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08. Finding closure
another lil storytime
Okay, listen writing on a moving train isn’t as romantic as I always imagined. Between the sway of the train, the loud voices and 1000 and one interruptions, its not the best place for some flow work.
I am on my way to Berlin. For work. On a Sunday evening. And so for a change, tomorrow morning when this lands up in your inbox, I will actually be awake. I will be on set! On a shoot! How exciting is that? My 30-year-old brain is not okay with the early call time or the need to travel before my morning coffee but the 20-year-old me is mega excited.
But I will tell you more about this next week.
This week it’s story time again!
It’s January 2015. It’s winter, the way it is winter in Bangalore. It’s sunny. The mornings are gentle, breezy and almost a little too cold. But nothing you can’t manage with a light jacket and a scarf. The nights are chilly, but not so much that you can’t go out on a date with a dress on. I am barely 22 and newly single. And I am all over the dating apps. Name one, I am on it.
And I do what all young people do ie. be extremely impulsive. I meet a boy, who can barely be called a man, on Tinder. We go on a couple of dates which always end up being fun in the way things are fun for drunk people in their early 20s. We stumble around affluent neighbourhoods, drinking orange vodka straight out of bottles, go dancing in clubs that charge you a cover unless you are coupled up and make out in cabs that I could barely afford.
A few days after the second date, we decide to go on a trip. Now, in hindsight, I see how dangerous that could have been for me. But I was all about raging hormones and thrill chasing so I use up my carefully saved up scholarship money and get a last minute air ticket to Kochi. I tell my family I am travelling with a friend, visiting “her” family. I tell my friends, I am meeting my family on a last-minute trip there. Not even my roommate, my closest friend at the time, has any idea about this adrenaline-fueled bad decision.
If I could describe the vibe of the trip in a song, it’s Conrad.
<this is when you scroll up, find it and play it.>
It is romantic, it is bittersweet and it almost felt like a fever dream.
This boy I barely knew for a week was suddenly in my bed. Speaking terrible German with the unassuming family sharing our Airbnb apartment. Stealing their children’s chocolates. Driving around empty streets on our rented scooter. Getting lost on the way back from the beach. Being admonished by the police for being out by the water too late in the night, salt water dripping down our hair, sand filling our shoes.
This didn’t end well. Just as these things never end well.
But I carried a residue of this whirlwind affair around with me for years. A couple of months ago, in a different continent in the middle of summer, I was in a crowded outdoor venue with a group of women I had just met and teared up when Ben sang Conrad.
I was 22 again, I barely knew myself, I was lost on Kochi streets, I was uncomfortable in my body, I was leaning back from the passenger seat of a hired Scooty, I was being mistaken as the wife of a person I barely knew, I was holding a camera, clicking photos of this boy I idolized, eating a meal way out of my budget, crying into the seat of an expensive last minute semi-sleeper to Bangalore, crying, crying and crying some more.
But I was also 30, I was happy, I was thinking about my partner who I sometimes exile to the living room because he snores too loud. I was whole, secure in my identity, in a way no insecure boy can mess with again.
I had treasured this unintentional gift of Ben’s music for years. Standing at that concert, my feet aching from swaying to the songs, my clothes sweaty, my heart full, I finally loved Ben Howard for myself. Not for that trip, not for the memories of a boy I had left behind in the winter of 2015, not for what my idea of romance would be.
You could call this closure. Eight years due.
Until next time relistening to all of Ben’s Discography, making my own memories,