Monday, 9 March 2015


Walking the grey streets, the Kottbusser Tor roundabout roars in my back as I stroll along Kottbusser Damm towards Landwehrkanal. The high residential building blocks are giving me direction: to the water.

The wind blows in my face, but this time not with its icy force but caressingly, today winter is mild. Flint grinds under my soles, not long ago the stones lay on snow, now the cyclists wheels have whisked it onto the pedestrian sidewalk. Bike riders rush me by, the traffic light, and then the view opens up to the dreary brackish water of the canal. Bare trees line the water , looking like struwelpeter, they facilitate the transition from urban built environment to nature, planned by urbanists centuries ago.
On the bridge, I stop. Bikes hang in parts still there where an extraordinary burglar-proof lock united them with the banister. My gaze hurries over the water’s surface.
Swans and other waterfowl have gathered near the bridge to find some company. Their crisp white adds to the water’s steel grey, a colour palette like from a contemporary food blog. 

But that’s not what comes to my mind over there, standing on the bridge. That’s what I am thinking now, in a hipster-y cafĂ© with a similar colour palette.
Down on the bridge I am snivelling. All those strolls taken along the banks, all the attempts to go jogging which most often ended in the former, the ride in the rubber boat, when we felt like pirates, preoccupied not to come into too close contact with the brownish water, that heads the rankings of bacterial contamination of Berlin’s waters each summer, until we ran out of beer and we stood there with the wet boat. In the end, deflated, it fit into one of the ubiquitous Ikea bags and on a bike rack. The city as adventure playground.
There, on the bridge, I feel sorry for all the possibilities to relive the experiences I am going to miss. I cannot run out of my front door anymore, down the street and along the canal banks. Not sit on the Maybachufer market, eat cheese cream with dirty fingers, listening to bands until the legs go numb form sitting on the floor.
Over there is the authentic Japanese restaurant some friends showed me. And they need to know, they are foodies and have been to Japan.
Further along the canal, where it bifurcates, my friend’s dog ran away when she had a dog trainer over. We searched for the dog and fond her after half an hour, but then the dog trainer had to leave.
I beweep a little the certitude, down there on the bridge, the acquainted and the acquaintances, the memories inscribed into places, that I will forget bit by bit, once I am gone.
The front door, through which I could run, down the street, along the canal banks, is not mine anymore already. The key is missing a hole in my bunch.
Now, under a similarly grey sky floats next to me a white coffee cup on a apartment therapy colour palette. There, on the bridge in Berlin, I take my smartphone and snap the swans, the grey, the trees. Captured on the screen, I put the canal in my pocket. The wind blows friendly and happily and whirls the swans on the water. I lock my fingers in the banister and lean back as far as my arms allow it, pull myself back up into an upright position and let go.

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