She changed the subject and said she would stop being nervous. ‘I thought my landlord would be, like, bald, gray, and retired and nagging all the time. But you’re different.’

‘I don’t nag ALL the time, right?’


And then, as a surprise attack from a besieged castle, she hit him with this:

‘So, are you, like, rich?’

He raised his eyebrows and downed his fifth or sixth cup of wine.

He was making something like 900 euro a month in rent from the student rooms. More or less. He didn’t keep track of all costs. Sometimes a plumber needed to come over. Sometimes windows needed repairing. Once there had been water in the cellar.

But still, in his mind he made 900 euro a month. The average wage was something like 1200 euro a month. He lived well though. He didn’t have costs that come with a job. No car. No expensive work lunches. Didn’t subscribe to any papers or magazines. Didn’t need any kind of professional looking clothes. His ‘old’ android smartphone he had gotten for free with his internet connection. He didn’t own a tv set and didn’t want one. He could eat chick peas in tomatoe sauce every day of the week and never go hungry.

‘I’m not rich.’

‘Ok, maybe not rich rich, but you can afford to live rich, right?’

‘Materially and time wise I am rich, yes. But I certainly don’t feel rich’

He wanted to say he felt such a gaping emptiness that the only thing that could cure him from the festering void inside him was to tear off her clothes and fill her.

‘I know what you mean’, she said. ‘During the summer I was in Sri Lanka. Met a guy there. Totally hot. Lived in a sort of hut on the beach. Taught tourists how to surf and drove them around in a fast beach car with a sail. He made like 100 euro a month or something, I don’t know, but he was so, so, so HAPPY. The happiness just bounced off of him. And man, he was so damn good in bed. A typhoon of passion.’

So not a lesbian. And now he wished he was a surf teacher and happy and not feeling so desperately useless. Every possible opportunity had been thrown in his lap, and all he did was rent out some rooms to students and use all his time to feel sorry for himself and wondering about squandered chances, roads not taken and friends who had become surgeons, lawyers, college professors, UN dignitaries, hot shot journalists and such.

If he could have sex with her now, maybe, just maybe, he could numb all that sadness, at least till tomorrow morning.