From a Balcony in Mitte

July 23, 2018

Now we are here. Arrived 5 days ago and there has been so much to do, so much flux and very little time for thoughtfulness or rest. I sit on a balcony on the 3rd floor of our friends’ apartment on Wolliner Strasse, steps away from the footprint of the old Berlin Wall. I face East and the great tower of Alexanderplatz spikes the dawn sky with it’s long red and white needle, it’s Tarkovsyan sphere and silently blinking white lights. It is the symbol of a this city and a new life for us. I am full of self-doubt. This insecurity is amplified by my status as a semi-invalid as I slowly recover from a hip replacement that we somehow fit into all of the compulsory acts and rituals that accompany the uprooting of a decade and a half of life in one great Metropolis – a life that tracked our evolution as a couple from two autonomous, co-habiting adult artists to parents, homeowners, nine-to-fivers, New Yorkers – to another smaller, less frenetic but equally storied European capital. Why? What? How? When did you decide? What will you do? What about the kids? Questions that we have fielded, parried, or simply acknowledged without really answering. There are so many reasons I have offered up: Brexit. Quality of Life. Hope of Artistic Renewal. The Breaking and Crumbling Infrastructure and Over-crowding of NYC. Missed Europe. Violence. Trump. Child-Friendlier Environment. Better Social Services… All of them are valid but incomplete. It is entirely possible that there is no real reason. We could simply be responding to a biological wanderlust. One thing is certain, though: Megumi and I are complicit in this. We have been plotting this for a year… taking one strategic, surreptitious step at a time until it was all but inevitable and informing our surprised, shocked, inspired, doubtful friends and family only when the escape velocity had overcome the forces of inertia. Five nights ago, we loaded six big suitcases into a taxi bound for Newark Airport and slipped out of Harlem and across the GW Bridge and silently bade goodbye to Manhattan, it’s shimmering towers stretched along the Hudson, escapees from a gilded, beloved prison in the middle of the night.

 

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