on the street against all odds and common sense. I needed convincing, though. And you asked me, when was the last time I did something for the first time? And you got me on a hook, like a fisherman. You sneaky little duck. But it’s time to go, right?
We watched the planes leave us behind…
I get up first and offer a hand to you. You’re skeptical, you don’t think I have the strength. But it’s simple physics, so… I got you! Besides, you helped me a lot today. Tonight! So, this is the least I can do for you. We gotta do this more often, so I make a mental note with the street name in my head. One last glance up, but not for heaven, I am looking at the source of the song. It carries lots of memories, this whole album is very important to me. As an author, I deeply appreciate the lyrics, they are the coating for our thoughts.
You jump on the curb and stand on one leg, trying to maintain balance. Following your lead, I do the same, but it’s harder for me to keep the stability. So, you help me, because that’s what you always do! Our conversation made me feel everything at once: sadness, happiness, nostalgia, being in love, wanderlust, longing for something that I can’t explain… Just like this song we just heard.
Same time, soon? Or maybe we will do something else, something just as crazy as lying in the middle of the road, counting the planes as they flew by? With you, I am game for anything. Best therapy ever.