Dear Universe, I am currently writing to you to make things better. I am alone with my thoughts, decisions and emotions, and cup of coffee. I know I am not the exact person you were waiting for a letter from; … Continue reading
I’m a huge fan of Instagram; I don’t just love the app, I also love their own Instagram account and their Weekend Hashtag Projects (a.k.a WHP if you’re Insta-savvy). It’s the app that uses my data the most, and I am not ashamed or regretful; it took me a while though to jump from Snapchat – where it is a burden to follow people without any social links from any other app, which I understand is easier because of the Facebook Instagram relationship that dates back to 2012.
When I am scrolling through my timeline, here are the 14 accounts that always capture my attention, with my – almost – favorite photo from each.
- Symmetry Breakfast which is too gorgeous to eat!
- Haya is Reading where the name says it all.
- Rani The First who is not a photographer but better than most of them.
- ibird art which is the cutest and most creative sketch of the most talented human I know.
- Beau Taplin whose quotes hit right where it hurts (in the heart, for the funny ones out there…)
- Movement Watches for Women with the most beautiful captures of their watches.
- Playground Tattoo for all her tiny and super gorgeous tattoos.
- The Manki whose motivation is a killer (warning: he runs).
- Best Vacations. No explanation needed.
- Father of Daughters because he has four and he is the funniest dad out there.
- Coffee Cups of the World which has brilliant creations!
- Stance Socks because they’re always super amazing and I’m always super jealous.
- The Knot and the cheesiest though cutest wedding photos – awesome ideas for centerpieces and themes, too.
- The Bucket List Family whose members just travel around the world…
- The Yellow Socks. It’s me. Yey!
PS: If you noticed I did say the 14 accounts that capture my attention because the 15th would be unfair to be among them – it’s my own!
People love lists, and it’s so easy to come across clear and brief when you list items rather than write a full paragraph. I’ve been working at an agency for three years now, and my experience is rather shy. I’m pretty sure many colleagues can have a richer input; but the below comes from a social media specialist’s perspective.
- Brainstorming doesn’t work for everyone, but everyone should be there.
You may not be the enthusiast with all the sticky notes and highlighters and research mentality, all ready to burst ideas and challenge others in a brainstorming session. Some people listen and take notes, and share their feedback or research conclusions via email a few days later. Others are intimidated because of their junior position or the nature of the project. Brainstorming needs a fresh mind, a bit of research before the session and the ability to play both roles, the devil’s advocate and the client. In the creative industry, it is trickier: every client expects you to come up with the next viral idea, and they are righteous, they are paying you to come up with it anyway. You have to read a lot, keep an eye on what’s going on regionally and globally and ask questions to your seniors to research efficiently.
- It’s an agency, there are many faces. Stand out.
You don’t have to wear a green hat or huge glasses for that. The trick is to have the curiosity to memorize faces and names behind accounts. Memorize them, they memorize you. Use the account manager’s name when you address them, say the designer’s name after your cheerful “good morning”, type the developer’s name when you email him. When you’re at a business meeting, make eye contact, sit up straight and keep the clients’ business cards in front of you. When you’re at a networking event, shake hands, repeat the person’s name after they say it and make sure you memorize one feature in them you won’t forget..
- The brief is not brief but it’s your compass.
Do not start without a brief. You will be stuck in a loop of “am I doing the right thing?” for a full day, and then you’d notice you have nothing written to get back to every once in a while. In the digital industry, it’s easy for someone to divert off-brief; you’re researching and one click leads to the other, especially if the topic is interesting. Briefs organize projects and highlight the scope of work – yes exactly the SOW – that everyone working on the project loves going back to when the client acts dramatic over what they were expecting and what they received.
- The best pitch wins, regardless of the hours it took to come up with it.
This is the equivalent of work smart not hard. A pitch doesn’t necessitate you show up at the agency in your pyjamas ready to pull an overnighter to get it done. A perfect outline, a logical flow of slides and data to back up the strategy are the building blocks for that document you’re going to stress about presenting until 30 seconds before you begin.
Read the RFP carefully and check what material the potential client has sent. Follow the brand guidelines, under-promise and over-deliver, and make sure everyone on the pitch is aligned on the expectations of that potential client.
- Be proud of the outcome you produce; it reflects how good you are.
Start every project and every account with the intention of delivering your best, regardless of the awful brief or the typicality of the client. Pour your heart into it and give it your all. But watch out, the client will come back with feedback from the laundryman in the same building as the wife of his second cousin’s stepmother. You can cater to this feedback, and you can be firm about your submission. Should you choose the first option, make the best out of it. Should you choose the second option, explain thoroughly why you think your touch is correct, be it UI/UX, or a line of code, or a fancy description in the About Us on the Facebook page.
- Don’t fall for generalizations; it’s never the same anywhere.
Numerous are the people who work at agencies, and all of them love writing. Sometimes, they contribute to a magazine in a column or add their thoughts on an article, and suddenly, this becomes the new status quo. Really? Six signs you are a creative person with one of them being that you have a cluttered desk. Four ways to tell that your co-worker is a developer with one of them being that his headphones are large enough. Ten books you need to read to seal the next advertising deal with one of them being Sophie’s World. Writing is relative. Opinions are relative. The titles I trust the most are the ones that include a first person voice, that way you are prepared to read something subjective, from the point of view of a writer. Same thing applies to what you hear in those ‘networking’ parties about the ‘head of creative’ being a stylish creep with all colors of pens on their desks or whacko hair.
- Digital is a lifestyle.
Open yourself up to lots of different and new experiences. When I started out in digital, there was a huge temptation to try and fit in with the others. I paid more attention to the digital world around me: apps, websites in both their desktop and mobile versions, social platforms and advertising on them, algorithms, new features and technological updates. It’s a package, and it’s not as simple as knowing the brand of your mobile phone. Digital is a 360 scheme and needs open mind and eyes always on the look for advancements and changes.
Landing there at 6AM was not the ideal thing, nor was it the worst thing on earth, but when you’re traveling and tight on time, you’d rather sacrifice a night’s sleep than a beautiful morning.
Lea and I had been wanting to take a vacation together ever since we worked at the same office; landing on Ölüdeniz in several searches sounded so ideal. Tons of things were on the list for that vacation. Should we visit Pamukkale? Will we have time to paraglide off Babadağ mountain? What about the Butterfly Valley? It was too much, and we knew with only 4 and a half days, we had to do what we really wanted.
Step 1: Check-in, explore the neighborhood and memorize the hotel in fifteen minutes.
Day 1: Beach, fish, beach
When you’re on a vacation like that, you have to be well prepared for a loaded amount of sun and a bit of fatigue at the end of the day. But also, when you’re on a vacation like that, you have to make sure you visit the most beautiful spots before time runs out. We had a quick breakfast at Help Bar, whose staff are friendly and helpful; they mainly suggested how to squeeze a perfect vacation in a few days, what we cannot miss and what we should do as soon as we can. Breakfast was good; basically any meal would be helpful after not sleeping any minute all night long; an average of 40TL per person makes perfect sense.
Next stop was the beach. The Blue Lagoon is something I cannot describe to you. It’s something you have to see, hear and feel. It’s so beautiful, so calm and so inviting you can hardly resist the landscape and the relaxation that comes along. It’s a marvelous place to nap, talk, read, or even enjoy a calm drink. Two beach beds and a beach umbrella can be as low as 30TL.
The first night there still went by smoothy and we were still sleep-deprived but energetic, so we decided to hit the fish market! We took the bus (5TL per person) there, and mind you the buses are convenient, air-conditioned, and accurate. The fish market is an experience of its own, and it’s a lovely one indeed. Choose your fresh fish from the market which is in the middle of the open area, and take it to nearby restaurants to cook it; by “nearby” I actually mean the restaurants around the center. The fish is fresh and the ambiance is lovely; a few musicians drop by to play Turkish tunes that customers dance to while they dine. It’s very well known that you can easily argue for the price anyone gives you in any market anywhere in Turkey, so you’d better get a 1.8kg fish for 30TL max! The restaurant will charge you for the salad and the service, and anything else you order. We had salad, drinks, marinated octopus and fried calamari rings (yum!) for 60TL.
PS: The last bus passes at 1AM, don’t miss it; check the info here.
The night ended at one of the several beach bars there, it’s called The Beach Bar and you can identify it from its lanterns, two surf boards, tall wooden signs and lit bar. We had a glass of white wine (which we later noticed that bartenders fill entirely, unlike in Beirut it’s half a glass actually), and an amaretto sour, which were both good, for a total of 35TL. You should know, however, that being on the beach there means that you will hear and spot dogs, so if you’re scared, keep an eye. The team are friendly enough to play the song you request and they occasionally drop by the tables and bean bags, with a smile and a high-five and a little touristic chat, just as you’d expect.
Source: The Beach Bar Oludeniz Instagram Account
Day 2: Beach, walk, party
A good night’s sleep was all what we needed, and the second day we were ready to explore another beach, something rather private with a few bungalows, a casual eatery and several beach beds and umbrellas: Sugar Beach Club. I don’t usually drink beer but who goes to Turkey and doesn’t have an Efes? I later figured that the place is touristic and not many locals were going there; possibly because there are other places they would rather explore which I would second. A day well spent in the sun, the calm scenery and a one-on-one talk with Lea were really what made it all worthwhile.
Next stop was a walk by the coast, with the vibrant touristic taste of things. You can hear the people laughing and see the kids running, it’s easy to sense that either everyone is on vacation or everyone is really happy. After all, you’re on the coast and everyone there is also having a special time. Our walk was long, during which we were deciding whether to go to Hisarönü, the area famous for its several clubs, or to stay by the beach. The decision was made, and we took the bus to Hisarönü to explore the other things there.
There are two things we noticed: 1) the area is crowded at night, which is good, and 2) the clubs are not actual clubs, they’re just loud pubs. I know that according to Lebanese standards, clubs like White and Skybar are in the cities where nightlife prevails, but our experience wasn’t so bad (photos below are in Lebanon). We went to Barrumba Bar where there was – awkwardly enough – an Arabic one man show with all the songs that sounded not familiar but legit for any tourist to enjoy the night. Next, we visited Grand Boozey and passed outside Revolution. The list is long and the places are nice, and if you’re planning a massive night out, you should sure check everything in this list. (Average drink price would be 20TL, nothing more)
Source: Beirut Night Life
Source: Beirut Night Life
Day 3: Paraglide, beach, drink
I don’t know where to begin expressing whatever I felt before, during and after I did this. But I know one thing, choosing Deep Blue team to do this with was very comforting. From the moment we booked till the day we left, they were supportive and friendly all along.
For those of you who have done this before, please note that paragliding off Babadağ mountain was – for me – terrifying long before I took the bus there. For those of you who haven’t done this before, a 2000 meter mountain is much different than a 1000 meter one.
In the bus, 6 passengers and their 6 pilots took the ride to the top of the mountain, got ready, and flew. All what I remember now is that Osman – my pilot – was very well aware of how much terror was present in those moments. He kept reminding me to relax and enjoy the view, occasionally cracking a few jokes and making sure the whole experience would be memorable. The first 15 minutes were above the clouds, and I have never ever been more scared in my life. Every time I tell this story, I remember a new moment during which I got scared. The remaining 20 minutes of the ride were above the beach, and it was too beautiful to think of anything else.
The existential crisis was when I looked around and found that Osman and I were tied together with two metallic pieces, and the parachute that held us together was merely strings. No motor, no window, nothing. I reminded myself, and he reminded me constantly, that we weren’t going to just die like that or detach and fall to the ground. The ride ended safely and when we landed I was more than happy to put my feet on the ground and lose the floating feeling. The ride was for 200 TL along with photos and videos on a beautiful CD after the ride is over.
It took me a while to get over the feeling and to get back to normal, after which we went to the beach just to lie in the sun and talk over and over again about the experience, Lea being the braver one.
The night ended with a walk on the beach, a lovely talk, a delicious strawberry daiquiri at Help Bar, and more serenity of the waves and moon after 2AM.
Day 4: Boat trip, drink
Part of the magic is the distance your sight stretches at. We went on a boat trip – also booked with Deep Blue – to the 12 Islands. The tour was from 10AM to 6PM, with a lunch on the deck and a few stops for swimmers to jump and cool off.
You feel so tiny and your problems feel so insignificant, and Lea and I were projecting the whole time: How hard life is becoming in Lebanon, how little we can do to change the corrupt system, how hopeless it seems even though we’re fighting to see it half-full…
I remember clearly the last few minutes before we reached the port. I remember how much I was thinking of every unhappy person I knew, and how much I wished to bring them all to that moment, to those five minutes, to that simple piece of mind only 2 hours away from the mess they’re in. I couldn’t help but feel so content to be there yet so sad for everyone I loved. Everyone is frustrated in Lebanon, I cannot even begin to explain to you in which ways and in what forms… It’s like I wanted to shake the misery off everyone’s shoulders but I couldn’t.
That night, I recall clearly all my emotions as Lea and I went walking to The Beach Bar.
I recall how nice of a feeling it was to see a happy face for more than once on the same vacation, and to ask the same person how are you and know how they were a day before. I recall how nice it was that after four days, we actually had familiar faces we could wave “hello” to. We started counting down; not knowing how to say goodbye was the first feeling ever.
Day 5: Waste time, fly back
How do you waste five hours when you have checked-out of the hotel and your luggage is in their lobby? You go to the mall! We shopped till we dropped and ran the last minute checks on our to-buy lists. I also took Lea to Kahve Dünyasi, which is one of my favorites, for chocolate treats and tons of caffeine.
Everyone was so friendly – and sometimes too friendly – and so smiley and so fine. I tried to imagine what it would be like for all those faces to be stressed, or upset, or in different contexts. I wondered what it would be like to be one of them, and not one on vacation. So many questions, and so many memories, and so many beautiful things squeezed in a short period of time!
You can follow the adventures as they happened on #TravelBuddiesDiaries!
Teşekkür ederim, görüşürüz!
Play this as you read.
I haven’t ever gone out with anyone more than three years plus older than me; that alone made me feel scared of all the pre-built expectations in his mind – he’s in his early thirties. I tried to remind myself of all the good and funny chats we have had previously and to relax, and luckily two of my colleagues were there to remind that it’s just a date and the worst that could happen is me coming off like a total idiot and running away.
What in fact consumed my energy was the highly possible difference between him and I. I don’t know about him, but I definitely know about me. Why do those thoughts surface because of something as simple as a date? Because I liked him – even though I hadn’t met him yet – and wished he would stay for a while. I kept thinking about my anxiety and how hard it is for anyone to be with me given all what I go through, how many relationships, dates and outings it has accidentally ruined, how more did I have to endure because of it and whether I should start looking for serious ways to treat it.
Prior to the date, we had chatted a lot and both of us were very excited to meet. We did, and he wasn’t only charming, he was also someone who knew how to talk and what to say. Regardless, my anxiety kicked in, my palms got sweaty and I still had to focus as he was talking about something – I think it was related to Spain. I was so afraid to show this side of me that to me is now normal but to a stranger might seem like the least thing they need to deal with. That was the long story shortened.
What was really going on in my head was a mix of fear of how much we have discussed what we exactly wanted out of all of this, versus how emotional I know I am. This sentence was roaming around in my head “you cannot blame a wreck for being a wreck when it has known nothing but ruins its entire life.” This is hard to explain to him, so here it goes, I explain it to all of you instead:
I have daily highs and lows, and words get to me. I find letting go difficult. The sound of the fingers clacking on the keyboard makes me feel annoyed. The texture of foods between my fingers doesn’t put me at ease. The water droplets on a cold and sweaty cup irritate me. I don’t like people wearing the color red to go out with me. I feel scared whenever my phone rings regardless who’s calling. All the things I went through made me who I am, just like everybody else. All of those plus, I am very loving and emotionally generous, I can easily feel attached to words and hang on to dreams no one drew but me, I don’t like losing people over nonsense, I don’t like feeling smothered either, I find it difficult to be anything but me, I don’t know moderate loving, I can’t handle a heartbreak perfectly, I need time to get over a simple incident that happened to me, I stress over what seems to be meaningless for anyone.
Now reread this: What was really going on in my head was a mix of fear of how much we have discussed what we exactly wanted out of all of this, versus how emotional I know I am.
When I usually go out on first dates or meet someone alone for the first time – especially if we don’t have that much friends in common, I choose the place and I take someone with me or ask someone to join and sit on the other side of the café or pub; the last thing I need to add on my emotional wreck is a public humiliation or a situation I couldn’t escape because I was on my own with a somewhat stranger. Last night, I asked my colleagues to be there as well, and indeed they sat on the bar, with their back to us, not seeing or hearing a thing, but within a walking distance from me if I needed anything. I gave them the green lights to go and that I was feeling good, and they did, and I didn’t feel less safe after that.
His eyes had a small twinkle and his jokes were funny, he was not a complete mess but he sure showed how much he cannot handle mess. His was articulate, rarely falling short on adjectives. He was not like anyone I’ve gone out with before though he typically isn’t special – I’m sure people his age are similar. He’s not planning on staying for long, and it shows, and as long as I am fine with it, I cannot complain.
So now cheers to me, for being able to get along with the whole intensity of the situation – intensity being a very relative word please, and for the possibility of a second date.
At the end, first dates are supposed to be all about seeing whether you two get along.
This is the name of what my friends now use in reference to the ‘test’ my relationship has to pass through when I travel abroad for a short vacation.
Last summer, when I went to Canada for vacation – Canada specifically because my sister lives there and it’s where we usually meet annually – my boyfriend and I broke up because of miscommunication, time difference and frustration. Of course those are not the main reasons, but they are the catalysts. I went this summer to Canada, too. As a matter of fact, I came back yesterday. And yes, a lucky guess would be that the guy I was going out with and I also broke up during my stay there.
The triggers are the same, the end result is the same, but the process of course is different. This time, it was my choice. I had piled up incidents of prioritization with this guy for quite some time, and had observed couples and sought advice more closely, so I learned the following lessons:
- Not everyone is someone’s priority:
I see my ‘family’ once a year, so chances are – and I also explain this because it needs maturity – I will not reply to all WhatsApp messages sent from my boyfriend. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate messages or words, this means that right now, while I am with them, this is the priority itself and not how bad his life is or how miserable his day was or how high the fever or how big the mosquito bite. Against family, nothing should stand, and especially not silly conversations and ‘first world problems.’ It’s nice to know that when the spotlight is not on you, the world doesn’t end, because the spotlight was on you long enough.
- Long distance is something difficult:
I have tried to make things work – twice as obvious from the intro – long distance, but people are sensitive and hidden behind screens. I appreciate the love someone might have for me, but I am zones away, and I left there for a reason, and I don’t have free time to chit-chat, and I cannot lose a minute with my sister, the person I see for 14 days a year, for a digital scheme. It is difficult to make someone understand that the distance is present and I am absent but not different. Nothing changed in my heart when I left there, so no I wouldn’t have taken the breakup decision had he been mature and understanding of how long distance works.
- Mutual respect is cliche and essential:
I know that this is the most typical lesson, but yes, nothing is more important than it. You cannot – after being impolite – tell someone ‘teach me how to be polite’ and you cannot expect people to treat you with respect if you don’t impose your own respect. That is a lesson I learned and tried to teach.
Respect isn’t always in words. Respect is also when you listen to someone. Your reply to my silly “I had a bad day at work” doesn’t have to be “yeah, me too.” It’s not always about you, and not every conversation have to go back to you.
- Not every thought in your head is clear on the ground:
What’s on your mind is also in your mind, and unless said, don’t ever assume someone is understanding the signs you’re giving. Be blunt yet polite and save yourself the hassle. Clarity is something we all claim to love but not all claim to know how to practice. Think back and you will understand and observe how many times you weren’t clear.
- Don’t feel offended by everything:
When you’re chatting or texting, everything can change. Tones can be read differently. Try to put your emotions aside when you read a text, and if you’re having a bad day, make it clear for those who mean much to you. They are the only ones who can excuse you, and want to excuse you.
- Don’t assume. Ask:
This is a trap we all fall into. In our heads, the other person is mad, sad, upset, unhappy, bored, gentle, fake, shallow, happy, amused, high, sleepy… We’re all in states. Ask about which state someone is before judging. Consider that there are things you don’t know, because believe it or not, you don’t know everything!
- Accept help, offer help, and appreciate help:
Anyone who has been around me knows that all the money I make is money for spending; this topic itself is out of question, and I don’t mind spending amounts on silly things if they make me smile. I don’t discuss financials nor remind people how much I spend money for their things, but I definitely expect to be appreciated if I ever went out of my way to help or gift or repay someone. We are all working for the same purpose, to gain amounts that help us achieve goals. If you don’t appreciate the small and big things people do for you, you aren’t someone who deserves them.
Another aspect of accepting, offering and appreciating help is when you know that someone, at least one, stood by your side when it was all shit. You can repay them by being nice, and offering your help in return. Never use someone’s weaknesses against them. Never degrade someone because they don’t have money. Never wait for someone with a bad temper to rage and tell them they’re troubled. Never make anyone feel guilty for being on a vacation and having a great time by reminding them that they’re away from you.
- Don’t want attention:
Don’t be a Leo. In short, and with all respect to Leo readers. You love attention and the whole cosmic world knows that. Horoscopes aside, don’t demand attention when you’re not with someone. When you’re together, you have the full right to want them to notice you and care for you and talk to you. But when you’re not together, understand that their is ‘free’ time and that it is no one’s job to entertain you. If you need constant attention and keep thinking of ways, rent a clown, it saves you the effort of throwing in silly comments or posting egoistic quotes. No one likes a rub-on.
- Make time for yourself:
Another true cliche; if you don’t love yourself and don’t know how to love yourself and don’t know how to be loved, you cannot contribute in enhancing a relationship. It’s a two-way relation. It relies on two efforts, not just one. Take time to be alone and do something with your friends. If you’re constantly bored or feeling useless without your boyfriend/girlfriend and telling them that, you are more of a burden to them. There are plenty of free things to do alone anyway; walks, swims, DVDs and napping are some. Grow yourself, love yourself and be independent. Meeting independent strong people is amazing and learning about their hobbies is something equally great.
- Never make a decision when you’re mad:
It will be the worst decision of your life. Be receptive, accept it when someone talks to you after a fight. Don’t fire missiles when you’re right about something. We’re all right at some point in our lives. Think of everyone around you. If someone doesn’t appreciate you, you don’t have to let it out on those who do. Beautiful people are a blessing. Google what a blessing is, and how bad you will feel after you lose it.
Cheers to being single, all over again.
– Find your motivation from within!
– I know. I’m trying.
– You always did, what’s so difficult this time?
– That I’m not alone in this.
And the more we like to pretend that our mood doesn’t affect the closest people to us, the more we discover how big of a lie it is. I know from myself, when I am down, I try to hide it because I don’t like the general vibe of the feeling. I like to see myself as energetic, as vivid and alive. The moment I don’t feel like that, I try to avoid direct contact with people. I know that it is time to rest and read or write, till I revive and get back on track.
I know I’ve written about this before, and I know I constantly think about this, how motivation should come from within and how difficult this is considering the different characters each one has. Sometimes someone asks me how I do it, and I really don’t know the answer. I mean, I think happy thoughts. This is the silly and hard trick.
We can easily think of how much is going wrong and try to identify the reasons something isn’t just working out. But when something is beautiful, we rarely stop, ponder, and give this beautiful thing the value it deserves. No one is asking you to overthink anything. I’m asking you to think it through.
In case you forgot about that vacation you wished to take, or that awesome article you saved but never got back, I don’t see a reason you shouldn’t be working on those, too.
I can give you endless examples of friends of mine who are working on side projects that are a result of a hobby, sport, or need for cash. Regardless your motive, a lot can be done after you exit the 9-6 job you’re trapped in and most probably unhappy about. I have friends who draw and sell their paintings, friends who watch movies and blog their reviews, friends who dress, snap, upload and gather feedback, friends who started baby projects online, friends who opened a bar, friends who are tutors, friends who are DJs, friends who jog, who train and who escape to nature or travel whenever they can. Don’t tell me it’s impossible. Just be happy.
“As long as you have love in your heart, you can never be lost.”
It wasn’t a major issue for everyone except her. This whole future father-of-her-children figure scared her to the extent that she didn’t want children. She was hopeful and sure she was going to be a good mother, but how can she trust someone who says he’s going to be a good father to be one?
“I cannot relive my childhood with my kids, I don’t want an alcoholic husband.”
And everyone continued the talk, and indeed, once again, it wasn’t a major issue for everyone except her.
She dreamt of nicer memories of him, and held onto those, and made the other ones go away. She didn’t want to remember anything she heard him say, anything she saw him do, anything she smelled in the room or anything she dealt with when she grew up. The topic was her scariest nightmare, and the nightmare chased her. And love and hatred mixed up in bowls to become so homogeneous and so hard to tell apart. Where was the thin line? Was she going to cross it? Can he feel her even though he’s dead? Can he read her mind? Does he know what she really thinks about it? Does he know she blames him? Does he blame her? Why did it have to be so tormenting?
It was a Sunday night, and Sunday nights are all about chilling without worries and efforts. Chilling, yes. But why was she worried?
Every glass of Famous Grouse sipped was a denser thought of him. The voices around her fluctuated between whimsical and hazy.
His voice was clear, and she was able to hear him agree once with someone, disagree and argue another, and tell a funny story about his childhood another. He was light-hearted, and he nodded when they were asked if they were planning to continue together. Why was he so proud and why was she unconfident? Why was he so at ease and why was she scared? She sang “we’re not broken just bent and we can learn to love again” as people continued to talk, and she switched from one foot to the other in his lap.
Her biggest challenged flashed right through her eyes: you either trust this man and be transparent, or not trust him and live I doubt. She lit a cigarette and swallowed her smile with an answer.
She held onto his arm, whispered “I miss having a father” and rested her head on his shoulder.
And the world continued to look beautiful.
“You can do it. Relax. Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out. Breathe in right through your nose baby. I’m here. What do you want me to do?”
She listened to him. Another anxiety attack made her way through their night; their first night together. She was fearing it would happen and hoping it wouldn’t. But it did. And there she was, facing the man she dreamt of but in the weakest positions she can be put in: when her mind was making her feel.
He held her close, and watched her come back to her regular state.
“Look at me. No, look me in the eyes,” he said. She did, and she noticed how beautiful they were. And she focused on listening, nodding for him to start saying what he wanted to say.
“I’m going to love you. I’m going to fall in love with you.” He had a twinkle in his eyes as he muttered those words. She wondered whether she heard correctly, and her mind raced to scan quickly all what they had talked about, all what he had said, all what she had felt. She nodded. She was overwhelmed. But she nodded. And then the pieces of her night fell into place. She lied down next to him, and as he fell asleep, she wrote chapters in her mind. She asked herself a million times whether that was the sane decision, to be with him, at least for now. She asked herself a thousand times whether he was going to start acting weird the next day. She asked herself a hundred times whether he was just another man who was saying just another “bed” sentence. She asked herself ten times whether she really knew who he was. Then she stopped. Stop stop stop. Why the scared thoughts? Why the fears?
She turned to see him. He was still asleep. She kissed his cheek, put her head back on the pillow, and looked at what seemed a starry ceiling.
All the thoughts and emotions of that one nights, all the breaths and the feelings, all the veins, the ins, the outs, the laughs, the kisses and the intensity of a first time couldn’t be more perfect. The ceiling still seemed starry. And that was why she loved it most.