This article was originally published in Essay #14, still available through our webshop.
Text and photos by Sander Rodenhuis. Watch the accompanying video here.

Lex van der Does - bs smith

Let’s say her name is Claro. She’s everything you want or desire and everything you didn’t know you wanted to desire. She is the one you waited for during the past three months, and after meeting her, the one you will think about for the next three years. She might not remember you, but that’s alright. An encounter with her does more for you than it does for her, because that’s the way these kinds of interactions usually work. She will not change, but you will be changed for however long it takes you to recover from this voyage.

Revisit any photos you have, the places you saw her, and the conversations you shared. It could have been an evening, two days, a week, a month, and nobody, certainly not me, will know how long the process afterwards will take.

Your friends back home will think you’re weird, your partner might suspect something, they can’t put their finger on it just yet. No, falling in love on a skate trip is a weird thing. You’re not yourself on a skate trip. Maybe on day one or two you still are, depending on how fresh you started, but on day three, you’ve lost all senses and connections to your past life are suddenly defective. Falling in love on a skate trip could be considered cheating, but I would argue it’s something logical and healthy, if the skate trip is any good, at least.

Last week, it was me that fell in love. You know that, by now. It was not someone specific, although I did see a few girls with cute dogs or nice bikes, which always helps. Instead, I fell in love with the skate trip. You see, it’s been a few days since I came back and I haven’t been the same. Something happened last week, and I hope writing this love letter can help me process it.

Wesley de Jong - powerslide

"Dear Claro,

I miss you. There has not been a day where I have not thought about waking up on your couch, bunk bed or even the ground. That said, I don’t miss the moist toilet paper but I surely do miss the struggle every morning.

After weeks and weeks of stress and busy schedules, including a new issue being delivered while visiting you, your attitude calmed me down. Normally, waking up late, going skating late and coming back home late and possibly drunk would break me up, but not this time. It has to mean that you’re a special kind of person. You made me feel okay about Tobias becoming a Brazilian, meaning he had to wake up slow, smoke a joint, before spending the rest of the day skating absolutely every spot. Thank you for that.

I miss the way you looked at me. We may have had a little height difference, but it wasn’t too crazy. I miss how you were almost always made of some kind of insane natural stone, although it was not so nice when you made me trip over a gutter. Luckily, it was the first day of our adventure and in the end, it only contributed to my insanity and thus, made my love for you bigger.

Wesley de Jong - fs tailslide

Thank you for complimenting me on my pants. They are not Big Boys, the ones you loved the most, but I personally think Kani’s are a classier choice. I hope you can understand me in the future, if I ever get the hole in the knee fixed before throwing them in the washer. That would be about time. Speaking of that, thank you for sticking with me and my smelly jacket, of which you said it looked like Carhartt, when it is really a vintage army jacket. It made me feel understood in a way my normal life doesn’t make me, as it is less appreciated if I show up somewhere with smelly clothes, covered in blood stains and holes from the top down. By the way, I liked your style, too.

I wish I could have seen more of you. I heard there are more banks in the harbour, and that you’re building a big DIY at this other place out of town. You really have it all. I loved your banks, and the way all your planters are sunk into the street, lined with coping to grind. You had so much to show, and still there’s so much left unseen and unsaid.

Somehow I forgot my shirt, my favourite shirt, the yellow one with an Essay logo. Wear it until I come back to pick it up, although I will say that the reason for coming is to shoot Tobias nose sliding the subway entrance. Maybe I’ll forget it again and again until I can move in with you. We both know it’s not realistic, you’ll stay there while I am here in the cold North, where I supposedly belong. I am not a Lex or a Tobias who can just move somewhere, somewhere far away. Sorry for that. I need one place to enjoy the other and right now, I want to enjoy home again. You will have to deal with that.

I can see clearly now, thanks to you. Your light was warm and good for my bones, and even after the sun had set, your evening warmth was like a blanket to my aching body. I’d never skated so good until I was with you, never did I come closer to the feeling of having an actual talent. I still didn’t land a kickflip, but that’s due to your lack of quality flatground. I’d rather skate a bank.

It may be dark and cold again soon, but I will hold onto the idea of coming back to you. In time, it won’t keep me up at night, hopefully, but will transform into thoughts of you while walking the dog or doing groceries. Our relationship will never be more than that, and that’s okay.

You’re Claro and I am myself.

Sincerely, Sander"