I trust that most people, after a couple of years of working (and having finished university) come to a certain state of mind where they occasionally like to reminisce about times past and especially how good those uni years were.
Whether you admit it or not, for the most part, you will never ever go through a period of life where you had so much free time and wasted it, where you spent your days daydreaming and your nights hopping from one place to another, meeting new people day-in day-out, night-in night-out.
Especially the night-in night-out part.
Being unbelievably curious of the variety of human personalities and what makes someone themselves, what makes a person act in a certain way, I approached people with a friendly attitude, an all-embracing aura that almost everyone fell into as if it were a 100% proof bear trap. For some reason, they'd choose to pour their heart and soul into me during a drunken night out or a coffee break during exams. I was, for no obvious reason, a kind of secret-keeper and I loved this role I had not sought out myself. It was exhilarating.
My intentions were pure, I promise. In any case - if you knew me, you'd know that were true.
And so I found it strange how I felt after I had met up with a long-lost fellow party goer in a cafe in Vienna. We had met during an exchange program which was part of both of our Master degrees and well, our mutual friends introduced us since we went to the same secondary school.
O was nice, friendly and up for a drink or a house party at any time I'd ring her. Not that I left her much choice when I'd instruct her to get ready in 20 minutes..but oh well, she was always kind of insecure and had difficulties making her mind up. I had zero tolerance for that trait in anyone and I admit, that was a definite flaw of mine. Still, she never, not once, regretted coming out and we parted on great terms.
And so this time, I was traveling through Vienna. Through the wonders of technology she quickly caught up on that and sent me a message insisting we meet up. I always jump to the opportunity of meeting up with someone I hadn't seen in years - I don't know whether you'd agree, but life writes better blockbusters than any Hollywood movie ever could. I find it fascinating how people's attitudes develop and how their personalities change. How their background affects their choices and how much of an influence their immediate family has on them, whether they like to admit it or not. Sometimes, I find it curious how much some of them have successfully resisted anyone meddling with their lives, only not noticing, or not being completely conscious that it was exactly that which had forced them into a particular direction...
Too much philosophizing. Back to O.
So we met up in a good old Starbucks (that was our standard place back in the day and she insisted it be non-smoking..which awakened my initial suspicions..). Vienna doesn't tolerate non-smokers..it's almost as bad as Sarajevo to be honest and so finding a non-smoking cool place is literally impossible. O and I met one mild winter evening after a whole day of presentations and the first thing I exclaimed when she took of her coat was: "Oh gosh O, you're pregnant!"
O: Yes, I am! 5 months now..and it's a boy!
M: Soooo tell me the whole story - how come you decided to have a baby?
O: Actually, to tell you the truth, it was sort of an accident.
M: Sort of? What - you weren't using protection? Or did you deliberately not use a condom? Were you on the pill?
O: To be honest, I could have been more careful. I was not on the pill, and no, we were not using condoms as we'd been in a relationship for almost two years by then..so it's not like I got pregnant on purpose..I just didn't take care.
I couldn't believe what O was telling me. Not long after my initial shock of someone I used to hang out with was pregnant, I was now dumbstruck by the fact that they chose to bring a child into this world without the consent of the father-to-be. I found myself stabbing my cake and gulping down a huge mouthful of coffee in order to restrain myself from asking her the simple question of: "How dare you?".
No, really, how dare she play with a child's life like this? Where did she get the impudence to commit such a crime?
M: So are you telling me that G had no clue you weren't taking care of keeping your sex life carefree?
O: God M, we were together for almost two years - he's 34, I'm 28. It's not like it wasn't time.
I chose to stay silent. If I had learned anything from all these years it was that people will do whatever the hell it is that they want to do and they absolutely despise hearing what's inhuman about their actions. Probably because it tells them where they've gone wrong and well, I admit, who am I to judge whether someone has done something wrong? Who am I to define something as being wrong? What got me along that initial path of rage and disappointment was that, well, an unwanted child was the reason my father was no longer with us and I blamed his lover for getting pregnant without his consent. At least that's what his version of the story was..I will never forget his words from almost 15 years ago: "that child was a mistake I will regret until the day I die". O was a living reminder of the pain I had felt of loosing a parent but it then hit me - I was unpredictably better off without him in my life. That's a different story though. What I knew deep down was that sometimes wonderful things can ensue the worst of events and circumstances.
Suddenly, I felt a surging wave of calmness and optimism overcome my feelings of fear, anxiety and anger and found myself embracing the fact that a child was growing inside O's tummy. Maybe it was a secret wish of G's as well - who knows? It was completely feasible that he and O were going down the right path and only needed a little push. "Through struggle, there's progress" I heard an echo of my brother's voice say. My struggle with accepting this wonder of life reminded me of what I had always been - accepting of all people, no matter what their actions and pasts spoke of them. Every single one of us needs a break from the cruel world which judges and is full of prejudices every step of the way. I'm sure I would never do something similar in my lifetime - perhaps because I was hurt by a analogous action - but that's beside the point. O needed a bit of understanding and someone to tell her that everything would be just alright. I felt fortunate enough that she had contacted me and that I had left Starbucks that day a bit more open-minded than I had arrived.
Rolling Stones - You Can't Always Get What You Want
Snakadaktal - Fall Underneath
Thandie Newton: Embracing otherness, embracing myself