Central Europe

Since We Split Up Last Spring: A Love Letter to Berlin

Hi Berlin!

How have you been since we last saw each other? Any news? Of course there must be news, you are so energetic and dynamic and you keep surprising yourself and others by your constant development.

Am I blushing? I guess I am. I always am.

Okay, I will be straight up with you, as you’ve always been straight up with me. The reason I am writing you is because I have been thinking about you a lot since we split up last Spring. I know, I told you I had feelings for somebody else and that’s why I left, but my crush on Tbilisi didn’t work out the way I hoped it would and I fled into Krakow’s arms instead.

Even though Krakow is taking good care of me and is treating me well, I just can’t ignore those strong emotions connected to you. Don’t be angry, we both know it is possible to divide the love that we are capable of giving others amongst several targets. You of all should know: you are the coolest kid in the classroom and everybody wants to be like you, wants a piece of you.

Ever since I first met you, I knew I wanted you. I tried to love you, and I did. Hell, I still do. But you are tough, you are not accommodating to any random person that approaches you. Even though anyone would admit that you are cool, you are not for everybody. You can be so distant and individualistic and sure, so can I, and I do love a challenge. But never in my life have I felt so lonely, confused and clueless as I was when I was with you. To be fair, on the other hand you, like nobody else, also have the ability to make me feel energetic, happy, inspired and on top of the world.

So what is it with you? Is it me who is schizophrenic or is it you? Maybe we both are. You have such a unique and groovy side to you but I know you, you can be ugly and merciless as well. You chew on your lovers, spit them out and leave them behind in your streets, suffering.

You attract such a range of different people, which is also what’s great about you, and as you know I as well have been very urbanely promiscuous over the past couple of years. However, you are one of the few I keep on coming back to, despite your lack of hygiene sometimes. You know you can be hard to manage, you are so spread out and wide, and recently I have been favouring compact candidates instead. Probably partially due to a mental tiredness of some sort. I suppose I needed the overview back, the feeling that I could manage where I was and what I was doing.

But wow, thinking back about not being in control and just giving all of me to you.. it was scary but so worth it. I also took it as a subtle sign of love that your civil servants never fined me for not having a transportation ticket, even though we both know I am a serial offender when it comes to that. But hey, just like you, I embrace unpredictability and risks. That’s why we are such a good match! So why do you continue to give me such mixed signals and doubtful feelings?

Let’s not get too sentimental here. I know we will get involved with each other again, perhaps for a short fling, or maybe longer to give our confusing relationship a third (!) chance. Once more I will take your dogshit for granted, your harsh winters, your sheer vastness and your attitude which, by the way, sometimes is a bit ‘too cool for school’, actually. No need to become too pretentious, you prick. I also will accept your ridiculous amount of fellow admirers, because I know that loving you is sooo mainstream and that you receive countless declarations of love every day. Bastard.

I like to think mine is different, though. Yes, I know, surprise: everybody thinks that way. When I gave you a second chance, many of your lovers told me I would never be able to leave you, that it is impossible to part ways with you. In a way it is, because even though I physically left you, you’ve been with me mentally. But I don’t know what it is with you, you also scare me a little and you trigger my survival mechanism. You make me want to shut down and crawl back into my shell to protect myself from getting hurt.

Contradictorily, if there is any lesson you taught me, it would be that this is no way to live life. Life happens, shit happens, we get hurt, we experience pain. Without it, we wouldn’t really live. Right? Could you imagine the experiences we would miss out on? We have to experience heartbreak to realize what love means. You know who showed me that? You. And I am grateful for this lesson. You can be so impersonal, so black and white in demanding all or nothing: some of your other lovers have been complaining about that as well. I remember this evening when I was roaming your streets with one of them. We picked up a cheap Sternburg Export from a Spätiand wandered through the rain: drinking, talking, contemplating, observing, inhaling your spirit. We labelled ourselves ‘The Lost Souls’ and that’s exactly how we felt. You have this quality in you to make people feel that way, and you know what, you even get away with it!

It wasn’t until I left you that I realized how nice this melancholy actually was.

To me, you represent all aspects of life: the most beautiful, energetic and inspiring as well as the truly desperate, ruthless and lonely. You inspired my discovery of life, opportunities, risks and most of all of myself. In return for all that I learned, you have been so remorseless and confrontational that it freaking hurt.

But that’s life, that’s love, and that’s what I wanted you to know.

See you soon.

With love,