The day he’d woken to find the space beside him empty and cold, and an impossible encounter with an otherworldly man, had been long. There was five days left in Stockholm at that point, and while Elise and he had already wandered the medieval alleys, visited the suburbs and marinas, and had even taken a train farther east to see Norway, there was still an endless amount of places to visit. Jack drove himself to pull on pants, a shirt, and warm outerwear to meet the blustery days and walk the circuit around the docks. Hundreds of boats were moored in the harbor, depicting a maritime history that made his mind spiral with images of raging waves, adventure, and drumbeats. It had been enough to distract him, but time and again he’d look over his shoulder, hoping to find Elise there with a camera raised, ready to shoot. Elise loved candid photography, loved capturing him unaware and wide-eyed.
Jack looked at Elise taking a drag from the cigarette, at the way the tendrils of cool, gray smoke coiled around the curve of her lips and cheeks. The skin was slightly flushed from a night of drinking, and her hair was mussed from sweat. The surroundings were thrumming. The proximity of other people, the scent of alcohol, the drone of the overhead fans, and the multilingual utterances of the patrons. It was a bombardment of the senses, yet all Jack saw was her, in all her glory.
Hovering above the starsBreathing through a tubeRiding on asteroids like a train carAs the celestial dust billows up and around me
There was a quote that resonated with me since the time I had seen it, that went something like, “I have given up on love plenty of times, but love has never given up on me.” Ville Vallo from HIM, a Finnish rock band, is credited with that inspirational statement. For the longest time, I had given up on love too. I was certain that I would never meet a single person who loved me in the way I loved them—wholly, passionately, and without doubt. After having been in a few abusive relationships and experiencing sexual harassment and abuse, I declared to myself that I was done.
The most mesmerizing people are those who provoke the mind in a number of ways. Like a riddle that can’t be solved or a Rubik’s cube, these souls baffle those who get too involved, for better or for worse. Most of the time, though, these jigsaw souls are Pandora’s Box for partners, and relationships are impossible challenges. Some will say you’re unworthy. Too complex. Annoying. Others will give up at the slightest sign of resistance. Don’t listen to them.