I wake up slowly and find myself alone. I stretch out across the bed and slowly come to the realization that though I may be on the other side of the globe, that I feel more at home in the past 24 hours than I can remember having felt in so long. I think of the fact that I have two more weeks here and smile. I make my way down the creaking staircase and step barefoot onto the cool tile pathway that leads to the kitchen. Luca and his mother are there and Luca passes me a big cup of coffee, exactly the way I like it. Damien Rice plays softly in the background and I feel so relaxed. I remember this feeling on some Saturday mornings as a kid, not having to chase after dogs, run to do chicken chores, fight the north road, feel the glare of eyes and not hearing once the god forsaken question, “How are things going at the cabin?” As if I am the cabin and people poke at the softness that is my wounded cabin and press hard.
I watch Luca make up the table for breakfast and it feels as though there is ceremony to it. Making up a table, fresh lilacs in a vase, a long thin lit candle. So different from the dusty dishes on dirty shelves in the cabin. So different from the scarred wobbly table on and the dirty sheets of rough plywood. It hits me hard how much I´ve needed to get this far away from the cabin, from everything. For people to see me as me, and not someone so dark, empty and unrelateable, as my cabin. For me to see myself, and see how empty I have become as I have given the cabin not just a part of me but all of my energy and life.
We eat breakfast and drink more strong coffee. I feel as if with each relaxed sigh that new light is filling the darkness that has been sitting with me for so long. We sit on a bench at the table facing out towards the garden. It is overcast and grey, my favourite.
We decide to go see a farm Luca lived on for a few years growing up, with his mother, sister, and her daughter. The van is filled with happy chatter in the back while Luca and I sit in the front seats in mutual silence, listening to some music I’ve put on. There isn’t a need for my nervous chatter anymore. We are caught up in an easy flow of communicating in an unspoken way.
The van pulls into a big parking lot and standing in front of us are old brick buildings with traditional grass roofing. My breath is caught at how beautiful it is. I desperately want to take pictures of it all but don’t want to be the nerdy tourist. I instead try to take it all in and remember this. We walk down a pathway and geese and their soft gander are at the side. We stand and watch them, the chickens, ducks in a small pond. Luca tells me he used to fish in it. The air is cool and damp and we walk slowly. We walk into a small store on the farm and take a peak around. I see a name printed everywhere here. Wieße. My mother’s family immigrated to Canada and the last name is printed in Canada as Wiebe. Here it is pronounced “Vee-suh”. We decide to take a walk with our newly bought bar of dark chocolate.
We walk along a narrow roadway and I take in how touched everything in Germany is. No tree, path or shrub is unplanned. There is no natural danger. Small planes fly loudly overhead. A few cars pass and we are forced to walking in single file. People are the top predator here. A cool breeze blows in and in it I can smell lilacs, roses, and shit. That combination reminded me so much of my Grandparents farm in Alberta when I was a kid. I couldn’t have felt anymore at home. I felt surprised at myself for feeling so at home here, in a place I never expected to be or want to be. We come up to a slow-moving river and stand on a small dock. I half expect Luca to push me in. Had he of I think I would have enjoyed it anyways. I tell him I have my phone on me so he shouldn’t. I can’t move myself to look away from his grin. I feel like he’s willing himself not to push me into the river. He says this river is only 14km long, we could rent a canoe and come back tomorrow to paddle it. He also tells me he would like to take me hunting. A small nerve in me twitches in nervousness at the thought but is quickly overcome by excitement at the thought of hunting with him.
I feel so much peace on the riverside that for the first time in years I can remember what freedom might feel like. I let my mind free of the cabin and focus on the present perfect moment. We make our way back to the rest of his family and his niece hands us strawberries to eat. I feel drunk in divine slow happiness. The rest of the day passes us by slowly. We bring creamy colored asparagus back to the house and it is peeled for dinner. We drink white wine and eat together at the table in dim glowing candlelight. I try to listen hard for words I know in german but the wine and sleepiness of the day makes it hard for me to focus on trying. I get lost in a state of falling back into my own thoughts.
When we go to sleep I feel again like a happy child. Cool, light bedding and the cool night air. My wily heart felt quieted. To be in a home with a family is infectious. I never planned for the cabin to be something that I paraded on and on alone with. I pictured family, two people working together, pulling together for a common goal.
The cabin. Trying to pour from an empty cup, slowly but surely killing myself.