1st May, 2016

Jessica Eve Watkins

Children of Europe, waiting your connections to Krakow, Vienna, Budapest,

wake from your train station benches, strap the nitro of resistance to your midriffs.

Accept the fever of the night, the dance with the drunkard. You are human.

Eliza Bishop

Like the lovers in Before Sunrise, like the Dreamers, like train station sleepers and bakery eaters I have been skulking under the rooftops of Europe. Skipping steps in canvas Mary-Janes I landed here, in the centre of the continent I was born into. Surely that means something. Once it brought me great disconnection and sadness. But these months pacing Berlin’s blocks have been some of the sweetest I’ve ever known.


Last week, on a stage in Prenzlauer Berg I sang and sang and sang. To Spanish Jens and Italian Nabil dipping fries into ketchup in the front row. To the hot-evening crowded diner, full of tequila and beer, to my meditation class and bed sharers and pink-haired fairy friends. To Eliza, poetess, with her woolly socks and flipflops, to the kind-eyed red-haired twins, to Nadja who has joined me in so much I have done here. To nearly everyone I didn’t know three months ago, each who has helped me in their own beautiful way to dissolve. So much of me dissolved.

Oh Berlin. I feel my heart ache with imminent departure. I could stay here and fuck up all my summer plans, and I would like to. But I could also be as spacious as my ex lovers and just let her go.

Let go her pavements dripping in fragile, droopy April magnolias and cherry blossoms until it dissolves like a dream with the morning sunshine. The unlocked bicycles strewn out on cobbles, abandoned by a coffee drinking population who never seem to be at work. The sharp beige overcoats, the cashmere baby dadas, the leather chapped bar-men with ponytails streaming, the shoppers and foaming beers and bare skinned kissers. I will run back into this city’s arms when the days are warmer and my hair has grown longer and my friend’s belly is blossoming with her new baby. 

‘I’ll only wake you if there’s something to tell you.’

She crawled into my bed at 5am this morning, the rosy dawn slipping around apartment blocks into the ballroom where I sleep with the windows wide. Stone cherubs on the ceiling peer down on us. This grand building with old stone hallway, my home, with rooms full of sage smoke, full of white-wash and antiquarian book spines and full of glowing dawn, four storeys above the car horns and tram rails of Mauer Park.

She is clutching a pregnancy test. She fumbles with the iphone torch and can’t get it on. I find mine. ‘You look,’ she says. There’s the line. ‘You’ll be her spiritual guidance?’ she asks. There’s the day arising. Here comes a brave new spirit.

We are giddy with possibility by the afternoon. How quickly something can reach out and grab your heart. How lucky that feels and how rapid it switches.

With the return of the sun I bask in how truly European this city is, how rooted we are amongst the Vespa smoke and backpacking passers-through. The Australians, French, Italians, Americans. Pale Norwegians and relaxed Spanish. Pittsburgh, New York, Oslo, Oxford. The connections I have made are ancient and loyal; women with braided hair and books of penned poetry; Dakinis of tea drinking up-all-night sobriety. Heroines with balconies and freckles and plastic spectacles, heroines in meditation posture, beckoning me along my path. The men, too. Open, exotic, with souls soaking up all oils of life. I have met kind, kind ones and I needed this.

At my philosophy class on Wednesday nights we talk about breaking hearts. Mine has broken again and again lately. It fragments in beautiful ways. I’m taking Eliza’s advice: Smash it open with a hammer and watch it break. Dive in amongst the shards. Then witness it heal with the goodness of getting to know yourself in your completion. I needed to remember this, that I am strong enough to do anything. I needed this so much.


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