So I made it back to Berlin, a city I spend a decent amount of time in these days. The melting ice is a new addition to the pretentious talk and good coffee. Berlin does cafes very well. I even feel comfortable with the German language these days, understanding while not comprehending. The Streets are on the radio. The candles flicker as the tattooed and pierced staff tidy and serve. Cafes where people can smoke, that serve beer alongside slices of cake. Cafes that are still open at 2am, full of conversation rather than begot by morality or TV screens. Every wall a personalised art space. I have Raymond Carver’s Where I’m Calling From on the table, a beer and a banana. Berliners aren’t afraid to mix it up.
I drank wine last night, a lot you would say but it left me unaffected. Linden went out to a performance of Sir Richard Bishop, a guitarist but I stayed in talking and drinking with Liz, her housemate and generally getting to know her better. It’s useful to meet and talk with your best friends’ friends. To delve and round out the edges. She proved honest, self-depreciating and cuttingly direct on a range of matters not concerning herself.
A good friend called James who I rarely (I don’t want to say never) see showed wisdom beyond his years stating you can tell a lot about people from their friends. He was 19 at the time. We were at university, a foreign forum away from who you are they say but in greater respects, away from who you were. The growing begins when you step away from the cradle and teenage angst-ridden peer groups.
Infrequently my best friends meet. And a sign of their worth is they get on and grow beyond me. A fact I am proud of. Liz, Linden’s flatmate and university friend has her own best friend issue which has painfully crossed the divide from friendship to love without working itself out. Friends in love, separated by circumstances and divided by loyalties can only meander around your brain which loiters on images and memories, massaging tenuous evidence into confirmed wishes of the subconscious. We all have our gripes. Love just happens unplanned and simply won’t always go the way you want it to.