I find thousand reasons why I shouldn’t be with you but one keep me coming back. I really like you.

Its spring in London. It smells like what i imagine laughter would smell like. Outside my living room window cotton candy cherry blossom paint the world white and I walk for hours every day because there is so much alive in me.

I struggle with me. That in me that wants to push you away. I hear myself not be very nice to you and my jokes are sometimes on the wrong side of mean. You ask me if I want to come with you to Berlin, I think you are about to break up with me. I flirt with your friend and I don’t even know why but when you are asleep I whisper in your ear that I only want to be with you. I find thousand reasons  why I shouldn’t be with you but one keep me coming back. I really like you.

You are kind. More than anything else that is what I like in you. You are the kind of person that do anything for your friends. Travel half way around the world to hold someone when they cry – anything. I see it in your friend’s eyes, they trust you.

You are also funny and silly and smart and sometimes you make me roll my eyes (most of the time) and you’ve got the best hands and I really like your eyes and I know you’ll always have pickles at home for me.

I want to put your head in my lap and hold you because I see that with your kindness comes someone who takes care of others. Always. I little spoon you at night and it’s like you collapse into me. I don’t want to be mean, I want to be the one to take care of you. Because I know you would always do that for me.

I try to find the words to tell you how I feel but I’m so very bad at talking. So I try to show you in other ways. And when you sleep I stroke your brow with my finger and you smile. Every time.

I’m learning your quirks. I know you are grumpy in the mornings, you hate if I try and wake you if you sleep but always move to hug me. You love your breakfasts, always want to watch movies in bed, remembers quotes, tell stories, talk too much, love having people around you, burn in both ends until you crash. I know that you will take my hand and introduce me to your friends and they will already know about me. You call me your long legged swede and when we meet out you say hi to everyone and then you look at me, really look at me, say ‘hi you’ and kiss me.

You are who I’m supposed to be with. I knew it from the first time we kissed. Maybe even when I saw you for the first time at the star wars party smile from ear to ear.

You might be my perfect match.

Lips tasting like romance and cigarettes

I’m 33 and think romance is over. After the last heart break I don’t want love to be for me. I don’t want to feel like that ever again. I do hope for someone. But something easy and fun and not too emotional and maybe just companionship. Because love do really hurt and last year broke me.

When I meet you I’m cool as a cucumber. There are other boys in my life and when I see you I think to myself that you are so my type but go on to forget about you. Because those other boys give me what I want – someone that asks nothing but give a lot. One of them fix my kitchen drawer when it breaks and one cooks me food and lights candles that smell like Christmas all over his flat. And I see them when I want. I don’t know what to do with more than that.

But you keep showing up and I get slowly more aware of you. Every time I meet you a part in me keep thinking how well you match me. I say goodbye to you, it’s only the second time we meet, and you run around the bar and throw me up in a bear hug and hug all my broken pieces together. Like in the stories I like to read. That night I add you on Fb.

The next time I run into you at the bar we properly talk for the first time. You need to leave for an interview but stay with me until then and we talk fantasy and I don’t want you to leave. When you need to run we decide that we need to meet up and do this again and just before you leave you say:

‘Hope your boyfriend is ok with me stealing you away’ and I only have time to say ‘I don’t have a boyfriend’ before you are gone.

I’m trying hard to keep you nothing before we meet up. I deliberately do not choose clothes I feel extra pretty in and I book for one of the boys to come over the night after seeing you. My heart is on lock down and guarding itself. It knows you smell like danger.

And then you happen. With your laugh, fortune cookies, kisses, fence climbing, nerdery, best version of crazy. Lips tasting like romance and cigarettes. Smile promising adventures and stories. Hands waking feelings and tracing emotions.

We wake up in the morning and I let you hold my hand on the tube. Even if it scares me half to death. When you look at the tube map saying its only 40 min to get from me to you I panic because I feel my heart unlocking. I don’t want you, im not sure i can handle you, but I can’t stop you happening.

That night I cancel with that other boy and I lay in bed feeling my heart beat to the rhythm of waking emotions. Fuck

You laugh. I think you find a way to laugh at everything.

We walk through the rain, its pouring down and im in high heels and a fancy dress. You ask me if I want your coat to cover my hair.

‘If I’m going to get wet, I might as well get properly wet’ you say and I shake my head at you. My hair will be fine, its only rain.

You take my hand and pull me into an off licence.

‘We are going to want coke tomorrow’ you say when I ask why and it makes me smile. Because it’s true and you are sweet to think about it. And handsome in your suit.

We get a coke for you and a diet coke for me and you talk to the guy who owns the store and he asks you about the other night and you launch into some story and I sway a bit next to you because I’m really tired. You see how tired I am and orders us an uber even if we are only a couple of blocks away.

In the cab you take my hand and when we are at yours we run together through the rain. You laugh. I think you find a way to laugh at everything.

In your flat its chaos as usual. Your 19 year old flat mate has a mouse in his room so him and his girlfriend sleeps on your sofa. I change into your big t-shirt, shivering from the wet and the cold, and hide under your duvet. I laugh to myself at us sharing a room with a teenage couple and, not for the first time, wonders at the crazy it is hanging out with you.

I wake up so many times during the night, most of them panicking with that urge to flee. I know it well. It always hits when I meet someone. And it hasn’t gotten easier after the latest heart ache. How can I be with anyone? And how can I be with someone as crazy as you? I lay there in the middle of the night with you sleeping beside me and wish to be somewhere else. Somewhere safe. Alone.

At one point I wake up at the others laughing at us because we sleep on our backs next to each other’s. Like vampires. But all the other times I’m in your arms and you are squeezing me so tight. Except for when you get to be little spoon. You mumble in your sleep. ‘You are amazing, you know that right?’ and I hold you because I know you like being little spoon sometimes.

In the morning I’m tired after my restless night. I don’t know what to think about us. I like you but you also scare me with your intensity. But mostly im just scared of liking someone. My stomach grumbles and I realise I’m starving. You kiss me, get out of bed, tell me to stay put and 30 min later you show up with breakfast. And a jar of pickled cucumber because you know I love it.

And we stay in bed all day. Watching movies and talking. And the urge to run the other way from you recedes further and further away. When I leave you I only feel the need to see you as soon as possible again.

Its a year ago today…

We lay in our bed with Woolly between us. I’m hung over and you are tired. I’ve been awake for a while staring into the wall and I can’t do this any longer. I just can’t.

‘It needs to change. Us. This. You know we can’t do this.’

I can’t look at you when I talk to you and I feel your body next to me but at the same time so far away. It’s like that invisible wall between us.

‘I know’ you say and in those words is everything that we have said and not said over the last couple of months. All the heart break, nights awake and fights that never really happened. The slowly breaking apart.

We talk a bit more but say nothing that we haven’t said before. We get up, get dressed, get through the motions. When its hitting home this is happening we start talking about the practicalities. Who should stay in the flat, who should go. You have family and friends here so we decide that you are the one leaving.

We both cry but are more dead inside than anything else. We say something about this only being for now, a couple of days, a break, but we both know this is it, this is real. We’ve tried all we can, we have both given us our all and there is nothing left to fight with.

I sit on the sofa when you have left and the tears come. The wrecking, heart breaking sobs that only happens when I’m truly hurting. Woolly sit next to me looking confused and then he lays down, as close as he can get, and tries to comfort me with his little body. I feel endlessly lonely and lost. Like nothing will be ok again, like the world is irrevocably broken.

At one point I write a note in my phone that says ‘It hurts so so much but remember that you will be fine. Time heals. In a year this will be a painful memory but you will have moved past it. You will smile again. You will be happy.’

you kiss me like you mean it and touch me like you never want to stop

We sit in the bar drinking and talking fantasy. You’re both absolutely mental. Dan all in black and all jazzed up from talking about his book and you egging him on at every twist and turn his mind takes. I can barely keep up. The plans you come up with are complex and crazy and you run up to show Dan what you mean, run around the room gesturing and laughing loudly at your plans. I watch you both and love it. I have only met both of you a couple of times but you are my people.

You come back to the bar and the three of us have a shot before Slash comes with a box of fortune cookies. I open mine and it says ‘you will be taking on fresh vitality on the next few weeks’. You laugh at this and wink at me.

‘Fresh, young vitality’ you say and scoot closer to me.

I laugh and nudge you to open yours. You do, read it and look up at me with the devil in your eyes.

‘I’m just going to do one thing before you can see it. Then you’ll understand’ you say, lean over, take my face in your hands and kiss me.

I kiss you back. Because you are sweet and funny and bearded and laugh from your toes and hug me like you need to tell me how amazing I am.

You break away from me, give me a cocky smile before you turn around to the others who are applauding you.

‘‘Make the most of today’’ mine says’ you say and show us your note. ‘I just had to when it said that’.

You turn to Dan. ‘What does yours say?’

Dan gives you a look, makes one of his faces and show us. ‘You live in your own dream world’ the note says.

‘It’s fucking true’ Dan pouts ‘You get the girl and I get this’ he points at his shot.

You are clutching the bar screaming with laughter. I sit next to you and just look at you boys. You really are my people. Both of you are brilliant, smart, funny and absolutely, utterly bonkers.

We leave the bar and don’t want the night to end so head to Dan’s for a drink. Listen to music, talk nerd and drink whiskey. When Dan leave the room you kiss me. You take every chance you can to touch me and I feel like the most beautiful girl in the world.

When the neighbour’s starts complaining at four we decide to go home and you ask if you can come with me. Of course you can, you kiss me like you mean it and touch me like you never want to stop.

We arrive at my door and I realise I don’t have my keys and start calling Jacke. Who doesn’t pick up. Even if I call 20 times. At first you pick up the book and start reading because like me take every chance you can but when you realise my cousin won’t open the door you jump up and ask me about a back door. I tell you about the garden but that I have no idea how to get there.

‘I’ll be back’ you say and walk away. I keep calling and 10 minutes later you open the door, smiling that broad ‘I’m going to own the fucking world’ smile.

‘How…what…really!? I say in confusion and walk into your arms.

‘I climbed the fences, could kind of work out where it must be and then banged on your cousins window until he woke up’ you say while kissing me and I look at you with amazement. How can you be this nerdy, bearded, amazing guy that just climbs some fences, fixes shit and kiss me until I almost forget who I am?

We walk into the flat and I just shake my head because right now you are fucking rocking my world and I’m enjoying the ride.

I feel cocooned in the safety of this unknown boy

He lays me down on the beach, hold his hand behind my head for my hair not to get messed up by the sand and kisses me like it’s the only thing that matters to him.

We’ve been dancing on the beach for the last 2 hours and before that we’ve had dinner and drunk endless amounts of mojitos. It feels like half a lifetime since this cute, bearded Spanish guy danced up to me in the little beach bar and tried to salsa me into flirting back with him.

The salsa didn’t work but that never ending laughter and sweet smile did.

‘It’s cold’ he says and shivers in his t-shirt. It is but I can’t tell because he covering me to keep me warm and I smile under his beard and pull my arms out to warm him up.

We lay there in the cold sand, me literally cradled in his arm from him trying to keep me from the sand and sheltering me from the cold and I feel cocooned in the safety of this unknown boy.

Later I wake up with a start. I see the sun go up over the horizon and know I need to run back to Sanna since we are leaving for the airport. I wake the boy still holding me with a kiss on the nose and we leave the beach blinking the sleep out of our eyes.

Alvaro stops a cab and after a kiss jump in and I walk off. Suddenly I see him come running down the street.

‘Your number’ he yells and I see that the number I’ve written on his arm earlier have been washed off. He stops in front of me with a sheepish grin and gives me the pen and I write with big numbers all over his arm.

He laughs his infectious laugh, picks me up and twirls me around.

‘I see you around sueca guapa’ he says before he jumps in the cab again and are off.

I walk home in the sunrise thinking that this is what it’s all about. The stories.

I become very good at pretending, at excuses, at lying. And I’m so, so tired. All the time.

It’s a couple of days before my birthday and life is tricky. No matter how hard I try its too much. Weeks ago I cried on the sofa like my heart was breaking for no reason at all. Or, the reasons are there but I’m not able to put them into words yet. They are about depressions and life and about being sick. The things I will only be able to see when I come out on the other side of all of this.

Now I’m spiralling down. Shutting my eyes and pretending it’s normal to put your fingers in your throat and puke up your food because of stress. Stress and sadness and all the things that hurt so much I can’t cope.

It’s a couple of days before my 30th and I’m breaking into pieces trying to hold my world together. I’ve lost my sense of safety and I’m drifting. The people I have come to count on in this new country are fighting and I don’t know how to fix it. I tried. But it wasn’t mine to fix and now I don’t know how to fix anything, especially not myself.

I can’t talk about it. Think I have to deal on my own. I hide from my boyfriend, puke in the bathroom and come out with a plastered smile. ‘Don’t worry, the food just makes me a bit sick. It’s fine’. I lie to everyone. I become very good at pretending, at excuses, at lying. And I’m so, so tired. All the time.

Me, Elin and Bella go to the pub to have a beer to celebrate that it’s my birthday soon, that I’m turning the big 30, and I’m wearing clothes I feel pretty in even if I never feel pretty any longer. All of a sudden someone I know walks in and I’m surprised they are here. They give me a hug and say happy birthday and I don’t really compute. More and more people come and I sit there with tears in my eyes because they are here. My friends. The people that cares about me and mean the world to me. The ones that don’t get along are here in the same room, for me.

When you are small and the world is a tricky you wear your heart on your sleeve. You might think it’s all wrapped up and hidden away but everything feels and that night I don’t feel alone or adrift. I feel loved. I look around and I have friends that will do this for me.

It will take me another year to start talking, to get myself out of wherever I’m hiding and the people in that room are the ones helping me by showing me how. That I’m actually worth all of this. I don’t remember much from turning 30, mind way too dark, but I do remember that.