By Julia Zalewska
Last week, I met with my great friend for a coffee. Sitting in front of her, in our favorite Massolit coffee&books (love them for having NewYorker!), I couldn’t help myself, but notice – she’s madly in love! Laughing at her phone, she was just gleaming with joy. And I’m so happy for her!
I’ve never seen her this way and it makes me smile even now when writing about it. The beginnings – a lovely time when excitement overcomes everything else. It’s interesting how it changes, evolves so beautifully into new and different stages. When I think of how it was with me – when I was thrilled to pieces, I think of Rome in Italy.
Italy has always been to me a special spot on Earth. So many memories! I’ve been traveling to the country of pasta and wine with my family since I was six years old. I still remember when I said goodbye for the last time to my friend from kindergarten before leaving for my very first Italian trip. The emotions were so intense it feels like some moments are engraved in my brain. And again, because of this, I do remember Rome with it’s beautiful specific details as if I learned it by heart.
It was about two years ago when I went there with my boyfriend to visit my greatest friend, who back then was on Erasmus in Rome. It was the first trip with my first serious boyfriend – basically my excitement was as powerful as thunder. I’m truly glad it didn’t cause me a heart attack or something. Even the food as I remember it was the best! Yes, I do remember it’s Eataly. I’ve been there so many times and when I am in Rome, I eat the most delicious flambé homemade pasta with seafood (Trastevere – but I don’t remember the name of the place, which makes me sorrowful as hell). It feels like the memories in my head are a bit like photographs: tree crown leaves watched as I lain on his thighs; he is sat on the bench after a long walk up the hill; the right side profile of his face (and he has an amazing jawline, I can tell you) while drinking wine above the Spanish steps. And so many more, which (forgive me!) I’m going to keep for myself.
Anyway, the excitement was good, but I’m glad we’ve grown out of it. It was a bit painful, we broke up, but it was needed. We’re the same, but also so different. Love is an ambivalent mess. Now, when I’m with him, I feel like I’m home and it’s just the way it’s supposed to be. One great artist said: “It was above all so natural and right, I thought; the long wait on the station platform was rewarded by the arrival of the train, as one knew it would be, sooner or later.” (Birthday by Dorothea Tanning, 2001, p.65) And I’m not saying that emotions are a bad thing. The feeling of your hard beating fast might feel great. The thing is that now I see us together as so much more – with all the understanding, respect, care, involvement and partnership. These are what I need in a relationship and I’m glad to know it (of course, a pinch of madness lovingly included).
It is fascinating how different it can be. The way I see love varies from different point of views. It’s incredible. It is just like viewing a painting of a surrealist. You can guess what’s behind the symbols and understand them with connotations of your very own world, but there’s still this little unexplained thing – an impression. An elusive magic. You can try, but you won’t be able to name it. Words are not enough, when it comes to something that surrounds you, percolates through you in so many dimensions. I’d say it’s the true beauty of life – and very pleasurable, by the way.
I felt like writing about love because I’m surrounded by some people my age making so-called “big life decisions” such as marriage, having kids… It’s good – even wonderful – but only if you feel like it. How sad would it be to get married under peer pressure, right? Above all, it should feel natural!
One of my lovely friends recently told me that she can feel the pressure. She’s expected to be with someone and to have children simply because she’s not 25 anymore. That made me realize how insane it is. You don’t have to do everything in your life by the age of 25, or any other age. You also don’t have to do everything – I mean, it’s up to you. Things like marriage are optional, not obligatory. And I must say, I’m super proud of her, as she told me that she is still a bit heartbroken from the biggest relationship she had. She also said that it’s just fine. She doesn’t have to be with someone. For now, she’s good on her own. Bravo!
No matter what age you are, take a deep breath and do whatever you feel like doing! The artist I quoted didn’t give birth to any child and lived a long fulfilling life. She got married aged 32 and said it was: “Painless, forgettable, but fun”. (Birthday by Dorothea Tanning, 2001, p.139).
And to justify the title – I miss Rome! I wish the pandemic to stop, so we can go there and enjoy this amazing city, it’s art, food and wine. Just like that, just us.
Julia lives in Cracow with her beloved flat-faced cat Louis (it’s a she). This year she will finish her Masters in psychology at Jagiellonian University. However, for a year and a half she also studied history of arts and even tough she didn’t graduate from it, art remains a passion nested deeply in her heart. Julia has a big crush on Truman Capote, on Italy and on movies from the 60ies. She loves long walks by the sea and a good wine. She can’t imagine her life without jazz music and more alternative sounds like Beach House, the Marias or Men I Trust. She’d rather not share her future plans. Just not to jinx it. You can join her over at Instagram: @indulgeinfeelings.