Also read Why I went to Riga – Latvia Nr. 1
Getting out of Wroclaw towards Warsaw. I took some kind of bus, stopped at some crossroad and on the street I stood. No clues. Sun burning. The spot was shitty, I walked a little further, but the road got worse. No place for cars to stop. Shit.
At some point a nice driver stopped and put me a little further, directly to the onramp for the highway. There was neither traffic nor a place to stop, so I said to myself “Fuck it!” and went straight for the highway. Cars rushing past. Trucks. Noise. The heat of the spring sun already burning. At the end of the onramp I put my backpack behind the barriers and stood with a Warszawa sign. Begging to be picked up before the police could catch me. And I was lucky. Not even 10 minutes later a nice person stopped and brought me to the A2/E30, the highway to Warsaw. From there I hitchhiked further, continued with Riga and Stīna in my mind. I can’t recall how I made it through Poland. I remember being dropped at some places, behind Warsaw, somewhere on the A8/E67, directly on the highway, walking next to a fence, the sun dropping at the horizon, red evening light in my back. Two young guys brought me from Augustow to Suwalki. Darkness. I took a break at the McDonalds for some wi-fi and a snack, told Stīna that I was on the move. I was about to hitchhike all the way through to Riga. Why stop and sleep?
She had told me that there was a nice festival the upcoming day and with my calculations already made I promised her to show up the next day. She was working for a photo shooting there and I hoped to be in Riga in time for a nice breakfast. With a huge load of luck I would make it that night. Also I had prepared a sign for Riga. About 400km away. Maximum speed there is between 90 and 100. I was prepared for 4h driving and 4h waiting, all together 8 hours.
The “Riga” sign worked great. It took me one hour and a car stopped. A young guy who had to bring a car to Riga. I was so happy that I wrote to Stīna that I might be there even earlier. If only the gearbox of the car had not broken 40km after the Lithuanian border. In the middle of the night. Luckily we managed to top at a gas station, rolling in with our last momentum. “Shit!”
What now? 350km away from “home”, we both had to be there the next day. The driver made some suspicious calls. Friends of him were on the road and would come and tow us all the way to Riga. WTF? Well, 40 minutes later they arrived, a 7 seater bus full of strange people. I didn’t socialize with them too much and they didn’t ask questions. But we arranged to put on a rope and went on. For about 5 km. Then the rope slid under the rim and with a short hop of the car we were off again. There was no place to tie the rope correctly so we had fixed it somewhere at the tire box. The rope was tied up again, we were only 2m away from the pulling car, and we went on again. My nerves were on fire. My heart pounding. It felt like going 150 km/h close distance behind another car. No chance to react properly if there was something in front of us. 10 minutes later again, the rope broke. The towing car, already nervous and a little angry, went to the next gas station to buy another one. Then the same thing continued.
After 4 hours of towing and 5 ropes we had made it close to Kaunas. We gave up. The bus full of people continued to Riga and my driver and I parked the car on a gas station. Silence. Out there the fog was tumbling through the meadows. In the east a slight reddish glowing promised a sunrise. dawn was approaching. I gave my farewell and went to the highway again. Highway here is just a word used for a normal road with a lot of traffic. The Via Baltica, a beautiful road to hitchhike on since you can walk on it. Also terrible since 90 percent of the traffic are trucks and most of the time they can not stop for you. Since it was 4:30am there was no traffic and I could stand on the onramp that led from the gas station to the highway. Sometimes, when boring I would walk around on the highway. Put myself in the middle, staring at the end of the incredibly long, straight road, waiting for a light to show up at the horizon. With a sign for Riga in my hand.
It took me an hour to get a truck to Kaunas. Luckily I was dropped in the north, a spot near the 9th fort and the Megastore that I knew already. A great bus stop to hitch in all directions where you also have the possibility to cross the highway.
The sun was up when the next truck stopped. 2 Drivers on their way to Riga, perfect for me. The second driver was also kind of hitchhiking. A colleague that hat left his truck somewhere to get some time with his family. I was offered the bed in the back because I looked sleepy but I prefer to sit on the seat. With a seatbelt. Especially with 2 Russian/Latvian drivers that seem not too sober. Everything went fine and I arrived in Riga, some hours late, but still. I went to the place where Stīna was already working, snapped the keys for her place and went directly for a shower and a short nap. Hadn’t really slept in the last 30+ hours. With a rather fresh odor I arrived after 2 hours at the festival.
I stayed in Riga for a week. What happened there? I was constantly amazed of how interesting this person Stīna was. There were hours of talking. There was so much tension. In the air. In my body. I felt beeing pulled towards her stronger and stronger. I didn’t say a word of it until day number five. We had this movie thing going where we would sit back in the evening with a bottle of wine and enough cigarettes, talking, watching amovie, sharing our time and our thoughts. But that day the topic was wether everything was fine on my side, how I felt and if I wanted something to change about our routines. I played my the trump card. “I would like to change the place where I sleep from this couch to your bed.”
That were not the exact words but pretty close. And this sentence opened the space for me to talk about what I was feeling. Her answer was that she would think about it. But the next hours on the couch were promising me a place next to her that night. It was a good night with a good day following and another even better subsequent night and day. As if someone had filled a balloon with air, through all the days and nights that I had waited to be close to Stīna. And now it blew up. My Oxytocin level took a steep exponential rise. Hormones going crazy. My heart jumping in joy. My skin ready to vibrate on any touch. I am pretty sure that this is the moment when my addiction for moments like that started. This long and exhausting yearning for the person that is beyond reach and the fulfilling extasy of climbing all steps, of fighting through all necessities, completely ignoring yourself, your body and your mind, just to get there, just to get that peak of tension that explodes when disruppted. An explosion of hormones. Of happiness. Of pleasure.
Not much is present in my memories, not those secular things at least. I remember feelings and I remember voices, breath. I remember the feeling of bedsheets that touch me, the movement of the cat on the ground down the balcony, the smell of the spring that was dripping in, the cold, fresh air on my face, kisses and cuddling. I was drugged heavily, a full dose.
Why did I decide to go to Vienna three – or was it two… or only one… – days later? Something was waiting there. I had to settle something with my friend that had left me in Helsinki. I am trying to recunstruckt some events from the 256 pages Facebook message archive that I have from writing with Stīna. I remember onöly one thing, the message of her when I was alread on the doad the day I left. “Ok, I have to admit that I asked you to leave too soon :)”. You can imagine it was not the last we heard of each other.