And I am not sure why, because I am in an impossible position.
This is not one of those happily ever after stories because even if I would end up happy, others would not.
Technically, I could see how everybody could live happily ever after.
But since even Bear has set himself up for a life of monogamy and normalcy, I have given up on the idea that men can love multiple women, without blowing it with one of them. Or both of them.
It’s not that I cannot see how a marriage does not have to blow up if your Slash-like husband has fallen in love with a rock chick whose balcony he painted this summer:
It’s just that it’s not the most likely scenario.
And a hurt, angry wife, a divorce and children caught in the middle, is.
Yet I seem unbothered by this horror scenario.
Probably because I m still under the spell. His spell. Rationally I can see this is going to be a mess but emotionally I m in way over my head.
Because I encountered the Slash-like painter on the last day of 1994 with a bag of oliebollen (a Dutch treat for New Year’s Eve) in our building.
He was just on his way out.
I came home from shopping for my first New Year’s Eve when I was going to be all by myself. I have my own apartment, so I no longer have housemates. And I have cats now, and didn’t want to leave them alone with all the fireworks.
Slash threw me a big smile when he saw me and said:
“I left something at your door. I hope you don’t mind.”
The company he works for were delivering cards on behalf of the real estate company, thanking us for our cooperation during this year’s renovation.
If the tenant was home they would also get a box of oliebollen, but they were not allowed to leave them at the doorstep if no one opened the door.
Yet, the painter who looked like Slash, had.
He was wearing a black leather jacket.
I had never seen it, because I usually saw him in his work-gear and the two times I had seen him at Warhol’s, he had not been wearing a coat.
He was wearing black jeans and black boots. The perfect rock star ensemble.
The only thing that revealed he was not entirely casual was a black shirt, instead of a T-shirt or a sweater.
I assumed he was already dressed for a New Year’s Eve with his family, perhaps with an extra family or friends coming over.
Luckily enough, I was also decently dressed.
Since I didn’t have anybody to dress up for, I knew that if I didn’t make a conscious decision, New Year’s Eve would end up without make-up and without beautiful clothes.
A questionable way to start the new year.
So instead of waiting until later in the day, I was already wearing my festive outfit, and wearing makeup.
I considered myself so lucky that I ran into him.
He would be the last person I saw in 1994!
And I was looking amazing and he was looking amazing and we had just bumped into each other on a day neither of us were pressed for time. He had an excuse not to be home, because technically he was working, delivering cards.
I asked him, if he wanted to come up and eat the oliebollen with me.
And to my unspeakable joy, which I hoped I kept a bit hidden, he accepted.
He carried my heavy bags up, and indeed, there was a box of oliebollen with a card on my doorstep.
Slash seemed a little embarrassed that I was going to read it, with him being present. But there was nothing to be ashamed of, really. All he had done, was put his own name on the card that had been pre-printed by the company.
He had signed it:
Happy New Year
And he had drawn the little bald man with the big nose and big hands, looking over a ridge. The one he had pointed out to me on the Iron Maiden album cover.
There was no phone number or anything like that. It was really respectable, and I liked seeing the card before we went up.
I interpreted it as a sweet goodbye note.
Something like: “You were not crazy. We did have a moment together and I m sorry I m married and I never told you.”
But his way of saying it was better.
Regardless of me thinking his message was neutral, he felt embarrassed for a moment. Almost as if he had not realized that if he would go up with me, it would include me seeing the card.
So we went in, he took the groceries to the kitchen and I took the box and the card. We put our coats on the hooks, and just seeing his jacket in my hallway, covering my other coats, made me so happy.
It was as if it belonged there.
Like he was already my boyfriend, when I knew very well that he was not.
We went to the kitchen, where I simultaneously made coffee, heated our oliebollen in the oven (he originally wanted only one oliebol, but I told him that equaled zero and that they always came in pairs.) and I unpacked all the groceries.
He had to move around all the time, because he was always in the way of the fridge, the cabinet, the stove. And it was all very funny.
I don’t even remember what our topic of conversation was.
But I do know that it got interrupted all the time by me saying: “I m sorry but,” or him saying: “Oh, I need to move again.”
We were both, very deliberately, not touching the other person.
We even tried to stay as far away from each other as we could.
And not just in the kitchen, in my living as well.
I sat on the couch, but he sat at the table. No kidding. He even asked: “Do you mind if I sit at the table?”
No, I don’t. I didn’t.
It was obvious that we were both sensing things. It was as if the air between us was on fire, I have never felt anything like it. And yet neither of us mentioned it, and we both did our utmost best not to add fuel to the fire.
And in a way we succeeded.
Because nothing was said, no phone numbers were exchanged. No promises were made and we just parted raising our hand in the air: “Goodbye! Have a great new year!”
“Good luck with the cats,” were his final words, before I saw him descend from the stairs.
We did well.
Yet now all I can think of is everything about him. It was as if I finally understood that I should enjoy him being there. The first weeks after our balcony day this summer, and even the times I saw him at Warhol, I forgot to notice what he looked like. I didn’t know the color of his eyes, how tall he was or how he was built.
But now I tried to absorb everything about him.
The deep brown of his eyes.
The soft childlike features of his face.
His strong hands.
The tone of his voice, it was like a warm blanket. Although he did not have a very low voice but a friendly one.
Just like his body; It wasn’t threatening in any way.
I couldn’t sense his sexuality, and I still don’t know if we would be a match. Or – let’s be honest here – if he would be a match to me.
After 5 years with Bear, I’ve gotten so used to a man being dominant and I have promised myself I never have to be dominant in bed, or even seductive.
I don’t want that.
But I do know our great sex life was because Bear was sensitive to my needs. That although I usually say it was his dominance, that I could surrender to, it wasn’t. It was his sensitivity to what it was I needed, and he understood that most of the time this meant for him to be dominant.
To push me.
To take me.
But he would always look into my eyes, and never lose connection with me. He immediately picked up if my mood had shifted. Often before I did.
I don’t know if I will ever see Slash again.
But I do know that when I felt so attracted to him, without sensing his sexuality or without knowing if he would be dominant, that it was because those things really do not matter.
That the first thing I look for, when I m in love and wonder if we’re a good match, really isn’t if someone is dominant in bed.
It’s if someone is warm and feels safe.
And he did.
An unexamined life is not worth living..
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A Warm Safe Place | “1994”
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