We knew each other for approximately four weeks, in which we had spent quite some time together, when he asked a very unusual question. He never asked me questions unless they considered my language skills, so the occasion alone had me already dumbstruck, not even to mention the content of the question.
‘I am leaving the country for a while.’ He stated it, a simple fact. My eyes widened, I imagine I looked desperate.
‘When… when will you be back?’
‘I’m not sure.’ The coldness of his words broke my heart. After four weeks of keeping my secret wishes and desires deep inside me… it felt like the flame I had guarded was brutally being smothered.
‘What will you be doing?’ My voice was hoarse.
‘Enjoying the world, mostly.’ Stab and turn the knife. In my sadness I dared more than usually.
‘Don’t… Don’t you enjoy the world… when you’re with me?’ The moment those words left my mouth I already cursed myself for being so egocentric. He didn’t seem angry though.
‘On the contrary, actually. I very much enjoy your company, and therefor I wanted to ask you to join me.’ In his voice I clearly heard he disliked my desperate impatience, but still…
‘J-join you, mister?’ He smiled.
‘Yes. Only if you want to, of course.’
‘Oh, I would love to come!’ I hadn’t even asked him where he was going.
‘That’s settled then. I’m leaving tomorrow. Meet me here with luggage for a week.’ He hadn’t told me where he was going. I didn’t care.
I am the worst suitcase-maker this world has ever seen. I can doubt endlessly between two identical pairs of shoes, ponder over which impractical summer dress to wear until it’s practically winter, I always forget to bring enough socks and underwear and as a cherry on top no matter how much thought I put in the organisation of my stuff, it never fits in one suitcase. That time was no different. I found myself in my room, surrounded by heaps of clothes. I cursed at myself for not asking where we were going. Maybe we would go to the beach, and I should bring a bikini… maybe he wanted to escape the heat in some Scandinavian country, leaving me with no option than to bring lots of sweaters… Maybe… I interrupted my own thoughts. Maybe this is what he wants. I couldn’t help thinking he had kept his destination a secret not because of privacy, but because of this. I couldn’t help thinking it was a test of some sort. That was how he made me feel. Tested. Under pressure. But I could do this. I took a deep breath and looked around my room. Clothes for a week. My thoughts rushed. Seven underpants, bras, a sweater, trousers, 2 blouses, a dress, stockings, heels and flats. Somehow thinking of him had allowed me to trace clean clothing items in neutral, matching colours and pack them in one suitcase only. When I closed the zipper of the bag, I felt the warm sensation again. He was with me.