» I see in Shades of Blue.
  • I see in Shades of Blue.

    Jul 28th • Posted in love, personal, travel, writing

    You listened to Joni Mitchell’s Blue while you were abroad. Some might say you listened to it an unhealthy amount, but you beg to differ. Something about the timbre of her voice resonates with travelling, long distance train rides and loneliness. Because that’s what the feeling really was, right? Loneliness? Familiar faces turned into remnants of their former selves. Travelling changes a person– there’s something about being alonenakedafraid that either helps their personality shine, or highlights their frailties and flaws. You are the latter. It’s OK to be the latter.

    Instead of spinning around and kicking up dust in Parc Guell with your friends, you will watch on with envy and a wistful smile. You will walk for hours on end in Hyde Park, trying your best not to cry. An old Filpino lady with a kind face sitting with a beautiful King Charles Cavalier Spaniel will take pity on you, and she’ll walk you back to the train station, because your chubby face reminds her of her niece. You will avoid drinking mass amounts of alcohol, but succumb to your illness on a night out in Camden Town to get your money’s worth. You will try to fill the void with different men– some who find you even more endearing because you refuse to tell them your name. While it won’t help the hurt, these men somehow make you braver: you keep the lights on, you refuse to shave your legs, you tell them to just how to curl their fingers inside you to make you moan.

    All you want is happiness– to find something to fill the emptiness.

    For all you do find, you still don’t find “it.” (But you do find the love of your life.)

    The blaring of early Disney era Demi Lovato wakes you up. Not like you got much sleep in the first place.

    Your breath smells like day-old burger and beer. His lips taste like you. You take a shower together and you enjoy the tingling sensation your heart feels when you feel his eyes watching you.

    You will wish that you had been more sober so you can remember what the sex felt like, if it was any good. Not like it matters anyway– you still recall the most important parts: how he cocooned you in his arms at the end of the evening, how gentle his kisses are, and the coy smile you got whenever you noticed the way he kept studying you.

    You don’t know it yet– but this one will teach you more about life than the others have.

    Thank god for birth control and prophylactics, you say to yourself every time you let someone else inside you.

    Crimson splotches still top the rest as the best Christmas present you’ve ever had.

    You’ve concluded that the best parts of travelling are not the ones so easily advertised on Thought Catalog, or on whatever millenial-age collective of bullshit wisdom written by people who don’t know their left foot from their ass.

    When you find yourself walking home at midnight after a failed date, and you stumble upon the art nouveau Municipal House in its full glory, you realise “Wow, shit. This is the best part of travelling.” You arrive at the hostel living room, silent and empty, and end up greeting a friend as she stumbles back into the common room with flushed cheeks. The little things are the best parts. The ability to get lost, but find some strength in yourself, to get out of your comfort zone. Eventually, you’ll stay up for a couple hours talking to one of the Swiss guys that you ignored while you were out and get to know him a little better. You will miss these people, these moments, this city– but something inside of you needs to move up and out again.

    But you enjoy the moment and laugh when everyone else stumbles back into bed.

    The next morning, you’ll pack up and leave, but not before sharing a conversation with one of the Australians in your hostel room. You give each other shit for being sappy lovefools (you fell for a French man back in Paris, and he tamed his debauchery for his lady back at home,) and then go your separate ways.

    It hits you in waves: first in London, then again in Paris (the second time around,) but it hits you the most in Berlin– right before you leave.

    But maybe that’s just how it is when you love someone who cannot return it in tenfold so you let it sink into your bones. You’ll write a blog about it. You’ll keep writing letters. And when he comes back to you, you’ll see the loneliness in his lies. You play along, but realise, my love, that this is the start of something wonderful. Sugar taught you what the fuck was in life. So heed her advice, embrace the fuck in life.

    Joni, Joni, Joni. She gets you.

    But you wonder if there was an ‘ever after’ to returning to paradise. You wonder if she feels the emptiness and ache, the dullness of familiarity eventually setting in. Home is no longer the same place it once was. West of Clark Street no longer scares you– in fact, as you sit in your cab on the way to brunch, you wonder why you didn’t go there more often. Belmont feels stale, and you can’t shake this feeling of restlessness. You call up your former flame and ask him to meet you for a cup of coffee that you hope will lead to a good afternoon fuck, maybe to fuck the numb away.

    The cup of coffee turns into a venti iced Oprah Chai, and the afternoon fuck with the flame turns into a one-night stand with a sexually ambiguous man you met off the internet. You shed a tear when he comes on your chest. You cry after he leaves.

    Maybe you should have stayed in Amsterdam.

    Business class never felt so good. You settle into your seat, look next to you: empty. Two seats for youself.

    You wish you were in Barcelona with the fuck of your life.


    Congratulations. It’s over.

    For the first time, it doesn’t feel like you’re drowning. You’ve been drowning a long time and didn’t even realise it. Doesn’t it feel nice to come up for air? Give yourself some credit– you did this by yourself, for once. You didn’t need someone to fish you out and sink you back down again. You’re on solid ground again. It will take you awhile to learn how to walk, but baby steps are key.

    Someday you will look back towards the river and laugh. You crave bigger masses of water now.

    You cast our your line via iMessage.

    Surprisingly, he bites.

    Serpentine, he slithers around you– tempting you with his smooth words and provocative looks. But you’ve aged, gained some wisdom. You’re privy to his tricks, and notice that the strings tethered to you have gone slack. The smoke and mirrors disappeared, and now you’re left with each other.

    All you can really do is laugh, and mess with him a little. You play around until he makes his point.

    “I’m busy. So if you aren’t going to do anything about this, I’m going to go now.”

    You throw away the glass. You were never fond of red wine in the first place: too cloying as it slithers down your throat, and makes your whole body feel warm. No more getting drunk off his lust. Give yourself some credit– even if you did, you still have the strength to walk away.

    You never understood the sum of love and all of its parts until you met him. It may have been “one night,” but this man has taught you more about love, and yourself than formal education ever have, or ever will.

    Your heart doesn’t ache when he isn’t around, simply because more often than not, the distance will keep you two apart. His cynicism and realism tether you back down to him and keep you grounded– something you appreciate after drowning for so long. Your days and nights will start and end with him, respectively. You’ve been seeing things in shades of blue, and he’s pulled you up into reality. You are not perfect. Neither is he. Sometimes you get upset because he starts to sound preachy, but you realise his words are heavier and come from a place of love and respect.

    This is when it all changes. Your flirtatious texts turn into long, sprawling conversations about love, life and loss. He sees the pain behind your words and tells you how it is. He does not sugarcoat it. This man teaches you how love can transcend and have no boundaries– that something can be fun and meaningful without the expectations. So while you wish you were back in his arms, you realise this is more than that. More than a distance, and more than anything a solid romance could ever give you.

    This man teaches you how to fall back in love with yourself, to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and find strength within yourself.

    And while he brings you back down to Earth, you find you would rather pick yourself up and fly away.

    He’s done his job.