The unlikely ones: The girlfriend who never was


She stood, her back towards him, in a very ominous way. He recognized her blond, long hair, her slim but solid silhouette and then, when she turned around, the coarse beauty of her face. She was fixing breakfast; so typical of her, or at least he guessed so, because it was the first time he’d seen her in his own house. He’d gone to hers a couple of times, when he helped her organize a dinner for a group of common friends or when he helped her study for her exam; back then when she still had a boyfriend and she was still in Poznan. But she’d never been to his place. She was a strong-willed but thoughtful girl. The first time, she’d made a pizza crust with whole wheat flour, and she’d used a powder yeast that made the crust almost inedible. Fortunately they’d managed to hide the unearthly taste of the crust beneath layers of cheese, cold-meat, sauce and garnish. Lots of garlic, that was his culinary secret to every dish. But the second time he went to her place, she made a pizza by herself, only for her and him, this time with normal flour and probably normal yeast. “She remembered,” he then thought, “when I told her that pizza is made with simple flour, a pinch of salt and a knob of yeast.”

She was also a playful but committed girl. She’d gone with him to see the Monologues of the Vagina, and, after, he told her that one of the Polish names for vagina is actually a delicious snack in Argentina. She retorted: “Indeed, it’s delicious,” smiling piquantly. But after, when he asked her why she was in a long distance relationship, she answered that it was the first guy with whom it was more than sex. What this “more than sex” meant to her, he would never know. He knew he was French and that she was studying the language. Maybe instrumentality disguised as admiration? And he knew she’d met him during a student exchange in France. Maybe her vehemence to go back to that country? Or maybe simple chance? Maybe love had knocked at her door at the most precise moment? When she was where she wanted to be, when her dreams of French glamour had come true. But later, another dream took over. She wanted to be a dancer and this was only possible in Germany, so there she went, and although she was closer to France now, she was still far enough, and he probably didn’t hint at making a step towards her either, so she stayed in Germany and he, in France.

“That’s how relationships end among earthlings,” he thought, “because of earthly reasons.” One day she was so devoted to her French boyfriend that she couldn’t contemplate being with someone else and the next day she’d broken up to go and follow her dream. But didn’t she know there was a conflict of interests in her heart? Didn’t she deliberate on the impossibility of prolonging her delirium tremens? Probably not. People would avoid thinking for as long as possible. They would deliberately listen to songs in other languages to prevent real thoughts from entering their heads. Spanish speakers would listen to songs in English and Americans would not listen but feel the music. That’s where rap and other popular styles come from: Rhythm and assonance over logic and content. Some people argue that art is illogical, but: What is more logical than feelings? What makes more sense than the need to give away love, the necessity of closeness to others? Every single word that comes out of our mouths has as only purpose to link us eternally to something or someone else.

And there she was. She’d come back to him but she’d never been with him before. He asked her: “When were we together?”

And she answered: “Oh, life as you must be so easy: forgetting everything at the snap of a finger.”

“But I really don’t remember. I mean, I remember distinctly we were never together. You went to Berlin and when you were leaving, I professed my love to you, but you told me there was no chance, since you were already leaving and you didn’t want another long distance relationship. I remember because it hurt, I mean your insensitivity: the fact that not only you turned down my offer but you also compared me to your ex and left me behind, together with him. You put it all in a bag and threw it down the river.”

“You really don’t remember, don’t you? Another of your writer’s lapses of memory​​? Too much writing fucks up your reality.”

“I think I’m very able to discern reality from fiction. For instance this you, here, now, is real, but the situation is surreal. I don’t even know how you entered my house.”

“This is more serious than I had thought then. But do you remember anything? What’s the last thing you remember?

“I remember that time when I took my mother to the bus station. She was leaving for Argentina and I saw you, leaving for Berlin. You’d come to visit your parents.”

“And then?”

“What do you mean and then? That was it. Last time I saw you.”

“And that I missed the bus because I absentmindedly stood on the wrong platform while talking to you? And that I was desperate and furious at myself at first, but then I saw it all… A breakthrough in the monotony of my life: Falling precipitately in love and putting my goals and dreams above everything else, even my own happiness. And that you never let go of my suitcase and you took it home with you and I followed you, making strenuous efforts to not deride your childish attempt at manipulation. You put the suitcase down ceremoniously beside your bed, in the place that had been occupied by your ex girlfriend’s suitcase. In the place it still lies.”

“That’s not true,” He said, but there it was: A red, elegant suitcase.

“It’s all true. You even wrote a story about it.”

“But that story is fiction. You left and I wrote what I wished to have happened. That’s what fiction is for.”

“But also to document reality, and believe me, this is real.”

“No it’s not. I’m dreaming.”

“You may be, or maybe you’re writing. Aren’t you?”

“Yes. Yes, you’re right. I’m writing down every single word you’re saying.”

“That’s right. So then simply write it as you want it to be, rather than as you think it was.”

“I will. I will. So what happens after breakfast?”

“You go live your life and I’ll wait till you come back.”

“To this fantasy?”

“To the reality I represent.”

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