Sometimes I wish I could be a tourist again in my city. Arriving at central station in the morning, looking forward to exploring the city further, doing things, being somewhere else. Public transport was exciting, having a coffee in café was exciting, going to bars was exciting, walking around was exciting. Everything was new and full of life.
I know, it’s not Berlin, it could be anywhere. It’s not even the city, it’s me.
The stations, I know them all by heart. I know all the ways and all the lines. I always know where to go, I just quickly check Google Maps on my phone. I look at my feet, I never look up anymore. Public transport is a pain in the arse, never on time, the trains are crammed, I’ll be late for work again I think, as I’m trying to shove through the crowd in the city centre. I just want everybody to leave me alone. The sun is shining, it’s beautiful, but I’ve seen it all before. I know how the city works and I know where to go. What, when, where. On weekends I go out to forget, to numb myself where the music is louder than the city outside, louder than the voices in my head. I don’t want to leave the house. The city is eating me alive, it’s chewing me up and spitting me out in the most random places. It’s called daily routine. It’s called overstimulation.
It’s not the city, it’s me.
I didn’t come here to have the time of my life and you know that. I didn’t come here to party, have fun, be wild – I came here to continue my existence and because I had nothing else to do. Maybe it was wild, maybe it was fun, maybe it wasn’t. I have never romanticised you and I never will, after all we had been friends with benefits for years before I eventually made the move. Don’t ever forget that. I don’t regret it, you’ve always been very kind to me and I’ve realised I need a city like you by my side: big, powerful, challenging, a city I can get lost in, a city that pushes me to my limits.
But you’re just a city, like every other city. I’ve seen you ice-cold and brutal, I’ve seen you warm-hearted and soft. Living with you can be a rollercoaster, you’re unpredictable and always have a surprise in store. You give me so much but I can’t give anything back. I’m not satisfied anymore and it’s not your fault. I’m sorry I’ve taken you for granted.
Don’t take it personally, it’s not you, it’s me. We’re all whiny cunts to be honest, we keep complaining about how you’re treating us, you soul-sucking bastard, how you’re playing with us like a cat plays with a half-dead mouse, how you drag us to every party and spike our drinks with rohypnol. We just won’t accept you for who you are. But I’m being honest with you here, I’m stuck with you and I need a break. One day I’ll be gone but don’t worry, I’ll be alright.
You always meet twice.