Last night, after just having posted an entry on my blog, several very small but somehow significant things happened.
As I had said, I was wearing clothes that flattered me, and my hair was up in a looser style with visible waves. I thought I looked pretty and thin and tall and the sun was shining and I was going home, listening to beautiful music, standing at the tram stop. A man on a bike came to the tram stop. I notice what I like in men now, and I found him quite attractive. He was tall and slender, dressed casually but with taste. He was rather old, certainly over forty. He looked at me. I could feel it and it made me nervous. I looked at him too, out of the corner of my eye, when he looked away. I noticed that he looked at my reflection in the glass wall of the tram stop on the opposite side of the street. And he turned his head towards me now and then. My heart was beating fast. Was I fooling myself? There was a young blonde woman in very short white shorts sitting right next to him on the bench. She had sun-tanned legs. Certainly a more open display of female ‘charms’… But he never turned his head that way. But I couldn’t be sure. Maybe I reminded him of somebody. Maybe he thought I looked weird. Maybe he did find me interesting, I don’t know. I tried to be brave and not walk away or look at the ground, and I kept glancing at his reflection from time to time. It was scary and exciting and flattering and confusing. And all this time we were standing several metres apart, not talking or looking directly or anything. What must it be like if somebody actually makes contact? Overwhelming, I suppose. Then the tram came and I was too afraid, so I got in at the front where there is no room for a bike. When i got out, I didn’t see the man anymore.
I went home and did the washing and cleaning. There was a gathering of people in front of the little organic shop next door. A band was playing outside. Part of me wanted to go and listen, but I know how music in public makes me feel: If it’s good, I get this longing to dance or tap the rhythm, but I don’t dare and it tears me apart. And I get very sad when I see all the people with their friends, lovers or families, having a good time. It is such an obvious contrast. Such moments used to be among the most painful. I used to creep away from them, almost crying, with the screaming thoughts: I am so ugly, so alone, so afraid. And then I would get angry at all the normal, beautiful, happy, sociable people. Because I wanted to be one of them.
But it isn’t like that anymore. I am no longer ugly. Yesterday I was pretty, so pretty that somebody looked at me. And while I still wouldn’t dance in public, I have now made that longing my friend. The only obstacle were the many people. I walked by them and went to the playground and swung on the swing and looked at the twilit sky, the slender new moon. There was a man playing tennis all alone on the tennis court and after he finished he sat down on a bench near the swing and smoked. He looked at me, too. But it’s weird to see a grown up on a swing, I suppose. I didn’t feel flattered by it, anyway.
When it got too dark I went back. The band was still playing and I stopped to listen. A woman was singing, a slow cuban love song. An older couple were dancing, small slow steps, sensual, loving. It wasn’t painful to watch. The young couple in front of me sharing a chair and a small kiss and caress wasn’t painful to watch, either. I could feel their love for each other and while it made me long for that for myself, it wasn’t a hopeless longing. I managed to connect to the song and the love and the warm evening and the crickets and the joy of the people around me. I did look around a few times, but mostly watched the band. The singer had a deep beautiful voice. The drummer was handsome in a shy way. People cycling by stopped to listen for a few minutes. One cyclist stopped right next to me. He looked at me, too. Several times. When the song ended, we clapped and then I went home. I’m still not really comfortable with such things… I still felt a small pang of sadness at walking away alone. But it was my choice. I could have stayed, had a drink, talked and danced and flirted. Theoretically.