paperboats from the past.
i have a well documented history of stalking some of my ex-lovers. including you.
not stalking in the legal sense of the word, obviously, you would have noticed that by now, wouldn't you?
i google you name, frank, and tottes name (he was your predecessor, the one i was still hooked on when in was with you) regularly, trying to keep an eye on what you do.
yeah, that googling thing is kinda freaky, i know, and i'm sorry about that.
it freaks me out to see people googling me successfully. a few years ago, a former co-worker from melbourne told me, passing me by during lunchtime in a cafe, that "he had found my website". my heart stopped, thinking he had found the blog, when all he had found was a silly photo page. but still: it's not a good feeling being searched out, i know that.
do you know why i google you?
it's quite simple: i wonder how you are.
while i wonder how you are, however, it somehow feels to me as if i don't have the right to contact you directly. - it has been such a long time since we last spoke, it was such a strange thing, that thing between us, it looks a little strange to still think about someone you loved a decade ago, as a teenager.
for you, frank, and for totte as well, google regularly uncovers new stuff.
it must be because you're both artists, both having gained some kind of small-scale fame and success in recent years.
as i bet you can guess, new websites either feature reviews or announcements for shows, happenings or readings that either of you takes part in.
i'm pretty sure you've realised that someone is regularly checking google for you. the art studio you run with your mates has an excellently designed website: i guess that whoever maintains it knows a thing or two about referer stats.
do you wonder who that person searching for you is? do you assume that the mysterious google stalker is looking for you, or assume he is actually looking for the man who shares your name, the one who runs an eco-conscious weaving business with his wife in one of the eastern states?
i have your email adress; i have had it for a good long while, actually.
- long before it turned up on your studio website, i had found it beneath a comic you had submitted to a contest.
as you've noticed, i've never used it though, even though i've been tempted, more than once. what if you didn't reply? what if you wouldn't know who i am? what if my email to you got lost in spam?
you still live in the same city, in the same flat that you lived in 10 years ago, when i was madly in love with you, and oh so confused about men and love and life.
i wonder whether the woman listed with you in the white pages is your lover, life partner or just a flatmate. she's an artist, too, that makes me lean towards thinking she's your lover. back in the day, you used to share that flat with many people.
do you still live in the same room of that flat, the one towards the backyard, with the view of the roofs of the city? i loved that room, with its emptiness and wooden floor, with the drawings leaning against the walls, with a fern leaf i had sent from new zealand pinned over the pasteboard you used as your desk.
i have contact details for totte, too, and i haven't contacted him either. the last time i talked to him was in the summer of 2000. the last time you and i talked, it was the last millennium. was it in late 1996? early 1997?
it was after my return from new zealand, for sure, and we sat in your room for a few hours, talking, for the first time ever totally openly and honestly, and we realised we had communicated really badly years ago. after that, there wasn't much left to say, was there? did we continue write letters afterwards? i can't remember. most letters i have from you are from 1994 and 1995.
quite obviously, the fact that i haven't contacted you doesn't mean i've forgotten about you, or stopped caring or thinking about you. otherwise i wouldn't be writing this, right?
i haven't forgotten about you, at all.
i think about you, often. i have written about you often, in the 4 years that i have been writing online.
at the moment, i think about you a lot because of that "10 year anniversary" coming up. 1994 was such a wild year for me, and you were an essential part of it, with totte.
the entire drama that totte and i were finally matches that alanis morissette song i never get tired of quoting regarding him: "what's it been over a decade?/it still smarts like it was fourt minutes ago".
it is still strange to me, how what happened between you and me was so entwined with what happened with totte and me. i rememeber that party that you both attended, me clinging to you to avoid totte, us kissing in the hallway as you left, me and totte hurting each other just hours later. it was one of the most bizarre nights of my teenage years.
overall, it was a strange year, that one, but an enjoyable one, too. you were in it. and i loved you. more than you realised until after we were done.
somehow, these past years that i've been googling you and totte, i've always managed to find the announcement websites for events featuring your or tottes work just days after they took place.
there hasn't been a realistic chance in years to attend any of your events. when i actually knew about something in advance, it was either too far away (mostly in northtown) or i wasn't in the country in the first place. sometimes the events were not only too far away, they also seemed so small that contact with you was going to be invetable there.
when you worked at some museum over the summer of 2001, offering printing workshops as part of an exhibition, i was simply scared out of my mind to go there. i worried that you'd see me but wouldn't recognise me. i worried that you'd see me and would recognise me. what good reason would i have had to be there at that obscuse exhibition in that tiny museum in the middle of nowhere?
i have seen quite a few of your paintings online, and i love them. they speak to something in me, and not just because they are yours. i can't describe what it is.
the performances you've been pulling off have made me laugh. i've only seen snapshots and short descriptions on a website on artists in your state, and those have been hilarious. reading kurt vonnegut's"slaughterhouse" to cows? collecting your navel fuzz? my only suggestion: i would have had that cow event sponsored by peta.
a few months ago, google turned up a website that seriously shook me.
from februar to march, giant paperboats that you had built, some up to 9m long, were exhibited in your town, on the shores of the lake in the middle of your city.
i was too late for that event as well. it would have been a perfect event for me to get a look at your work: no museum, paperboats in a glass pavillion by a lake, no opening times, no entrance fees, and the risk of running into you, even though i've been subconsciously longing for that, would have been low.
in august, those paperboats that you've built will be launched unto the lake, as part of your city's lake-fest.
i can't tell you how tempted i am to come up for that. the timing is perfect: i plan on being up north then anyway. your city is just an hours drive away from hometown. the lake fest might be big enough to provide cover if i decide that i don't want to get in touch, but not so big that it might be impossible to get in touch, if i want to.
because that's what i want, i think. i want to be back in touch with you.
that's what's puzzling me so much, actually. i feel ambivalent about being back in touch with you. why do i want this?
i've come to realise that the reason why i keep googling your name is simple: i miss you, in some weird twisted way.
i miss the strange things we talked about. i miss your view of the world. i want to know how you are, who you are now, whether you are happy, whether you love, whether you are loved. i'm quite sure about those latter things actually, i remember you as someone who longed to be a lover. there were always several women you fancied, or so it seemed to me.
part of me wants to communicate with and understand you on a level i couldn't when i was 16 and you were 25. now that i have reached the age that you were when we were "together", i've come to realise that even though it felt as if you had the world figured out and were an adult, you most likely hadn't and weren't.
i've been lost in many ways, and have been for years. i think you could relate. i think you could show me that yes, it is possible to live outside the norm, maybe just a little, and be daring. because you, frank, are daring. building giant paperboats to be launched on a lake? daring!
i'm nostalgic about our relationship, too. you were the first man i ever slept with, and on some bizarre, hypothetical level i would love to show you i can do it a whole lot better than i could that day in may 1995. not that i assume you'd still be interested. not that i'd actually pursue that, ever. i'm a lot more shy than i was at 16. - it was all just a show then, anyway, that self-confidence that made you believe that i didn't fancy, didn't love you as much as i did, as much as you fancied, as much as you loved me.
above all, i'd simply like to meet you as an equal. i'd like to meet you at an age where the age difference between us matters a whole lot less than it did ten years ago.
but i am fucking scared.
scared you won't recognise me. scared you won't remember me. scared we won't have anything to say to each other. scared of awkwardness.
if i sit down and think, i know that you would recognise and remember me, even though it's safe to assume that you left more traces on my life than i did on yours. but what if we didn't have anything to say? and what if we did?
turning up unannounced at your art event would be such a cliche, too.
kinda like copying before sunset (which i will see tomorrow night, by the way) - not that i think of us in such grande romantic ways, not that i think the little thing we had would be enough to turn our lives around. it was big then, at least for me, but it does not have a legacy large enough to expect any life changing experience if we indeed see each other again.
to be realistic, if i decided to go to your boat launch, i'd quite likely stand on the sidelines anyway and watch from afar. at least until i am comfortable there, until the main event is over, something like that.
this event is something you've apparently planned for a good long while, and i surely wouldn't want to interfere. i guess i might even end up watching it, contacting you afterwards.
i'm well aware that i could just as well send you an email beforehand, saying something like "i heard about that paperboat event. is that you? if so, i think i'll be there. see you then?"
that'd be quite an adult thing to do. bummer though, that despite my age, my adult type behaviour tendencies are not very distinctively developed.
i got some more weeks to think about whether i will go and watch your paperboats being launched.
right now, i think i will.
i will see you there, then.
will you see me there?