between two cities


Last time I left something here.
As I always do.

Some hours from now I would be somewhere else, once more overcoming the vast physical space between New York and Berlin; between the two places that seem to always keep something of me when they send me back to the other one. A layover at one of the European cities along the way, even at the soothing Copenhagen airport, never helps to even grasp the emotional space, the gap between those two worlds, those two urban creatures who can be lover, enemy, mother, companion.

I have no conception of what exists between the two cities. It should be a white spot on the map because the space between them cannot be filled. The little plane moving on the display in the cabin does not mean anything to me.
And while the hours drip away I try to detect the transformation, the change that will take place within me, I know, but that I can never capture. I feel detached, passive and wait to walk out of the plane a different person.

now I’m back
this is my room
I left and came back once more
the smell of the city
lingers in my suitcase
more memories to carry around with me
I am still wearing that detached look
on my face
breathing berlin
while my clothes still smell like new york


Years ago I left Berlin and looked down on the pattern emerging underneath the plane at the other end of the world. It seemed vaguely familiar and utterly fictional. The skyline suggesting all the things I had ever heard and read about this mythical city.

I arrived as stranger, skeptical and reluctant, having left behind my home, my love, my friends. I knew I would have to find a place within this black and white structure, but I had no idea I would make it my home. I did, and later left it behind, arriving in Berlin scarred because of my loss. There again, I felt like a stranger, underneath my skin, walking the streets of Kreuzberg, of the city where I grew up. So familiar, and a place I love so strongly. Leaving it many times made it even more my home.

But part of me remained in New York, waiting for my return.

Since then, I have made some attempts at reconciling the fragments of my sense of belonging and my identity. I have tried to understand what it means being at home in two places at once.
I have made many trips to overcome the distance. It can be measured in kilometers, miles, hours, but really it is a difference in smell, energy and colors.

This is not travelling, it is merely connecting Tegel with JFK or Newark, as if they were subway stations. I am making this connection with my body, always delivering messages and receiving little parcels of emotions and memories.
These I treasure as I do the moving between the worlds, even though for a long time I felt that it shattered my sense of belonging.
There is more than one home, and it is not simply there, as in physical presence.
My sense of belonging is changing with me and I am slowly realizing that I am taking it with me, or leave it behind.
It really is within me and wherever I can find my memories, my loved ones and splinters of my life coming back to me, walking the streets and watching the lights.