On letting go
The funny thing with letting go lays mostly in the fear of losing a part of you which you discovered during that particular experience. I guess that’s why they call break ups “death practices” and why when someone leaves we feel like a part of ourselves will be missing forever. The irony? Meet that person again after a long time and you will find yourself picking things up right where you left them. Sure you are both different in the present moment but somehow that old behavior comes creeping back in; it is like an activation button, a trip down memory lane, just sitting there, making small talk and reminiscing the time you shared at one point when your paths crossed.
As the ‘late Dutch summer’ made its final appearance for the year, I, as any person who has lived for a while in The Netherlands and who knows that this weather is a rare breeze, decided to move my ass outside and enjoy a nice cup of coffee.
The sunny days in Amsterdam have a magical feeling — suddenly biking is not such a pain anymore, people are smiling, terraces are full with no place to sit and cyclists pass by singing and humming.
I arrived at the cafe and, as I was looking to see if it is too crowded, there he was — one of my old short sweet romantic story. First instinct? Run. Run like the wind and never look back. However, something was keeping me grounded and it did not let me move.
I ordered a black coffee and went over to say ‘hi’.
“ Hey there stranger.”
“Hi…how are you? How are things?”
“Things are good, thank you. And you? I am sorry, I am just surprised to see you.”
“Well, this is my favorite coffee place so maybe it had to happen sometime. In case you forgot, this is where I convinced you to have that last cup together.”
“True. Still, it was not your fault.”
“ I know. I remember. So…what have you been up to?”
“Nothing much. Here and there. Doing things.”
“Right…Ok. I will let you finish your writing. I will look for a table. It was nice seeing you again. You seem well. I am glad.”
I wanted to leave but then again I had to come at peace with my decision and accept the fact that Amsterdam is a small city and we cannot always run away from our past. On the bright side? The coffee will make things a lot less painful. Somewhere in between the text I was trying to read and the jazz music on the background, I heard a familiar voice.
“So…I was there writing and… I realized I acted a bit strange before…Can I..?”
“Sure. I guess one coffee talk will not hurt.”
“You seem good as well. I am happy. I just…there are not that many words left to say, are there?”
“I guess not. I think…I don’t know. Too much time has passed. Maybe this is how it is when old flames meet. Or transient ones at least.”
“You were something. Just so you know. I never told you but you meant something, even if it was for a short time.”
“I know. Maybe that is why it is strange now.”
“I…I couldn’t at that time.”
“How is your coffee?”
And there we were — just looking at each other, no words, travelling back in time. Words were never actually a thing of ours. Eye contact, on the other hand, was our game of choice.
“It was nice seeing you again. I have to run to a meeting.”
“I have to tell you something. I have been coming here sometimes, hoping to see you again. Of course I remembered it is your favorite coffee place. But I never did, see you, and right when I stopped thinking about it, I heard your voice. I was surprised.”
“Oh…I just…To be honest since our last encounter, I have not been here that much. Somehow I felt I had to stay away.”
“From the place or from me?”
“I need to go. I have to go. You know that.”
“Of course. Although, I wish…”
“I know. Me too. But hey — we had a hell of a ride together. And it meant something for me as well. Maybe more than it had to at that point.”
“I am glad I ran into you.”
I got up, hugged him goodbye and with one last breath I went out.
I felt the warmth of the sun on my skin and that’s when I knew I was fine. There was no point in turning back so I got on my bike and cycled away.
I guess that is the funny thing with letting go — just when you think you are still hooked, you take one breath of fresh air and suddenly the sky is clear blue again.