I Really Shouldn’t Post About This, But I Have To Get It Out

I’m hopelessly romantic. Presently, I have no desire to be involved in a durable relationship, but for about three days this week, that almost changed entirely.

I happened to meet one of Tinder’s good apples this week. Something about our exchanges was different, in the sense that neither of us was trying to keep a conversation going. It was simply occurring. After a few days, we moved to Whatsapp, and almost instantly it became serious. Everything about our interaction on there was unique, suffice it to say, and it is probably how the elites and courtiers in old, sentimental novels would have communicated had they used Whatsapp instead of letters. I’m going to spare you the details, especially since she has read this blog before and I’m not sure whether she still does. Also, I want to keep some of this private for both our sakes. I’m just writing this so that I can stop ranting about it to my friends, and in the hopes that someone else may benefit from this and that I can squeeze some advice out of you. Also, I have a poem without a recipient. More on that later.

I’m a very social guy. I can make friends decently easily, but I rarely connect deeply with anyone. I find it nearly impossible for someone to understand me. I’m often the one putting in all the effort in a relationship, particularly in my last real one, in which she did jack all to maintain it, just like she did jack all every day and is going to accomplish jack all in her life. So it was noteworthy, then, that we both suddenly felt a profound and almost fated connexion. It was really quite strange and intoxicating. This is why I’m ranting about this after one date.

Go ahead and laugh. One date, and Stadden ends up wallowing in self-pity for a few days. I understand that it was early, and that I was putting the cart before the horse. But I cannot explain to what degree we simply understand each other so easily and instantly.

I got the date by jokingly saying I could give her an English lesson. She’s brilliant, but this was all in German, a language in which there’s no nuance, so I was afraid she was actually going to be expecting an English lesson.

We met and I immediately felt a charge. We spoke all in German, and my German suddenly flowed almost effortlessly and I felt entirely at ease despite the setting and the language. Again, no more details, aside from the fact that we spent five hours talking without cease about anything and everything, and the attraction between us was palpable. I felt as if I had known her before, as if we were not meeting but rather catching up on time that had passed in each other’s absence.

Again, perhaps you think all this is melodramatic. I am a bit theatrical, I will admit. The twelve-year-old white girl in me might be doing all the talking, you say. But these sorts of things don’t occur often, in which two people who comprehend each other so sincerely and so elementally that it shocks them.

We leave, say we’ll see each other tomorrow, and part. Before she goes, she asks me to write her something. I end up across town by accident trying to get home, and used the time to write her something then. It was pretty terrible, since I was still so overwhelmed by the events to organise my thoughts into metrical form.

The next day comes. I nervously and enthusiastically await a message from her, asking me to see her, even if only briefly. But we decide we might do something the next day, as she’s busy.

The next day comes. Something had changed in her writing overnight, that seemed to be distanced. Then I received a long message that it’s simply too early for her, that she needs to find herself, etc. Which is understandable. I spent an hour or so after I read this utterly disappointed, mostly in myself. I have a severe problem with getting attached too quickly, and bordering on being clingy and needy. This was a perfect example, as I within a few seconds of meeting her became hopelessly convinced we might be destined to meet or something. And I was not the only one thinking this, as I was not the one who pushed the whole thing ahead. I was along for the ride, trying not to make her uncomfortable. She was more than comfortable. It’s not as if this habit of mine, putting too much stake in something, was the reason. She really just needed to figure something out.

This hour after I received her message consisted of me rereading the block of text a few dozen times, to make sure I was understanding the German correctly. I stared at the wall, wondering if I had made a mistake at some point. A thousand twelve-year-old white girl quotes like “If you really love something let it go” and others ran through my head, though I knew love was too strong a word. I shut that sort of thing down quickly and Schubert’s Ständchen Serenade began blasting in my head, the calm and melancholic minor giving way to a no less mournful major, only to be retaken by that depression-inducing wistful repetition of the first theme.

It was just one more thing that was going utterly wrong. Jobs aren’t coming up, my sleep schedule has been off, my diploma isn’t up days after it should have been, grad school anxiety is beginning, and now this. Ain’t nothing is easy.

So I responded that I understood. But that there was also something incomprehensibly real and tangible between us, something that rarely happens. She agreed, but said she simply needs her space. I said something along the lines that yes, I also needed my freedom (I think I accidentally said Frieden, ‘peace’, instead of Freiheit, ‘freedom’ so I hope that didn’t send the wrong idea).

The thing is, she’s, as I said, brilliant, and happens to be damned fine, and with a while to herself, to think about what she wants in life, she’s going to be unstoppable. Years from now, I might have to see how she is. I hate to harp on this, but it was almost as if she knew everything about me. It was all so instinctive, and even though we only had one date I felt as if it had been a few years together.

But again, I’m putting this all to bed here.

Here’s a poem I wrote a while ago, taking a first line from Coleridge. I do not remember whether this was about any woman in particular, but it surely applies here, and on second reading it could have been written for her. I was impressed with it myself:

She was a phantom of delight,
Of beauty subtle, ardour bright;
She wafted round the room sans care
And breezes graced her countenance fair.

Her simple smile wrecked my defence,
I gazed without concealing hence;
That smile delicate and meek:
A tranquil glimmer in days bleak.

Does God tempt man with such a chance?
On purpose put me in a trance?
Or tease me with the hopes and dreams
Of nights in which her beauty gleams?

She disappeared just as she came,
Another victim, me, she claimed,
For though I hope and her desire,
I must quench this immoral fire.

She was a phantom of delight,
And as she was, she soon took flight
As phantoms do; for as it is,
No man should call such glory his.

I’ve written a poem for her, to some extent borrowing from one by Pushkin when he felt a similar, instant, utter, and life-changing love for a woman with whom he had a very short affair. It is one of the most famous poems in Russian, and it impressed me so much years ago that it I can recite in the original Russian, since I say it in my head almost daily. I tried to imitate the metre in the Russian as much as possible, since it flows easily.

On the one hand, this may be a terrible idea. The poem is for her and her alone, but she’ll never be able to read it. She said she needed her space. I told her she could count on me not to bother her, after telling her that it really was an honour and a pleasure to have known her even that short while. I told her good luck. I then deleted the Whatsapp chat with her. No use rereading it, or perhaps drunkenly texting her one day. It wouldn’t be appropriate to send it to her that way, in any case, though I guess I could have done a voice memo. But also her English is not incredible, and poetry is difficult even in your native tongue. I also don’t know her address, so I couldn’t write it, send it, and then wash my hands of it all for a few years. Yet I think there’s no use just letting the poem collect dust in a journal.

Here’s the Pushkin:

Я помню чудное мгновенье:
Передо мной явилась ты,
Как мимолетное виденье,
Как гений чистой красоты.

В томленьях грусти безнадежной
В тревогах шумной суеты,
Звучал мне долго голос нежный,
И снились милые черты.

Шли годы. Бурь порыв мятежной
Рассеял прежние мечты,
И я забыл твой голос нежный,
Твои небесные черты.

В глуши, во мраке заточенья
Тянулись тихо дни мои
Без божества, без вдохновенья,
Без слез, без жизни, без любви.

Душе настало пробужденье:
И вот опять явилась ты,
Как мимолетное виденье,
Как гений чистой красоты.

И сердце бьется в упоенье,
И для него воскресли вновь
И божество, и вдохновенье,
И жизнь, и слезы, и любовь.

I still recall the wondrous moment
When you appeared before my eyes,
Just like a fleeting apparition,
Just like pure beauty’s distillation.

When’er I languished in the throes of hopeless grief
Amid the troubles of life’s vanity,
Your sweet voice lingered on in me,
Your dear face came to me in dreams.

Years passed. The raging, gusty storms
Dispersed my former reveries,
And I forgot your tender voice,
Your features so divine.

In exile, in confinement’s gloom,
My uneventful days wore on,
Bereft of awe and inspiration
Bereft of tears, of life, of love.

My soul awakened once again:
And once again you came to me,
Just like a fleeting apparition
Just like pure beauty’s distillation.

My heart again resounds in rapture,
Within it once again arise
Feelings of awe and inspiration,
Of life itself, of tears, and love.


And here’s mine, for S.:

Я помню чудное мгновенье

I remember that wondrous moment,
When you appeared before my eyes,
Dispelling hours long and grievant
Answering my heart’s lonely cries.

I heard your voice before I met you,
Flitting so sweetly through the air,
And with each second it came unto
Desperate ears with pining care.

Years had passed. I knew you for forever,
Short moments passing into years,
But you drew away your lips, once puckered,
For you must conquer first your fears.

Together in those few short hours,
We’d lived and died a thousand times;
Now your farewell my heart devours,
And it all meets its end betimes.

Though I knew it was but an evening,
Still I cannot repair this wound,
So quickly you and I were falling,
Overjoyed we’d each other found.

Years will pass, and yourself you must find,
Before we, older, meet again,
And our two souls, so fast entwined,
Will sing with tears, rebinding then.


If she’s reading this, I hope she’s not angry. Please forgive me, S., if you are. I’m not doing this to spite you, but in some way to reveal my own weakness and honour you.

I’m just asking for advice on how not to become so attached so instantly. I do this when someone is interested me or vice versa, but this was an extreme case and it was surely reciprocated. How does one keep his distance in such a situation?


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