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I’m sleepless and shivering in a tiny room of a bookshop.

I’m. So. Happy.

When the airplane emerged from the dense milky sandwich of wispy, feathery and swollen, we were right above the pitched-roof houses and the sight of the long moist blades of emerald grass sent a wave of tears over my lower eyelids. I. Was. So. Happy.

Everything had been retrieved from the attic and replaced back where it had always been. Even the words of my mother tongue that I had forgotten made their way into my ears or through my lips. But there was something different, something I had not seen in over fifteen years – autumn colours in the trees and their burnt embers on the streets. The sky was gray, the buildings were gray, the coats were gray, black and brown, but the trees were inflamed, gloriously dying. Oh...

Throughout the day, even the best of memories were continuously upgraded. The oak floor at home felt warmer beneath my feet, the pine woods outside the window looked less ominous, the people in the streets looked happier, the girls were prettier – one after the other they had me check myself – the boys were more attractive – they were taller, less scrawny, more daring in their fitted clothes.

Through the doorway on my left I could hear a commotion in progress: the dragging of chairs, heavily accented conversations between locals and foreigners, the camera reflex of lighting test shots. I asked the beautiful androgynous girl what this was all about.

“There will be a poetry reading.”

It’s only been a day and I already feel swept up by a cultural deluge. There are so many things to see, to do and to participate in. Tonight I’ll be going to watch a play in the theatre where Lulu works. When I think back to the first time I met him, the effort I put into testing and making come true my conviction that he was someone to pursue, I feel proud of myself. This is how we get what we want out of life. We must ask, demand, insist and not give up until we lose all the necessary lives in order to remain on that game level. But then, when I think about all the times I’ve seen him since, the lunches, the coffee cups, the scooter rides, the gift-exchanges, the productions I sat through, I still feel unsatisfied. By the time I start to feel comfortable around this now-national-star and tabloid magnet, he has to run to practice or to the studio or to pick up his daughter or to go home to his wife. I never had the opportunity or the courage to ask him, “What were you thinking when you accepted the aggressive pursuit of a fourteen year old girl?”

I still remember his phone number. I even have him as a friend on Facebook. But none of these will do, none of these will guarantee any sort of exchange. I do not want to pursue him, because I am much the wiser. Yet, I want to and I’m now ready to ask him that one simple question that has been making rounds in my head since.

I pack my stuff, wait for one of the poems to be read to the last word and run out into the light drizzle. I know Lulu won’t be there, but a faint glimmer of hope sees me bumping into him in the arched entrance of the theatre.

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