Flowers on her birthday.
‘You made my day.’
Daily hand-written letters.
‘Very romantic, well-written, but I don’t know what to say to them.’
‘Very thoughtful, and I was so hungry, but my students ate it all.’
When they meet, she’s sort of flirtatious, and always sweet and friendly. They sms quite a lot, and gossip about colleagues. But O keeps repeating, from time to time, that she’s fine on her own. That yes, she needs a man for sex, but that she’s addicted to her job, and that working with those boys is sort of a replacement for a man.
John wouldn’t want to dig to the Freudian roots of that, and doesn’t take her words seriously. She’s just not in to him.
She also drops hints as to how he messed up.
‘You have experience with women. Why did you pressure me so much?’
He knows he pressured her too much, but this delirious fever is something he hasn’t experienced before. He knows he needs to leave her alone. He knows a woman is like a shadow, that if he ignores her she will follow and if he follows her she will run away. But he can’t.
Until he finally throws in the towel.
He goes out with his hottest, most intelligent student, with the strongest values, a gem of a woman. Andrea, 30 years old. About to move to the Netherlands and in need of Dutch lessons.
The concept of their lessons: John writes Andrea love letters and they translate them to Slovak together.
She says: ‘If my boyfriend would know what we are doing, he’d beat you up.’
John decides to burn his bridges once and for all, so he won’t even have to hope anymore.
During one of their sms exchanges he tells O about Andrea. He knows she’ll be even less open to contact if he’s chasing after someone else as well.
So he writes that he’s meeting Andrea in a park, and that he risks that her boyfriend will beat him up.
‘Well, interesting’, is O’s response. It’s the last sms that the two will ever exchange, the last words that will ever pass between them.
What’s made John’s decision easier is that Andrea made him realize how shallow O often is. Andrea asks him about tough political questions, challenges him, likes to debate. She likes making photographs, but not selfies, is polite and relaxed, yet holds herself to high standards. John and Andrea are both only children, so there’s also this unspoken dimension that is exclusive to only children. To grow up as an only child is a lonely experience.
Andrea is more beautiful than O, but doesn’t walk around like a knock-out, classy porn star. John has even less chance with Andrea than with O, but at least he feels like there’s more of a connection.
When he looks at Andrea’s beauty it’s like a spiritual experience, if somebody that beautiful can exist, there must be some sort of benevolent force at work in the universe. He’s sad that he can’t take her to an all night orgasmic sea, but he can still bear to be around her. With O it’s different. If he sees her and can’t have sex with her, he just wants to die, how absurd that may sound.
When he describes this to Z, she says: ‘You need therapy. If you don’t look for a therapist I will look for one.’
When he describes the situation to Alja, a Russian girl he’s had a platonic vibe with for almost ten years, she says:
‘You want to make tender love to Andrea, and you want to fuck O’s brains out.’
John makes two decisions after walking home with blue balls, once again, after spending hours in a park with Andrea:
He is going to seek therapeutic help, because his reactions to women aren’t normal anymore, especially the suicidal feelings.
He’s going to do all he can to try and date at least 150 attractive women, and become so good at seduction that he will never ever have to go through this rejection hell again.
John will never forget the last day he had contact with O, as he has a tendency to connect personal events to historical dates.
Today is the 21st of June. One day before Hitler launched operation Barbarossa. His massive, and ill-fated, invasion of the Soviet-Union.
One day before John launches a massive campaign to finally understand women, and how to attract them.
It will require a strategic mastermind, as John doesn’t want to lose Z in the process.