Last Thursday evening, I went to Ursula and Steve’s. I wanted to work on one of my animation projects, and I just didn’t want to be alone in the dark … The eternal darkness that Berlin is covered in, during the months between November and March … So I worked at their place. Finally, late at night, we began talking, and I started venting my frustration and anger and sadness and loneliness that I have been fighting against, and grappling with so much, during these endless dark days. This winter, this Christmas break, is probably one of the worst I can remember in recent years … psychologically. I don’t know if I can deal with this again. If I’m in the same situation next year — single, by myself, in Berlin — I’ll need to do something to avoid this. This is unbearable.
I had been proud not to talk to anyone about N, but finally I ended up telling them the whole story. I’d gotten to the end of the line, and I just needed to talk … And my next appointment with the therapist was still over a week away. It became a long conversation, in which Steve explained to me a good deal of things about Italian women. It turned out that he had had some interesting experiences during his university year that he had spent in Paris: He told me about how Italian women he was sleeping with still swore eternal fidelity to their boy-friends, almost during the act, on their phones. And how an Italian woman who’s been promised to some man will almost invariably marry that man and follow some family guideline and rules and won’t be won over by someone else who comes along and seems interesting. This was not something I wanted to hear, but it had a remarkable effect: when I woke up the next morning, it was almost like I had a hangover, feeling sad but relieved of some strange burden, and returning back to my old proud self which I had been for weeks now, at the end of last summer and during the fall. The same proud self who was actually interesting for women (N included), and who was not making himself small, and suffering, and feeling inadequate and sad, like I had done these past weeks.
I have found a new balance now, and I am no longer agonizing over N’s reactions and the things she may be doing, and the things she may be thinking about me. I am me, and rightly so, and if there is something that can happen between us when I get there, then it will. And I will figure out what that means then, and until then I will be my own self. Damn it.
That feels better. The darkness is still here. But something in my has a little more light and happiness now. It’s not easy to tease out. But it’s there, I know that it is, and that already feels better.