Friday, 13 June 2008

Rain today in Berlin, pouring midday rain easing towards what is now a bright afternoon. My illness is subsiding and as a yellow light fills the city’s courtyards and gridded streets, I reflect on a day that has passed already, one in which little has been achieved but nonetheless occupies a determinate place in the general course of things.

This morning Cara and I, after waking, washing and eating, went to the Turkish market down by the canal. Stall upon stall of fresh produce lay, protected from the insistent downpour by bowed canvas sheets, themselves drained occasionally with the aid of a large stick, waiting to be purchased. Large purple aubergines, deep red cherries, sweet smelling mangos and barrows full of bound green herb bunches were on all sides. The thick smell of warm bread and the tang of spiced olives arose everywhere, and tiny glazed sugary deserts called out from beneath glass beds until it seemed that the canal itself, and its lazy roll to the east, were speaking out in favour of the market, urging us to buy and we duly obliged.

Walking back with armfuls of vegetables and baked goods, we stopped three times; once to buy shoes, once to look at bicycles (we wait till Sunday and the flea market for this!) and once to look at German versions of English novels, books I have read bound in untried covers.

A preparation of course, all of this writing, a childlike crawl towards an objective unrealised and unexplained even to myself. Why are you here, what are you doing? Cara has begun to rearrange the house, moving furniture and arranging tea in bowls. As afternoon arrives I inevitably start to fade, the pharmaceuticals in my system waning, and I drift into fleeting sleep interrupted by delicate repetitions of German words. Cara, hunched over dictionary and paper, starts to find the words more and more familiar.