From the moment I met her, I knew there was something about her. I know, everyone says that about the person they love, but this was different. And everyone says that too. It wasn't in the way she talked, or in the way she walked. Actually, my friends raised a few eyebrows when I introduced her as my girlfriend. She wasn't my type, they said. Not what they expected me to date. And yes, sure, I lean more to a certain type of girl than to another. She fell under the 'another' category. But there simply was something about her that interested me. Grabbed me. And after a while, mesmerized me. That was the moment I asked her to be my lover, instead of my friend.
And that was a bold move to make. We were friends for months, spending a lot of time together. It felt like years, that well we got to know each other. We talked about the books we read, the documentaries we saw. About the annoyance of everyday life. About religion or the absence of it (I believe in God, she didn’t). We talked about politics and social life. Comparing our lives, we couldn’t be more different. And yet, despite our different backgrounds, we still had so much in common. We liked each other, we knew that. Taking the next step was inevitable, so to speak. Yet, there was one thing she had like no one else I knew. Something so incredible strong. So strong, it could decide against us.
The first time I saw this in practice, was when I wanted to use an ATM. We were on our way to see a movie, or something like that. I needed some cash for something. I was about to slide my card into the machine, when I heard her yell behind me.
“Kevin, wait! Don’t.”
She sounded very confident and concerned. I turned around and looked at her. There she stood, shaking her head. Behind me in line, there was a woman who also wanted to use the ATM. She looked impatient.
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t get cash from that machine.”
There was something in her voice. It was the same kind of something I noticed when I first met her. I still couldn’t place it. I looked back at the machine. Why shouldn’t I? Was there something she knew and I didn’t? But what could that be? She sounded so sure, I decided to step aside and let the woman behind me use the machine.
“I wouldn’t do that.” She told the woman, and walked away. I just stood there, not sure what to do. I decided to walk away as well, but turned around to watch what would happen to the already irritated woman at the ATM. It didn’t take long before she started cursing and pressing lots of buttons and slamming the cash machine a few times. From what I could hear, I concluded that the machine ate her card. The woman turned around and looked at me angrily.
“What has your girlfriend done?”
I weighed between answering ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ and ‘She’s not my girlfriend’. Instead I said nothing, turned around and left.
“Why did you stay there?”
“I wanted to know what would happen. How did you know the machine would eat my card?”
“But, you told me not to use the machine.”
“I just felt that you shouldn’t get cash from that machine, I didn’t know why.”
“It was very strong.”
Then she told me that it was her intuition, she trusted it blindly. It told her who to trust and who not to. It told her whether to go to a certain gathering or not. She had turned down a job once, because something felt off. That company went out of business within a couple of months. She told me that if she would ever board a plane, and her intuition would say no, she wouldn’t. But she also added that she hoped she would listen.
“So, if I buy a lottery ticket, you already know whether I win something or not?”
“Oh please, don’t make that stupid joke. I’m not psychic. I thought you wouldn’t make fun of me. It’s why I’m telling you this, I trust you.” She sounded hurt.
“I wasn’t trying to make fun of you.”
“It felt like it.”
“It’s OK. I just didn’t expect you to make a bad joke, you’re usually very funny.” She smiled. I smiled back at her. Her anger was gone. I still had a question.
“Is your intuition ever wrong?”
“I don’t know. So far so good. Do you still need to get some cash?”
“Nah, I’m good. Though with you around I know where I can get cash safely, and where not.” She laughed, and we went on with our evening like nothing had happened.
It’s not like her entire day is filled with these moments. But from that day I realized what it was about her. She went through life by feeling. She didn’t have to think long about big decision, she just made them. Sometimes these decisions seemed strange. In the end, those usually let to something better. I found myself asking her for advice. One time even about buying a house. I wanted to leave my studio apartment and move somewhere a bit bigger. She just shrugged and asked me why. My place was great, and why should a bachelor like myself move to a normal apartment with several rooms anyway.
Not sure why, but that was the moment she mesmerized me. I wanted to be with her, I wanted her to be my lover. But her intuition would determine whether that was a good move or not. And her intuition had just told her that a single man like myself had no use for a bigger place. The odds weren’t in my favor. But her intuition was. She gave me a big hug, and whispered in my ear that she was glad I finally asked her. I felt right, she said. And regarding her studio advice to me, that was no intuition. She simply loved the place, and didn’t want me to give it up. A few months later she moved in with me there. Life was good. Very good indeed.
I never questioned anything. If she instead of the cereals she usually bought, suddenly picked another brand, it just had its reason. Walking a different route wasn’t strange anymore. A change of mind became a good sign. Sometimes my friends asked me why I relied on her so much. Wasn’t she just manipulating me? I was under her spell, they said. Her friends were just as bad. How could she move in with me that quickly? I couldn’t be trusted, some said. Whoever told her that, was out of her life. ‘Not believing that my gut feeling is right, is one thing,’ she said. ‘But there’s no need to be racist. That’s where I draw the line.’ I’d never do anything to do her wrong and hurt her. And whether it was my gut feeling or something else, I knew she wouldn’t either.
“You what?” she laughed. We sat on the couch together. She was reading a book, I was reading a magazine about cars. I just showed her a sports model, and said that I wanted to buy one just like it. “Come on, you don’t need that.”
“I do. Men buy sport cars to compensate for something. You really don’t need to compensate anything.”
I ignored her compliment. “Some men just enjoy driving cool cars. Any idea how much power this engine has?”
“No. And I don’t care.” She closed her book and sat up. “And besides, who needs a car like that in the city?”
“To leave the city.”
She tilted her head. “You’re serious about this are you?”
She smiled at me. I knew that whatever she would say next, I would agree with. Maybe that was what my friends meant with her wearing the pants in our relationship. To me, it was simply her being sensible. Relying on her intuition. I had seen that smile before. She was about to say something unexpected.
“Yeah, I am.” No need to lie. She would make up my mind.
“Well, you know, I think you deserve it. You saved up, partly by not buying a new apartment,” she winked at me. “And don’t think I never noticed you like cars like that. Where do you buy these things anyway?”
A few days later we were at the show room. I had made an appointment. She wanted to join me. She had no clue about cars. And cars don’t impress her one bit. They were made to take you from a to b, simply something practicable. I however felt like a kid in a candy store. She told me just before we entered the showroom, that she would tell me when the salesman would try to rip me off. I was blinded by one model, but she asked for a slightly more modest one. I wasn’t Batman after all. What she meant was that it was incredibly cool, but a bit too expensive. I’m pretty sure I would have bought it, if we had made a test drive. But instead we made a test drive with another car. One she picked for me.
I loved it. The wheel just felt right in my hands. The seats were perfect. And the sound of that engine, it was music to my ears. We followed the route the salesman recommended to us, ‘You can really step on it on that road.’ he said. And when we got to that road, it was exactly what I did. A sense of freedom came over me. Yes, this was a huge purchase, and would bring my savings down dramatically. But damn, this was the life! In the seat next to me, she was having a blast as well.
“OK, I got to admit, this is pretty awesome.”
“I know right? Do you still believe I don’t need this?”
“Yes, I do.” She laughed. “You don’t need this, but you deserve this. I mean it, you’re such a great guy. Falling in love with you is the best thing I’ve ever done. You do so much for me.”
“You’re always there for me. You make me feel safe. You make me feel at home. Always.”
I wanted to look at her, but with the speed we were going I kept my eyes on the road. My heart jumped around for joy though.
“I love you too, Kim.”
It was the last thing I ever said to her. A car from the parallel road suddenly appeared on our lane. I hit the brakes, but it all happened so fast. All I remember was hitting darkness. The following day, I opened my eyes in a hospital. I was in such terrible shape that I missed her funeral. My friends and family wanted to tell me about it, but I didn’t want to hear anything about it. I didn’t even want to know which injuries she had. I just stared at the ceiling, I just did what the doctors told me I had to do. I spent weeks in the hospital. If it had been up to me, I would have stayed longer. I wasn’t ready to face my studio alone. My best friends brought me home. They took turns on the couch, there was always someone there to look after me. I didn’t know whether I appreciated it, or wanted them to leave and be alone. I knew nothing anymore. I missed her terribly.
Why did I want to buy a car? Why did I listen to the salesman and hit the gas good? Was I driving just a little bit recklessly, simply because she hadn’t told me not to drive this car? Why did her intuition let her down? I knew that thought was unfair, but it hurt me. Just because her intuition didn’t warn us, didn’t mean nothing could happen. There are always other factors in life which we don’t control or can’t foresee. And for all I knew she was destined to die in a car crash. The investigations told me I wasn’t to blame. Yet, I was at the wheel and I felt responsible.
It took me months to visit her grave. I asked my friend to wait for me in his car, and walked alone on crutches to her last resting place. The love of my life was now lying here, way too soon, way too young. I dropped my crutches and sunk to the ground, ignoring the pain it caused. I felt the tears run down my cheeks. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t think. I just sat there in a cocoon of bitterness and darkness.
Then suddenly a thought came to my mind. A conversation we had from before we became lovers. We were sitting at the river one late evening, and were talking about life and death.
“You know, when I die, I hope it’s with a bang. That I don’t see it coming and that it’s simply over.”
“Wouldn’t you want to be able to say goodbye to the people you love?” I asked.
“I know it’s selfish. But I would hate to be aware of how I fade away, how my body and mind is letting me down again and again. Especially my mind. I don’t want that. And I don’t want to say goodbye, I hate goodbyes. So I hope I go by a strike of lightning, or something like that. Or a car crash.”
A car crash.
The night before we went to the showroom I was awake at night. Staring at the ceiling. She was fast asleep next to me. I wondered why she hadn’t tried to talk me out of buying an expensive car. Instead, she was fully on board. That night it struck me as weird. If I had listened to that, would she still be alive? But then, she went the way she imagined would be best. So, maybe her intuition didn’t let her down? She did specifically say that she liked that car.
I missed her like crazy, the pain of losing her was worse than the pain I endured from my injuries. Maybe this was in some twisted way meant to be. If it had to be like this, at least it was in a car she had picked out. Peace came over me. That day, I learned to listen to my own intuition, a gift she left me. The most expensive gift anyone could ever give.