Wednesday, 27 January 2016

City Lights

Inspiration: A picture sent by Dave Harris and a dream.

They were an odd couple, the two men wearing once expensive men’s jackets, business suit jackets, now all worn down with holes in it. Maybe that’s what freaked my friend out, otherwise her actions don’t make sense to me. After a long journey to our holiday destination, a beautiful Spanish city, we were pretty much worn-out when we left the train that took us from the airport to the city center. My friend was carrying our backpack. We had stuffed all our clothes and other things together, cheaper on the flight. I have to admit it was a bit overwhelming, being met by a couple of hobo’s who announced it was their wedding day. They had strung some balloons to the caddy carrying their belongings. But they were so happy, despite their poverty, their worn-down clothes, they were obviously very much in love.

My friend looked around, she seemed frightened and hissed something about the huge amount of tramps in the railway station. And then it all suddenly happened very quickly. The train on the platform across ours started to close the doors. My friend took a sprint and jumped in the train. I tried to follow her, but the doors were already closed and the train started rolling away, leaving me on the platforms beneath the signs telling it was going to Berlin. There I was, stranded in a strange city with nothing else but the clothes I was wearing, my purse, passport and my phone, which was now trembling in my pocket. A text message from my friend. ‘I told you I’d rather go to Berlin to start with,’ it read.

I was furious, felt betrayed, how could she! We had discussed this, we had an agreement, Spain first, Berlin later. And now she had just took off like that. I looked around me, the happy couple had disappeared and with them all the joy it seemed. It was getting dark and I had to make up my mind. I was hungry, frustrated, angry and sad and had no wish at all to follow my friend and take the next train to Berlin. The streets surrounding the station looked sad and uninviting and I set my pace direction city center, looking for a place to eat, which there were plenty. But strangely enough I couldn’t make up my mind. Looking through the well-lit windows, designed to invite you in, I only saw couples or small groups of people, enjoying each other’s company, which made me feel the pain of my friends sudden departure even more. While queuing at the ATM, I asked around for a good place to sleep, and got directions to a youth hostel, where I spent the night. They could even offer me a meal.

The next day I still felt sad. I got up early and left the youth hotel, still trying to make up my mind. The sun was shining and the low morning light was setting the buildings in a golden glow. I was determined not to follow my friend to Berlin but found myself having a hard time enjoying the beautiful city sight. A rather small church had already opened its doors and I could hear soft music from inside, so I wandered in. There was a line of people, all waiting to speak to the pastor, standing on a small platform in the middle of the church. Somehow I suddenly found myself at the backside of the platform, while the pastor turned around and said something to me in Spanish. I started to explain I couldn’t understand him while he interrupted me in broken Dutch. How could he know I am Dutch? I felt embarrassed, he just left all the people standing there, waiting for him, and started to talk to me, asking me why I looked so sad. I explained about my friend, how she left me and how betrayed that made me feel. He asked me if I had wanted to come to this city. Yes of course. And did I see the sun outside? Yes I did. And did I see the beautiful light? Yes, sure.

‘So why so sad?’ he said in Dutch. ‘You are in a beautiful place, exactly where you wanted to be. The sun is out. And look around you, see? Lots of new friends to make.’ He turned up the music and held out his hand. ‘Dance with me!’ A little bit shy I started to dance with him, I couldn’t turn down his friendly gesture. More people joined us in the dance and somebody turned up the music even louder. Soon all the people in the church were dancing, while the sun was shining through the stained glass windows, illuminating the scene with lots of colors. People started to talk with me and indeed within hardly any time I made new friends. They offered to help me shopping for some clothes and other essentials. They showed me the best places to eat, they invited me to sleep in their homes. I had the best holiday ever and made friends for live! Later I heard my friend from the train was very lonely in Berlin went back home early.