Listen to Episode 5- “Honey in My Veins”– a love story in Paris from the weekly podcast by Fuerteventura Times – Love in The Times of a Pandemic, where the sound artist and narrator Akanksha Krishnani takes us through a musical storytelling experience narrating stories of sweet and bitter love experienced by people around the world during the lockdown.
I had been on at least more than 60 tinder dates but hadn’t clicked with a single one. Sure, I am picky, but that year was particularly hard. Although I liked some of them, and most of my online encounters, liked me too and, some perhaps didn’t after getting to know my intimidating nature. I couldn’t get myself to go on a second date with them. I just didn’t want to, perhaps also because I had been very overworked and I had changed my house for the 3rd time in only one year of living in Paris and, a lot of things were going wrong for me while adjusting in my new city. For starters, I never had the luck to find those kinds of flatmates who are like a dream you know the ones you cook with, do yoga with, get drunk on Saturdays. The first house I shared with was with these girls who were merely impertinent and impolite, be it with waking me up from my sleep and telling me that I didn’t clean the kitchen when it was my duty on Thursdays or hounding me for 2 euros for toilet paper when I was in the middle of an important meeting at work, anyhow the ultra-sensitive roomies who are obsessed with cleaning and house duty timetables I just couldn’t stand anymore, hence I moved and the second house I shared with was a bunch of hippies, I used to give rent to the guy who was living with us and, that was supposedly his job, so he used to deliver the rent money to the Landlord.
Three months down, when I reached the house after work, I found out that the locks had changed, with a note in French, that read, ‘ If you want to enter the house, call on this number- The original Landlord.’ After speaking with the Landlord for the first time, I realised that Leo, who I used to pay the rent to had taken the rent money of 2 months from all 3 of my flatmates and ran away. That was not it. His brother barged into our apartment that night when I was out and, my flatmate called me crying to call the police. A little background on his brother, he had come and stayed with us a few times earlier. He was obsessed with my other flatmate,Angela and I recall him being notably a bit whacky. And someone who would take the knife start knocking holes in the wood table of the kitchen whenever he was angry with Leo and many such deranged things he had resorted to earlier. When he had barged into the apartment that night to confess his love for my flatmate, I had decided this is it, time to change my house again.
So I changed my apartment for the third time, at first my new flatmates seemed sweet, they were these harmless architecture students I thought. But you see I, am an early riser after doing yoga at 6 am. I used to get ready to leave for work at 8 am. And these new roomies used to party with 10 of their friends till 4 am right in the living room, which was bang outside my bedroom with absolutely no consideration for the others living in the house. After having condoned their behaviour for a few months, I had to give them a piece of my mind. For all those nights of my lost sleep. And I was going crazy, it felt like I hadn’t slept properly for months all I wanted was a good 8 hours unperturbed sleep cycle. It was then after yelling at them for playing video games on a loud volume till 5 am, I looked at my phone a piercing 6 am stared at me with 0 hours of sleep, and then there was a notification of this guy who had super liked me. I liked him back. It’s just impulse, when someone super likes you, most times you like them back out of courtesy.
After looking at his pictures, I wasn’t too convinced, I mean he looked a bit geeky nothing wrong about that I love the brainy kind but he was perhaps too gymnastic too, you know his muscles were flexing which made me rethink. I wasn’t into those perfectly toned gym bodies . Also he was smiling a bit too much for the camera while looking straight into the lens which toned his jawline with the chuckles of an academic. How do I know the chuckles of an academic? I just know, they have this particular style of being curt yet welcoming which was basically the mood in all his photos. I thought umm he is cute but could be brusquely high-handed but hey never judge a book by its cover.
We decided to meet that evening for drinks. He was 40 mins late he kept sending a plethora of sorry messages and updates on how he is almost there, I ignored all of them, I honestly thought wow we are already off to a great start 40 minutes late really? , I mean he kept me waiting in that gusty, cold weather. I was done! Just when I was about to leave 20 mins in, my best friend called, and somehow, she talked me into waiting while entertaining me for another 20 mins until he finally arrived and apologised a million times. Let’s see he was ultimately the opposite of what I saw in his pictures. Highly elevated, I mean super tall, good that I was wearing my heels. He had the most beautiful bouncy, cascading, wispy hair that looked so inviting all I wanted was to run my fingers through them, but also to warm my cold bare hands after withstanding that January cold out in the open . He maintained a sharp gaze with his deep-set dreamy brown eyes, with the most enigmatic and tender smile while being extremely polite and verbose I was clearly wrong about the high-handedness. And he was thoroughly studly with a hypnotic mystique surrounding his persona so much so that all my anger of being made to wait for 40 mins wallowed away.
Two glasses of wine down, I discovered he was particularly high-browed, something that I had predicted from his pictures, a space engineer impressive but sans the attitude. However, the entirely geeky and the gymnastic part was false, the muscles were oh so beautiful, with a whimsical sense of humour I was digging.
After the drinks he walked me to the metro stop for 20 mins, he asked me ‘Why are you on tinder? You don’t look like the kind who would be on this app?’ Now you see, I get that a lot, I mean, should I be flattered or embarrassed? Nevertheless, I somehow knew deep down even though we had a great time. This story wasn’t going to blossom into a second date or anything for that matter. As that’s how it always was, everything is flowery in the night, but when its day tomorrow, I usually lose interest. Did I desire to meet him again? Sure, but I had become so gloom-ridden in the dating department that I had forgotten everything about him by the next day. Until he continued to text and kept on persisting so, I gave in, and we met again after a week at a place of my choice. He then told me, ‘ I want to take you to a rooftop nearby, from where you can see the whole of Paris .’ I was like ‘Sure’ But even after all of that, I was confident of this being just another random date with no magnitude whatsoever, call me pessimistic.
But sex was the last thing I was imagining with him, even though it was something I needed the most from him at that point, but my indifferent attitude was not marching towards a positive outlook. I hadn’t been with anyone for a year perhaps thats why. Amidst being in a new city, at a workplace filled with a pool of masculine energy mansplaining me on things, when I most definitely knew better than them. Then came the flatmate drama and the lack of sleep that had turned me into a human zombie with zero affection or empathy and hope. As we stood on the rooftop of Hotel Marinel, admiring the hued, pastel beauty of Paris as the sunset painted the buildings a sensational auburn, He lunged towards me, catching me off guard and sowed a kiss. I honestly, wasn’t prepared for this, I was so clogged by all the other previous bad dates that I never saw this coming when the signs were all clear at least from his side. They say be careful of what you ask for, it might just come true, it was precisely that, it had come true and I was ultra confused of what I felt or what I wanted to do next. Meanwhile, we continued to make out instead. He convinced me that we should head to his place, as he makes the most delicious gin tonics. I obliged, still being consciously bewildered about how I felt. You see, it’s very different when you haven’t been intimate with anyone for a year or so. And then getting back into business suddenly, you do feel bewildered and also sheepish even, keeping in mind the discontentment of not being fulfilled at work and just an avalanche of grim feelings you have harboured for long.
After reaching his place, we had some gin tonics. We spoke about our past travels and adventures, our future goals until I started to feel extremely drunk, as I had gulped all those gin-tonics out of my helpless, edgy apprehensiveness. He suggested that we should take a quick nap, I was surprised at first, but with my cloudy vision and incapacitated demeanour, I forced myself to agree, we passed out for two hours clasping one another. After ordering in some Chinese food, watching some insanely comical mockumentaries, we finally tried to have sex until I jaded, I wasn’t sure what was going on in my mind. Did I find him attractive? Hell yes! Did I think he was a sweet guy and not sly and forceful? Hell yes! Did I want to sleep with him? Hell yes! So what was the problem? I still can’t remember what? Perhaps all of this as it escalated too quickly, and for a change, I liked someone after a year, he was like this gooey honey syrup that my life lacked for such a long time, and you see it’s hard to directly shift to honey when you have been used to pungent, acrid lemons.
Transition takes time, and so did I! He was confused too with what was happening, I was actually getting ready to leave. Still, to my surprise he never threw a fit or acted bummed out, he was the sweetest and showered me with all the kisses and cuddles of the world and said, ‘ I don’t care much for sex right now, it’s super hard to find people you connect within this city and, I am thrilled I was able to find you.’ I almost melted with all that arresting sweetness. I remember sleeping in till 1 pm the next day , something I hadn’t done since literally a year in Paris, such sound and comfortable sleep that I had yearned for all this while I had finally found in this almost stranger’s bed. He was so affectionate and doting throughout the afternoon, with tricking me back into bed whenever I spoke about how I should be heading home. I was at his place till 6 pm, with lovemaking of a very different kind that resonated through my deadpan emotions, he spoke through me, his sentimental, mushy enamoured self.
That night when I went back home, I realised that I was PMS-ing before when I was at his place, hence experiencing this whirlwind of emotions that were tearing me apart. He followed up, thanking me for a wonderful time. Then we continued texting throughout the week, even though I was traveling for the weekend. At my return, we finally met and had the most clumsy and disproportionate sex, as at first, it was uncomfortable as I hadn’t been active down there for nearly 365 days, but after a point, it subsided. We met regularly almost every weekend after that. Sometimes I stayed over most times I didn’t. It’s almost like once you had entwined intimately and sexually, you sort of lose interest. At least that’s what I thought. I still liked him, but I missed that kind of raw intimacy we had the first night we met when I stayed at his. It was so informal and transparent then, even though we had just met and not rushed into sex, as now it felt somewhat mechanically formal.
Had something changed? I can’t recall what, but I know it was this hesitation from both sides of literally revealing too much and being vulnerable, especially knowing the fact that we both were leaving the city in 3 weeks. So I just went with the flow and let things happen organically. As the weeks rolled out and our departure neared, we became averted from what the other perceived and just kept it strictly physical. Which kind of worked, I guess, even if it was sloppy initially due to my recent comeback and his dedicated mounting diligence. Until the last day, when we were together after we made love, there was a lurking, silent gratification that I sensed between us, which perhaps was a bit more than just that. But we both preferred to limit ourselves not to reveal too much, cowardly even when my cheeks flushed as he took me one last time, but I guarded myself so that I portrayed to be as laid-back as ever.
When he dropped me that morning, we knew it was the last time we’d be seeing each other, but we still promised to stay in touch in case we encompass each other in our new cities ever. Even though I was traveling to a different continent while he remained in the same, I knew there and then that I would never hear from him again. Not because that’s what I wanted the opposite in fact, but you know it’s just life, things happen, you move, you get busy, and you just segregate, after all these online dates all end up the same. But I was wrong. He wrote to me on and off but more on than off. I was very stunned when he continued to write to me, happy sure but still shaky with the past encounters as one thing was sure he was thinking of me the way I was thinking of him too even though it was seldom or not who knows. Still, after that life happened like I had predicted and we lost touch for another year, I had subconsciously forgotten about him. I met others? Sure. I clicked with them? Sure. Did it tick better? Sure, given the recovered activeness. Was I content with the others? Not sure. Did I secretly wish to hear from him but prayed that he didn’t so I wouldn’t have to break my wall? Sure. Did I think about him sometimes? Sure. Should I be writing to him? Not sure.
Until today, this very present day when I am back in the same continent in these unnerving times of a looming virus outside. As I sit alone on my day twenty of quarantine in the island town that I moved back to after a year of Asian adventures traveling and working in the exotic lands, my phone rang and, it was a message from him, after TEN months.
After reading his message, as I lay naked 5 meters away from my own crumbling thoughts, persisting the urge for our bodies to entangle again, even though we are far away, maintaining a calculated distance, what I truly long for are your kisses, that felt like sweet blazing honey, running through my veins.
We should never try to rush things that need time to grow. I will always have a special place for him as he caught me at a time I was breaking into a million pieces, even though it was for a fleeting moment it filled with me a new hope. Perhaps 2.0 with him post the pandemic would just be the cherry on the cake or preferably honey syrup on my gin tonic that I would gulp to infinity this time.
Listen to Love in The Times of A Pandemic Previous Episodes of
Ep 01 – Cozy Attic of Barcelona
Ep 03- Surfing My Desire in Fuerteventura