It’s three o’clock in the morning, I’m lying in my bed. Wide awake. Outside a woman is yelling, imprisoned in her own world. I get a glimpse of a life I don’t want to know anything about. It’s an intimate moment between two strangers, but only I am aware of that. Even though I don’t know this woman and I cannot see her and even though I’m protected by my own four walls, I’m getting trapped in a story that is not mine.
I’m lying in my bed and shouldn’t actually be able to hear anything. I have had a closed and inflamed ear for weeks and I am wearing an onion compress that diminishes my sense of hearing even more. But I can still hear everything. Besides the yelling I can also hear the squeeking of the traintracks, the rumble of the trains and the switching of the tracks. But all these noises are almost drowned out by the wild chaos inside of me.
Once I have felt at home in this city. I moved into this apartment with joy and a sense of freedom. It was so different from all that I had known so far. An old and charming flat in a hip quarter, just around the corner of the station and all the shops, with a balcony overlooking the tracks. It was exactly what I had needed five years ago when I moved out of my parent’s house in order to live my own free life . All I wanted was hustle and bustle of the city. And I felt at home right away. My apartment became my kingdom and with every minor change in my life, my flat changed, too. I decluttered and reorganized, I swapped furniture and bought plants. Lots of plants. I found myself in this apartment. Here I got to experience the most beautiful and the saddest moments and for quite some time it was exactly what I wanted.
But now I’m awake and I realize that I haven’t been sleeping through the night for several months. And suddenly I can hear that voice again that I got to know so well this past year. It tells me: «Enough! I don’t want to be here anymore.»
It’s beginning to dawn on me: the city is not my home anymore. This realization has been forming ever since I came back from my stay in Greece one year ago. I long for nature and retreat. For quietness and origin. For simplicity and calmness.
I have known for years that the city would only be a stopover. A stop that I didn’t want to miss, though, because it’s only due to this stop that I became the person I am today. It’s only because of this stop that I found people and built friendships that are so important to me. It’s only because of it that I was able to change my lifestyle and to find out how I could live according to my values. But if you had asked me: How do you want to live? Even back then, I would have answered that one day I wanted to live in a small house close to the forest. That I wanted to have a lot of animals and that I wanted to build a garden that provides me with the majority of my food. I would have seen me sitting in the garden, a cat by my feet and a cup of tea in my hands. I would already have known then, that it’s the simple and quiet life that would make me happy. That I wanted to have time for the things that really mattered to me: Being creative, learning new things, being outside, moving my body.
If I hadn’t known that already, my time in Greece would have shown at last that I longed for connection to nature and that this city didn't mean the same to me as it used to. Also because a person whom I shared many city-moments with isn’t here anymore.
And now that I’m free and that I just started a new chapter in my life and that everything is open, I can see a thought crystallizing. What if I moved to the mountains, back to my roots? What if I lived there in our family’s house? What if I built a garden like my ancestors had for generations before me? I could have a kitten, Pizokel would be its name. I would go to the garden first thing in the morning, put my bare feet onto the grass with a cup of tea in my hand. I would feel the sun on my skin and the wet grass under my feet. In winter, every morning I'd make a fire in the old oven and wait wrapped in a warm jumper and woolen socks until it would get warm in the house. I would find places to collect mushrooms in the fall and places to swim in summer. There would be places to harvest herbs and make beautiful bouquets out of wild flowers. I’d spent my days making music or writing or dedicating myself to my other projects. For sure I’d want to make a lot of my food from scratch and I’d invite all my friends to visit or I would visit them in the city. And maybe this house in the mountains would again just be a stopover.
In this moment, at three o’clock in the morning, this stopover feels like my lifesaver. I cannot stay in bed anymore, have to get up and go outside. On the balcony it is quiet for a little while and I can even see a few stars. Cassiopeia. I exhale. I can feel a reflex inside of me to go sit in front of the computer and to numb myself with some netflix series or other, because I cannot even think of going back to sleep. But my inner voice is stronger this time and it tells me that for once I have to sit with these feelings and that I have to face the message they are trying to send me. So that’s what I’m doing and I realize that the time has come for me to move on.
November 7th, 2020