The Guy Who’ll Never Know My Name

That thing occurred during my travels in Iceland.

I didn’t try for it. I am not sure how the events lined up from dawn to dusk but they paved my way into the bed of an unknown Viking. I embraced it and, surprisingly enough, I loved the experience with my whole self.

I woke up at 5.30am on Hrísey island that day. I filled in a job application before sunrise – and didn’t get the job eventually. I took the 9am boat to the mainland with all my luggage, pursuing the stubborn purpose to visit a herring factory converted into a contemporary art centre in a random village with a flaky bus connection. That was a somewhat hazardous project, as I was running the risk to remain stuck alone in the middle of nowhere. But as I started that enterprise, I remember betting with myself that I was going to reach my goal smoothly. I just had no idea how, because in Iceland, going from point A to point B is an adventure in itself.

As I got off the boat, gathering my courage to hunt for the providential bus that would take me to my magical destination, an older man with whom I had crossed the sea spontaneously offered me a lift. I normally don’t get into strangers’ cars, but I wasn’t in a position to miss any help opportunities. I accepted gracefully. He was a playwright related to Jean-Paul Belmondo (unless I misunderstood?). He literally dropped me in front of my stubborn purpose in less than half an hour. So I found myself in a dead Icelandic village four hours before the opening of that arty herring factory. Everything was closed and it was a grey day. Yay.

There was one living soul outside. I asked him if I could take refuge anywhere. He introduced me to two young people who were doing admin in a diving centre. A boy and a girl in their 20s, both blonde, healthy, beautiful skin, like most Icelanders. The boy was a proper bearded Viking like I’ve grown to find them stunningly attractive. I sat down with them and they gave me coffee. I started figuring out how I was going to kill time.

The neighbour showed up and gave me a tour of her artist workshop. She was an old hippie who was creating jewels, clothes and interior design from animal leftovers. She was knitting the hair of her own dog, making earrings from horsehair, turning dead fishes into lamps. Her work and explanations were fascinating. She really broadened my mind in just half an hour. She knew everything about the lifestyle of each animal she was recycling for her creations.

Hours were going by and I was sinking into the daily life of the village effortlessly. Everyone was integrating me as if I was one of them for a day. The curator of the herring factory converted into an art centre welcomed me warmly. He had studied fine arts in Paris-Cergy so we spoke French. We had cool conversations about the art scene in Paris and in Iceland. I want to collaborate with him. He’s my life goal in a nutshell.

The Viking offered to drive me back to civilisation at the end of the afternoon. That was unexpected good news because I didn’t know how to leave the village and I had to catch the bus to Reykjavik the morning after. On our way to town, he invited me to the dinner he was organising that night and said I could stay at his house afterwards. As friends. Screw the hostel, I have a 4 bedroom house, he said. He promised that he wasn’t creepy. Because it was a day when I had chosen to trust the strangers brought on my path by the Universe, I chose to believe him. I just double checked : “You’re not a bad guy?”  We laughed. I let go of everything and accepted his invitation.

As the day turned into the evening and the evening turned into the night, I was sensing where all this was leading. I was so unsure of what I wanted, though. Very often, I confuse my desire for people with my desire for desire. I was checking in with myself constantly not to get caught into something I’d regret. I don’t know myself around men. I have male fear because that’s how my system has been reacting all my life till I recently started rewiring it to sweeter stuff.

We were four people at dinner, the whole youth of the village. As we were eating, we suddenly realised that we hadn’t even introduced ourselves to each other since the morning. We had spent the day ignoring each other’s name. I realised how comfortable this made me, like wearing a mask. I said there was no point telling our name at that stage and I remained anonymous. It certainly helped me let go of my fears and preconceptions about myself. I was someone else for 24 hours.

Then, something released in my head. I knew, I was like, yes, I’m confident to do it, I’ll dive into it and see if I get to know myself better from this. I beat him at foosball and the sexual tension increased from there. He didn’t know how to kick things off with me. He wasn’t stupid, he wasn’t pushy, and because he was checking in with me all the time and testing my consent, he could totally feel my barriers and resistance, but probably also my crave to get over them. How impressive that must be to face a woman who’s scared when you die to undress her. I was keeping my distance. He asked if he should put me to bed and leave me in peace. I told him that I wasn’t afraid of him. I am a tough cookie, but I am also brave and crazy, so I faced my fears and I surrendered. Finally, finally, when he was sure that he had my full blessing, he took my head in his giant hand and kissed me. A shit ton of stuffed occurred in my head at that instant. I couldn’t quite recognise myself. It may sound stupid, but I was moved by the fact that he had the power to hurt me if he wanted to, but that he chose to do me good. Then I turned off my mind and everything just flowed. It flowed.

I hadn’t slept with a boy since last decade. How many lives have I had since then? I’m a woman now even though I still call myself a girl and yet there’s still this teenagy thing about me that doesn’t fade away. All my intimate experiences feel like first times. I really wonder how, but for some reason, they do, and that will continue. It’s not a matter of how many new experiences there are to have out there in the world, it’s a matter of how I thrive to feel. I just unravel my soul a little bit more at each new experience. I strip down to the core of things. It wasn’t technically new to me to sleep with a man. But the way I approached it surely was. I was present to myself for the first time. I had some kind of emotion for the first time. I surrendered. I didn’t feel like I was worth less than he was. It all truly felt like some virginity loss and I’ll treasure this forever.

He was shy to ask me to stay in his bed for the night. He thought I might want to sleep alone. It was endearing. I spent the night in his arms. The left one was covered with tattoos. From wrist to shoulder : a tic-tac-toe grid, a rose, pawns, the Moomins, a skull. When he held me, I felt like a snake was wrapping me up. I loved being hugged tightly by the Moomins. And I must say that I loved being hugged tightly by a man.

Fucking with a Viking was like snorting a line of testosterone, but with a feminist twist. Awesome combination. It felt like a pure hormonal confrontation with constant consent check. I loved being in bed with somebody who didn’t have issues with my body and my femininity for a change. I asked him for his “diagnosis” about my sexual orientation. Not that it mattered, but it was just an opportunity to giggle. He summarised my whole life in a sentence: “You are what you are at the moment when you do it.” 

He dropped me at the bus stop in the morning. I was going back to Reykjavik. He said “Thank you for last night” and softly kissed my red lips. I thanked him too. I think we were both grateful for the beauty of that ephemeral moment. And that was it. We’ll never see each other again. We can’t trace each other.

It’s been a few days and his face already starts vanishing from my memory, but his body remains clear. I’m in a sweet coma. My life has changed somehow. I like the thought that he’ll never know my name.

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