The first winter was a serious struggle but everyone told me about how great the Berlin summers were. “Just wait until it gets warm,” they said. “It’s like a whole other city,” they said. “The summers are so great here,” they said. But when summer time finally arrived I was disappointed at the mere 70 degrees (21 °C) and rainy weather of most days. The sunny and warm break I was waiting for never really arrived.
We need to see a bag as a bag. And we need so badly to see a person as a person.
Since we engaged in mass production, we are coming down the hill. We should discuss what we feel when, exiting the mall, we find a homeless person lying next to the door. Is there a feeling? Do we feel sorry for that person? Culpability? Is there an emotion? What happens in our head when we see the homeless?
We live in a society that always wants to be flawless. A society that can never be fully satisfied. We always want to improve ourselves, do more self-optimization, become sportier, happier and more fulfilled. It goes always higher, further, faster. Better. As soon as we reach our goal, it goes straight on. Never enough. More success, more money, more happiness.
She says, “I still have to think about him a lot.” And smiles. We meet on a park bench, she with her newspaper, me with my coffee. Actually, it should only be a short walk on a Sunday morning. Instead I met this older woman. Quite by chance. An encounter that I won’t forget so soon. She looks at the empty playground. “I often come here. Actually every morning. Then she puts her newspaper aside. Her fingers are tender despite the many wrinkles, her eyes shine as she begins to speak. Despite her age, she has not lost her zest for life.
I am sure I have a sane mind. Why? For the amount of anxiety that on it lies. What better proof of consciousness than to feel trapped in a vertigo state commuting around the city? Watching all those beings on the train, trying forcibly to ignore each other, having dreams of wealth and health, just for them, never to anyone else. A new wave of narcissism swept our society like a tsunami that no one saw coming.
She can’t breathe. Trying to gasp for air. A rope is tied around her throat. She tries to free herself. With every breath she feels the narrowness. The pulse stops when he touches her. Millions of insects crawl, crawl and spread over her body. When he slowly strokes her shoulder, each of her limbs shrugs.
You said you wanted to spend so many more summers with me. You wanted to see so much more. “The world, in all its width.” You said. With me. You wanted to taste the salty taste of the ocean, bathe in the sea of emotions. You wanted to flee reality, to be everywhere, but not with yourself. “So let’s go, now!” You wrote. You have always been a fascination for me. Fascinatingly beautiful and dangerous.
“I’ve been here 10 years.”
He says as he takes a sip on his beer. “How come?” I ask smiling.
“I don’t know. I was travelling and somehow got stuck here. And now 10 years have passed.” He laughs as he looks away embarrased. You could see the toll of those 10 years by looking at him. He had aged but also remained young. His skin grew a somber tone and is now full of visible scars. Each scar has its own story. Every story with its unhealed wounds. He wanted to look younger than he was. Stronger than he ever would be. We remain silent for a moment.
My gaze also wanders across the beach. I lost myself in the depths.
The something I remember the most is the sun. It is most beautiful when we see his light through the reflections on the white marble walls, bouncing back and forth between them, a dance of light and life, and an ode to the dead who first saw how beautiful they could be. The thousands of sparrows and starlings pierced the diamond light, ignoring us simple creatures standing on the streets. What could we know? We couldn’t even feel the air rushing throw our feathers, the sun pointing us the direction on the next corner. We are mere stone statues for this enlightened beings. They know their way through life. We instead, battle with the little time we have to enjoy it, always finding excuses to be miserable. Happiness is a future thing. Always.