Freedom

The van’s motor was roaring incessantly, almost drowning out the sound of the music that was blaring out of the old speakers at maximum volume. The hot midday sun was beating down on the dusty road and the air was flickering because of the heat. Sweat was dripping from her forehead and it was getting harder to breathe with every minute. She felt as if she was stuck in a driving sauna, only that this one wasn’t relaxing at all. A quick glance at the overhead mirror confirmed her fear that she had already turned beet-red. Strange. She never got sunburns. Then again, who drives through Portugal in a badly isolated, amateurishly renovated van in August? People with serious problems, she thought. Or maybe just people with a need for adventure. And that definitely applied to her.
She had left behind her old life not a month ago, and was now enjoying the possibilities her new-found freedom brought with it. She had distanced herself from everything; her job, obviously, but that didn’t worry her all that much, since she had never found real happiness in it. But she had also left her family and friends, the people who loved her the most, and none of them knew when she was coming back. Hell, not even she herself knew how long she would be staying in this country.
However, all of that was of no real concern for her. Neither the time nor the people would make her feel bad. No homesickness, no regrets, just her and the open road;
from one town to the next, sightseeing, shopping here and there, surfing on the coast, sleeping underneath the stars and thinking about what she was going to do next.
At least that’s what she had expected her trip to be before she had left. She had been so excited about just being by herself for a few months. Of course it hadn’t exactly turned out the way she had intended, things rarely do. People get lonely so quickly, and she felt alone every night she had to check into a cheap motel, because in real life you can’t just sleep underneath the stars everywhere you go.
The heat was getting unbearable now. She stopped the van and exited into what she hoped would be fresh air. It was not. Outside, it was even hotter. The air felt solid, like a concrete wall. She reached for her water bottle and took a sip. Not very surprised she swallowed the almost hot water and stared at the vast land in front of her. It was absolutely, stunningly beautiful. 
He would’ve loved it here. 
Her thoughts jumped back in time, as they always did when she started feeling melancholic. And they always jumped to the same thing: her boyfriend, or rather ex-boyfriend. They had broken up shortly before she had left for her trip. Not because of a fight, not because they had stopped loving each other, not even because one of them had cheated on the other. No, they had decided to break up because she couldn’t take him with her and neither of them believed that long-distance relationships worked.
She wasn’t sure why her thoughts always went straight to him. Maybe she just missed him, even though she didn’t want to allow herself to do so. Or maybe she regretted not having taken him with her, even though he would’ve said yes without thinking about it for a single second. But no, she just had to do this on her own. An idea born from one of her many principles that he always considered to be stupid and unnecessary. And perhaps they were. At times not even she really believed in them, but they gave her some sort of strength and security. Her principles were the shield that protected her from getting hurt, or at least that’s what they were supposed to do.
He had always seen through them. He could tell by the look on her face what she was thinking, and sometimes she loved that about him. However, more often than not, she hated him for seeing into her head. It made her feel weak and threatened, as if she wasn’t the master of her own thoughts.
(And let’s be honest, we all hate it when someone tells us the truth about ourselves. We know they’re right, but why can’t they just leave us in denial?)
Out here, however, she could think her own thoughts, without having them basically read out loud by someone else. Here she was free.
She had yet to learn that real freedom comes hand in hand with loneliness.
He was appearing in her mind more clearly now. She could see the deep blue eyes, the short brown hair, gelled to the left. You call that a haircut? She could hear herself joke about his hairstyle and choice of clothing, nevermind the fact that she had of course always liked the way he looked.
The mental picture made her smile. She thought of his childish grin, the cute faces he used to make, his boyish three-day beard, the noises he used to make during sex. She thought about the nights they spent on the big meadow, looking at the sky and inventing new star constellations, and about the time they had danced by the river in the forest, surrounded by fifty tiny candles. She remembered the first time he kissed her; it had been a rainy day in the summer, and he had come to her house unannounced to take his life into his hands, as he liked to say.
She remembered the first time he told her he loved her, and how she had only said it seven times. Literally. The first time had been at a party, the second via text, which, in hindsight, probably didn’t count. The next two times had been after sex, in the heat of everything, amidst all the emotions that had been floating around the room. Then the fifth time right before they had entered the chapel to his father’s funeral. The sixth afterwards. And the last time had been at the airport, right before she left. Because yes, of course he had come after her, even after the break up. She hadn’t expected anything else, since that had always been what they did; hollywood romance.
Seven times. In three years.
Fuck. She could feel a tear roll down her face. It didn’t get far, though, it almost immediately evaporated. She had to stop thinking, but for some reason she just couldn’t.
And, as it so often happens, with the happy memories came the unhappy ones. The times of pain and hatred. When he had behaved like an asshole. When he had gotten lost in his head, drowning in self-pity. All the times she had wanted him to be social and he just hadn’t been able to make the effort. All of the minutes he had been staring into the candle-lit bedroom with an empty gaze, not noticing her at all.
She thought about how he had always wanted to solve a problem right away. How he would feel sorry for himself because he thought he wasn’t good enough for her. She thought about how much that had annoyed her. And she thought about all the second chances she had given him, and how she hadn’t been able to answer when he asked her why she stayed.
She remembered how much he drank, and how she sometimes despised him for behaving like a child.
Asshole. He was an asshole. 
She had seen him cry many times, while she had never shed a tear, not until now, now that he was far away from her.
She let it out. All the hurt, the hate and regret. All the memories, the fights, the appreciation and love. It burst out of her like a waterfall, her heavy tears hit the ground, wetting the red sand for the blink of an eye, before turning into nothing.

Maybe In Another Movie

You’ve been asking me to write a story, so here I go.

“We’re not in the right movie,” she whispered in the dark.
I averted my eyes from the TV screen and tried to make out her face in the flashing lights.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I mean that if this were a hollywood movie, it wouldn’t have a happy ending,” she said.
“But it is a hollywood movie.” I still didn’t understand.
“I don’t mean the actual movie, I mean you and I.”
I could feel my heart skip a beat. This was serious. I paused the film and turned on the lamp next to my bed.
“What are you trying to say?” I sounded weak, almost afraid. I had no idea why she chose this exact moment to bring up something like that.
“I don’t know exactly. I’ve just had this feeling for a while now that we’re not going anywhere. That we’re always kinda stuck in the same place.”
My heart was pounding in my ears, my whole body was trembling, I couldn’t speak the words that were filling up my head. Please don’t do this. Not now. I beg you.
“I want to be independent, you know? I want to live life on my own for a while and see where it takes me. I’m young and I’d like to see so much more of what this world can show me.” Her voice cracked. This wasn’t easy for her either.
I couldn’t breathe. The words were forming in my throat but they got stuck. I felt hot tears streaming down my face as I looked at her with pain in my eyes. It was all so surreal. So unexpected. Completely out of nowhere, right when I had begun to think that things were finally getting better. I felt pathetic. There I sat, next to my girlfriend of almost two years, crying like a baby. Everything seemed so vain. I stared at her, I stared her down with contempt and sorrow, confusion and anger.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, her voice now feeble, stuttering under the weight of her first tears. She got up and made her way to the door.
“Please,” I mumbled “please don’t go.” My words were almost unintelligible, but she stopped. “Please don’t leave me her alone with myself.” I was still shaking, the crying had stopped, though.
“I’m sorry, I really am,” she said faintly. “I never meant to hurt you. I never wanted it to end like this, but if I don’t leave now I may never do it. And I know that would break me.”
Her words hurt more than any razor blade I could ever drag across my skin. They pierced my heart and let me bleed out from the inside. If you love her let her go. 
She looked at me one last time. Her once so beautifully blue eyes were now red and swollen. Yet, I could still see the feeling they were trying to hide under their curtains of salt: it was pity. Pity for the fool who had given everything to her without ever thinking about it. Pity for the weak shadow of a man she had once loved. And pity for herself, for wasting so much time on this makeshift relationship.
The tears came again as she closed the bedroom door. I buried my face in my pillow and let the pain overtake me.

Don’t lean on me, ’cause I am falling. Please don’t fall with me. And don’t count on me, ’cause I am drowning. Please don’t drown with me. 

Concrete

Have you never wanted to punch a wall? Have you never wanted to put your hand into the fire? Have you never thought of being someone else?

I wish for a thunderstorm in my heart that puts out the flames. I wish for a hand that strokes the back of my head when I’m in pain. I wish for a shoulder that I can bury my head and cry my tears into.

All I want is a bed that’s not always half empty. I’m not quite enough to make it half full.

I want to be held, I want to feel weak and know that it’s alright. I want someone to be out there.

I’m so tired of playing catch in the dark, cat and mouse, house of cards. Because I can’t see with my sunglasses on, and the glue doesn’t hold nearly as long as I want it to.

Why are there always only embers and dark nights? Why can’t there be a fire at sunset? Just for once. And why do I feel like I’m always so lost, stranded and suffocating at the same time?

The glasses break in my hands. My hands break on the concrete. The concrete stays solid.

I’m too weak to fight myself. I fear that I’m going to destroy everything I hold dear.

I fear that my heart is stronger than my mind.

Cheap

Boring. Everything’s so dreadfully boring.

Sure, the pictures still move, and the world still looks amazing in the sunset, but I’ve seen it all before.

I long for a change. A change of everything. I ache for something different.

Because the words are always the same, the dots and commas are at the same place time and time again. And all those maybes make it pretty damn hard to find an actual answer.

I have lost the meaning along the way. I’ve been walking this lonesome path forever now. The words are empty, they’re not deep or metaphorical, they’re just words. How ironic.

Another burnt out cigarette, another empty beer. I wouldn’t trade this cheap brand for anything.

Wake Up

Sometimes the world just isn’t enough. Sometimes even the longest moments are too short.

Sometimes it takes a whole lot of love for someone to be happy, other times just a handful of peanuts.

And once the metaphors have run out and even genuine words just won’t do the trick anymore we sit in silence, watching the water slowly turn black.

Why is it that on this planet of colours the best things always happen in the dark?

Maybe the thing we call happiness is nocturnal.

Or maybe we just sleep too long.

And the Angel Sang

We make our own paradise. It may still be pouring now but we’ll create sunshine.

In black and white, high upon a stage, the angel sang. The wind carried her beautiful voice across the whole trampled meadow.

I keep my demons alive. They can’t die as long as I live.

Many have tried to kill the beasts in my head but they only created more.

Let’s compare scars, I’ll tell you whose are worse.

For so much self-pity, I’m pretty goddamn complacent.

I Write When I‘m Sad

It hasn’t hurt this much in a long time. I know the pain but I still haven’t figured out how to deal with it. What do you do when your heart is on fire?

Maybe I should’ve just let it be. Maybe I should’ve listened to the voices of reason. The words were few, their meaning unclear. And I don’t know what I’m still holding on to.

I never wanted it to be this way. I never wanted to hurt you. I guess I haven’t got the best timing.

The umbrella breaks in my hand as I walk next to the river. Dry tears fall onto the sand underneath me. The rain mocks my sorrow.

Why can’t anything ever be easy?

I Can‘t Cry

“Would it destroy everything?” I ask you. You’re still looking at the sky that’s slowly getting brighter. You turn around. My question confuses you. I want to add more, so that you can understand what I’m trying to say but I’ve used up all my courage for those four words. Suddenly, your eyes change. You understand now. But you don’t speak, you just put your arms around me and bury your face in my chest. I do the same, my head slightly tilted. I take in your scent, your touch, your power. If I’m going to do it, it must be now. I take a small step backwards, brush away a stray hair from your forehead and put one hand behind your ear. You know what I want to do. My eyes are fixed on you, but you’re looking at the ground.

“Don’t do it.”

My heart stops, everything’s cold. Your words hang in the air like an unwanted raincloud. They grow and repeat themselves over and over again in my head. I’m suddenly painfully aware of the fact that it’s 6am on a Sunday morning and that we’re standing in the middle of a street, both still slightly drunk and freezing. You’re slowly shaking your head, your eyes locked on the cold concrete underneath our feet. I know that it’s wrong. I’ve known it from the moment those ugly feelings have first appeared in my heart. The risk has always been too high, the chance of failure too real. But I need to do something with my emotions. I have to take them in some kind of direction. Why I decided to do it on the morning after an escalated houseparty is unclear to me. The reasons don’t matter now, though. We’re already in too deep.

It takes me a couple of seconds to decide what to do next. Don’t do it. I won’t. I kiss your forehead with dehydrated lips and hug you again. You’re still quiet. It doesn’t matter though, your firm grip says enough. You free yourself from my embrace, still holding on tightly to my forearm.

“You want it too, I can see it,” I say.

“I can’t.” Your voice is quiet and weak. You look at me with puffy, red eyes. “It’s too complicated.”

“It doesn’t have to be.” I’m losing myself in a fantasy.

“Life isn’t as easy as you portray it in your stories,” you say, more firmly now.

“I guess not.” I smile a childish smile. I have lost yet again, I realize that now.

“You should go, it’s late.” You’re looking at me with innocent blue eyes. Your words contradict your actions, I can still feel your hand on my arm. You don’t want me to leave, but we both know it would be better if I did. I take you in my arms again and you don’t pull away. I dig my fingers into your back, I want to hold you forever.

My heart hurts, and so does my hand. Today, I’ve fought both a wall and my own mind. And where has it led me?

I can’t cry but the rain takes care of wetting my eyes.

Drunk

Let’s name the monsters that you’ve killed.

As the good guys turn bad we shovel holes to bury the past.

An empty bottle of wine hits the river’s surface, carrying messages for the soulmates we may never find.

For some reason, the things that are closest always seem to be the farthest away. Because you and I are both here right now but it’s probably going to take us another six months before we realize what we’re missing out on.

The sun sets on another day as I look at you with feelings I’ve been trying to hide for far too long. But we’re both drunk and I know that it’s not alright to feel this way.

Let’s name the monsters that you’ve killed. Luckily, you already know what I’m called.

Nothing Ever Happens

The stars should be orange.

There’s a mole in the sky, taking careful steps northward.
A glass of wine loses its balance, painting the lawn red.

And nothing ever happens because we’re too tired to try and too scared to say what we feel. We just lie there, in a green sea of life, while we’re slowly dying on the inside.

Desperation calls our names as we dance in front of the moonlit horizon.
A heartbreaking melody guides our steps towards dangerous decisions.

But nothing ever happens because we’ve already sunk too far and we’ve always known that it would only make us happy for a second. We just talk about how easy it could be, and how hard it really is.

Maybe the best thing to do is to just let it go.
I think I’m strong enough for that.

Because nothing ever happens.