I don’t know what to say about Cork.

A friend told me, in as many words, that he thought I was sad so much because I’d been spending too much time writing and not enough time living. I hardly wrote in Cork. What I did write was short. I spent more time living. That was what I needed. I wasn’t sad. Until then, I had been sad a lot. I’d spent a lot of time writing. But what I needed then was to be sad. It was to write. Maybe I did too much. Maybe I got afraid of people and addicted to solitude or at least just use to it. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I know, it was what it was either way.

This is a freewrite. With so many other places I knew what I wanted to say, either while I was there or after I left. I knew what story to tell. I thought through what story I thought it would be as each new thing happened, I imagined the stories I would tell about it, and sometimes I tried not to tell any stories. With Cork, at least, I didn’t feel like anything was a story when it happened and yet I feel like it’s the experience I’ll tell about the most so far. Maybe because I was happy, and talking about it makes me happy. Maybe because there was one specific story to get from there that I haven’t figured out yet, maybe because there wasn’t. I want to keep this postcard thing going, but I’m not forcing myself to. I don’t know what to write about so I’m just writing about not knowing what to write about. For now, I want to keep writing about each place. If at any point I decide not to, that’s okay too. Everything is okay.

I could tell you that I met a guy called Jimmy and he was a juggler and he liked alliteration and maybe that’s why he was a juggler and maybe not. I met a girl called Jess, and Jess and Jimmy the juggler were really sound, and I met a guy called Dara and I didn’t speak to him much but when we did speak he seemed sound too. I met a cat called Squish and talked to her a lot and she didn’t say much back and what she did say was mostly “Meow.” I found people who get it, or maybe who didn’t but respected me and where I was at and what I needed and maybe that was all they needed to get, that what I needed was worthy of respect. I am thankful for getting that now too.

I got a tattoo in Cork. I already wrote about it. That is its own story and not my Cork story and part of it and not it and it too. I haven’t yet written about what started it. It started with all of this, with everything I’ve written down so far and so many things before that. But another beginning was walking by a park and looking at the trees, and thinking that it was beautiful so I should go be in it, but that being in it meant I couldn’t see the view I had now. It was about going up the mountain and coming back to the village. Understanding and experiencing. Interacting and decompressing. Socializing and solitude. The unexamined life and examining it. Living and writing. Breathe in, breathe out.

I spent a whole lot of time trying not to make anything mean anything other than what it was, and what it was maybe had no meaning and never had to, and I didn’t want to attach any meaning to it ahead of time. Maybe the meaning it has will come to me, maybe it already has, maybe it never will, maybe it will and then change and then change again and again.

The story I want to tell right now is that when I showed up I wanted to be held and someone held me. I wanted to find people who get it, and I found someone who got it so hard and talked and talked for a while and felt like maybe I’m not crazy and not alone and other people out there are getting this too. And I’m trying to think of ways to satisfy my own wants and needs without relying on anyone else specifically, expecting or assuming anything of them other than whatever it is that happens in that moment, that they’re prepared to give, that they consent to. That when we think we need something from someone else it often might not happen the way we think it ought too, and that maybe what we need is that dissonance between what happens and what we think it should be. Sometimes it’s okay to have expectations, sometimes it helps to, sometimes it helps not to. Someone held me and then asked if he could kiss me and I liked so much that he asked, and I said, in so many words, Yes, maybe, but not yet.

Because I wanted the holding each other to be just holding each other and for that to be okay. And it didn’t have to lead to anything. Then for the kissing to be just kissing and that to be okay, and to not have to lead to anything. And then in his bed to be naked and just be naked without that having to lead to anything. And then for sex to just be sex and that not have to lead to anything. For there to be no guarantee of more sex after the first sex, no expectation, no assumption. No necessity for romance, no necessity for no romance. For any time I felt pressured into anything, by myself or by the situation, to let myself say No to it even if it was something I wanted until I didn’t feel any pressure anymore. To do what I felt I wanted and needed when it was what I felt I wanted and needed and not before, and not if I had any doubt.

And it was a good place, and a good time, and that is what I have to say about it.

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