I have been reluctant to write, Although I should want to write. I have deadlines. I have ideas. But there are days I get away with thinking that I don't need to write. It is quite easy to just read, wander, dance, watch fireworks, throw snowballs on a street in a strange city, drink mulled wine in flea markets, worry about friends, exclaim over a snowy world where the mothers and fathers bike to schools with their kids clinging to sleighs.
The last time I was in Berlin, I was walking with N. down Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse, arm crooked around arm. We were happy, full after a supper of gefilte fish in a Yiddish restaurant around the corner from a synagogue that was more like a fortress, with guards out in front, to ward off neo-Nazi attacks. (Had her grandparents lived nearby? They had fled the city when Hitler rose to power, migrating to Palestine.) I loved N. so much, I swore I'd never lose that feeling. That was August 2001.
Years later, we hadn't exchanged words in ages. I am standing again on that street named after a murdered communist activist, calm for once in my life, regardless of the emotions I had forced underground, for the sake of my holiday, re: the bombing in Gaza. What was I trying to preserve?
Time is merciless. Now I am sitting in an apartment in Galway, 3,000 or so kilometers from family and some friends, thinking this sentence. Time is merciless. It is so easy to think that I could get away with never writing again. Only I am here again, writing between joy and despair, feeling my way between potential and hinderance, thinking about my loves, past and present. I remember a city known in summer and winter, a city I will never completely know, but a city, nonetheless, to which I return, trying to understand it all.