I realized I haven’t told the story of when I was 21 and madly in love with the older man. Older only he was 36, which at the time seemed significant, especially because he still managed to behave like a 15 year old which caused all the tragedy in the end. Oh yes, I forgot to mention – it is a tragic love story. The reason why it came back to my mind was that the ring he had given me broke yesterday. No, not the kind of ring you think now (and I would sincerely hope a diamond ring doesn’t just break like this), but a ring he had given me as a Mitbringsel from a trip to Berlin… but let’s start at the beginning…
So little 21 year old me was interning at an ad agency and waitressing at a nearby hip restaurant for some H&M spending money. We had a lot of regulars and one them was Oli. I’m not sure how he ended up with this cutesy nick name, because he was anything but, but this was how I called him. He was a generous and polite guest, a photographer, stylish, and I should add for full disclosure: he looked like a turtle. Mind you, I’m not being mean, I’m being objective and it didn’t matter a thing to me.
One night he and his friend were the last customers and annoyed me to no avail, because I wanted to leave and started very loudly to clean the tables next to theirs. Next thing I knew his friend went to the bathroom and he stood next to me awkwardly. I think this is when I started to melt because if a grown man can look so awkward and shy when asking you out – ups, I gave it away – it is quite endearing. In hindsight I don’t know if the way he asked is officially stupid, but to me it was even more endearing and scored him a big yes.
Oli: What do I need to do that you go out with me?
Me: Dah. Ask me!
No, that is a lie. That would have been the witty answer. I was a perpetual broke intern with a love for fine food so in fact I told him to ask me out for dinner, which he did and we were happy to find out that we shared the same favourite restaurant.
Off we went and on we got. We became the bestest of friends. Well sort of. In hindsight, again there is a lot of hindsight here, but I was little so forgive me for being so stupid, it wasn’t very nice of him to ask me out while he still had a girlfriend. Which was why we were just friends. Friends with desert. Not what you think. Real desert. We would always only have mains and deserts, but never starters.
At some point the girlfriend was no more. And then came the weekend he had to go to Berlin for work. Have I mentioned that since knowing him I refuse to go out with still life photographers? They are a funny breed. If you fuss about inanimate objects all day, you kind of lose your way with people. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. So we said our goodbye, as friends do, and I jokingly told him to get me a Mitbringsel from the trip. In fact I was only half joking, because who doesn’t want presents always?
He came back with a very pretty little bag. Girls want pretty little bags, the smaller, the better in fact. Mine must have been the smallest one ever, because it came with not one but two rings. A pink and a blue one and though for the untrained eye they may have looked like toy rings out of a gumball machine, I knew designer when I saw it. More than that they were me! That was the night we first kissed. I’m not even going to try giving you a feministic pretence that the jewellery didn’t have a part in this. Don’t you even dare to think badly of me for going out with a turtle just because he gave me nice stuff and deserts! I was crazy about this man deserts or not. If I wouldn’t know better now, I would say I was even madly in love with him and so attracted to him, writing this story now my heart is still racing just a little bit.
So that was the good part of the story. The tragic part I prefer to tell quickly: he rekindled with his ex, lied about it and unfortunately got caught. You all saw that coming, didn’t you? Well, I didn’t and it led to some door slamming and messages on his answering machine á la I meant what I said when I told you to never call me again! from my side. Guys, if a girl says that it is usually a lie and she wants nothing more than for you to call her. He knew that and even called at parents’ house where I had fled in my despair and was greeted my laughing mother Ooh, so you are the man who broke my daughter’s heart!?I guess everything is a bit dramatic when you are 21, right? I gave one of the rings to my friend afterwards to make a statement, but I don’t think I was fooling anyone and he never knew about it anyhow. There was also a steamy sequel in Paris a few years later, which probably wasn’t a smart move, but who can think straight when overlooking Paris at midnight?
And now the ring broke. Just like that. I’m not even sad, the ring and the story had done their time. I think unlike Frodo I won’t make a big fuss and a trilogy and just put it in the trash.