Auf Wiedersehen, hat lieb…

June 2nd, 2018

Dear Flo,

I think you are the love I will always, always remember. I will always wish, you will always wish, that we had met a few years later, that we had been born in the same country, that we spoke the language. I will wish you the best, from the bottom of my heart (the heart which you have filled up), and you will wish me the best, and we’ll keep being friends.

In another time and space, we would have started living together in a small, rented, student flat somewhere in Düsseldorf last year, laughing at each other’s choice of colour and design at the Ikea – well, you’d give in, of course. Like you almost always do. But I’d still pick a shade of green because I know it’s your favourite. In fact, green has grown on me and now it’s one of my favourites, too. Then we’d pick a font for our names – you probably would want a funny one or a standard one and I’d want a cursive – and hang a little nameplate over the doorbell.

We always wondered: Are we in love? Are we meant to be? Should we? But now I know, and you know, that we were never more in love. That this is love. You taught me how to love and trust and to be happy and to be silly.

All the names we had for each other – no sweethearts, honeys, darlings, but a language of our own. Words and phrases nobody else could understand, like it was our little secret. Yoi. Floi. Hugga. Hugtatorship. Angry sock throw. Tukka tukka. Alles Yois der ganzen weiten Welt. Pup. PUP. Boop. Bup. All our words, untransferable to anyone else and unique only to the two of us. Nothing compares – no darling, honey, or sweetheart will do. All our rituals – the way we boop our noses together, the way you pick me up and carry me around, the way I try to lift you off the ground, the way we play at being trains around the house, the way we follow Günther the cleaning robot around the house, the way you tukk me in at night. How I say baba? and you close the closet door so I can sleep sound. I will always remember. Always.

The way you know I need soup at every meal, the way you bring me creamy asparagus soup (Asparagus, because then we can have a good laugh about it) when I’m sick, the way you tell me what will be right for me because you know, the way you look at me always with those big brown eyes, the way there’s always Apfelschorle in the fridge and frozen vegetables you don’t ever eat when I’m there, the way you bat your eyelashes against mine so I can hear them, the way we yell “bear hug” and you hold me so tight I feel like I’m going to break

And I know that I will always compare – nothing will be the same now that I’ve known what love is. What trust is. What it means to know everything about another human being, to know that I am always, and really always, welcome where you are. That you will drop whatever you are doing when I’m around and forget about the rest of the world. That you will stay away from your favourite friends, your favourite games, for me. If I need that. That you will always put me first. Always. Over anything.

The doubts I have had. The fears. The panic. That you pushed aside for me. The times you’ve talked me down, hugged me until I fell asleep, the times you’ve tukked me into bed.

The way I wake you up in the morning with a glass of iced tea. The way you wait for me to order you pizza because then it is Yoi Pizza, which is the best pizza in the world. The way you come looking for me when I’m away from you for any longer than ten minutes, even if it’s me going into the kitchen and cooking like always. The way you walk away from me while looking at me still in the kitchen, making funny faces. The way you hug me at the train station. The way you take away my backpack and suitcase and won’t let me help you carry anything back from the Kaufland. The way you come with me to DM or to the Galeria and get bored but listen to me, then head to the toy store with a naughty smile. The way you finish my food, the way you help me order food because you know how much I can eat.

Because of you I am able to love. Love others that came after you. Love my friends. My family. Peter. You.

And I will never forget you.


Let Me Be / Let Me See / Let Me Blind You


If I could choose between having you and the love and the pain,
And not feeling anything at all,
And I choose to have nothing at all,
Will you call me cowardly, unloving, cold?

Have you ever felt this way?
That I am the centre of your world?
That you could not live without me?
That something is burning, aching, growing?
That I would do anything and everything for you, when you didn’t ask?
Like a hummingbird heartbeat, like the movies, the black and white ones.

That at nights when we lay together, I am gripped by fear and I want to run away.
That I stop myself from running away and hold you tight.
That I want to tell you everything and nothing about me.
That you have no idea what I want to tell you because I conceal myself like a cocoon.
That you don’t know anything about me because I only drop bite-sized pieces.
Because I feel like I will disappear when I’ve done with the Hansel and Gretel.
That you will consume me, and you will know who I am. One day.

Have you ever felt this way?

We cannot pick up the words that we scatter in the wind.
Which is why I cannot tell you.
Regardless of how many times the words tickle my tongue.
Which is why you say that I do not speak much of myself.

I want to protect me, me from you and you from me,
so we can rotate around each other like parallel universes.
Knowing enough, yet never too much.
Just enough to prepare ourselves for the time when our world snaps in two,
And to keep revolving.

I don’t want you to know me. But I want you to want to know me.
I want you to want me always, but I don’t want to want you always (but I do).

Because, I fear, ultimately,
That you will pick up all the shards of me I drop at strangers, and put them together.
Just like I always put together pieces of your life.
Do unto me what I would unto you. But don’t.

Because, one day we will return to being strangers.
I will walk across you on the street, and it will be like we had never met.

Teach Me How to Be Loved

One foot onto the ice
I hold my breath
And try to believe
Can I look at you with different eyes?
Like the girl that I was, when I was 17

The fallen empires
The shattered glass
The wicked echos of my past
I’ve seen it all before, that’s why I’m asking

Will you still be here tomorrow
Or will you leave in the dead of the night?
So your waves don’t crash around me
I’m staying one step ahead of the tide
Will you leave me lost in my shadows
Or will you pull me into your light?
Teach me how to be loved
Teach me how to be loved

I got caught up in a daze
Of the wine and roses
Such a sweet escape
But I watched it all slip away
Like running water from my hands
Raining on this picture land

The fallen empires
The shattered glass
The wicked echos of my past
I’ve seen it all before, that’s why I’m asking

Will you still be here tomorrow
Or will you leave in the dead of the night?
So your waves don’t crash around me
I’m staying one step ahead of the tide
Will you leave me lost in my shadows
Or will you pull me into your light?
Teach me how to be loved

Can I give myself just one more second chance?
And put my trust in love
Please don’t hurt me
If I make myself like a feather in your hand
And put my trust in love
Please don’t hurt me

Will you still be here tomorrow
Or will you leave in the dead of the night?
So your waves don’t crash around me
I’m staying one step ahead of the tide
Will you leave me lost in my shadows
Or will you pull me into your light?
Teach me how to be loved
Teach me how to be loved

In Times Gone By


이것도 다 과거의 먼짓가루가 되고, 잊혀지고, 아스라질 것이 분명한데
왜 우리는 현재에 집착하고, 미래에 집착하고,
– 있을 수 있었던, 있을 수도 있었던, 있을 수도 있지만 – 한 일들에 집착을 하며 사는지.

언젠가, 우리 모두는 먼지가 되어 사라지고,
우리의 눈물과 피와 땀과 열정과 사랑과 슬픔은 존재하지 않았던 것들이 되어버림이 분명한데.

내가 지금 느끼는 것과, 보는 것과, 듣는 것 모두. 진실됨과 진실되지 아니함조차 중요하지 않은데. 중요한 것은 사실 없는데. 나 자신조차도 중요하지 않은데.

나의 질문과, 나의 사람들과, 나의 고뇌 그 무엇 하나도 이 땅덩어리에 한 톨 남지 않을 것이 분명한데.

그런데 왜 우리는 추억하고, 사랑하고, 아파하고, 뜀박질하고, 노력을 하는지.

어제의 나와 지금의 나와 16세의 나는 모두 같지만 다르고, 별개의 것이지만 일체인 것인데.
그 때 내가 사랑했던 그 사람과 지금의 그 사람은 다른 객체로 보아야 하는 것인지.
그 때 내가 느꼈던 감정들은 어디로 가버린 것인지.
내가 추억하는 나와 나의 사람들은 실존하는 것인지. 실존한 적이 있는지.

Un jour, tu partiras.


Un jour, nous partirons. Nous serons plus…nous. Mais ça ira. Nos vies continueront comme jamais – comme si jamais tout ce qu’on partage maintenant aurait existé sur un planète autre, se déroulant dans la vie de l’autrui.

One day, we will leave each other. We will cease to be us. Our lives will continue as ever before – as if what we share right now had existed on a whole other planet, playing out in the lives of strangers.

Je ne suis pas ta première et je ne serais la dernière. Pas comme je suis la première de mon cher Florian, pas comme Anandi est la première dans ma vie et le sera toujours. Je ne sais si la maison tu me bâtis soit le premier, et je ne sais si le lit que nous partageons soient couverts de miettes de tes amours passés et futurs.

I am neither your first nor (will I be) your last. Not like I am the first of my dear Florian, not like Anandi was the first in mine, and will always be. I know not whether the house you’re building me is the first, and I know not whether the bed we share is covered in crumbs of your past and future loves.

Parce qu’il y a des mémoires qui flottent dans l’atmosphère et qui viennent s’asseoir sur nos épaules. Elles sont légères comme le duvet mais lourdes comme le poids de tes amours passés. Et quand les larmes du temps viendront les tremper, elles nous pèseront jusqu’au nos genoux soient enterrés. Et ce sera la fin de nous deux comme nous le connaissons.

Memories float in the air around us. They come and sit on our shoulders. Light as duck down but heavy as the weight of your past loves. And when the tears of time come and soak them, they will weigh us down until we’re knee deep in this swamp we call love. That will be the end of us as we know it.

Posted in Red

I don’t want to love you, but I do.


Dearest P,

I am writing you this open love letter, for the world to see, and maybe one day, for you to see too. In a way, this is no different from the olden days when lovers sent each other postcards across the Atlantic and at some point the postman would read them while munching on his sandwich over the 10-minute break he had. I wonder if one day I will let you know about this box of letters – but for now I’ll keep the lid shut. Maybe one day.

Today I watched a video on how to say I love you in Luxembourgish. Because I know that this will make you happy (although I know now that I am not the first to tell you so). Because you are taking me to the woods in Ëlwen (though Google Maps keeps telling us it’s Troisvierges) – now I’m only thinking about when to tell you. Today. Tomorrow. When we’re done mounting that Aliexpress tent in the forest. And in a way, it doesn’t matter. Names, do they matter? I am J and M and E and R, and different people call me different things.

Yesterday afternoon – the 23rd – I told you what I wanted. And you accepted. But there was a moment of hesitation. You don’t know. You don’t know what you want. I said I needed boundaries, because if we – if we let things develop the way they are doing right now, we’re headed in a certain direction which you do not want. But you do not know if this is something you really do not want.

And I thought – maybe you’re in your tongue piercing phase. So, there was a time I had a tongue piercing for a year because I had hurt people with the things that came out of my mouth. I was punishing myself. Hurting myself. I hope this is not, what you’re doing. I hope that, this is not the reason you’re moving away from this city you sometimes seem to hate.

I wonder if we ever love. If we ever love the next person more than the last. Because I remember wanting to die from not having Julian – the hazel-eyed German-Polish-Native American boy – love me back. I remember feeling broken after Y – who has now changed his name to Miles, and wears a suit and works as an accountant at Google – but that was thirteen years ago and I still sort of, miss him. I remember Jung-hyun, the girl I went to school with and whom I passionately, with all my heart, loved. But I can’t recall how I loved them. Nothing compares to the way I love you at this moment. And nothing compared to the way I loved F. Maybe it’s all an ephemeral cloud that drifts from place to place.

I love you but I don’t want to love you. But I do.

Yours truly,

Better Left Unsaid/Silent Cries

You didn’t tell me you didn’t want me to go.

I didn’t tell you I wanted you to be there always.

You didn’t tell me I was your everything.

I didn’t tell you you were the only one who mattered. That I wanted to stop looking for others because maybe, maybe you were the one.

You didn’t say, I want you forever.

I didn’t tell you, that I’d changed my life for you. That I’d changed my language for you. That I wanted so desperately to become a part of your life, like the tree that is submerged by a banyan. That I wanted to lose myself in your life.

You didn’t say, you’re the only one that matters.

I didn’t say, maybe for you I could put up a name plate with both our names.

You didn’t say, maybe you wanted a little blonde kid with curly hair and dark brown eyes.

I didn’t say, I love you.

Then you said I love you and I didn’t hear you then you said it again. Again, and again, and again. Until the words sank deep into my skin, leaving a bruise of yellow and purple and green on my upper arm, reminding me of the things that you had left unsaid. The things we had both left unsaid because we are afraid.

What Am I Living For?

“僕が死のうと思ったのは” by Amazarashi

You told me, you were not sure what you were living for. That nothing was ever good enough. And that the good never lasted.

That no matter how many times people told you, you’re beautiful, you’re wonderful, you’re perfect just the way you are, you should be happy, you’ve done great, that you felt like it wasn’t good enough.

If you thought happiness should be a core value in your life, but that you could never be happy because you always thought, happiness never lasts, and I’m waiting for the ball to drop, then what can you do?

If living is, as the Buddhists said, a constant circle of pain, as a hedonist, should you keep living? The world tells you, buck up, cheer up, you’ll find the right path, you’ll find the right person/people, there will be better things in life – and you know they’re lying by omission, should you, end it all?

What if you based your life, as I have done, on the happiness of others? And the others fluctuated, and one day you realized, that they did not stand where they told you to stand anymore?

What if?

서울은 흐림.

내가 사랑했던 서울. 나를 키워준 서울. MADE IN SEOUL. 내가 떠내보낸 서울. 나를 떠내보낸 서울. 내가 그리워했던 서울. 이 모든 서울이 나를 부른다. 하지만 나를 잡지는 않는다.

나를 사랑하는 사람들이 있는 이곳과 나의 친구들이 있는 서울과 나의 두 세계. 나의 두 세계가 만나는 일은 있는 것일까. 내가 선택할 수 있을 것인가. 아니면 제 3의 길이 있을 것인가.

나는 후에 너를 그리워하며 내가 살아온 삶을 후회하게 되지는 않을까.

너가 후에 나를 부를때 내가 너에게 갈 수 있을까.


내가 사랑했던 곳들과 나 자신을 찾았던 곳들과 나와 같이 걸어주었던 사람들이 있는 서울.

나는 또 너를 떠나지만 너는 항상 같은 같지만 다르게 있을 것이다.


내가 잠깐 먹을 것을 사러 다녀오는 길에 엘리베이터에서 낯설지만 누군지 알 수 있는 금발의 사람이 약간 기쁘고 들뜬 표정을 하고 너희 집에서 나오는 것을 보았다. 너는 문을 열며 나의 표정을 읽고 “너가 나간 사이에 그 사람이 들렸는데” 라고 했고 너의 가슴팍에서는 땀이 흐르고 있었다. “…내가 너에게 뭐라 말할 권리는 없지”라고 말하며 나는 장바구니를 내려놓았고 저녁을 같이 할 준비를 하기 시작하고 재빨리 생각을 했다 얼마 되지 않아 나는 너에게 집으로 가겠다 했고 너가 말할 틈을 주지 않고 나의 재킷을 집어들고 나오기 시작했고 너는 나의 작은 흐느낌을 들었다. 나는 너가 거실에 멍하니 서있는 것을 보았도 그것은 내가 기대하던 너의 반응이었지만 그래도 나는 슬펐다. 사실 내가 슬펐던 이유는 내가 너가 그리 반응하리라는 것을 알고 있었고 그와 다른 반응을 너에게서 기대하면 안된다는 것을 알고 있었기 때문이다. 우리 집이 너희 집과 같은 층이었기에 나는 뛰어갔고 현관문은 열려 있었다. 리모델링을 하던 인부들이 한 구석에 석고 조각들을 모아둔 것이 보였다. 나는 내가 현관에 도착한 찰나에 너가 너의 집의 문을 닫고 나오는 소리를 들었고 그것은 나를 약간 기쁘게 했다. 내가 울분에 나의 방의 열쇠를 제대로 돌리지 못하고 있자 너는 어느새 다가와 나의 방의 문을 열어 주었고 아무런 말도 하지 않은 채 나를 안아 주었고 나는 너에게 “내게 너에게 무엇을 하지 말라고 할 권리는 없어”라고 말했고 울기 시작했고 너는 그새 입은 검은새 티셔츠를 벗었다.

이렇게 소름이 끼칠 정도록 정확한 너에 대한 나의 두려움을 나는 서울의 한 소파에서 보았고 이것을 너에게 이야기 해야겠다고 생각했다.

그리고, 이제까지 내가 사랑하는 이에 대한 꿈을 보통 기억하지 않는 나의 패턴에 변화가 생긴 것도.