As the youngest, he thinks he knows the answer to every little freaking thing
I won him over with fun facts. Well, I call them fun. He calls them “basic knowledge.”
He’s the kind of guy who can say “I love you” in 67 languages
I was 16 when I first said the words “ani ohevet otcha” out loud
He likes to say things like “such a cute little ass in those jeans” in the same language my granny makes comments about my hair.
Right now he is talking to his mom on the phone—they are using loud, classical singing tones. Het is een andere taal dan de talen die wij met elkaar spreken. Hij leert Nederlands en Sranan. I am working very hard on my English, yes.
But most of all I am rediscovering the language I once learned to love in.
Did you know that heart attacks are more likely to happen on a Monday? (Fun Fact #42)
I tried to translate my poems into English.
He stopped me halfway and said, “You left the sadness out. Please try again.”
Ik leer geen tegengas te geven—ik werk aan mijn flexibiliteit.
Wij kunnen in principe overal van alles doen. We are young, we are going to be fíne.
He ends every long distance phone call with: “Did you know that (insert Fun Fact #) and I miss you? Mi lobi joe, Sayo. I will kon hesi baka to you.”
Sometimes it takes days, sometimes it takes months.
I am learning to complain like a lady from Babel.
We are using the tools they hand us while knowing the tower ain’t ever gonna reach the sky.
Did you know that cats think we are kinda slow? They don’t meow in the wild. (Fun Fact #8)
Maybe this is growing up:
patiently wait for someone to get home,
use his dryer for both the tears and your clothes,
sleep in his shirt,
pick him up at the airport,
drink cheap champagne in short Uber rides, read the evening paper together,
wake up at 7 a.m., go to work,
make polite, smart dinner conversation with his colleagues,
stop pretending that you are perfect, say things like:
“I have the body of a 78-year-old lady, please help,” embrace his hugs,
cry when his plane leaves,
make brunch for one, watch Netflix in his bed,
Say things to his house like: “Hi bath, how much are you going to miss me, huh?”
block every thought about how you are supposed to deal with abandoned spaces,
don’t cry during long distance phone calls,
maybe lie a little and say things like: “Fun Fact #198: I am doing príma.”
Does anyone know how to translate “I love and miss you too, but is that enough?” into Farsi?
I can only remember how to say “Please stay.”
Written by Sayonara Stutgard
Art by Dakota Peterson
Sayonara Stutgard is an intersectional feminist, bookseller, poet, professional savage on Instagram (she loves to make jokes about the boyfriends she doesn't have), online blogger about the Dutch city Utrecht for time to momo, a very bad (book club) host for Aphra's Book Club and other cultural events (she still doesn't know why they keep asking her), co-founder of the intersectional feminist publishing house Uitgeverij Chaos, and crazy about pizza.