The death of the unfamiliar is death. The death of excitement, the death of me.
I remember thinking this.
Sometimes I still do as I drive the same paved line from work to my home everyday, when I look off into the woods while my car thinks for me. When it all moves so fast that it doesn't move anymore, when it all hums itself into the same easy color.
Either I arrive, or I don't. We still have to pay the babysitter.
Once it was a magnificent spring day in Berlin. The sky was blue and empty and the trees were already too green. It was a March day, and this day was the day of my birth. I rolled a cigarette and felt the 5 mark piece in my vest pocket, so heavy between my thumb and forefinger. Whenever my new life in this new city felt comfortable, all I had to do was touch the coins in my pocket and I was on edge again. My whole life’s experience before this day was six hours away from me now, across the Atlantic. Visible in my mind, beyond my grasp, sleeping while I talked too much, giddy from golden beer. I could see my Mother frying bacon for Dad while I tried to climb through the wisteria of another fitful attempt at sleep in this new, German world.
And the woman that broke me in half before I came here? No matter what time it was she climbed through the smoke and the new names and the lost tongues around me, like a radio wave. Banking above me, a lost pilot with a belly full of bombs, a hungry searchlight against my thin city walls. She was the sound of bullets and dogs barking, of the cold, white hand that extends a warm cup of coffee and a new place to stay while hell blossoms in the garden.
There are only a few relics of this time packed away in my basement. My favorite is a photo, one of the few I still like to see. There I am, between the thighs of that March morning. Thin, radiant, a burning building with bangs and a vest and a cigarette held up into the face of time. Behind me a bunker, a perfect, stubborn brushed concrete cube.
The sun beautifies thick, East German spray paint-
"Where bunkers are built bombs fall!"
And now I am here. I am married. I am a Father, and in this photo there are no more red doors to knock on in the middle of the afternoon. No one to wreck with a few lines written in green ink and a Leonard Cohen song. No more Sundays while the world yelps away under a finger of smoke tracing through the window’s open mouth.
I don't smoke anymore anyway...
Once everything was new to me. I was a new being every time I unlidded my eyes.
Now it's my daughter. She is the new horizon. The newest and brightest horizon.
And my family is the only world that holds weight to me. My Wife and my daughter, my family.
This is our daughter's favorite word- family.
It's my favorite word too.