Voyage #TheDailyPost

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The deed is done, my dear, so there is nothing to hold us back: we shall return to the City, among the youth, and the ghosts, and the walls full of memories. We will walk along the canal, remembering Rosa, and the heroes of the revolution, we will walk along the river, our souls in unison, our limbs alive – despite the attraction of Death.

For the City lives, not in her past, but in the present, forever renewed, walking resolutely to her future, a tall, blond walkyrie, who speaks your language with an accent. Along the tree-lined streets we will observe, and be observed, by those, like us, who have found themselves again.

Photo: Pietà, Käthe Kollwitz, Neue Wache, Unter den Linden, Berlin, © 2014 Honoré Dupuis

#Promptbox: Clouds

OdetteSince they’d settled in the city, by now he has almost forgotten when that was, he rarely thinks of the old town. Only in Spring, as the resurgence of colours, the clothes of women in the street, and the smiles on children’s faces, made him long for a past of peace and smallness, when himself was a kid, and the world was still vast.

In his study of Neukölln, surrounded by pictures of their travel, through Europe and North America, and portraits of his wife, Sarah, and of his one-time lover Melissa, the girl from Köpenick, sometime together, once or twice in a trio with Helga, his therapist, he continues to write, now on his second novel, now richer than ever, but still a disturbed soul.

This morning, Sarah’s out with Melissa, on a shopping expedition that may also take them to the haven of the Gendarmenmarkt apartment, and the renewed complicity of their mutual affection. His mind, unconcerned, at peace with heir present life, is floating away, to narrow streets, to medieval lanes bordering overgrown and haunted gardens, to a busy street where pedestrians wear old-fashioned clothes, and where he, alone, for a while friendless, seeks answers to questions that will elude him for ages to come.

There, behind clouds and the sharpness of an ancient Spring, he’s looking for her, near the old school, not far from his parents’ house, perhaps even along the river where his mother walks to admire the kingfisher. The sounds are low and a little hesitant, blurred by the silence of his room, and the low notes of jazz drifting from the lounge: this is an imperfect journey, as if he were reluctant to go all the way, resisting the call from these years of solitude and longing, from his childhood.

He’s near the church; he sees the pharmacy on the right, next to the barber where his father and he have their haircuts on Saturdays. The wide square has recently been redesigned, and the rubbles from the war cleared, and replaced by an elegant parterre of flowers. To his left he knows a short walk would take him to the bridge, over the little river. To the right is the main street, and somewhere, half way to the town limits, is the house with the courtyard.

He can see her now, a young girl, naked like him, and bathing in the old stone tub, near the fountain, at their feet the rounded stones reflect the sunlight: she’s laughing and throwing water at him, her face that of sheer pleasure. House and yard may be the oldest in the town, at the back is a workshop: her dad’s working space. Her face upturned to him, she sees their future, no doubt, and her smile fades. She starts crying, small tears keep flowing on her rosy cheeks. He does not understand, he thinks she’s angry with him, he holds her hands in silence. Calmer, she kisses his cheek. Her mum calls them both inside, to get dry and clothed.

At night, in his room, or rather the corner of the house where he sleeps, he can hear the rats running inside the hollow walls. His mum says they are as old as the house. He’s no longer there, time must have passed, he’s now bigger, stronger, but he’s still looking for her. He cannot remember, there is a small lane, near a nightclub: he knows this is important, or it will be. Some shadows obscure his vision: Helga did say he should not attempt to go there. A crime was committed there, not by him, he was far away then.

This is it, he was far away, and he should not have been: Julian knows the truth, he betrayed his childhood love, he is inconsolable. No amount of work, of success, no therapy, can ever change that fact.

#FiveSentenceFiction: Bedtime

Chaiwa by Edward S. CurtisSarah could not sleep, never did when she was flying.

Most passengers had abandoned their films or books, next to her, the beloved husband was deep in dreams, the attractive and cherished face twitching from time to time.

They were now over Greenland, the icy landscape, far below, lit by a frigid moonlight through scattered clouds.

It would take them another seven hours to reach home, and they would face a new day – for her, without sleep.

But in her mind, there was only the girl, who’d shown her the Path of Life, near the volcano, at the foot of the Sunset crater, and Sarah loved her, for eternity.

Image: Edward S. Curtis, Chaiwa, courtesy Arizona State Museum, Tucson

Daily Prompt: Something So Strong

Tell us the origin story of your best friend. How did you become friends? What is it that keeps your friendship rockin’ after all these years?

Morning with you I never met anyone like her: a poet who’s good at motorcycle maintenance, an athlete whose soul is close to the angels… But maybe she’s an angel?

Rarely we talk about who we are: we just are, we, she and I, the best friends in the world, in the kitchen, on the road, at the gym, in the mountains… Shall I say it?

We, in bed too. After all this is where we first met. But it was only a preamble. My best friend, my lover, my wife.

#WritersWednesday: Helga holds the #Pen

Temptation My name is Helga, sometimes spelt “Elga”, for reasons that I leave to the Reader to discover. I am a medical doctor, exactly a specialist in mental health, and one of the most ambiguous characters in this strange piece of writing titled “The Page”.

There, I appear in turn as an alien creature, leading a sinister plot to conquer the world, or at least, this world, or, as a shadowy member of a military clique, involved in the setting up of a world government, possibly to the service of the aliens, and then, again, as myself. The story line has confused me more than once, I admit, being, just as much as my friend Sarah, a rational being. Unsurprisingly the two lost characters in the story are… the author and his hero, old Julian Dutoît, married to Sarah, poor soul (Sarah, not Julian, who deserves some good kicks up his a**e).

Of course I should not talk like this about one of my clients. For my sins, professionally, I look after Julian, more for love of his beautiful wife than for any particular sympathy for Julian himself, whom I find an insufferable fool. I have long wondered if Julian is not the writer’s perfect twin, as paranoid and obsessed the one as the other. Those typical male characters have been lucky to find good women to look after their sorry little minds. And yet they speculate, occasionally flirt with ghosts, get drunk, misbehave in ways another age would have found odious to men and gods.

We have to put up with them because their fertile imaginations are, from time to time, entertaining, to a point. I admire Sarah’s patience with her husband, and her ability to forgive his worse infidelities. Mind you, Sarah’s a free spirit, and from my point of view a marvellous friend, and more. I have toyed with the idea to suggest to the writer, as I occasionally do, to kill his hero. I have decided against it, not for fear of failure, but to spare Sarah, as I do not want to hurt someone I adore.

Now you know.

Image: “Temptation”, Alte Gallerie, Berlin (photo: Honoré Dupuis)

In Berlin (in five sentences…)

Viktoria ParkI drove carefully along your highways, approaching your centre as one approaches a very beautiful woman, a little tensed, perhaps apprehensive at the thought of your contemptuous stare…

How quiet were your tree-lined streets, how beautiful Viktoria park in the late Summer light, and how radiant your smile when you open your door, my adored lover, my soul, my mistress.

It was so quiet, everywhere, as if the leaves of the trees were silencing the far-away murmur of traffic; but this is not London nor Paris: this is the city of a hard-won peace. Oh Berlin, city of our love, where so long ago, you said we would meet again, here, on the banks of the Spree, unter den Linden.

Memorial to the Berlin Airlift, 1948, TempelhofFor I adore your city, as I adore you, knowing that history never totally disappears, knowing the Topography of the Terror, the martyred bodies on the Wall, the long way back to life after the fall… Eastside Gallery, die Alte National Gallery… Dem Deutschen Volke…

In Tempelhof we ran, my eyes never leaving the golden hair and your sun-tanned legs, the goddess’s steps. And in the evening we walked the calm streets of Kreuzberg, and then you taught me that Aphrodite herself lives here.

The Young Dancer, Alte Nationalgallery

Daily Prompt: Earworm ~ #WritersWednesday ~

Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week.

My chair

Ma chair on chair ©K.rine Burckel

As Gorgeous and I finalise our summer plan, the lyrics of the Bravest Man and the voice of Bobby Womack are following my steps through the day…

“In the universe
Is the one who has forgiven first
he bravest man in the universe
I got a story I want to tell
Gather round me
Gather round me boys and girls

I once was lost
But now I’m found
Whe I beer uṗ so high
I always know how to come down

The bravest man in the Universe
Is the one who has forgiven first
Yeah
Shame on me, shame on you
It’s up to us
What we say and what we do

Would you stay in the sun
Would you stay in the sun much too long
You try to find the shade
Shade that makes you feel at home

The bravest man in the Universe
Is the one who can forgiven first
The bravest man in the Universe
Oh ah
The bravest man in the Universe”

I find the words inspiring, his voice enthralling. So, how about the plan? Well, soon we are free. Just one more week and she’s free to go… Cool evenings and endless nights will be ours. We attend our son’s graduation first week in August, one birthday party, and then we are off to Northern Germany, and endless photo shoots. No, dear readers, not all the pics will be made public!! But you’ll see some. Then Berlin, our city, with Sarah, and later, Elsa, who I hope will be my model for the Melissa book. What a prospect! In the meantime, more work on the synopsis for Elsa, more writing on the novel, and some pics!

Let’s enjoy this late summer…

And still the bravest man in the Universe…