This is a piece of autobiographical fiction. Space and time have been rearranged to suit the convenience of the book, and with the exception of public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. The opinions expressed are those of the characters and should not be confused with the author’s.
This story is written as an example to anyone who wants to believe that we are more than the patriarchy deems us to be, more than our limitations, and more than our fears.
April 2020, Bristol England
Lucas has arrived in England.
We spend 2 weeks with my friend Christian in his beautiful apartment.
The pandemic has now sent Europe into lockdown. The borders are closed, flights have been cancelled, people are panic buying groceries, it feels like we’re all trapped in a Doomsday movie.
Lucas caught the last flight out from Prague to Bristol, all just to find me. When we reunite after not seeing each other for weeks now, we finally embrace. Every day for the last few weeks, we’ve been talking to each other non-stop. But I wasn’t expecting anything out of this romance.
By now, I have found out that Lucas doesn’t have a clear plan in his life – and that’s the way he wants to keep that plan. He doesn’t want to be bound by societal expectations or whatever social constructs the world has created. He has never subscribed to those and he didn’t plan to start now.
June, 2020 – Leicester, England
After spending 7 weeks together, Lucas and I have gotten somewhat used to each other.
We were strangers when we first decided to do workaway jobs together. And we’ve now been spending 7 weeks with each other. I’m surprised we haven’t killed each other. I can’t even spend every day of 7 weeks with any of own loved ones. But Lucas is very intelligent and I am very curious about his life, so the more we spend time with each other, the more I learn about myself too.
One day I asked him, “Why did you pursue me so hard if you knew that you didn’t want a relationship with me?”
“What do you think the purpose of Love is for?” He asked.
“I think that love is a choice, that should be unconditional. I think that love is to show someone the best parts of you and for two people to always choose each other.”
“You’re not wrong. But that’s also just one way of looking at things. I see love……..everywhere. Love is in the way you sit with your friend after his father has died. Love is a stranger holding the door open for you. Love is a neighbor cooking food for you when you break your leg. Love is when your parents get divorced because they just can’t stand each other but don’t want to fight anymore. ” Lucas tells me.
“How is getting divorced a way of loving each other?” I ask. “Isn’t that two people giving up on love?”
“A marriage is based more than love. It’s based on compatibility, circumstances, and perhaps fate. Sometimes people grow closer together, sometimes they grow apart. We can’t control the way people grow in their lives.
Getting a divorce means loving yourself enough to know that you deserve more than another 20 bitter years of trying to force something to happen.”
Lucas’s parents got a divorce when he was just 9. At first, the custody battles wore him and his sister out so much that Lucas became very rebellious. His parents took one child each and Lucas grew up with his mother. Through living with his mother, he saw how she rebuilt her life slowly again. She became stronger – she found herself. And in finding herself, she learnt how to show Lucas what self-love meant. She showed Lucas what love should really look like – selfless and unconditional. Later on, his mother met another man and they’ve been happy ever since.
Lucas’s father remarried shortly after. He married someone 14 years younger than him and now has 2 young children with her, one 3, the other one 7. But Lucas’s stepmother is vengeful. To protect her own children and make sure they get their father’s full inheritance, she has managed to convince Lucas’s father to cut his first two children out of his will.
That reality sent Lucas’s sister packing. She left home at 16 and has never seen her father since.
20th September, 2020 – Tirana, Albania
Lucas and I have spent every day in the last 6 months together.
It’s been incredible. Sure, we’ve had our arguments. But Lucas has taught me so much about myself and about love.
We’ve gotten used to watching documentaries and reading up about neuroscience, politics, history, geopolitics instead of movies and TV shows all the time.
Lucas has taught me to love food again – we eat ALOT together and I’ve now gained back all of the weight I lost + a few more kgs.
We spent an amazing time traveling together through England, Scotland, and now Albania. We’ve also done 3 amazing workaways together.
It was time to part. I was headed for Croatia and Lucas was to head towards Egypt.
We’ve shown each other so much love even though we knew it was always going to end this way. Lucas taught me that love is all around – that love doesn’t need an expiry date. It exists in our memories of each other. Love doesn’t ever need to become hate.
To send me off, Lucas accompanied me to Tirana from Berat.
At a bus station along a main road in Tirana, I hugged Lucas goodbye.
“Take care of yourself aye?” Lucas says. We are both in tears.
Goodbyes are always the hardest when you meet people you connect with.
I watch Lucas get on the bus and I catch a last glimpse of him in the same grey shirt he had on when we first met.
As the bus leaves, Lucas waves goodbye to me with a big smile on his face.
I keep waving until I don’t see the bus anymore.