A Reckless Train of Misinformation, A Foggy Bloom of Trust, A Hushed Song of Fidelity.

I promised Wednesdays to the blog, I promised this month to the book, and my Sundays to a poetry course. I promised my heart and my body and the rosewater-inoculated burden of monogamy to a man, and I have been spending most of my evenings wrapped in his arms. It’s saved me a little money on my heating bill, perhaps. Love is purely a practical matter, of course.

The days have been rainy and the gray haze of the city melts the sky into the statues and even the gold is struggling to shine. We keep this place well-polished, it’s a mirror, you can see your reflection everywhere.

I said I would post here on Wednesdays, but the post I considered putting on here today was a bit too personal, even for me. I submitted the unpolished poem for my class where I imagine it will get a few responses of “I am so sorry this happened to you.”

So, I have decided instead to gift a meandering rant to the blog this week. Which means you must suffer through the unbridled attention deficit of my mind. Hop aboard my train of thought, we are standing in the station and, as is typical, thinking about the person I am in love with. Funny, how it always cycles back to that. To them.

I had to build a word bank for my poetry class this week, and she made me a little word generator that combines them. I played with it to write the title of this post. It’s an interesting thing, a strange robot made of my own words. A machine out of the ghost, I guess.

My book is really a book about Vienna, or at least Vienna in the eyes of a perpetual outsider, a time-traveler who still can’t speak the dialect. Oida. I find that when I am lacking inspiration it helps to get out of the house and into one of the cafes or bars with round hanging lamps and dark wood walls, or cathedral ceilings and velvet couches, with tables marked “reserved” that are rarely actually reserved if you are a young woman in a red dress. Or at least when you are a woman in a red dress.

I am feeling less and less young at the moment.

So, I have found myself nested among the overburdened coat racks and scattered couches of Hawelka, the best café in the city to go to if you are in the mood to really test how much you have actually overcome your abandonment issues.

The waiter takes my order, grunting, his ankles already shaking to run away halfway through the word Melange. The waiter reminds me of my father when he is angry, or my ex-husband when he was stressing about a lecture. He takes my order and then walks away, off to ignore me until the end of time. Just like every other man! The coffee is 5 Euros, and the therapy bill is about a hundred.

But it’s an escape from the rain, and the wooden chairs are somehow more comfortable than the worn-out springs of the velvet sofas. At least, that’s what I tell myself. I was not deemed worthy of occupying a couch, since I came in here alone. But, perhaps my back will thank me tomorrow. I have been writing all week while sitting in a series of ill-fitting and half-broken chairs, and every day I wake up with a new joint aching. I am, obviously, in the best shape of my life.

The rain is making everyone miserable. The Austrians all started drinking before 11:30.

I started at a different café, Bräunerhof, it was equally grumpy but less cozy. A perfect venue for not-writing-my-novel, if you ask me. Honestly, I could write a whole blog of the best places to not-get-any-work-done. That’s a fantastic idea, in fact: I should really work on that blog first before I continue any book writing! This is obviously not procrastination, this is an important contribution to society!

I left the first café, blaming the café for my lack of ability to write. Obviously, it was the café’s fault: the eggs were too salty. I cannot be expected to write a bestseller while eating that! Ridiculous. On the walk from one café to another, I procrastinated by purposefully taking the wrong side street. I spied a cute dog in the doorway of a small jewelry store, and I went in to pet the dog. This was an important mission, much more important than actually writing any of the things I am supposed to be writing.

The shop owner was inside with her friends, celebrating one woman’s birthday, listening to Stevie Wonder. They offered me champagne, and I drank it and peeked into the case of violently overpriced ruby and tourmaline rings, none of which were to my taste. Actually, they were all to my taste. Most of them looked like my old engagement ring, which is sitting in the back of a closet quietly haunting me.

(I could have it resized, and wear it on a different finger. It didn’t even look like a typical engagement ring, I doubt anyone would think it was…)

Marriage is, or was, a lot of things in reality, all of them far more important than a piece of paper or a pair of rings. It was sick more often than it was health. It was last-minute flights to attend funerals. It was trucks full of moving boxes. It was arguments that never got solved, and in the end, it was a closed door. In the end, it was a pair of golden nails stuck into the white walls of a half-empty apartment after the wedding portraits had been taken down. It was our names taken off of the doorbell, exchanged for a number.
In the end, it was.
It isn’t anymore.

I was talking with C. the other day, and I told her that even though I was definitely married, I feel like I was never engaged? True, there was a proposal, but it was done out of practicality, the ring was handed to him with a list of suggestions of how I would like the question to be asked.

It was a beautiful ring, I picked it out with my sister. My father paid for it. My ex didn’t really care about it. Actually, I tried to keep it cheap and I used the rest of the ring budget to buy him a fancy suit. Practicality over romance.

The ring arrived in the mail, and I had agreed not to look at it. But, of course, I did. I carefully pried open the packaging and took it out onto the porch in the gray light of a Dutch spring day, and it sparkled. Then I returned it to the box and carefully retaped everything. He never even looked at it before he offered it to me. He never looked close enough to have noticed if I snuck into the box. We went to Amsterdam, to a fancy restaurant. I was terrified he was going to propose there, in a restaurant, how tacky, how boring. I looked at him and just said,

“You aren’t going to do it here, are you?!”

And he said,

 “Of course not!”

To be fair, he didn’t. He knew me well, well enough at least to know what I wouldn’t want. I don’t think I trusted him enough to know that. But, he picked a good place to ask the question. Where he almost dropped the ring into the canal.

Our friends were waiting there, to watch. Afterwards, my friend saw the setting and asked me if it came with extra diamonds, because some of the ones on the band were sure to fall out. She was right, the ring lost two or three diamonds and it looked like a child with missing teeth. I had the ring re-set in Vienna.

I have a long list of paperwork to handle, the most important of which is the book. After that, my visa renewal. Once that’s done: my divorce. It should be relatively straightforward, something we both agree to out of practicality, much like the engagement was. An agreement perfumed with the requisite bureaucracy.

It never really mattered to me, to rush the paperwork. But, things have changed. I have found myself in a perilously good situation, with the sort of man that makes me think, well, maybe the second time’s the charm. So, over a glass of champagne, the shopkeeper showed me her selection of rings, and suggested I try one on. I declined politely, ich schaue nur.

I have to admit, I stopped looking pretty soon after I met this person. Look at that, the train is back where it started, thinking about them. I told you it would end up back here.

I think people don’t understand me. They say I’m insatiable. That I am unfit for monogamy but, I am shockingly old-fashioned at times. I contain multitudes and all of them seem to be besotted with this person. Not enough to be looking at rings, but enough to be willing to tackle a pile of paperwork for the sake of, one day, maybe.

There is something so terrifying about that maybe. As someone who has loved and lost and been confined temporarily to the prison of a half-empty apartment and nursed my own broken heart through the loneliest of Februaries, I know how high the stakes are. Which, I guess is a good thing. To be willing to open the doors again.

And honestly, what could possibly be more romantic a gesture to do for an Austrian person than to say “I have attacked this massive pile of paperwork, for the sake of our relationship, so that one day you may, should you choose, have the privilege of also declaring your love for me by handling a massive pile of paperwork. Take this wealth of bureaucracy and with it, my heart. Please sign here.”

It’s so cold today, my winter coat seems insufficient. I should buy a warmer jacket. Instead, I might just call my lover and say,
come home,
be my warmth.

One thought on “A Reckless Train of Misinformation, A Foggy Bloom of Trust, A Hushed Song of Fidelity.

Add yours

Give me validation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: