Longer things

You break, you pay

He left little things behind. Some I got rid of right away like contact solution, a toothbrush, deodorant in my bathroom. Some lasted a little longer like the smell of him on my sheets before I washed them, our text convo on my phone before I deleted it. Slow but steady he was erased out of my life.

It’s almost three years ago that we broke up and I really was broken for a while. But I got over it, as one does. It all unfolded as if my life was a bad rom-com. At first I was a ball of tears, but “totally ok” with meeting up for a drink two weeks post breakup. Prior to that drink I inhaled a cursed order of tikka masala which as we were awkwardly sipping on our whiskey gingers took over my body like a monster. Not even an hour later I threw up in front of him on the street. A week or so later I dyed my hair because that’s what you have to do when you’re heartbroken. We all know that. I also started to wear more leather and elevated my selfie game to what I would like to call the PG13 risque-category. About three weeks after it happened I met my rebound who also ticked all the boxes a good rebound should; musician, so so sooooo fucking hot, way taller than me, kept telling me I was an angel, still used Star Wars sheets. You know the type. Mature in his way of wanting me, immature in everything else. Every time he pushed me up against the wall and kissed me or told me I should stay for 30 minutes longer or sent me a photo of his roommate’s dog, he helped me to put my broken self back together piece by piece. After some months of that I took charge of my career, my friendships were thriving, it was spring and we were living. I was doing great. I had moved on. The soundtrack in the movie would be energetic and hopeful. Life was good again! And life has been good since. So good that we decided it’s not awkward at all for the both of us to join our friends on a trip later this summer when we haven’t seen each other, nor spoken, for three years.

Not once since booking the tickets have I thought this is a bad idea. I’ve been very chill about it and told everyone who’s asked me what the heck we’re doing that we’re cool, it’s all goooood, we’re friends and we always knew that this would happen. One day we would have to see each other again, hang out again. That’s how this would go and we knew that when we started going out. And I really believed it. I still do. But the other day, when I was at a café working, this song comes on. I swear I haven’t heard it since that one summer night in his room. We were smoking cigarettes on his stoop, I was sad about something and he had his hand between my thighs and told me he wanted only me. It was as if someone saw me sitting there in that café, writing away on my laptop, looking all happy and sunburned and relaxed, and thought: let’s fuck her up.

Truth is hearing that song and getting emotional about it, I too started to wonder what we’re doing going on this trip. Are we kidding ourselves, thinking this was a good idea? It got to my head. What if it will be weird between us? What if he can’t look me in the eye? What if I accidentally say something that’s going to make him uncomfortable? What if it’ll be so awkward that I’m going to have to get the hell out of there? But then I also realized that before we even kissed, we were friends. Friends who laughed and talked and joked and who liked hanging out together. We’re friends. And I’m sure all will go well and we’ll be cool and have fun and whatever. Still it is different (by different I mean worse) for me, as I was the one who got dumped. It just does things to a person and it shapes you as you move forward. And in this situation it makes me the underdog.

But shed no tears, because as we all know, in any bad rom-com the underdog always wins in the end and she always looks crazy hot when she does. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about which of my mediation apps will turn me into the coolest, most calm self or which of my revenge dresses will make me look closest to a mysterious Italiana. I’m gonna turn up there radiating like a piece of freaking sunshine and he won’t know what hit him.

Because sure, I threw his contact solution away, washed my sheets and deleted his texts from my phone, but no matter how much I want to I can’t deny the fact that he once broke me. And you know how it goes: you break, you pay.

Let's make bad decisions in honor of summer

It was one of those weekends when we were just living, you know? Being born and raised in a country where every year you know that there is an 80% chance of summer failing you; when it doesn’t you appreciate it SO much. And now it was a million degrees outside, Stockholm looking her absolute cutest dressed up in pollen. I on the other hand was dressed in a bright green swimsuit and a pair of vintage Levi’s (terrible outfit for bathroom visits at the club, but nevertheless a great look which I’ll definitely revisit), sipping on aperol spritzes all day all night living out the fiery Italiana I could’ve been had I only been born in Italy.

By 9pm I had sweated out all the drinks and then some while dancing, heard that I look like Robin from How I Met Your Mother in the bathroom line and dodged convos with approximately four high school crushes; basically it was just another night out. When we stepped off the dance floor for some air I ran into this guy who I’ve been dming with for a little while (this is the reality we live in you guys, get over it) and we fell into flirty conversation right away. It’s interesting because in a way I feel like I know him. He completely consumed me with his energy. I don’t know if he’s just very French, on drugs or naturally that intense. And I mean, who are we kidding? Does it really matter? He showed a piece I’ve written, that he apparently has reread three times, to everyone around making them read it; going on and on about how good it is. I sat next to his friend in silence as the friend read. It was weird. Standing before us he then exclaimed, “It’s so good, isn’t it???”. It made me really happy, because he meant it.

I would’ve made him my husband already, had he not been so good looking. Unfortunately life has treated him with the looks of I don’t know… a fucking god… and he acts just like a person who looks like that would. Disappearing out of nowhere, but then compensating with the grabbing of a hand or a cute text. So so flaky and so so charming, which when combined results in completely irresistible. Hence the swarms of little girls around him that I just do not have time or energy to deal with.

However, there is something so pleasurably frustrating in wanting someone who is unattainable. Like picking an ingrown hair on your thigh or listening to the song you and your ex would smoke cigarettes to on late summer nights. It’s out of your control. Good thing I’m a writer and can blame every bad decision on me being out there getting material.

So what the heck, let’s just run into summer and ignore the threat of it, or anything really, failing us.

Pre summer notes

My time has come once more. The city is flourishing with green trees and guys in t-shirts and tanned arms. The nights are bright and we run around town like the party girls we were born to be. Waking up every morning and we’re in a movie. The strawberries we eat for breakfast taste sweet and if we absolutely have to work 9-5 jobs then why wouldn’t we make our personal lives as dramatic and fun as possible?

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We dance at the club and I’m wearing my snake pants, obviously, and they haven’t failed me yet. Then, Ellen on me always falling for non-Swedish men, “What are you running from???” and me yelling, “I just want bilingual children!!!” But also, why am I living in Sweden when I’m not into blondes? Later you walk home and it’s 4 am and the sun is up and you’re like okay I get it. Still, the dark haired boys are so much more FUN.

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I research Jane Birkin’s summer style and once again I am contemplating whether or not to cut bangs. I feel like it would go great with my short dresses and freckles, but we all know it doesn’t photograph well at the beach post dip in the Mediterranean and who are we kidding we need those photos for cold winter days.

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Basically every week is half a work week because it’s spring almost summer and the national holidays are never ending. So we go to Copenhagen. You know you’re there when the woman next to you at the café, wearing crocs and smoking L&M’s like no tomorrow, goes to someone on her phone, “well the painting itself is gonna go for 3 million, but I don’t know if I have the energy to finish it”. Stunning! At night we’re at Pluto and I get the lobster, because who would I be if I did not? The three guys next to us, I could’ve sworn they were Italian, are cute and I’m the only single around our table so there’s really nothing else for me to do than to steal the waiter’s pen, write down my number on a napkin and throw it their way. A couple of hours later and we’re smoking cigarettes with them, who turned out to be Spanish (but with French names), above the rooftops in Vesterbro. Once again I prove to myself that I am a force of nature who can. not. be. stopped.

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So far it’s mid-June and I haven’t had any severe pollen incidents, which can only mean that I’m a great person and my karma is repaying me for it.

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And it’s not even Cancer season yet.


US South West on film

The first thing I did really when coming home from our roadtrip through the South West was to develop the film we’d been shooting. I thought I’d share some with you.

The first night in LA we obviously went out and had tequila and made out with 21 year olds. Because that’s what you do.

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In Venice, being as original as one can be. Sara is approaching instagram husband level 100 real soon.

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Remember to appreciate any photo where your subject can’t look into the camera cause the sun is too bright.

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Sara and I at 5.30am in Yucca Valley, next to a Yucca tree how convenient.

Postcard from the three hikers of the Grand Canyon! It was so breathtakingly beautiful that everyone whispered as if they were scared it would all fall apart if they spoke up. Honestly you’ll never ever get it if you don’t go. So go.

She got so exhausted from her intense 30 minute insta scroll in the Grand Canyon Village hotel lobby she passed out in the backseat on our way to watch the sunset from a little cliff overlooking the whole canyon.

Nicole in the middle of nowhere.

Hola El Paso! The town of drunk college students, chilaquiles and rad store signs.

We paid $1,50 to walk across a bridge for 10 minutes and suddenly we were in Mexico! In Ciudad Juárez to be exact. It used to be the most dangerous city in the world in 2010 based on its homicide rate, but is now all the way down on a very chill place 20 on the list. No problemo. We had a real good time.

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U guys bored yet? Okay cool. Here Sara and I are in a lovely garden we found in Marfa, TX. Marfa was awesome. Go there.

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Nicole looking like she just left her boring husband to go on and live her damn life the way it’s supposed to be lived.

The ladies embracing the humidity of Austin.

After a horrendous dinner served in the ‘ballroom’ of our pit stop resort somewhere in Louisiana we passed out and got up early to drive to paradise. New Orleans. Nicole is clearly loving it.

Hate this place!!

Saw these dudes play at Vaughan’s which is where I want to die, while dancing to Nola brass/funk with a cold beer in my hand and sweat dripping from my forehead. Just like this night.

Went to Jazz Fest and will never be the same.

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Nicole dancing in the streets of Nola is my mood for the rest of this summer and that ends this never ending update.

Brb just gonna save up and do this thing all over again.

24 hr love

I fell in love a week ago. In New Orleans, at a bar on Frenchman Street, I fell in love with a trombone player. At least the kind of love you feel for someone when you’re about eight drinks in and it’s 2 am and there’s a musician in the room. Which, to be honest, could be the truest love of them all. And I mean, he played the thing really well. Not that I know anything about trombones, but people went up wanting to high five him so I guess he was good. It was all very sexy. I was in the crowd, drunk off my ass (as you are in New Orleans) and I decided on him about three minutes after having walked into the place. He moved so naturally, nodding his head back and forth to the beat. I was captivated and felt a very strong urge, almost need, to talk to him. Naturally I went for the most effective flirting technique of all, which we all know is staring. After a while he noticed the tall girl with frizzy hair in snake pants and soccer mom sneakers (me) and he smiled. Kind of like as if I was a joyful surprise.

We spent the gig making eyes and smiling at each other. The feeling of being completely in control, of having started it, was so thrilling. When he was done playing we got to talking and later to kissing and the next night we danced together at a live jazz bar in Bywater. I’m not sure if that is how you do it in Louisiana, but to me it felt like I was living some Southern romance novel. Especially when he took me out on the street and we made out up against the hood of his car. It was all very high school movie-ish, but hotter. Also, the fact that he owned a car was surprisingly hot to me? Would not have expected that at all as I’m honestly really turned off by guys who’re into anything that goes fast. But him driving was yum.

After having said goodbye for like two hours the time was about a quarter to when he had to leave for his 6.30 am flight. I really didn’t want to go. This whole thing had me feeling like myself two years ago. When hooking up with hot musicians, not caring about work and never looking at the time was my vibe. I guess I grew out of that person when moving from America and turned into a goodie Swedish girl who makes lunch boxes and has a reminder on her phone to drink enough water. I’m not sure if it was him or the music or the heat that transformed me, but something did and I realized that I’ve missed her.

When we finally parted and I got out of the car I could barely stand on my two feet. Legs shaking. I turned around and waved as I slowly tried to walk without falling (wore flats by the way). He smiled and waved and held off starting his car. Both lingering in a 24 hour love story that was about to die out as we sobered up over the night. Him driving to the airport to go away on a tour. Me walking in a somewhat straight line toward one more day in jazzland before leaving the country and my trombone player behind me. Falling out of love again.

It’s the kind of stuff you write about.

In the cafeteria

I used to dream about being dead. I’d watch you break down as you got the news. Beating yourself up for treating me poorly. Maybe scream a little and cry a lot. I obviously didn’t want to die, I just wanted you to think of me. Miss me. And dying felt like the only way to get that reaction from you.

This was before. Before I forgot. How fun we were together. How I walked out of the apartment after sleeping with you for the first time and having to take my sweater off, in March. Summer started between us, way before outside dinners and green trees. Our patterns sounded like poetry to me as I read them, finding calm in between our nights. And when you left I found I couldn’t read any more. Like a child I stuttered, fell on every letter.

We never had a beginning. Starting out halfway through the race because who needs a start when it’s this easy. Silly us didn’t realize that you always start, no matter where you start. And as we walked down Allen Street I got that empty feeling only the city can give you. I would’ve liked you to put your arm around my shoulders. But they froze naked in the 34 degree heat. We turned corners and there was supposed to be more, there should always be more.

Then that was it and I dreamed about being dead. But hold on, I told myself as I walked home one night and the trees were naked and the wind was cold for the first time. Things take time. Hold on. And just like they say time works, I recovered. I forgot and the wind became warm again.

A long time later I was sitting unprepared in a restaurant. Don’t turn around my friend said so I turned around. And there you were. A real person and everything. It shocked me. Years of not seeing you, talking to you, hiding from you on the subway had turned you into this thing I once knew. Something I had made up. I wonder if that is recovering, or if recovering just turns into another way of living? We never become the same after having a lover break us. Our heads just learn to live broken. And as I turned back around to my friends, without having waved or said hello, my body shut down. I walked out of there, quickly and irrationally, I ignored my head saying I was, indeed, acting like a thirteen year old in the school cafeteria.

Because love, I realised,
is something your body memorizes.
Even when your head forgets.

The Beach

     The Pacific Highway is foggy and gray. We’re driving along the ocean, through small towns, past Taco Bells and liquor stores and basketball courts and beaches. So many beaches. What is life when you live next to a beach? I don’t know if I’d be happier. Your first initial thought is that you would be, right? Living in fresh winds, eating cheap seafood. But I hate the way my hands feel after having been in the salt.
     We stop for gas a number of miles north of Santa Barbara. The air is wet against my naked arms and makes my hair look thicker than it actually is. I look good being this close to water. My skin moves with my body, not against it like during East Coast winter. The Southern California sun has decorated it with freckles everywhere. I quietly wish for someone to count them.
     My legs are a few shades darker than they were boarding the plane at JFK a week ago. They’re enjoying their freedom, being out of heavy vintage denim. Is free the right word for my look? And after all I love the way my body feels in the water. Light, easy to move.
     I’m soft by the beach. Open and vulnerable and, found. I’ve been told that to be soft is to be powerful and the beach is exactly that. A setting for love and kisses, and the force that bring us tidewater. Me too am drawn between the sun and the moon, filled with blue water, I am a setting for love and kisses.

 

2017-03-20

This is not a love letter

Last night, as I was about to fall asleep, I thought of you. Not because I miss you and not because I’m in love with you, but because there is something about you that won’t leave me alone. It’s annoying, really. I don’t want to be thinking of you and I definitely don’t want to be in bed thinking of you. But there I was, in nothing but my underwear wrapped up in my white sheets thinking about your sheets. The ones with the space pattern that are unusually soft. Your laundry place must use some great softener, because there is no chance in hell you do your own laundry. They’re very ugly, but I like them. I’m sure that’s why you have them, to charm the girls. They don’t fit into your room of old posters and groupie souvenirs and big black boots. They are your ass tattoo. That extra you leave in someone’s mind after having sex with them.

I remembered that one time when I came to your place and it was pouring out. You had kissed me outside the bar and I had told you not to smile so much. I can’t take it when you smile like that. It makes my knees weak and my heart warm in a way I don’t feel comfortable with. You left to get dinner, but later that night I took a cab over to your place even though it’s a ten minute walk away. You came down to get me, wearing your adidas track pants and black hoodie. We made out in the elevator, riding three floors up.

We got stoned and watched half an episode of Arrested Development. Then we had sex in your space sheets.

I don’t miss you. I’m not in love with you. I consider you more of a friend who I can escape to when I want to get out of my own head. Maybe it’s because I’m so far away now and I have nowhere to escape to.

I hate that I think of you in bed wearing nothing but my underwear.

 

Written on Valentine's Day 2017.

No one skates in Tompkins when the snow falls

     The city was hot from sun and pollution. Boiling streets, sweaty AC's dripping onto pedestrians on their way to work or some random tourist attraction. Summer in New York has a certain taste to it. A bittersweet scent of burnt skin from the Rockaways and trash from the Chinatown sidewalks. You want to escape it, yet it’s the best thing in the world. Its own world in the big one where everyone complains about the subway platforms being hell on Earth and their ice-coffees dripping onto their iPhones as the L-train chases itself under the East River. But we would never leave. We’re angry and in love all at the same time.
     We were these kids running around downtown; drinking at St Dymphnas, fucking musicians, wearing yesterday’s outfit days in a row. How we roamed and laughed, so oblivious about the responsibilities that lurked in the back of our minds. In the same way our thighs rubbed against each other underneath our sundresses, the city was slowly wearing us out. But we didn’t know it at the time. We would meet up after work, have a beer or two and share a pizza in Tompkins. Drool over the skaters killing it in there, doing their tricks in front of us. Sometimes they fell on their faces and started to bleed. We took a big bite from our cheese and tomato slices, let it drip.
     There was this group of people, always around. We would sit next to them at the bar, say hi sometimes. Borrow lighters. You know, those kinds of interactions. One of them was a guy I wanted to kiss. I first met him one night in Brooklyn. I was at his bar. Or it’s not his bar, but for me it is his bar. He served Coors and got high in the back. We didn’t know each other, but I knew he was this dude skating around Williamsburg playing rock music hanging out with all the models in East Village. This weird friend-lover relationship started. Never in love. Always loving. In some way I think we were alone, together. There was this straightforwardness he had that I liked, made me want to be close to him. Total honesty. Very refreshing. His aura was so magical, I swear he could make a whole room fall for him. He would speak and you would listen. I felt him everywhere.
     We were unstoppable as we blasted music in a cab across Williamsburg Bridge. The world is ours and so on. The midnight wind barely cooled down our skin, so double the beer. How could people live anywhere else than New York? “They must be, somehow, kidding.” It was so clear to me then. Never grow up, always have fun. Do not care.
     But come October. The melancholia creeps up on us as the rooftops close down and the beer turns into hot toddy. There's no more cheap watermelon at the bodega and whenever we turn a corner there's a wind of ice hitting us right in our faces. The thousand blankets that try to keep us warm at night fail and we wake up with our noses cold. There's frost on the inside of our windows. The heater never works. And no one skates in Tompkins when the snow falls.