Z had fallen asleep after four orgasms. Three with his tongue, one from penetration, in the only position she could come from penetration alone, standing up with her legs straddled round his waist. He’d had his usual expressionless face and he felt guilty about that. His robotic way of having sex bothered her. Still, the orgasms had had their effect and now she was sound asleep. He’d done his duty.

He was sitting on the couch with ‘Baby, baby’ by The Vibrators on repeat.

‘Mmm, you’re so pretty

Not to talk to you would be a crime

Aah, let me put my arms around you

Just wanna use up a little of your time’

He reread what he’d written her after their first date. O had seen it as an after work meeting, John had planned it as a date.

Of course, she was wise enough to know he didn’t ask any other colleagues to go and drink something after work.

He reread what he wrote to her in an effort to understand his own feelings. And to relive the moment. He missed her so much, his skin burned, he missed her so much it didn’t feel like butterflies, but like a herd of buffalos was stampeding in his stomach. He shook his head, thinking how he could have these kind of feelings at his age.

He had written his letter in the ‘you’ form, but wasn’t sure why. Maybe because the whole thing had seemed like a movie to him. Too good to be true?

You are in a foreign land, and you feel at home there, though you feel like an alien everywhere. You are surrounded by people who live on the surface. They nibble away at life’s edges, and don’t grab a spoon to really dig in. A little bit too much is just enough for you. If you don’t get the whipped cream all over you, every nerve in your body becomes unruly and asks for more.

Most people you meet have no awareness of why they do what they do in life. They live in boxed lives and are too scared or too numb inside to get to know others and to let I-boundaries blend. You think we are not meant to be locked into the illusion of the one person, one mind, one world prison. We evolve through others, we are not I, we are the sum of the I’s we engage with.

You bump into a scrappy, buxom woman, with a rare blend of feminity and almost a macho form of confidence, a Latino vibe, and a thundering voice as of a 1920’s Afro-American blues singer in a smoky night club in New Orleans. Her feminitity is of the kind that tears through you and hits your masculinity and reminds you of who you are. She has an uncanny ability to pick oufits that magnify her appeal. She’s aware of her beauty and she has no qualms about exposing it. Not so much in an exhibitionist way, but almost as an act of rebellion: here I am, deal with it. She knows the power she has, but not fully, perhaps she’s reluctant to use it, perhaps she’s tired of using it, perhaps she would like to shed her exterior and be seen in naked spirit as who she is and not what she looks like.

She speaks in a langurous tone, which makes you think she’s risen from the Danube river like a Slavic Rusalka, with her smooth pitch-black hair and finely lined, but still thick, almost defiant eyebrows. A rather round face, with a bigger than average-sized nose, that makes her face stand out in a crowd and for some reason reminds you of Gogol’s story ‘The nose’.

Black and white are really her color, preferably a white blouse and black pants or a black skirt, and you think she could stop your heart if she would use sea-blue or sea-green eye-shade. She shows cleavage and her breasts are full, although you seldom look at breasts, you are definitely a thigh man, drawn to silky hair, and a sandmill figure, but to your surprise you find yourself glimpsing this girl’s breasts, and you pull your eyes away, because you associate staring at breasts with macho guys who smoke, watch sports and are mute when it comes to articulating what goes on inside them, let alone in others. You have absolutely no restraint when it comes to staring at the rest of her.

You wonder where this girl tanks her self-confidence, and to what degree it’s an act and to what degree it’s genuine. It seems genuine, but is self-confidence ever truly genuine? You are a therapist, you’re used to the fact that all people come with baggage, some are just better at compartimentalizing it.

You find yourself avoiding this girl. You don’t go where she is. You do not want to play the boring role of the moth to the flame, your teenage days are long gone, you refuse to try and impress her, women see through that anyway, and you have hunch that there’s more than meets the eye in this girl, but you’d like to be sure. And you have made some sort of fragile peace deal with some semblance of stability. Your intuition tells you she could shake things up. There are no real up moments, but the really down moments are also not there. Sure, there’s much more to life, much more. And you know she is it. If you take one step in her direction, you know it will strike a chord, you know she will get under your skin. You know she’ll bluntly throw you on yourself as you are, but you’ll do the same to her. No beating around the bush.

There’s the rationalizing you and the natural you. And the natural you always wins out in the end. You find yourself taking her to a bar in Bratislava that in your opinion invites a real conversation. A pity they didn’t turn the heating up a notch. You see that she’s cold, and you don’t want her to be cold. She must be cold, because you are a bit cold as well, and you’re a guy. They way she wraps herself in her scarf tells you she is good at looking after herself. She fits exactly into one of the burgundy (or is it scarlet?) colored seats. Her body language is somewhat closed and sceptical at first, but there is a strong undercurrent that’s eager for an unmasking exchange. You feel yourself coming alive in a way you can’t remember anymore. She says things as they are, she’s remarkably unshockable. You don’t believe in astrology, but she has quite a bit in common with her Aquarius star sign. She values her freedom and personal space and stands guard over it. This girl is happy to be the one who is holding the reins, deciding the tempo and taking and keeping the intitiave, though you feel she also needs the roles to be reversed. Her deep-rooted reflex to avoid being controlled or in the hands of someone else, means she will only go there where she doesn’t feel pressured to go. If a man wants to be with her, his only chance is to let her come to him and meet him on her own terms, perhaps even on her own turf. For this girl the proof is in the pudding. Her connections must be intense, but elastic. She’s too self-reliant to give herself up to the whimsical mercy of a guy, and when she feels trespassed or betrayed she will cut the cord.

She knows she has a look going on that resonates with guys in an uncut, raw attavistic way, a look that hits you right in your human core from before the time humanity was placed in a cultural straightjacket. You let it and accept it, the nagging ache of it, and the blissful appeal of being momentarily freed of any other thoughts, just drinking it in. At the same time though, you wish it wouldn’t matter, and you feel a wave of relief when after a couple minutes the way she looks fades to the back of your mind, and what’s inside takes complete precedence over anything else. That’s where the real thrill is, that’s when it gets interesting. You’re completely tired of playing time consuming silly games.

If it was her rare, unapologetic self-confidence that drew you in, then you stay for her quick-witted insight and piercing remarks. Her ease by which she discards any sort of taboos and her openness to learn and experience new things. And especially the fact that she challenges you, and goes straight for the essence in her questions. You feel she is nurturing, almost to a fault, yet at the same time you sense that she can emotionally shut down and barricade herself better than a nuclear bunker. She’s anything but clingy.

She’s gone through a lot of shit with men, she knows men, not 100 percent, as she’s never been a man, and you can’t fully know what it’s like unless you are one, but she’s far from naive and good at reading signs and picking up on cues. She’s been there, she knows the drill and she’s bored with it.

When she descibes how she ended her longest and only relationship that she was deeply involved in, it flashes through you like scenes from a movie. She had written cheater in big letters, left a letter, she sees it as her drama queen episode.

You find yourself retaining objectivity and you are open to discover her flaws , you look for the extent to which she manipulates herself, how much she controls and directs her thoughts, to what degree she sabotages the fulfilment of her needs and desires. We all do this to some extent, and it’s a quitessential human trait.

When she lowers the draw bridge and shows you around inside, at least in the anterior chambers, you automatically switch into the therapy mode. You are fully aware that you can’t be her therapist, and you need to remind yourself of that fact, you can listen with the ears of therapist, but you can’t be her actual therapist. You don’t to be her therapist. Plus, it would be unethical in several ways. You forget about time the more she discloses. You cannot quite pinpoint what exactly it is about her that right now makes you feel you don’t want to be anywhere else but here. And even though she claims to really want a husband and have children, you are not sure if that sort of intimacy doesn’t scare the living daylights out of her. The kokology experiment the two of you engage in certainly suggests lots of scepticism and a big reluctance to let someone get very close.

You are both offering some things you almost always keep hidden. And you both hate judgemental behavior. You are both insouciantly accepting of others. You share family history that is usually filed away in an archive in your basements and there’s the potential Damocles sword of the 9th of November that determines a lot. And the liberating bits of information, such as the way in which she satisfies certain needs, in a practical way without complexes. Her longing to raise children. Her blueprint that didn’t keep up with circumstances, the vulnerability when she talks about her age.

The rather sullen looking waitress almost prods the both of you through the door of this little hide-out for people that have a taste for life, like a wine connoisseur has a penchant for the more complex vintages.

To face the chilly night she turns her shawl into a head scarf and she quips that it makes her look muslim. Not realizing how this emphasizes the self-denying restraint this girl is capable of. She asks if you’re ready to move to one of the mainstream places, and you head to the Irish pub, at that point not noting that it sort of befits two English teachers to spend the wee wee hours of the night in a pub dedicated to the charm of Old Eire.

The soundtrack -the sound system was blairing out The Foo Fighters- could hardly have been any better, although by this point you’re so inebriated -from the alcohol- and intoxicated -through her- that you can’t make out the lyrics anymore. Perhaps they could have thrown in ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ by the Clash, or ‘you’re poison running through my veins’ by Alice Cooper. You can inbibe her scent now, and it’s feral. It’s not the scent of an insecure girl trying to impress, it’s the scent of a woman who can rely on herself and is self-sufficient enough to be picky and distant if she chooses to be. Even though you have shared a lot, there’s never the possibility to be in someone’s else’s head, and the all too human, sometimes faltering, sometimes near perfectly timed dance of trying to communicate something that is resonating within you, is often a messy, clumsy endeavour, but that’s exactly the magic and the beauty of it. The never ending aspiration to exchange missives and establish ever more faster communication lines. And there is the necessary polarity, because too much sameness is not creative, you need the friction that makes the bond fertile. The best wine grapes grow in the most challenging ground.

You don’t know this girl, although you might be tempted to think you know something about her now, but what do you know? The fact that she’s been wandering through your mind a great deal of the time since you had a date, the fact that several times today she’s the first thought that pops into your head the moment the state of flow you have while you’re teaching fades, that says more. It says everything perhaps. You spent 8,5 consecutive hours together and it seemed like a little breeze of time.

You’re reminded of a quote from ‘On the road’, and she certainly seems like a member of the deviant clan, the mad people, the people hungry for life, who take a hangover in stride if it gives them a taste of the vibrancy of existing. You can’t be sure of just how different she is from most people, just how much she’s willing to grow, if she can truly connect, if she will hold on to her coping mechanism of working ever harder and harder.

You don’t know if this raging life force you feel in her is real or not.

You don’t know anything, you’re just open to see her for the person she is.

You feel it’s a clear case of synchronicity and you’ve bumped into each other for a reason.

And you have a hang-over and really want to go to bed now.

She had read that and had commented that it was sweet and romantic.

He should indeed take his own advice and go to bed.

He noticed how he had left out certain essential parts. How he had kissed her twice. Not in the way he had wanted to kiss her. He’d been over eager, fast, but he’d been overwhelmed. He wanted to kiss her slowly, everywhere. She’d been somewhat unresponsive, so he’d stopped.

He took a deep breath and got up. There would be a 5,5 hour break in thinking about her, and then in the morning it would all start over again.

It was a stalemate.

If he walked out on Z, he would cause massive hurt all around.

If he never got more time with O, he would also look back in sadness.

But he was trying to seduce O with compliments and rational arguments, and he knew that wasn’t working. His intelligence was also not really doing the trick. A woman like O falls for self-confidence and cheerfulness, joie de vivre, and he had none of that.