We awoke in the early afternoon and I remember looking at the walls and tall ceilings and getting lost in thoughts about what these walls had seen, these old buildings and the city herself. I got up and walked to the bedroom window and looked out towards another apartment building, every window always facing out to another apartment building or courtyard. In a moment of spontaneity I took my shirt off and stood topless facing the adjacent maybe 40 some open windows.
I did an almost graceful looking dance.
What had these walls seen. I vaguely remember Jonathan saying something about the building being from the 20s..or was it the 40s. It seems most buildings in Germany seem to be post war. The ones I stayed in anyways. I pictured the apartment buildings as living breathing things, watching their occupants love, argue, fight.. watching children grow, people grow together, people grow apart. I imagined people who might have taken their first breaths between these walls, and their last. I imagined forbidden lovers meeting together, secret kisses between young lovers cooking dinners together. People coming completely undone in these walls, people on their phones talking to parents, friends, parties celebrated together, memories made.
I don’t remember seeing anyone watch, and to be honest I don’t think anyone would have really cared. It would have been something that someone might glance at and dismiss. Ah, Europe. I don’t know if its years at the cabin that’s made me this way or if it’s something I’ve grown into on my own. I turned around and looked back at Luca lying in bed watching me as if I was something magical and spectacular. I felt calmer that morning than yesterdays overstimulating train rides and parties. I got dressed and joined Jonathan and Julia for breakfast. Cheese, bread and rhubarb cake.. and of course Jonathan’s wonderfully made cappuccinos.
We picked at our plates slowly and I quietly listened to my new friends and Luca discuss things like water and weather proof tents, quality sleeping bags and what it means to be a functioning adult. I didn’t contribute a lot to the conversation as my mind started to lag, a hangover was building on my brain. Also on listening to their morning conversation I felt like I couldn’t really contribute without seeming like a failure. I don’t own a tent, nor do I really want to, but on the topic of quality camping gear my mind wandered to my mold-stained sleeping bag at home, my hole covered socks, my paint stained long-johns and my unfinished house. I know what it means to be a functioning adult, but I cannot admit to being one. In truth I believe I would like to have all the adult things, the socks, the quality sleeping bag, the finished house, the laundry done, some kind of adult-like degree in something useful.. It just isn’t me. I could never admit to having my life together. Good things come and go as well as the bad and I found myself at a loss for anything to contribute to the conversation. Later Luca asks me why I was so silent, that they were speaking in English for me. I felt ashamed.
Julia and Jonathan want to go to a Turkish market for groceries and Luca and I decide to come too. As soon as we step out of the cool apartment buildings and onto the dusty streets and the sun I felt instantly out of place, sweaty and gross. My head was pounding. We rounded a corner and into the packed busy marketplace with Turkish vendors shouting out their pitch in hopes of bringing in buyers. I tried to stay close to Luca and wouldn’t let him out of my sight. I didn’t want to get lost in the small busy sea of bodies. Jonathan buys some figs and hands me one. I turn it down and watch Luca break one open and eat it. At the time I realized part of why I had declined was because I had no clue what it was.. I had never before in my life seen a fresh fig.
Luca and I exchanged glances shortly after arriving at the market place and right away he could see my fearful darting heart. It was too much. He took me back to the apartment to relax and again I felt ashamed. Berlin, she was so hard on me. I tried to understand her and just as I felt we might be growing close she would knock my heart out of my chest and scream into my ears. Luca left the apartment with the others when they returned to go to a birthday party of a friends, in a park. I felt relieved to have the apartment to myself. What I must have looked like to the others, a fearful Canadian girl out of her element and afraid. I slept through the rest of the afternoon on cool sheets.
Later that evening Luca, Julia and Jonathan made dinner together, a beautiful creamy curry. Julia watched episodes of Game of Thrones while chopping and eating vegetables and smoking hand rolled cigarettes. I watched with her as I had never actually watched an episode before. I could see how it had gained popularity but I don’t think it is completely for me. Jonathan cooked the rice and curry while Luca cut strawberries for dessert, picked up fresh from the market that afternoon – A whole massive flat of strawberries for two euros! The energy between us was relaxed and comforting. We enjoyed the meal together and the strawberries and whipping cream after. From time to time I would glance out the kitchen window across to the apartment windows on the other side of the courtyard and I would see a man staring back at me, our eyes meeting and locking until I bashfully would look away, embarrassed. I craved to be smoking cigarettes too. I imagined what it would be like to live here, would I ever be able to adapt to this kind of lifestyle? My heart held serious doubts in regards to the answer. It felt early when we all decided to go to bed, a trick of the mind after having such a late start to the day. I eagerly looked forward to going back to Lübeck the next day. I had grown quite attached to it and to be away brought mixed feelings for me. I was indeed a stranger in a strange land.