I’m in Amsterdam for 16 hours.
An old man paid 500 euros for me to accompany him for one night here.
We will call him Bill.
Bill is a friend of my mother’s.
Bill is a pilot for a major international company.
Bill assured me he expected nothing sexual in exchange for this ticket.
Bill contacted me after my mom withdrew her offer to come visit me in Spain in the wake of our political differences skyrocketing in intensity after Donald Trump became President of the United States.
Bill told me he used to own a travel company in Rome and would love to “facilitate” and show me the city some time.
Bill got tired of traveling to European cities alone, you see.
Bill normally stayed in the hotel room if he didn’t have anyone to go out with.
Bill had an adopted daughter who was close to my age.
Bill asked me if I wanted to come with him to Amsterdam in two days.
Bill liked art too.
Bill couldn’t guarantee that there would be two beds in his hotel room.
“I can’t believe I’m having to talk you into accepting a free ticket to Amsterdam” my mother said.
“Just go.” She said.
Bill made an itinerary for our short stay together in this notorious city.
Bill asked me if there was anything specific I wanted to do.
Bill told me he was not my mother’s spy.
Bill told me the city had a dark side.
Bill said he knew a bar where women would feed you bananas without using their hands.
Bill was not the person I expected I would be going to see sex shows in Amsterdam with.
On the morning when I was due to head towards Amsterdam, I would take a train for the first time to Madrid, instead of a bus.
Bill was paying, so I could afford the luxury of a high-speed train.
Except my fancy train was two hours late.
I was almost positive I would miss my flight.
I wasn’t sure if Bill would pay me back for 500$ plane tickets if i missed them.
My anxiety was off the charts.
I ran as fast as I could possibly run once I got to Chamartin train station in Madrid.
I used my broken Spanish to explain to the taxi driver that I needed him to take me to the airport as fast as he willing to go.
We screeched up to the terminal 17 minutes before my gate closed.
I have never run as fast in my life.
I made it to my gate. I made it to my seat. I made it on my plane. Miracles do happen.
When I got to Amsterdam, I somehow didn’t’ have my wallet.
When I got to Amsterdam, I realized I lost it at some point during the frantic effort to make my flight.
Anxiety roaring off the charts.
I had a 20-euro bill in my pocket left over from the taxi ride.
I bought a train ticket to the city center to meet this strange Bill with the only 20 euros I had to my name in a new foreign-country.
I no longer had the option of going to a hostel if I didn’t feel comfortable with Bill.
I had no way to pay for anything for myself.
Bill wanted to pay for everything.
Bill showed up with a massive bouquet of tulips.
Bill’s bouquet of tulips remained in my arms for the next 12 hours.
If you ever want to play a prank on someone, buy them an expensive bouquet of flowers that they are forced to keep up with all day. Have them check it in at museums' and restaurants' coat-check. Have them carry it like a baby. Everyone will assume you are romantically involved with them, and there will be nothing they can do about it.
Bill had a rule that I quite liked, that one can never stay at a museum for longer than one hour, because
Bill believed you should always leave a museum wanting more. We tried this at the Van Gogh museum.
Bill wanted to have a glass of wine before we went in.
Bill told me his actual goal in bringing me to Amsterdam was to mend my relationship with my mother.
I told Bill we would need a lot more wine for that.
Bill made reservations at a restaurant that was on a list of the top ten most romantic restaurants in the city.
Bill was sending mixed messages.
Bill geared up for hearing the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me god.
Bill listened attentively.
Bill looked deeply saddened at the end of my story.
It was unclear to me if Bill loved my mother.
Bill told me he lost his appetite for the Banana bar.
Bill still wanted to show me the red light district.
I somehow didn’t realize prostitution was legal in Amsterdam until this moment.
I was morbidly mesmerized by window after window of women on display.
I wanted to give them my bouquet of tulips.
I wanted them to have them, so I wouldn’t have to, and so they could, because they were beautiful and natural and free.
These girls were a bouquet of two lips.
I wanted to give them my bouquet of tulips.
Bill was surprised so many of them were very beautiful.
I was not surprised by this at all.
Bill told me my hands looked cold.
Bill tried to hold one with his leather glove to keep it warm.
Bill got us some waffles covered in pink sugar.
Bill didn’t like to be in the rain.
Eventually we went back to his hotel, paid for by the airline company and
Bill didn’t do anything creepy.
The next morning, I felt like the girls in the red light district as Bill handed me 500 euros in cash to pay me back for my ticket.
The next morning, I felt like the girls in the red light district as I went downstairs with all the other Professional Pilots.
I wanted to tell them he was a friend of my mom’s.
I wanted them to know I didn’t sleep WITH him, just next to him, on opposite ends of a king sized bed.
I wanted Bill to know I felt so relieved that he did not try to rape me.
On the way to the airport Bill and I got in a discussion about race.
On the way to the airport Bill told me he didn’t understand why black people always tried to act like the police were out to get them.
On the way to the airport Bill tried to convince me he was well traveled and open-minded.
On the way to the airport Bill tried to convince me he was right.
On the way to the airport I told Bill neither of us had any idea what it was like to be someone else.
I told Bill things Bill didn’t want to hear.
Bill said it was clear I hadn’t enjoyed myself, and he regretted bringing me to Amsterdam.
I made my way back to Zamora.
After a free trip to Amsterdam.
With no sex shows, no drugs, no banana bars, and no sexual abuse.
I found my wallet in the lost and found of Madrid-Barajas airport.
And Bill and I never talked again.