The Hunt

Or: “Hahaha life is pretty annoying sometime.”

Everything was planned out: Upon my arrival in Sydney by Greyhound bus on Monday, 27th January (yes, I spent infamous Australia Day on a bus), I would move into an apartment in Sydney straight away (no more hostel!!), replacing a girl that told me over facebook that she wants to leave the city. What an idiot.

But by now, I’ve learned that my plans don’t tend to come into fruition, so naturally she texts me at 5AM saying „Sorry, me stay, you loser!“ (this is the exact message as far as I can remember) She doesn’t care about my pleas that she actually made me promise several times to show up (we get laughed at a lot for our bureaucracy, but this is why in Germany nothing happens without a contract) and I am looking forward to carrying my 25kg bags down George Street in hopes of finding a hostel quick.

And for once, I’m in luck: The 2nd hostel that I ask has a spare bed, and on top of that free breakfast and wifi.

After a quick shower I can finally go outside and enjoy – there are actual people on the streets!! Cars!! NOISE!! It’s as if I just came out from 25 years behind bars; like coming home. I’m a city girl. Maybe because I look only half as good in a bikini as I do with a cup of cheap coffee in my hand (I just find it makes me look sophisticated).

I am about to initiate the final and most important step of my “grand scheme”: Go to Hyde Park and “coincidentally” run into someone, a someone, the someone I could never forget about ever since I left for the first time and who is 95% the reason why I decided to come back to Sydney (5% is cheap Sushi).

It would be like a movie, I’m most certain: I would show up out of nowhere, he would look over – feeling my presence, not trusting his eyes, then realizing it is really me, breath heavy and as in a trance, walk towards me, passionately kiss me (or alternatively just hug me tightly), but in any case proclaim his love for me and how he almost died every day since I left. He may even shed a tear, but only a tiny one (I am not of the sentimental sort) and we would live happily ever after.

-The End-

I get to Hyde Park. My heart is beating as if I’ve been running a marathon. This is it. The moment I’ve been waiting for. He should be right over there, by the Pool of Reflection. But… I can’t see him. Dammit, I should have worn my glasses. I am short-sighted, and I don’t have the balls to walk up close to the skaters.

Is that him? No, don’t think so. There is someone with long hair.. but he doesn’t wear his so gaily (I mean that in the Tolkien-sense). This one? No, no, NO! This isn’t what I imagined. I am lurking on a bench nearby, with my kindle as alibi. He must show up. I am in such a hopeful mood, for the first time I do my good deed by donating $5 to one of those fund-raising fellow backpackers. “I just earned loads doing a reality TV show” I generously – and not conceited at all – explain.

An hour later – still no someone. I decide to give up for today and instead catch up with some of the people that don’t deserve to call themselves backpackers because these slackers are STILL here! Never even left! Shame on you, you know who you are!

Dan, the Englishman has since decided to live as cheaply as possible by bargain hunting. This includes a free cheeseburger voucher at Maccas at Coogee, which is why we spend every day at the beach. Sometimes, if they fail to redeem your voucher, you can use it even twice a day if you let your hair down. By friday though, I am pretty sure the know exactly who those Cheeseburger scamming ass-clowns are and decide that we’ve had enough Cheeseburgers anyway (for this week, at least).

Every day we are looking for half-price or free deals.

I am proudly teaching Frenchy how to play the intro of Smoke on the Water by referring to the different cords by numbers (I don’t know any better myself, to be honest. But this tactic works to even teach myself Sur le pont D’Avignon, which makes Frenchy very happy).

I am trying to take in as much of the city as I possibly can. I truly fell for it. It makes me feel like a star, I am thinking, as I am taking a stroll through Hyde Park. “Hey, Congratulations!” A voice wakes me out of my daydreams. “Congratulations!” A guy stops me, and I look at him confused. “I just wanted to congratulate you on your great Tennis match! Aren’t you the tennis player?” To this day I am still kicking myself that I didn’t say yes and let him take a picture of me.

Every day I am checking Hyde Park for my someone. Without success.

Other than my apartment hunt – I have found a place in Ultimo that I am sharing with about 7 or 8 others. That’s just a guess, I am not actually sure. I don’t go upstairs to say hello. The first couple of days I am too busy, and then it’s just weird.

On Saturday, after being back in my lovely home away from home for almost a week, I am hanging with Dan again. He agreed to sit in Hyde Park, eventhough my constant obsessing about someone (for easier understanding, let’s call him Gustav for the remainder of this story) makes him want to kill me, and so, her soon finds an excuse to leave me. After 15 more minutes, I am also highly demotivated. It’s no use. Gustav’s moved away, he’s gotten married and moved away, he died and his body was moved away. Something like that happened.

Before I met Gustav I came to Hyde Park almost every day just to hang out and read. It was my thing, and I loved it. And since I don’t want to go back to my weird apartment, I decide to do just that – enjoy the part in the late afternoon sun and finish The Hobbit.

After getting a $1 cup of coffee at 7/11 (Thomas would hate me) I am walking through the park to find a nice spot to sit. But, what’s that..?

Turns out – I didn’t need glasses after all. I can spot Gustav from a mile away. His hair, his posture, his style, too unique to miss. When I had just given up.

But now that he’s here, I am petrified. My vision? A lot simpler in theory. I slowly walk forward, hoping that he’ll turn around and do the work for me. He’s right there. But he doesn’t turn. Not until I am so close that it is inevitable for all his entourage to notice me.

And then he does. He looks up. At me. Waves. I smile (I think. I might have been too nervous to look anything but constipated). He waves again. And a third time. More like shooing away a fly. Then he goes back about his business.

Did it just start to rain or is that just me feeling like a wet poodle?

Like an idiot I keep staring at him, them. Clueless about how to handle the situation. The declarations of love should come any minute now…? Then all of his buddies are staring at me, just standing there watching. Great. I text him to come over to end this misery but he doesn’t. So I sit down on the nearest bench and pretend to wait for a friend. How does one do that, you ask? Well, you sit on a bench, tap your foot and keep impatiently staring into the same direction. I am sure he got it.

After another 10 minutes (yes, I’ve been doing this for almost half an hour now), I hear a skateboard to my left. But I don’t look up until Gustav speaks to me.

“I didn’t know it was you, I thought some crazy lady is stalking me. I have so many stalkers.” Hm! “So you’re back, huh? Where is it that you were again? Melbourne?” Playing utterly uninterested.

“Gold Coast”, I say. “Came back on Monday, when I texted you.” – “And woke me up.” Uh, ok. “So, what are you doing tonight, getting drunk?”, says he while sipping on his beer wrapped in a brown paper bag. “Why did you delete me from facebook?”, I wanna know. – “Because I don’t want people to be intrusive of my life”, he says. Where is all this hostility coming from?!

He asks me what I am doing tonight. I take that as a sign, and say we could hang out together. He starts to laugh. “Well, maybe I’ll call you later.”

For now, he’s going back to skate, as that’s ‘what he does’, and I get up to pick up my friend (who surprisingly still hasn’t shown up).

That night, I wait for his call. And wait, and wait, and wait. It’s coming…. is it? I got to bed not knowing what to think. The call didn’t come. Not the next day, either. To my texts, I get no reply. I play back in my mind every single word that has been spoken between us to figure out why.

 Image

Your body is strong, but your mind is weak (old Japanese proverb)

On Thursday, I am standing at the side of the road to give out free gym passes. It pays 30 bucks and I figure, that’s good enough. As I stand so being constantly rejected by people (what’s the deal, I am giving something away!), I imagine what it would be like if he were to walk past. I would ask him if he wants a free gym pass. He’d think I am soo funny that there is no other way but to hug and kiss me.

As the two hours are almost up, I look up. Crossing the road right in front of me is Gustav. It takes me a minute to figure out that this is actually happening. This time, he doesn’t pretend not to recognize me. Instead, he looks and walks straight at me. I straighten my back, completely taken once again. He’s mocking me for standing on the street in a gym T-shirt. “Doing something you love, eh?” I should have asked why he constantly ignores my texts and calls. But my blank mind just asks where he’s going. Busy, busy, busy, trying to get away from me as fast as possible again. He keeps walking, and I breath out for a second, looking back over just in time to catch him looking back at me. Gone he is once again. I am not any smarter for it. No idea what happened. Last time I was in Sydney, we were sooo good. That’s what I thought. The guy actually went looking for me in the city – in the rain – until he found me.

I just stand there. I want him so bad, it’s driving me crazy. Why doesn’t he want to talk to me? If I just knew THAT… Longingly, I look up the way he left, just to see him walk back down again. As he draws near, he grins at me, and flexes his biceps mockingly. “I am done in a few minutes”, I explain desperately, hoping he’ll take the hint. But he says he’s going home. And walks. Without looking back. I am still staring in his direction when he is long gone.

That night, my flatmates drag me to Ivy, and at the moment thinking it’s probably a good idea to distract myself and have a few drinks (when is it ever?), I agree to goon-pong.

At the club, I am hating it. The shoes are pinching my feet, the music is too loud and I am super annoyed with the lines at the bathrooms. In that state, I somehow think it’s a terrific idea to text Gustav and ask if he wants to eat Cheeseburgers with me. Like the good ol’ days, ya know? I say goodbye to my flatmates and start walking in good spirit. There’s no way he won’t reply after running into me again today, and even crossing the street to talk to me. I am convinced by the time I reach Maccas, he will have agreed to meet me there…

When I get there, I am buying a large Cheeseburger meal by myself. I walk home alone and eat my meal on the balcony. I smoke three cigarettes, wash off the make-up, put on my pajamas. As I lie there staring at the ceiling, I feel I have nothing left to lose. I put all my thoughts and feelings into one last heartfelt message, that turns out to be so long that my phone turns it into an MMS. It’s about how I feel like a crazy person for liking someone so much that I have met so briefly. But about how special he made me feel during that short period of time. How someone for the first time entirely understood me. How I don’t know how to fix what I did wrong, because I don’t really understand what I did wrong, and how I wish we could just spend time and feed his dog Carlos (name changed) with fries and lettuce again. It turns out so emotional, that to this day I am too embarrassed to read it again (there are a lot of things I can’t say out loud, but give me pen and paper and I will turn it into a Danielle Steel novelle).

The next day, I decide to leave Sydney for a second time.

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