Ann From Amsterdam

Chapter II, life

Tuesday night


“Wait, what?!”
“Yes, I am telling you Jess, she freaking did it. Also, watch your step around here.”
“Why, she has accomplices in New York now?,” Jess asked with a confusing yet amusing grin on her face.
“No, because these streets in Manhattan are even worse to walk onto than the sidewalk pavers in Amsterdam,” I replied while pointing at yet another pothole.
Eight weeks of living in New York. And somehow the gossip, trouble and nagging that happens overseas found it’s way to the Big Apple.
Working within a firm with many ego’s is fascinating and frustrating at the same time.
I learnt to let go of negativity through the years, to not take everything personal and simply being myself.
But after 8 weeks of endless missed deadlines, meetings and arrogant ‘me-me-me’ behaviour, I’m tired and drained to the core.

“And quitting is not an option, and you know it”.
My sweet Jess, I know it. She always knows it. Since the first time we met 5 years ago, till this very day.
As we stand in front of my apartment block and searching for my keys, I know she’s right.
Jess told me that the reason why we became friends so quickly; was because we are both fierce, brutally honest and always there for each other whenever someone needs a shoulder to lean on whenever times get hard.
And as much as I reconize Jess in that description, I don’t see how the hell that applies to me.
But then again, I know that the debate from last week during our monthly ladies night out, has something to do with my own insecurities. Which I cherish though. Mostly.
Because without a little self-doubt you become cocky and arrogant. Self doubt makes you step up your game, prove the voices in your head that they’re wrong a become a better version of your awesome self everyday.
I’m a very rich person, I realise that the older I get. And spending my Friday nights with my sweet-sweet tribe of other fierce an f#cking amazing women, are my favourite nights.
To be able to discuss life, discuss the choices you’ve made, reminding each other that there are two sides to each story and telling each other the truth without making it you feel you get hit in the face. Those are the kind of friendships I cherish, always. My mix pack of people, my family. Always.

“So, stop overthinking all this. And stop spending all that time in your head. I can see you’re doing it, ‘cause you’re rhyming out loud again.
You know, you’re always the one whom tells me these things. To not let people control you, whenever people start to gossip about you behind your back, to just let it go.
That it only shows there own insecurities, since jealousy works that way. So please remind yourself why you’re here, it’s a low blow Ann I know, but you’re so much smarter and wiser than Beverly. Seriously, screw her,” Jess says as she swings the bag of groceries back and forward as we walk into my apartment.
I never feared for the life of a box of hummus until now.

“I know – I know. Thanks for reminding me. And the stupid thing is, I’m not even surprised. But than again I am. I guess being a wild dreamer and believer for the good things in life is a rare thing to find. Luckily I can use this for my writing, so who’s a idiot now for crossing so many lines. Ha, and shit I’m really rhyming, I’m so sorry,” I say while placing the french bread into the oven as Jess starts laughing and leans in for a hug.
“Thank god I’m not the only weirdo in this city Ann, now pop that bottle of rosé and let’s have dinner.”

We spend the rest of our night overeating in bread, hummus and ice cream. While covered in blankets on the balcony and staring at the city of lights by sundown.
Why do people throw rocks at things that shine again?

Beverly, this colleague of mine. She never gave me a chance to introduce myself. Somehow she doesn’t like me, even though she doesn’t know me. And now, she told my publisher a.k.a my boss I messed up a meeting with 2 big potential new clients by not attending the meeting. But it’s possible to screw up a meeting, when you had no idea you had a meeting scheduled in the first place.
But I decide not to let this one bad thing that happend today control the rest of the night.
I’ve got the next 2 days off and those days will be filled with writing sessions and listening to good music. Good life, good vibes.
And of course I’ll call my boss first thing tomorrow telling her my side of the story.
Good thinking Ann, definitely adult behaviour, as I laugh a little and continue my conversation with Jess till the early morning.

Sunday morning

A few days have passed and work is still a little tense. But I’m eating out of a 10 dollar ice bucket, so I know why I have to work for my money.
I straitened things up with my boss, told Beverly to screw herself underneath my breath while apologising and attended every single meeting.
After finishing late last Friday night, I went out for a drink with a other colleague of mine, Mick.
He used to work in Amsterdam as well, and moved to New York little over a year before I got here.
And even though we never worked together, nor do we now. There was something between us. And is, I think. I don’t know.
There’s tension whenever we meet. A little flirting here and there, but that’s it.
And my 3 months of working in NY are almost over, I’ll be back, but I wanted to have an answer before I leave.

And I got it, but at the same time it left me clueless about what to do next.
It’s 3 am and I’m wild awake. All my mind is doing, is painting pictures of the memories we made this week as we promised to keep. To keep the secrets, between you and me.
And that’s not the thing that’s bothering me, I’m fine without anyone knowing about it.
It’s just that, that tension. That answer, I got it. Oh hell, I got it good.
How we ended up in an empty room at our favourite bar. How it felt so familiar and left me with the good scars.
How I spend the next morning with water ice creams in my neck, trying to tone down the hickeys and broken lip.
As you stood there, laughing, asking if I had more ice because I scratched your entire back.
These images and words tied up in my mind, one word in front of another.
How intimate we got with each other, since the first second our lips touched.
How those minutes lasted in endless hours of 50 shades of pure lust. And just, oh…

But I can’t loose my focus right now. Not in this moment, not this year. Dammit Ann, why do you always end up in these types of situations.
My alarm goes of at 5 am, since my gruesome training schedule continues every single day of the week. And I have barely closed my eyes, yet I can’t sleep.
I told myself last Christmas to live life to the fullest this entire year, and each year to come of course.
With zero expectations, 100% commitment to my dreams and say f#ck-it to all the things I used to doubt about.
And living with zero expectations has made this year the best one yet. I’ve (co)wrote multiple songs that are part of the charts right now, I’ve met the most amazing and inspiring people I could wish for and I’m surrounded by the ones that I cherish so deeply.

Mick told me that he wanted to take me out on a date next week, finally (his words, not mine). He wanted to ask me out for a long time, but never thought he had a chance.
He promised me to make it a night to remember, something I could write about. But most of all to make it a night that would make me stop doubting my own strength and possibilities in life. That I should stop building this wall around me, stop being afraid for letting people get close to me and make the ones that I love a much bigger part of my life. And that he loves the way I look, annoyed, knowing he’s right yet frustrated that he knows.

I’m in denial. And I don’t know what it is that I deny. He told me that knowing each others history, makes it a scary thing to trust someone so unexpectedly. But that he does, and has fallen hard. Fallen hard for this thing that could be. I close my note block after scribbling down a few words and turn of the light. 2 hours until my alarm goes off, as I am blinded by this blank page. Yet to be written, not knowing the ending. My life.

‘As we look over the city. High enough to believe we are all alone. Yet able to see people passing the streets, clearly. Witnessing couples dancing in between the city lights. Loved up, feel the summer breeze. There is music I can hear nearby, noisy yet soft. But I can feel myself soften from your touch. Feeling the rhythm of our body language, your fingers running through my hair, sliding down my back. I can feel you breathing down my neck. As you lead your lips down – leaving me gasping for some breath. Oh the beautiful places I see, memories. So unexpectedly.’