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A Reawakening in Amsterdam

 Seeing the world through your eyes changed me. I thought I remembered what it was like to be eager, young, thirsty. In many ways, maybe I did. But watching you soak in the spray-painted laneways of London and seeing you in that tiny museum in Amsterdam standing in front of a photo of Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquait, and Andy Warhol—utterly transfixed by their friendship and the genius shared among them—I was reawakened. I realized that sights and sounds and smells of the world had dulled over the years, even as I’d tried to maintain a diligent watch over keeping them alive, keeping them fresh. Sharing the world with you helped reignite the passion I had for life all over again. Being with you felt like rediscovering a favorite toy I’d forgotten I’d lost. Pulled out of a dusty box in my parents basement, suddenly triggering years worth of happy memories, wondering how on earth something that was once so special and meaningful to me could have been so readily forgotten over time. Holding it in my hands again, remembering the lost importance, I vowed never to forget these things, these feelings, these passions from my youth ever again.

We’d chosen to stay in an overpriced houseboat for the weekend in Amsterdam, because novelty and seclusion seemed more important than money that wasn’t real anyway. We hadn’t come here to get high, we hadn’t come here to wander the Red Light District. We hadn’t come here for any reason other than simply the fact that we could. That first night we filled the whirlpool tub to the brim, and I sat in the water waiting for you, my stomach sore from laughing over our dinner of baguette and hummus, my heart racing in anticipation of your body entering the same confined space as mine. As you tinkered with my camera in the other room, I amusedly considered the absurdity of sitting in a tub inside of a boat sitting atop a canal, a watery Russian doll allegory that charmed me as much as you did.

When you finally walked into the bathroom, I felt a beautiful, hot rush run through my entire body. You paused on seeing me, and for a moment I lurched in fear that something had changed, the way it so often does in relationships. That somehow some magic had been lost and that you would walk away from this moment, leaving me here, naked, wet, alone. This notion scared me more than I thought it would. For an eternal second you were silent before your voice drifted from you, softly asking if you could take a picture of me, if you could preserve this moment some way. In a different life, I may have paused at the notion of my naked body being captured in a photograph. That night I didn’t spare a moment to consider it. Instead my heart gave the signal to my head to nod lightly and I smiled a smile of relief, of joy, of pure contentment.

That photograph remains my favorite of myself. Raw, happy, natural. I return to it when I need a reminder of the beautiful parts of life. Of the things that I hold dearest to my heart. Of the things that can so often drift from us if we aren’t paying attention.

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Adventure, All Stories, Coming of Age, Culture and Current Events, Happy Read, Listicles, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Personal Narrative, Romance, Sexy Stories, True Story