Is it really worth it?
He was the first boy I’d met on my first night in Cape Town. I’d braved a bustling restaurant on my own. Happy to observe, prepare and contemplate the months of travelling in store. This was the start of something big for me.
By 1am we were the only ones left in the bar. We didn’t notice. Our individual weirdness had struck a pleasing chord. He was four years my junior. We didn’t kiss. Engrossed in conversation, our intellects relished the lengthy foreplay. One of my thighs came to rest in between his legs and the touch was electrifying.
The bar closed at 4am and, reluctantly, we took to the streets. Walking drunk and aimless, we staved off a mugging and laughed like school kids at the ridiculousness of it all. At our stupidity. That, in a strange way we were happy to tick the experience of our list of things to do in Cape Town. Shaken by the experience, I slept in his bed and we urgently kissed in the dark.
The following day passed quickly and then slowly in thoughts of him. A fan of long, glossy black hair. Chunky glasses that framed his proffered thoughts with sexy conviction. I was hung over, but happily lost in daydreams.
Could I see him again that night? I had no other plans. I mean I’d just arrived, a lone traveler on the loose. But 2 nights in a row would have been out of the question so early on in the Melbourne dating scene. Monologues coursed in my head like a stuck song. Because, secretly, I relished them. I fed and watered them. Just another lovesick record stuck on repeat.
It turned out that there was no need to dance with him, around busyness and timeliness and how each of us felt. We each fell strong and hard for the city and each other as we navigated it. We revealed deep, dark things that tend to stay hidden for months - or never come to light. I trusted the intimacy. It was harrowing when we tore away from each other for one night. I missed him. And he missed me. We told each other so. We spoke of travel and love and being alone. “I want to show you Graz,” he purred. “And I want to show you Melbourne,” I echoed. It was sick, but happy and safe for us. I trusted him. “Happy one week anniversary!” I said over Tuesday wines. More giggles, and panicked urgent stroking. Bottomless longing.
Take a lover who looks at you like you are magic said Frida Kahlo on instagram. He looked at me like I was all the magic in the world. He was beautiful and I felt worshipped. We drank in beers and each other’s loveliness at tables in the sun. He floored me. I surrendered. I was lost and didn’t consider the consequences.
Except that five days later, as fiercely as it came on, I was angry and he was distant. I realised, hopelessly, that he and his friends were all I had in Cape Town after 12 days. And without him I probably didn’t have them. I’d grown accustomed to the easiness of it and had let go of my golden rule of traveling: accept every invitation.
We had hired a car together. I owed him money and had his passport. We lay in bed in the darkness and admitted defeat after 12 days, discussing the custody of our shared possession. Our romance had been lived in fast forward and ended with the same spontaneous combustion from whence it came. I lost my magic, he my trust. It was over and I was crying (why?!) that I had fallen for it. That I’d have to start again. That I’d been cowardly enough to hide in his arms without thinking twice. But would I change it? Would I go back and really think things through?
No. I wouldn’t. Because the beauty of travel and of love is embracing the unexpected. Indulging new feelings, abandoning personal expectations, and the boring norms that infect our stationary lives. I travel to colour my stories with the lives of others. And nothing is more colourful than love, honesty and heartbreak. Nothing more brutal and hot. More sexy and daring. As long as you know that with the highs come lows, and that it is not forever - but nothing ever is.
The key to embracing and enjoying the micro-relationship is to be unafraid. Throw yourself in head first. Be selfish. Do want YOU want to do. If you want to call them: go right ahead. But be prepared for the truth. To turn the page when the time comes. To learn. Laugh. And if necessary, haul-ass to the next city in a heartbeat.