Death Row Relationships (short version)

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Once in a while I do some “window”-shopping at IKEA’s online shop. Not having purchased any furniture (except a mattress) in… actually, I don’t think I ever bought any substantial furniture at all.. it is a rather pointless endeavour. Constantly on the move it would be stupid to invest in furniture to an apartment only inhabited for a year or two.

Talking to people in academia I’ve found that this is a common scenario. After a few years of transporting all the goods all around Europe most say they just got rid of it. Why bother? being the general attitude. Personal belongings are reduced to those that easily fit into a few cardboard boxes.

It is both a blessing and a curse to have this free lifestyle. In a sense it does not matter if you add another cut to the kitchen table, if another stain ruins the carpet or if the cheap towels bought by immediate necessity, tear. The concern is not so much that this is how “space” is treated, only that sometimes “people” (or yourself) are treated much the same. Why invest, if in a year you’ll never see them again? Tired of ‘goodbyes’, for a long time I simply never said ‘hello’ in the first place.

In truth, it’s been long since I had a relationship (few though as they are) in which there was not a ‘goodbye’ already in sight at the ‘hello’. A departure of either myself or my companion. A moment where it gets either very complicated or very simple. Not quite a year, a few months, a week and… well… sayonara. Occasionally the mind, or the heart, pretends ignorant to the upcoming doom, desperate for something to grasp on to. On other occasions it is a relief to know that also this shall pass. And dangles from the gallows is another Death Row Relationship.

It has come to this point where I’ve started to wonder what a ‘continuous’ relationship feels like and begun to worry if my years roaming around spoiled me for such a beauty. For years people around me have with “my-best-in-mind” fueled my ‘concerns’ with their opinions on the love affairs I’ve gotten entangled in. When single they point out how unlucky or incompetent (yes, I’m serious…) I am in matters of love. When seeing someone they laughingly tell me “Enjoy it while it lasts!”, or almost scoldingly that whomever I date is absolutely wrong for me (not good enough / too young / too slutty / too stupid / “yeah, but he’s bah.. you know…” / not that into me – Btw dear friends, that last one… what the h*ll am I suppose to do with your estimate on that topic?) Am I then to assume that there is simply no-one for me?

Tangled like spaghetti, another inmate will eventually will walk the heavy steps towards the gallows. Clock’s ticking and time is a bitch. I’m neither ready nor sure of any sentence (thumbs up or down) so the seductive temptation to pray the universe for a pardon covers my skin. But if time is a bitch, then space is her abusive husband, and their marriage is not easily fiddled with. A pardon requires more than divine intervention, it requires hard work and, the more important and infinitely impossible faith… And it’s a ‘dual duel’, as Ingrid Michelson points out: “Open hands are hard to hold on to anyway”. But maybe… I’m soon ready not only to love someone but to actually be loved back.

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