I met Mia her on a cloudy afternoon. I had finished work and she was crying away some egotistic disappointment on a public bench near the tram stop where I was waiting for my tram home. I saw her come walking with grace, and gracefully sit down on the bench, her face impassive and beautiful. I was dazzled by her whiteness and could guess the refulgent blueness of her eyes even at that distance. But what struck me the most was her royal attitude, like a damsel in trouble, someone who wasn’t supposed to be seen by common eyes but to be surrounded by a proper retinue. I wasn’t used to such sights in the middle of my uneventful after-work hours.
I actually didn’t notice that she was crying because her bearing and countenance didn’t betray any emotion. Just when I got closer to her did I realize that there were tears in her eyes. I‘d simply been charmed by her from afar and, after having missed my tram home, I walked up to her bench. It was luckily starting to drizzle and this was all the cue I needed. I had an umbrella and she didn’t. I had opened my umbrella, ready to offer it to her, when I saw the wet sparkle in her eyes. Nevertheless, I carried out my plan, simply saying: “Please Madam, accept this umbrella; it will soon start to rain.” Now, this happened in Poland, therefore the formal treatment, which is customary in this country. She said: “No, thank you,” and was ready to get up and leave, when she suddenly looked up at the sky and a fit of sobbing overcame her. I knew why she’d broken into tears, I felt I knew her as well as myself. I knew that she had seen her own desolation and hopelessness when she realized that she was going to be drenched by the rain just because she’d been so mindless as to go out on a rainy day without an umbrella. I knew this was just the last drop that made the cup run over, but I also knew it was a very bitter cup. I covered her from the drizzle and told her: “Please don’t mind me; I won’t bother you, Madam.” She sobbed for three eternal minutes, evidently making an effort to compose herself in front of a stranger, but when she finished, she smiled at me, and it was as if the sun had appeared amid the rain.
I don’t remember exactly how things evolved from there; everything was enveloped in a magic cloud and things were too surreal to account for them rationally. Even if I remembered every detail of our following encounters, I couldn’t explain why she ever allowed me to kiss her or how come I became the focus of her emotions and tears afterwards. The only thing I remember till this day is her vulnerability; she was like a sleeping tiger, majestic and peaceful, but I could still see her claws beneath her skin. Nevertheless, I managed to get closer to her, and I tried to cheer her up, but she wouldn’t stop worrying and getting anxious about her life and, added to that, now I was also a source of distress for her. Now, whenever she cried for herself, I felt impotent, but I still felt helpful giving her comfort. But when she cried for me I felt helpless. She was very delicate and the minor lack of attention from my part would upset her. At those moments I just had to take her momentary rage and assuage her disappointment by promising to be more attentive in the future.
We lasted a few months; I couldn’t precise how many. I just remember that at that time I got fed up with my job and quit it in the hope of improving my mood, but something wasn’t still OK in my life. The day I took the decision to break up was really sad. I left her crying and upset, but I couldn’t comfort her, as much as I wished.
I met Mya on a my tram home and things just went on naturally. I was standing beside her and a persistent smile from her emboldened me enough to speak to her and get her number. Some may wonder at a girl smiling at a stranger on a tram, but it might have been because we were the only ones on it and my intentions might have been evident when instead of taking a seat, somewhere else, I stood right beside her. On our following meeting we talked about concrete stuff, like our goals in life and what we expected from each other. I told her about my sabbatical lifestyle and she told me about her needs for basic stuff, like travelling and restaurants. She asked me why I was single and I answered that it was my temporary punishment for having broken someone’s heart; then she told me that she didn’t believe in broken hearts and that she’d never shed a tear for a man and would never do. This time her same smile led my arms around her waist and prompted me to say: “Let’s mix our genes,” to which she answered: “OK, but only if you promise you won’t raise the gene pool. I’m already content with the stake as it is.” I said: “Yes, I promise. I won’t accept bets from other players.” And she said: “I hope so, so I won’t have to cut you off from the game” I said: “Don’t worry. You won’t need to cut anything off.” She said: “I sincerely hope so. So now that we agreed on the rules, we can start the game. And by the way, get a job.” I asked: “Is that another metaphor?” She answered: “No, just get a job because I won’t be your sugar mamma.”
We lasted a few months; I couldn’t say precisely how many. I think in the end she didn’t see a future for us. She’d set clear rules and I hadn’t followed them to the letter, though I was really trying to get a stable job by the time she left me.
I moaned for a couple of days, or where they months? I don’t remember. I went out for a walk, even though it was an awful day. I didn’t even take an umbrella with me; I wanted the weather to hit me with all it had. I wanted to expose myself to life’s inclemency. I walked mindlessly for a while till I arrived to the same bench where I had met her some months ago. I sat there meditatively. The drizzle on my face felt like a sweet caress from life. I was enjoying this moment of solitude, filled with the presence of the whole world around me. I was so absorbed in my own thoughts that I didn’t see the girl coming towards me. Now she was in front of me, offering me an umbrella. What did I want an umbrella for? I asked myself, enraged. She’d cut short my moment of communion with life, and she seemed to be set on giving me that fucking umbrella. But one moment after I saw into her face and there was something too similar to my solitude in her earthly eyes. I felt she understood me to the core and her harmonious features and slims silhouette were being wet because she didn’t have the common sense to pull the umbrella back towards her. So I took it, I stood up and cover her with it. We were facing each other and she didn’t budge. Her look was boring a hole in my face. At that moment I looked up at the sky and I felt tears running down my cheeks. I felt I knew what was going to happen. I knew it all already. And I was crying for the inevitability of life, for the fact that I had met her and I knew how it was going to end. But in a moment, I washed my tears with the rain falling on my upturned face. Then I smiled at her and braced myself for whatever was going to happen between us. Memories and presentiments filled my head; I just hoped life would prove me wrong.
“I’m looking for a job,” I said. “Good for you!” she answered me, but let’s start by the beginning. “What’s your name?” “Richard,” I said, and she said: “Nice to meet you, Richard; I’m Emy.”