Tea & a Walk Around Town
By the end of Thursday, he asked me to go out with him on Friday.
Reflecting on that moment now feels surreal, as I thought I made a meaningful connection with him, yet I had no intention of seeing him that weekend. A co-worker had invited me on a spontaneous 8-hour road trip to Milan, Italy, and although the thought of being in a car for that long wasn’t appealing, I agreed anyway to be a team player. So, when he asked me out, I had to decline and explain my sudden change of plans.
Despite finding him likable, I wasn’t particularly eager to meet him right away. However, he seemed genuinely excited about it, and I didn’t want to disappoint him. When he suggested meeting for tea at Starbucks just two hours after work, I agreeded happily. I rushed home that evening, knowing I had planned to do my laundry and clean my place before going to bed to wake up at midnight to start the drive to Italy. Although I was happy to see him outside of work, I couldn’t help but feel a little frustrated as I audibly muttered, “What’s the rush?” while frantically searching for something to wear.
I met CC outside of Starbucks.
As we entered Starbucks, I could sense his anticipation for the warm beverage he had ordered, but unfortunately, he wasn’t allowed inside because he lacked a proper face mask. It was up to me to fetch our drinks, which I did with ease, and we set off on a stroll around one of the city’s notable landmarks. Our conversation was free-flowing, and we took turns sharing our life stories. As we walked, I recall feeling the biting chill in the air, but more than that, I felt an insatiable urge to confess to him my initial reaction to his presence. I babbled nervously about my heart skipping a beat when I first saw him, drawing a comparison to Tina Turner’s experience with her husband in her documentary. It was an embarrassing moment, but I couldn’t help it. I even wondered if our souls had crossed paths in a previous life. Despite my excitement, though, I couldn’t shake off the nagging feeling of fear and sadness that lingered in the background. I questioned whether his expressions were genuine or just a mask to fit in with social norms.
As we strolled without any particular destination, I couldn’t help but feel a bit uncomfortable as it was an unconventional first date. Suddenly, he reached for my hand, and I was taken aback since I barely knew him. I wondered if it was his way of showing appreciation for my honesty or was he aware that perhaps holding my hand would garner the results he wanted? Despite the internal confusion, I sensed his sincerity as he flashed a warm smile my way. I’m not the best at interpreting others’ intentions, but I knew that his smile represented genuine happiness and maybe even hopes that things would move in a good direction for him.
After that we continued walking the city streets and talking about various things while I pretended not to be cold.
He told me he had very dark humor, which was perfect because I believe I have the darkest humor of the two of us.
I remember asking him when his last relationship was. Asking about his previous relationship was not what I intended to ask him, but I recalled inquiring, nonetheless. I wanted to know about his last sexual encounter, however, I felt that my previous “heart-skipping-a-beat” incident was embarrassing enough. Opting for a more polite approach, I chose to ask about his past relationships instead of his sexual behavior. Nevertheless, I suspected that he was no stranger to the pleasures of the flesh, given his background, and I had a hunch that he had already indulged in at least one or two acts of carnal delights since the New Year started. While I acknowledged that such behavior was likely common for someone of his socioeconomic status, it felt quite unnatural to me.
He confided in me that he had ended his long-term relationship with his ex-girlfriend, whom he met in Southeast Asia. They had made plans to relocate to Germany together, but unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. He had discovered that she had betrayed him while he was working hard to build a new life for them, and this revelation had left him deeply hurt. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the magnitude of his pain, but in the following months, I would document the emergence of a type of trauma in my journal. While this revelation could be seen as a red flag, it was both a positive and negative thing.
In our society, men are often encouraged to ignore their emotional pain, but I didn’t believe that a year and a half or even two years was enough time for him to fully heal from the pain and troubles associated with such a breakup. I find myself pondering why society allows women to indulge in their relationship woes, while men are expected to suppress their emotions and distract themselves with money-making, promiscuity, partying, or vanity. These quick-fix remedies never truly resolve the underlying emotional pain. Ignoring or repressing the pain only leads to a delaying more intense life crisis down the road. Unfortunately, I have firsthand experience with the damaging effects of ignoring emotional pain.
After he finished summarizing his past relationship, he turned to me and asked the same question. Unlike him, I hadn’t been in a serious relationship or had any physical contact for several years. I admitted to him that it had been around four years since I had been in a relationship, but it had been a few years since my marriage had ended. To my surprise, he looked shocked, and disappointment seemed to be written all over his face. He then asked me how old I was, and when I replied, he appeared equally surprised. It seemed as if he had assumed I was much younger than I actually was, possibly around 25 years old. I wasn’t bothered enough to ask him about his age since it didn’t matter to me.
Upon seeing him in the office, I made a quick assumption that he was likely between 33 and 36 years old. Of course, one can never accurately determine someone’s age based on appearance alone. To make a more educated guess, I used his job title to estimate the average age range of workers in that particular position. I also analyzed the company he worked for and deduced the typical age range of males they hired from his geographic region. With enough data, I could have easily rattled off the average, mean, mode, and median age of workers at his company. In the end I guessed his age based on the data alone to be between 29 – 33. Little did he know, I had already constructed a mental image of him, including the possibility that he was on dating apps like Tinder. I could even picture his profile photo, perhaps a nose-down shot of him dressed casually perhaps in gym attire, not overtly posing but showing off his physique and lower face.
As I continued to analyze him, I began to realize that he had a certain level of confidence that might lead him to include a full body photo on his dating profile, complete with his face and all. He probably had no idea how much of a nerd I was, and how I enjoyed using statistical analysis to predict human behavior. While it would have been fascinating to run a hypothesis test on the population of workers at his company, I knew that the best way to get to know someone was the traditional longitudinal approach. With all the given observations, I anticipated our interactions to last only a few months, but I still wanted to truly connect with him on a personal level. I made a conscious decision not to ask for his age that evening, as I believed it wasn’t important as I predicted that our interaction would be short-lived and he would move on to a next conquest by May.
Eventually, we diverted our conversation to other topics, and then suddenly, out of the blue, he leaned in and kissed me. Although I enjoyed the sensation, it was not the kind of kiss I had anticipated, nor was it on the timeline I had envisioned. It felt invasive and impulsive, which were qualities that stood in stark contrast to my own personality. In my opinion, it’s always better to be with someone who is the opposite of me, as a kiss like that would never have occurred had we been anything alike.
Perhaps he was feeling amorous so he made the move!
Looking back on that moment, it’s unfortunate that I couldn’t fully enjoy it. My mind was flooded with thoughts about what was right and wrong, and I wasn’t sure if I was kissing him for the right reasons. While I definitely enjoyed his kiss, I couldn’t be sure if he felt anything for me or my existence. When I didn’t respond to his kiss as he might have hoped, he simply said “okay” and backed off. We moved on to other things and decided to have dinner. After dinner, he walked me to my car, and I drove him to his “parkhaus.” We said our goodbyes and parted ways.
As the night drew to a close, a mixture of conflicting emotions brewed within me. Despite my brain warning me to stop overthinking, I couldn’t help but feel excited about what had just transpired. It was a bizarre internal conflict, but one that I couldn’t deny. Adding to this excitement was a call from an old friend, who was training to be a teacher in Seattle. He was thrilled to hear about my date, as his own life had become rather monotonous. It had been years since I had felt a strong desire for a man. I had focused on work, academics, and travel, without venturing out for sexual pleasures. I was content with my life and hadn’t experienced major depression in years so I was happy to entertain this dalliance. My friend and I agreed that I should invite him over to my place on Saturday. We both saw it as a well-deserved reward.
Saturday, 15th January 2022
The Sleep Over
After the date, I arrived back at my apartment and decided to tackle all my chores, finishing up around 2 am. Before retiring for the night, I texted my co-worker, declining the upcoming road trip to Italy. I must admit, the possibility of seeing CC again was a driving force behind my decision. The next day, I rose early and completed my grocery shopping, then returned home to meal prep for the week. Throughout the day, CC and I exchanged texts, but as the clock ticked on, I grew more anxious about inviting him over. I knew the short notice might make him decline, but to my surprise, he happily agreed to visit between 4 — 6 that afternoon. With little time to spare, I spruced up my place and myself, hoping to make a good impression.
On that blustery January afternoon, I stood outside anxiously waiting for him. As I scanned the area, I caught sight of his car pulling up, and my heart leaped with joy. His broad grin as he strode towards me set my nerves at ease, though I was still apprehensive about what lay ahead. I felt like I was breaking some kind of rule, and at any moment, my parents would appear out of nowhere, scowling at me for daring to do something so audacious. It was like being that teenage girl, inviting a boy over when her parents were out of town, who was afraid of getting caught. The feeling was absurd for a grown woman like me, but there it was.
It was remarkable that he had come over on such short notice, on a Saturday no less. I was amazed that he didn’t have any other commitments.
We greeted each other on the sidewalk then I led him to my place. I recall telling him that my landlords lived upstairs and had become like relatives to me. I then jokingly said I should introduce you one of these days. The look on his face was laughable as he expressed a bit of discomfort with that statement. However, I didn’t mind introducing him to the landlords just in case they glimpsed him visiting me that day. Despite being long-winded, they were friendly people, and not my parents, as only one guy was ever introduced to my parents, and he is now dead. After that, I vowed never to introduce anyone else to them, including my ex-husband, who has never met or spoken to my parents.
The memory of him walking into my apartment for the first time remains etched in my mind. He took one look at me and couldn’t help but comment on my appearance, telling me how stunning I was. I have always found it difficult to accept compliments about my looks, given my past experiences with peers and family members, who made it clear that I wasn’t attractive. Nowadays, when people compliment me, I’m unsure how to respond, and sometimes I find it hard to believe. To me it is similar to a standard greeting, similar to saying hello or asking how someone is doing. I’ve always believed that beauty is subjective and that what we see is a mere reflection of our own perceptions. Our minds create the images that we observe in our surroundings, and each person’s perception of a particular object or person is unique. Therefore, when someone tells me that I’m beautiful, I believe the compliment belongs to them. They are choosing to see beauty in me or whoever else they consider worthy of the label “beautiful.” They are the true architects of the beauty they see before them so they are the ones who are indeed beautiful.
As soon as he stepped into my apartment, he wrapped his arms around me and told me that he was a very affectionate person. He wanted me to know that if his physical touch ever made me feel uncomfortable, I should speak up. We hugged for a moment before settling onto a chair, with me sitting in his lap and facing him as we held each other close. The situation felt a bit awkward, as if the behavior we were displaying was somehow illogical. However, at the same time, there was a strange sense of comfort in his embrace. Later that night, I opened up to him about why I hadn’t responded to his kiss the way he might have expected. We talked for a while, but I can’t recall much of what was said in the midst of that exchange.
Our casual hangout had quickly turned into a Netflix and Chill session. I vividly recall the passionate kissing and physical touching, but what stood out was when he attempted to undo my bra. Despite being swept up in the moment, I found it a bit peculiar because I thought we were just making out and enjoying each other’s company. I didn’t expect things to escalate to sex that night, and I assumed he understood that. Maybe he assumed that it was acceptable to push things further because I was being receptive and engaging in the passionate exchange.
As previously mentioned, he appeared to be experienced in these types of situations, but I was concerned that the encounter would be lackluster. I feared that I would have to put on a show and fake an orgasm just to satisfy his ego. After I initially stopped him from trying to undo my bra, he said, “Okay, we can just watch the movie.” I recall lying next to him with my upper body propped up, gazing across the room at a dresser positioned against the wall adjacent to the bathroom. On top of the dresser was a white storage box housing a pineapple plant I had purchased from Ikea several months prior. Beside the plant was a flickering candle, casting a shadow of the small pineapple onto the wall. I fixated on the shadow and the dancing of the light, contemplating whether I should go through with it. It had only been 72 hours since I had met him, and neither of us truly knew the other. I wondered if the sole purpose of our encounter from the beginning was purely for sex. I wasn’t sure who was using whom, but I suspected that I might be using him as a means to move past my own obstacles and kill time. The decision wasn’t made hastily, as my words may imply. Instead, it was a matter that weighed on my mind throughout the day and evening, right up until the final moments spent lying beside him. Ultimately, I made up my mind to go through with it and hope for the best.
That night, our bodies became one as we explored each other intimately. Although I meticulously recorded every detail of our encounter in my journal, I chose to keep it private and save it for another medium. Our passion lasted for almost an hour, and I couldn’t resist counting every minute of it. Ultimately, I experienced an orgasmic release, and I believe he did too. Although he appeared content, I sensed a daring and skilled lover within him, making me wonder if our initial experience was too tame for his taste.
As we lay there, catching our breaths, I recalled two significant moments from our interaction. The first was CC’s unexpected comment on my physique. He suggested that I needed to “tone up” and perhaps hit the gym to achieve a more desirable body type. It stung a bit to hear such words after an intimate moment. I sensed that he didn’t mean to hurt me, but it was evident that my body wasn’t his type. Little did he know that six years earlier, I struggled to maintain a weight of 110 pounds/50 kilograms, and guys would suggest I gain more weight to be perfect. It was odd to hear similar words from a stranger. The conversation shifted to his fitness routine, including his preferred protein shakes. But, honestly, even if he had any physical flaws, they wouldn’t have mattered to me.
That night, I confided in him about my discontentment with my current situation in Germany, expressing my desire to leave soon. I explained that I felt out of place and struggled to fit in since arriving. However, before I could finish my thoughts, he interrupted and suggested that I join a cross-fit or some social group. I listened to him speak forgetting about my initial statement, leaving my feelings about not fitting in unaddressed. If given the chance, I would have continued, sharing that although it took me a while to adjust, I eventually saw signs that led me to believe that I was where I needed to be at that moment. Even though it can be challenging to exist in this space, I trusted that coming to Germany wasn’t a mistake and that I was there for a reason, even if I didn’t understand it yet. That’s what I would have said if I had remembered my train of thought after his input that I felt had value in this conversation too.
During that evening, he proposed that I visit his place during my lunch break for a quick rendezvous. In my mind, I perceived this as his way of inserting an idea that would benefit him the most in this strange entanglement, we had found ourselves in. His statement that his place was less than a seven-minute drive from work made me suspect that he had engaged in such behavior before, possibly with women from our workplace. Even though he couldn’t see my expression, I made a similar face to the one he had made when I had joked about introducing him to my landlord. Although we had just engaged in sexual activity, I felt mildly offended that he would suggest such a thing so soon.
I asked him if he wanted something to drink and told him I had cider and wine. He claimed he hadn’t drank in a very long time and declined. – 15 Jan 2022
Many other women would have been deeply offended by the insensitive remark he made about toning up. But strangely enough, I wasn’t too bothered by it at the time, even though it lingered in the back of my mind and resurfaced occasionally. It was almost as if it had become a pattern for me to internalize and compartmentalize disrespectful and judgmental comments about my body or behavior, as a way to cope with the many unpleasant words people have thrown at me in my life.
The next day, he left before noon and headed back to his own place. I walked him to his car, and as we stood there, we shared a lingering kiss in the middle of the street. Then he got into his car and drove away, leaving me alone to enjoy my Sunday. I didn’t hear from him for several hours after he left, but I didn’t want to seem too eager or needy, so I refrained from texting him first. When I finally did message him at the end of the day, he explained that his car had overheated and he had to pull over to let it cool down. I wasn’t entirely sure if my memory of the events was accurate, but as far as I knew, this unforeseen car trouble had caused a “delay” for him in getting home. I couldn’t help but feel somewhat responsible for this inconvenience, as I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a direct result of my decision to invite him over in the first place.
Wednesday, 19 January 2022
Why am I in Other People’s Dreams?
In the week following our first sexual encounter, I didn’t hear from him much. It was a noticeable difference compared to the frequency of his texts between the first time we met at my manager’s office and the evening he came over. I had a feeling that something had shifted. Maybe he was just busy, but I couldn’t shake the thought that it was just a one-time fling for us.
How I imagined the outside of the house in her dream to looked like
As I was about to leave my apartment for work, a text from a manager and co-worker came in, claiming that she had a dream in which I had a baby. I paused and read on as she described the dream further. She said she visited me at my house after giving birth, and it was adorned with ornate frog sculptures, propagated plants in beautiful shades of green. The dream ended with her saying I was the happiest I had ever been, and the father was a white man.
While some might have been thrilled with such a dream, I saw it as a warning, as I was not interested in having a baby. It had been years since I had been intimate with anyone, and this dream felt like a sign from the universe that my recent encounter with CC was a warning. I know that literally taking a dream like this and believing it could come true was silly, it was better to be safe than sorry.
Since I had not heard from him much since the sleep over, I figured it was a one-time fling. Perhaps it was much better off that way.
War in Ukraine
As the new year began, rumors about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine started circulating, creating anxiety and uncertainty. Although I had written extensively about this topic in my journal, I couldn’t share everything publicly due to the sensitive nature of the information. By the first week of January, I had learned more about the plans involving this invasion and its potential impact on us, but I still hoped it wouldn’t come to fruition. However, when I met CC, my concerns about the crisis were momentarily forgotten, and I embraced the distraction he provided.
Late January 2022
By the last week of January 2022, many of us started working overtime, including a few weekend hours. Many of us detested it, while others wanted it because it meant that they would get paid for the extra hours.
Following CC’s departure from my apartment a couple of weeks prior, our texting continued albeit with less intensity than before our date. We exchanged good morning and good night texts and occasional messages in between. However, I noticed a drop in his communication after he left and faced car trouble. Despite my assumption that he was probably dealing with his car and other issues, it became increasingly challenging to get him to engage in conversations. In retrospect, I wrote in my journal, “Maybe it was just a fleeting connection.”