Ik hoop dat je me blijft verrassen
I wonder if he remembers the time we played truth or dare. He proposed the idea like every suave 17 year old should ask, with the twitch of a carved jaw and the flick of an eyebrow that “he does absentmindedly.” But he doesn’t. You think he does. I thought he did. But trust, he knew. And I giggled and said sure like every stupid adolescent girl will for a handsome pair of brown eyes dusted with gold around 2am. We go a few rounds before it goes where it always did for me. By now I know that he didn’t get along with his family, he was a democrat, I knew his most embarrassing story, his aspirations. He wanted to work at NASA, and write books like I did. And he knew what I looked like minus the yellow sweatshirt and ponytail I had when we started. Oh and my middle name, but only because he asked, “what about you?” with a lopsided grin after I learned that his was Eduard.
I wonder if he knows I can barely write about him still and it’s been ages. I think about it sometimes. But I still only manage to sheepishly slip bits of him in here and there. Untraceable mentionings. I’ve tried. I’ve written out entire pages that may as well have been blank as they were when I started. After him I learned the art of talking about a 6 month period of my life for an hour and still saying absolutely nothing. It’s not that I’m not over it, I just don’t know how to access that place in the dark anymore. It wasn’t something confrontable, the only chance I had of survival was just to look straight up at the sun and keep moving while my retinas burned blue and green until another few months had passed. And when they did and I finally assessed the situation in front of me, my eyes clouded around the spots the sunbeams had left behind. So I scraped up the fried ends of what remained of the organ that had been harvested from my chest and barrelled on. And even still, here I am going on in my infamous circuitous manner that only seems to come about when I try to recall the things that happened between him and I. Sometimes I convince myself they weren’t even real. And maybe they weren’t.
I wonder if he remembers the part of the conversation that made my cheeks burn hot. The vulnerability I gave him before truth or dare at 2am went where it always did. The words I gave to this boy that still prick at the corners of my eyes like needles before I manage to swallow the lump in my throat with a smile. “Tell me something in another language.” He prompted. Fiddling with the eagle charmed chain that rested on honey kissed skin between his collarbones. His eyes burned holes into mine and I stared back expressionless. “Ik hoop dat je me blijft verrassen.” I said almost at a whisper. He never asked me what it meant and I never told him as he accepted my answer and moved forward with his unintentional intention.
And as I went to bed that night my mind ran dizzy over our conversation. I was so effortlessly taken by him. Sometimes when I was asked to list reasons why he gripped the wrinkles on my brain I made up a few. Because I was convinced nobody would get it except me and him. I was wrong because the only person who got it was me. I still smile when someone says his name, a shameful childish smile that should be slapped from my face. Because I was his fixation for a moment. Tattered butterflies swarm somewhere hollow inside me. I wish he asked me what the stupid words meant. Because I can’t seem to write them out. To put that dated truth into the universe for the beasts of the field to shred and devour. I know that when I do maybe I’ll have to face the irony of the statement that once made my heart do acrobatics in my chest.
I hope you continue to surprise me. There I said it. These are my wilted words to him. Frozen in dutch translation, preserved in the cryogenic chamber of his amnesia. If I saw him again I think I’d scream these words out of necessity. I hope you continue to surprise me. I’d chant it from afar and maybe he wouldn’t hear a thing. And I tell myself this is what it would take for me to be okay. If by chance a breeze carried my words to his studded ears, maybe I’d rattle on. “Consider me surprised. Consider me shocked! Really.. “ And swallow looking up at the sun to feel the familiar burn on the tears that threatened to form when I thought about the time we played truth or dare. Or the time when I shamelessly took you in perched on the counter while you did the dishes. Or the time I read you scary stories in my best British accent while you stared at me with a look I thought was near impossible to fake. And maybe I’d have the guts to look back at him. And as a tear fell. Staring into his eyes. Those damn eyes that managed to end the world as I knew it. Maybe I’d finish. “Or don’t, don’t consider any of it, especially not me. You never did.” I’d bite my tongue as I walked away suppressing any glimmers of hope that sparked from between us when his body was in proximity to mine. I’d pour gasoline and drop a match on every thought I had for us and watch the flames lick at my favorite memories of us that I had posed nicely in front of every time I broke for you. My fists would be clenched tight until the stains of cinder and soot danced around me. Uncurling my fingers and addressing the nail marks in my palms, I still think I’d find a copy saved. A salvaged pathogen unknowingly protected from the embers. Ik hoop dat je me blijft verrassen. The words bleed from my nails dug into my flesh. “Maybe I’ll have better luck tomorrow.” I’d gasp my throat raw from smoke. And then maybe, I’d turn and go home and try to write about it. And nothing would satisfy the everlasting fulfillment those words scabbed into my hand needed. And nothing would budge them or shape them into anything more than the hinge my next breath rested on.