[the story is linked to my time in Warsaw, you can read my journal here field-reports/the-warsaw-diaries-vt208353.html]
B., my long-time Polish friend, just came back from Gdànsk, and I took the chance to pass by, to see both him and the marvelous city that I called home for 6 months last year - and has still a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, B., maybe by mistake or thinking to do me a favour, told about my trip to that bunch of young degenerate libertines, full of life and self-destructive behaviors, that I used to call "The Family" and who used to call me "The Old Man". Not even half a day passed that I received a message from E., my great Polish love that I broke up with in March, to who I sacrificed sleepless nights, empty bottles and a piece of my heart: I would have passed my nights in Gdànsk at the Family's apartment, drinking for J.'s 20th birthday - a nice young fella in a complicate relationship with vodka, a member of the Family, one of my "kids". Just some details about E.: looks of a 7, and yet for me was a 9. Charming, passionate, nerdy, exceedingly smart, damn awesome between the sheets...she was a free soul, and that kind is rare, and yet you know it when you see it - basically because you feel good, very good when you are near or with them. I would like to write something poetic about our story, but in the end is that I’ve been fooled again. Fell in love, banged others just to be sure, love confirmed, love died, deep alcohol-fueled depression that lasted months, banged a dozen or so just to forget about her. Seeing her again, maybe drunk? Bad, bad idea, but I foolishly hoped for the best. By then, I should have remembered that old Venetian motto, that says more or less "the only good premonition that a man can somehow rely on is the one that predicts harm, it comes from the soul; the one that predicts happiness comes from the heart, and the heat is a lunatic worthy of relying on the mad luck". Useless to say, I forgot about that and book a 5-hour ride to the Baltic sea by bus. Good god, after two weeks of abstinence, I could really need a good fuck, and I was right...but not in the way that I thought.
I finally reach the apartment - a cozy place that looks like an Ikea store - I find them all already tipsy, and I start my Baltic weekend with half a pint of vodka at 6 pm. Goddamn the vodka, it tricks me every time and turns me into a sentimental slob: my gaze lands on the soft tattooed shoulders of E., on her cinder-blonde hair and on the scars on her forearm. Letting loose the most helpless fantasy, I fell in love again. I know it's wrong, it was a toxic relationship the one we had, and now she's with a shallow Danish guy, but at least my kids told me she seems happy and that's right but she becomes again a rusty nail planted in my mind, like a nostalgia. Ancient poets, as well as M. Weiner, were right about nostalgia: in Greek, "nostalgia" literally means, "the pain from an old wound". It's delicate... but potent. It's a twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone, like a lone train that takes you to a place where you ache to go again. It lets us travel the way a child travels, round and around, and back home again...to a place where we know we are loved.
Le night goes on in a joyful and desperate alcoholism: we hit bars and pubs all around the city, and just like the old times the Family follows the Old Man in everything - it's a tribe of young degenerates, but I was and always have been the tribe leader. Just to keep the old habits, I open a few sets and merge them into mine without any apparent difficulty, but my heart was still following E. More we drink, more I feel her drifting away from my grasp, and the memories of AJ - a Brazilian stunning beauty that I had this summer - she speaks to me in my mind with melancholic whispers, she knew me for a month and yet she showed me my future, became my past in what seemed like the same breath. I end up in E.'s bed...but alone, and I feel somewhat guilty.
The next day the Family went to pick up another guest for the weekend, and old friend of E. I took the morning instead to walk around the city and clear my head: onetitis is wrong and useless, onetitis on an ex-girlfriend is insane. I was walking down the Golden Arch in the Old Town, while I see two familiars faces passing by under the light autumn rain: L. and J., two badass Croatians chicks I saw around the University a few days before, walking fast while trying to shelter from the rain under a yellow umbrella. I waited for them, opened this improvised 2-set with a smile on my face and a few fact about the city; they were hungry, I pretended to be so, and our newly formed trio went to a nearby cozy pancake place I knew. While waiting for our dishes, two more girls I saw casually entered the place, and I merged the two groups: in a matter of half an hour I went from a depressing walk under the rain to a lovely lunch with a 4set of all girls. Strange enough, I pushed away the thought of E. and enjoyed our time all together - routines and improvised material stacked one upon the other in such a nice and flawless way that even a couple of tourist sitting nearby started smiling at our stories and joined the conversation. I was careful enough not to be a try-hard, and I carefully let all of the girls interacting with each other while guiding the conversation with new and fresh topic, and cutting only the most useless threads: a 6set was dangling from my lips, and I felt somehow, for a brief moment, happy and satisfied.
It was around half past four when I received a message from E.: the birthday boy already drank the present I brought him from Warsaw, namely a liter of vodka, and pissed himself, after fainting on the stairs, and the others, being already roaring drunk, were asking for my help. I would like to write you that I abandoned four single chicks in order to help my friend in need, but I would be a liar: I did it because that little Polish love asked for my help. It was stupid of me, I can see it now, but in that precise moment my heart and mind were invaded by E. once again, I said goodbye to the girls and took a taxi. In the 20 minutes that took me to reach the Family, the birthday boy managed to change his pants, fall from the stairs, crawl upstairs, sit, fell asleep on the chair, piss himself again, wake up, go to the bathroom, faint on the bathroom floor and piss himself for the third time: never thought that such a skinny guy could have such a big bladder. In half an hour we saved the day and put him back to sleep and I met the other friend: another Italian, clearly there to find a way to lay E., and obviously, I decided to befriend him immediately. I was smiling, laughing, sharing jokes and stories, but I couldn't help my mind to picture cruel images of trench warfare with him as a victim. I started drinking, a bit for habit and a bit for anger, and the evening blurred almost immediately: the rest of my memories are just flashes, chaotic pictures drowning in a sea of darkness.
There's another guest, A. I think I saw her in one of the parties I hosted in my apartment last year: dirty-blonde hair are falling sharply on her skinny shoulders, a tight red sweater defines her waist as thin as bison grass and the shape of a tonic, chiseled belly. We are all hopelessly drunk, the demon of intemperance ever delights in sucking the blood of youth and joy, a temporary suicide: the happiness that vodka brought is merely a momentary cessation of a shared unhappiness. The other Italian is drinking alone in a corner, the group is dangling from my lips, time itself shatters. I'm there entertaining everybody, at the same time I'm satisfied with the exclusion of the rival and I'm kissing A. in front of everybody while E. is taking pictures of us. I curse myself, because I want my Polish devil back, but my lust is taking control of my body: lust, not love or joy, I do not feel happiness while I'm seducing A. I'm outside smoking with both girls and the birthday boy: E. helps J. climbing the stairs, I grab A. by the hand and take her in the backyard. I hold her dirty-blonde hair while I furiously climb inside her on the wet concrete. We're on the cold shore, the night has fallen and it looks like we're drowning in a sea of cold black ink while strangers around us run into the freezing Baltic Sea, screaming and holding empty bottles. We come back, singing. I'm in the apartment, everybody is already fainted in their beds, E. is sharing her bed with the other Italian, and I'm full of anger and bitterness. I turn cold, I tell A. that there're no places beds left for me where to sleep in, she says that her bed is comfortable and wide enough for the both of us, and she keeps repeating that all the way to her apartment. We pass the night without sleeping.
At sunrise, I kiss her goodbye and venture back walking through the decadent suburbian buildings. The gloomy steel-grey sky drains the colors of everything under it while a cold thin rain dampens my hair. It's cold, again.