This episode is part of a series. I moved to the Netherlands when I was 23 years old. That was in 2016. I have lived in Zuidoost, Nieuw-West, the Eastern Docklands, the Houthavens and Noord. Following are my stories, although memory loss and imagination have all been great problems of mine. The hard-core version now only exists in someone else’s brain. All names have been forgotten and changed.

I’m leaving town. For the past month, I’ve been staying in Oostzaan, at Lily’s place. I met her for the first time back in her hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, on a mad three day trip with four boys I’ll talk about later. We had a few too many drinks and convinced her to move over to the Netherlands, the best place on Earth for each and all of us then. From the original group, Lily and I are the only ones still regularly hanging out. No one knows. We meet for a quick trip to the coffeeshops in the center, only to get her hash, or for never-ending benders in her attic. I have all my stuff there - in boxes piled next to the Halloween decorations she has yet to use. We had to move my stuff to the storage in West. She offered to do it with her new car, a Volkswagen caravan that she’d fixed to travel to Portugal with this summer of 2021. I was unhappy with myself… I still had no fucking clue how to drive a car and had promised her last year that I would not ask for her help moving boxes again. Unfortunately I kept making the wrong calls, and never learning from experience. This time, the whole shebang happened because I was following the pangs of my pussy.

 

Lily had said, several times, “to keep the stuff up in the attic”, but she was being her usual sweet self. For a while, she’d been talking about moving out of the country as well, and intended to sell the house. Both of us also knew that, until then, she would throw as many somewhat regular sex parties as possible, and the attic was always a favorite for people. Everyone loved coming in there. No one was expecting to be using books as orgy props.

 

We went to the storage unit a bit before 11PM. There was a slight rain falling and carrying the boxes for the umpteenth time felt foolish. Ruud, from the Mini Opslaag storage company, had given me the unit closest to the elevator. In all my mindlessness, I couldn’t figure out how it worked. I had Lily promise she would not carry any boxes - that I would do it all by myself. But after I got stuck in the merchandise only elevator, we ended up going up and down the stairs. That was at the beginning of this month. Last December, I was moving out of the studio in Holendrecht to live with Basil and a boy I still cannot remember the real name of, in Amsterdam Noord. The life in Holendrecht had been special, to say the least. The bay windows of the studio were going from the floor to the ceiling, offering a continuous view of the construction site in front of the apartment. They were building the new OurDomain apartment complex, thousands of euros per unit, and gentrifying Zuidoost. The area was somehow empty, only a few neighbourhood streets with families and older people, and then an industrial estate and some greenery. With Oliver, love of my life, we would go on walks regularly, because the size of the studio meant we felt like we were sitting in our own tombs, enclosed within four walls. Soon enough we would meet people dressed cooler than our friends, who were as cool as ice. Lily helped me with that move from Holendrecht to Noord as well, of course, coming this time with her small, red, trusty Mini, and waiting outside the building as Oliver and I were throwing everything to the bin. I had tried to sell the furniture on Facebook Marketplace, but it was too last minute, and I couldn’t keep up with the people wanting to show up at random times. A man from Facebook rang the bell and tried to come inside the apartment for a clothes dryer I had put up for 5 euros. By the time he got there, the dryer was already sitting in the trash outside. Lily and I were carrying a table (a perfectly fine one, which Oliver and I had found outside an office building) in the corridor towards the elevator when he showed up. He tried to say he had a written agreement with me for the dryer, and I was telling him to just pick it up for free. He wanted to pay for it, and he also didn’t want to move out of the elevator. Oliver was freaking out about the time - we were throwing things out, while simultaneously repainting and cleaning the apartment. All because the housing agency thought it was a good idea to tell the new tenants to come for the visit and move in on the same day. I was screaming at the man from Facebook, who barred the access to the elevator for a good half an hour. Then I was screaming at the new tenants, who were trying to come inside the apartment with their own set of keys. Oliver then realised that he couldn’t book an Uber and hadn’t thought of a means of transportation for his own stuff. I really needed to find a somewhat stable living place. But that place was also not in Amsterdam Noord.

 

The reason I eventually had to move out of the apartment with Basil was not due to Ymere, the building owners, like I had told everyone around me. The truth was that Basil and I had lied to each other from the very beginning. He said the contract was for six months, but that there was a possibility of renewing it with the housing agency, if I was making over 3000 €. He was the main contract holder and wanted to move out of the country after six months, and said he could transfer the contract to me. Over those months, we’d written to Ymere for me to take over the contract - continuously but to no avail. I didn’t have the paychecks. Ymere never asked for them. There was no way to transfer the contract even if I was registered at the address - unless both of us could prove we had been partners for at least two years. We had started living together near the Buikslotermeerplein for 3 reasons: no one else would accept my cat, I had a sensible look to me - enough to convince him I wasn’t going to give him any trouble, he thought I was cute - and I wanted to fuck him.

This episode is the second part of a series. I moved to the Netherlands when I was 23 years old. That was in 2016. I have lived in Zuidoost, Nieuw-West, the Eastern Docklands, the Houthavens and Noord. Following are my stories, although memory loss and imagination have all been great problems of mine. The hard-core version now only exists in someone else’s brain. All names have been  forgotten and changed. This is the link to the first installment. 

Content warning for this episode: mentions of rape

Les had come to Amsterdam a couple of months before me, sharing a house for the summertime with a group of happy French people. Like everyone, he had struggled to find somewhere to live. A bit after the school year started at the Sandberg Instituut in September, he moved to a new apartment in Kraaiennest with a classmate; I would come to visit now and then. I was still writing my thesis about an obscure, devout Catholic and hater of women when the winter hit Amsterdam,and I got stuck in Les’ room. His flatmate was somehow bizarre, and would always lock his door. He would be in his room or outside the house. When he was outside the house, Les used to break inside the room. We’d sit on his bed and at his desk, touching his books and running our naked feet on his wooden sculptures. During a night of such shenanigans, Les struck me on the mattress and fucked me in the ass. Later on, I said I’d yelled, he said he thought that meant I wanted it. From Kraaiennest, biking to the center would take an hour and from these months, I strongly remember my hands and feet feeling numb, frozen. 

 

Not long after, I signed a contract with a company to work their customer service and Les and I found a 40m2 room in a flatshare with Danielle, a graphic design student at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Sophia, a photographer. We called it the Loft - or at least, that’s how my brother would call it when he came to spend Christmas with me that year. For a while, life in the Loft was absolute harmony: we ate the same food everyday (oatmeal with spirulina, rice and sriracha, smoked mackerel and sourdough), went out for ice creams on the Mercatorplein and played games. There were all sorts of games: posing as antisocials in the room while a birthday party was going on on the balcony, eating spicy and spicier, pissing in the elevator, stopping the spurt to run through the corridor that led from the first apartment to ours and go again, stealing leeks from the Dirk on the Mercatorplein but paying for everything else (always only buying leeks - the rest of the shopping having instead been done at the market and at Jumbo), crying behind sunglasses in the metro going to OCCII for a gig. We also had this game on the bike: you were only allowed to touch the handlebars with the tip of your fingers and the pedals with the tip of your toes, otherwise it meant you weren’t a True Rider. I had gotten this granny bike - pedal brake and handbrake - and it was the best bike I’d ever have all these years: sturdy, fast and neon green. It got stolen one afternoon, after I had locked it in front of the office building.

 

The job was paying really decent: I saved 1000€ every month in the first year - this never happened to me again. There were also other perks: if you wanted, you could start as early as 7am and be finished by 3, the café/bar next door would give you whole bottles of wine for free if you came by on a Friday evening; above all: people were thirsty. Les was entertaining the idea of being a cuckold and fantasized about me fucking colleagues in the basement. 

 

Our roommate Danielle was finishing her last year in Graphic Design: she had found an internship at a studio in Berlin and was set on leaving this goddamn town. In the meantime, she was praying every night on the balcony. A few weeks before flying to Mexico for a month, where my cousin was teaching French, I’d started joining her outside.

 

In Mexico, I did all this:

banana bread

mustard cheese

dull austere walk 

closed sunday shopping mall

three hour film watched over several days

butternut potatoes onions in the oven

deep throat

windy tobacco

piss behind concrete

surinamese food

sweet pink coconut drink

karaoké

raw skin

3 ways to know if a person loves you

singing along

dolphin voice

angel voice

bestgore.com

flat tire

missed (artificial island) beach opportunity

ballet tights

bright neon yellow windcoat, knee patches, repair kit, wickedly designed air pump

taro bubble tea, orange fruit cake with cream, sweet cha siu bun, the sea, behind a church, 1st prize fish, kip

singing for god

red ribbon

liked youtube videos

maestro credit card

tummyache

new lovers in panorama mesdag

funny horoscope on the train

fetishist videos exhibition

cold text on irony

recording sounds

sitting on a private bench

 

I came back to the Netherlands on the last day of October, scorched by the sun and drenched in sweat. Les told me about the new Fine Arts students, especially about this young girl, who introduced herself with a performance. To get to know her , you were allowed to touch one part of her body. Les touched her ear. 

 

He soon had touched her entire body, making sweet love to her in the studio she rented from the school. He said he wanted us both but I knew he didn’t want me. 

 

Sophia invited me to eat Vietnamese food on a narrow street off Nieuwmarkt. She said I looked good all in black. Her friend said my skin is one of those which never age. Danielle then took me to the Rietveld flea market to help her sell her old clothes. I added a few of my dresses to the bag and we set up shop with the others in the gymnasium. We would take turns smoking cigarettes outside or tending to the stand. When I was busy with the latter, girls would come and try to steal shit off us (me). They’d take and put in their sleeves or pockets. Or they’d ask if they could take pieces to the toilet to try on and never come back. I couldn’t describe who they were to Danielle. 

 

Les and I met for the last time in front of the Dirk on the Mercatorplein. He said he was leaving me the room and I could do whatever I wanted with it. I had my siblings come and stay for a month, bringing youth and foie gras with them, from which Danielle secretly ate a piece everytime she opened the fridge. Les said there was something wrong with me, that I was never doing anything. He posted a picture of my bruised legs on Instagram and then a smiley picture of Nicola, the young girl. A day later, he posted a smiley picture of me and a picture of Nicola’s bruised legs. Nicola was my doppelgänger. She also bore the last name of my favorite film director. Les had never expressed any interest in him, nor did anyone else I ever got involved with. 

 

He left in the opposite direction from the house, going east on the Clerqcstraat. Danielle said it’s not because someone doesn’t do anything that you don’t love them anymore if you did before. She didn’t know I had done something. Les and I go way back and you cannot draw a conclusion on us, having read this. I had destroyed our home.