It was already mid morning, just past eleven and Julie was still in bed. The throbbing in her head had awakened her an hour before, but her body was in pain. “Have I fallen down the stairs?” she asked Adam, but it was her drinking. Under the steadily growing pain she managed to recall patches from last night; wine, vodka, Prosecco and a shot of Tequila. How did she manage to get home? That’s right, she fell of her bike.
Adam burst into the room one more time before Julie dragged herself out of bed. They had an appointment in an hour to see a flat in upper Kreuzberg next to Victoria Park.
The estate agent didn’t greet them when they arrived fifteen minutes late. He turned his back, slid the key into the dusty keywhole and led them up to the forth floor. The building had no elevator and the agent could barely conceal his irritation when Julie reached the top.
He wore coal coloured pointed shoes made of fine leather and a matching jacket with a dropping handkerchief draped out of his pocket. “What a fop,” she thought. He was slim and well build, taller than her, but shorter than Adam. His teeth were stained from smoking and even the use of excessive perfume couldn’t silence the disturbing smell of fags he carried about. He never introduced himself and they did not bother to ask. He spoke in German and since Julie only knew how to order her double espresso, she had to wait for Adam to translate.
The flat had two adjoining rooms one overlooking the backyard, the other had a balcony with a splendid view over Victoria Park. The building was a few meters away from a small cemetery that could easily be mistaken for another small park if it wasn’t for the cross at the front. The flat ticked all the boxes and the agent noticed the growing interest in their voices. Julie and Adam spoke French between them and the agent wandered around waiting for Adam to say something. His cold blue eyes became softer and his row of stained teeth formed a vague smile.
But he lost interest as soon as he heard that Adam was jobless. What the agent said, Julie did not know for sure, as translation was delayed, but when Adam tried to interpret the conversation, his voice was trembling with outrage. The softness in the agent’s face was replaced with impatience. Adam felt the urge to defend himself, but the agent kept shaking his head and talked along with him.
“What’s the problem?” Julie asked impatiently, her head pulsating from the pain.
“If we want the flat we need to pay it for a year in advance” Adam retorted.
“What? This is ridiculous!” she exclaimed.
The man with the leather boots suddenly put a few words in French to tell Julie that he was in the business for twenty-six years and he heard a lot of promises. “Promises,” she snapped. “We are not here to promise anything. You let the flat and we need to show that we can afford it.”
He asked her how much she earned, a directness she rarely experienced in England.
“Enough to afford the flat on my own,” she said crossly.
“Ordnung! I’ll wait for your documents.”
He escorted them down to the entrance in silence where he spoke to Adam for another moment. Adam stretched his hand to say good buy, but he ignored him and reached for Julie’s instead. He bowed slightly and gave her enticing look from below his eyebrows as if they shared a secret. He held her hand with the tip of his fingers and just before he landed a kiss on her hand, he whispered “Аu revoir.”
My grandparents have resided in their flat since 1976 and their love for “things” made it look like a second-hand shop. They stuffed their home with a lifetime’s worth of possessions; a practice that continues even today. Recently, they began to collect plastic bags and the clutter that was once moderate, is officially out of control.
They live on the second floor in a block with thirteen entrances; the perfect place to get lost! The building, known as the “Great Wall”, overlooks the saltpans of Burgas and it is a short walk to the city’s sea-garden. In fact, you can cross the entire town on foot; it is that small.
Their two-bedroom apartment has a tiny kitchen and a reasonable size bathroom. Each room has its own balcony, but they share the same view as all three are aligned in a straight row. A large chestnut tree throws thick shadow with its huge branches and leaves the flat quite dark for most of the year.
The middle balcony belongs to the kitchen and it has a large wooden cupboard jammed with empty jars and ice cream boxes, styrofoam trays and plastic flagons. The drawers are congested with used straws, bottle caps, wooden ladles and foil cuts. Another storage cabinet is the home of piles of old newspapers, sacks of plastic bags and loose hemp threads. Next to the oven a dozen used bottles are filled with tap water in case the pipes run dry.
Two of the kitchen’s walls are covered with cabinets stuffed with plates and bows, cups and pots, trays and other kitchen utensils. Deep or shallow, large or small, made of porcelain, glass or alpaca, all are at your disposal. A beautiful tureen sits gracefully on one of the shelves rarely used for any purpose. In the cabinet under the sink one can find dishwasher sponges and household gloves, empty glass bottles and jars with jam. Inkless pens and dusty notebooks are shoved under the breadbox along with successfully completed crosswords; my granddads’ hobby.
Oak paneling covers the walls of the entire corridor, which makes it even darker. The built-in wardrobe behind the kitchen’s door is packed with books and shoeboxes. A large wooden clock with cuckoo bird hangs oposite the mirror (no sign of the birth thou). Lotions, creams, deodorants, ear buds, keys, hats, walking sticks and a broken umbrella are jammed around the mirrow. My grandparetns are too old to care about some of this stuff.
They crammed so much furniture in their living room that it looks like a separate little home. A three seater sofa sits oposite a library with books and things collected over the years. A fold down bed is next to a cabinet with crystal cups and liquor set in cut-crystal and gilt bronze; all bought during a trip to Russia in the seventies. Large armchair covered in dark flowers sits next to a Singer sewing machine that is pushed right behind the balcony door. To fill the space, a round table with four chairs is placed in the middle of the room. Books on history and war, chess techniques, practical guides, Russian literature and poetry are neatly placed over the cabinet. Three beautiful tapestries hang from the walls; all handmade by grandmother. The Oriental rug that covers the parquet is thick and rich in red and blue. And to make the room more diverse, my grandparents left many things on display.
Although, I’ve been coming to their home since I was a child, writing about it actually draines me. They have locked their past with adding more to it every day. If I express the desire to throw something out, I witness an emotional moment and the answer is often “no.” I fear that I might become the same santimental slave, but I hope I have enough time to learn how possesions may effect my life.
Recently I came across an article about birthdays and the first line reads like this: “It’s a day that’s all about you – it’s your birthday!”
A tradition celebrated by the whole crust of humanity. A 24-hour interval of time when we feel that our mistakes are forgotten, neglected friendships suddenly flourish, and a spray of abrupt love becomes a ladder to heaven.
With the ability to lose ourselves in the sea of time, we also lose our purpose – to feel good; not just on those allotted chunks of time but with every breath of life.
I’ve wasted countless days in frantic preparation for birthdays celebrated with people who were entirely indifferent to my existence, and whom on the day I’d cram like sardines in my mother’s 90sqm communist-era flat. And it took just a few hours to know that my time was up. The clunk of empty glasses and half eaten cake were nothing more but a reminder that I’m no longer special. A feeling I sank into for the most part of my life.
My parents, who saw their three-year marriage as a short-lived failure with heavy consequences, viewed birthdays as an opportunity to wipe off the guilt for having made an irreparable mistake. Fifty shades of Mickey Mouse and the Pink Panther were furnishing my room for many years until I had the strength to detach myself from the despair that was haunting me as a child.
As children, we are convinced that being-special-feeling comes once a year. This opens up new avenues where manipulation and exchange become unconscious choices. “Do what I say and you will get what you want,” these sorts of things.
We are brought up to believe that worthiness comes at a cost and the sense of it is a crucial barometer when we shape ourselves as grown-ups. Some obtain it through education and degrees, others see an escape in high-end jobs that pay fat monthly cheques, but irrespective of how we see it, it is always there.
Naturally, at the age of thirty-six, I see the world from a different and, perhaps, more reasonable and comforting standpoint. I finally tore away part of my old self.
I lived too long in a country where culture and tradition blend with social structure and status, and the question that keeps hanging insecurely as if waiting to be torn down, is who are we if we are stripped off of all this “prestige”? I look deeper and I find the scared little girl in me, still there, hiding from the world, as vulnerable as I remember her, full of dreams and love, of capturing the world with a blink of an eye. She has no past and shaping a future is a distant falling leaf.
This little person intuitively accepts that worthiness is not a knot of rules and requirements. She doesn’t recognise this futile existence and she wants to live fully.
I now learn to acknowledge the little portions of happiness in my day-to-day life. I no longer need my birthday to know that I’m unique individual in search of my own path in life. There is no one like me, there is no one like anyone else, ever.
She is one of the most talented young soulful singers I had the pleasure of listening. And she is only 17!
We are nature’s best creation. A perfectly balanced mechanism that needs to be appreciated and loved to function at its best. We, humans, destroy everything we touch and rectify mistakes with science. Then the production of repairing materials becomes our second nature, we simply can’t live without alternatives. We are immune to simplicity and this comes with consciences.
The thing is that in today’s world, there is a pill for every ill. This artificial liberation is lending us a loan, which we’ll never be able to pay back. And we clap and nod in appreciation of the infinite opportunities of the growing consumerism.
What I’m trying to say here is that we have to live with more awareness, with different pair of eyes. To remove the layers of superficial happiness and examine carefully the world we live in. Happiness is far beyond the ‘sweet’ face of capitalism and all the mud that is dragged with it.
We are thought to live for the others because our worthiness depends on their acceptance. Who we have become as a result is far from who we really are. It is easier to hold the focus on artificial values especially in society that disregards emotions as a sign of weakness. And what is life without emotions, without the spark of our true existence? A dead flower, a wasted life.
Nothing is more compelling than finding the real purpose in life, which will always be in harmony with the energy levels of the Universe. Everything else is a tedious existence.
A storm of feelings disperses the seeds of love
In fields and oceans, in the deepest layers of my heart.
Rain is pouring when it cries, sun is shining when it smiles
There’ll never be another today just wistful history and dust.
So I’ll love you today for everything you are and for all that you are not
And cherish the love that grows between us.
"Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." ~Einstein
Food Photography & Recipes
Just another WordPress.com site
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR
Sometimes you need to stop from whatever you are doing and start dreaming, because dreams come true
WITHIN ARE PIECES OF ME
Official website of Roun Tamaki: Author, Filmmaker, Super Saiyan.
Not just another WordPress.com site
i only wash them up good and wear them
Today, make a commitment to your writing.
Scribblings in my travel diary