Picture: Bratislava streets briefly snowy before Christmas
Last year before Christmas around the Opera House in Brussels:
I long to go to the Opera for a spectacle since it was reopened after the reconstruction. Outside, on the square there is an ice-skating ring in winter. Right next to it there is a seat of the Randstad work agency, behind it a yoga studio, and all around many shops, as here begins the shopping strip known as Nieuwstraat.
Here, I bought myself a winter coat last winter, a bit down in spirit, knowing I would have to hand in the bank card soon and give up the access to the still family account. The coat is fine. The Randstad agency never offered me a job, though, right before Christmas, they told me to come back after the holiday and that there might be a chocolate sales job, as the chocolate boutiques always seek people. Why not? I was mentally prepared to sell pralines to tourists, if it pays the rent. My friends were fine with the idea, too.
A year has gone by, I sometimes practice in the BYP studio. They still sell coats in the shop, even the model I am still sporting. I do not sell chocolates and I have not yet bought tickets for the opera. Mainly because one must do that way before, as the crowd eager for spectacles is huge in Brussels. Outside the opera, there is an ice-skating ring again, and I have a credit card and my own bank account.
I do not have much time to write, only in the morning, after waking up, stories swirl in my head, they want to use me as a medium, I know. I also know they either find another head and pen, or they will wait for me. Because once I am at the office, the stories go silent, overwhelmed by phone calls, human voices and insisting mailboxes. I have translated two books, I have let go several peels of the endless onion, this year, they went off quite easily, compared to those that sometimes peel only with great pain. I seek how to connect Brussels and Bratislava. Rotterdam is the island where I do not have to fill in or send out anything, it is enough to be. I will never get rid of the sadness of parting, I am learning to live with it. And the Brussels world of diplomacy is a challenge and fun, because it is nothing less and more than human relationships again.
I am grateful for each moment of laughter, as laughter cleanses the mind more efficiently than seated meditation when my legs go numb and my mind wanders anyway. Laughter defrosts old ice blocks, releases the sediments and sets them free. Winter is cleansing, it is a counterpoint that unites.
I am grateful for the chance to see myself in every stranger´s eyes, as the song goes.
An old man sits every morning in a café I pass. Most people grab a coffee-to-go and a croissant, and he sit there motionless, over a cup of coffee, strong features and inward-looking eyes veal and reveal his stories. One day, somebody may write them down.
Is it true that nothing is ever lost?
Merry Christmas and a happy 2019.