Another night. Another beer. Another hipster bar complete with urban greenery and string lights. My chest is tight and my heart, a little heavy. I don’t know if it’s sleep deprivation, the beer or the fact that I spent the majority of my day soaking my brain in weird art in various galleries across Augustsraße. In any case, I sit at the table, get a smile of acknowledgement from the curly haired waiter who now considers me a regular and bask in the knowledge that my flight home is in 12 hours. It seems to be having a significantly more melancholy effect on me than I’d ever really anticipated.
On the lead up to this trip, I can’t say I had any overwhelming expectations. It had been a while since I had been anywhere alone so apart from the occasional ‘what the fuck am I doing?’ moment I wasn’t applying too much unnecessary pressure on myself. Frankly, since stepping off the flight, roaming the streets solo in this city has felt like the most normal thing on the planet. To the point where I can’t imagine it any other way.
I’ve had open conversations with strangers. I’ve drank alone, dined alone and even gone to a club alone. I’ve shared a 6am smoke with a drug dealer who offered me coke, weed and then himself (wouldn’t recommend), I’ve been told by my Airbnb host to ‘suck it up and wear more glitter’ (sound advice I subsequently followed), I’ve crashed a date and spent the rest of the night with the guy ON said date (platonic, unfortunately for him as I am still disgustingly in love with R-) and attempted to watch a sunrise over the river though we wound up on totally the wrong side of it (caught a glimpse of her over a morning bagel shortly after though, so all was not lost).
It’s been weird, interesting and cool.
But I would be lying if I said there was absolutely no underlying reason whatsoever for deciding to spend four days on holiday alone. Berlin was special. I planned Berlin because this trip marks a kind of personal celebration.
Two years ago, I moved back home with my parents, a broken woman. I booked Berlin as a gift to myself, to say congratulations. For working relentlessly with my demons to the point where I recognise them for exactly what they are. For holding it all together, not by putting on a brave face but by crying, screaming and taking time out to heal when I’ve needed it. In two weeks’ time… only two weeks’ time I move to Birmingham with R-. I start a new job. I live in a new home.
I take in a huge gulp of air beneath the string lights and I know that this is kind of it. After this trip is done… I’ve got just two weeks until my whole life shifts radically all over again. It terrifies and excites me at the same time. Yet the fear of facing it makes me want to majorly stall. Can’t I just stay in Berlin forever?! I don’t know that I can slot back into my old life anymore since I’m an entirely different person to whom I was the last time I lived there. I don’t know that my friends won’t fall away because I can’t relate to them anymore. I don’t know what will happen to the people I’ve become so close with now. All I know is it’s me and R- and then the world. I guess it’ll be ok.
So tonight, once I text my new pals Jerry and Cecelia to let them know I won’t be out tonight, I’ll be slinking back to Sam’s, reading my book and calling it a day on Berlin and symbolically on my old life. The party has ended. The bar is shut and this door is closing, and from the crack between its hinge and the wall I see the next door ahead of me open. Just gonna have to walk right through it.