There is this one incredibly strong memory in my head that, when triggered, makes be both very happy and very sad. It goes as follows: When I grew up, I had a big tomcat named Kasimir. He was a soft and gentle animal, and as we both knew each other from a very young age, we were very attached. He enjoyed being held like a baby; his arms wrapped around my neck, me gently swaying him—really, just like a baby. I remember his fur, his scent and flat face pushing against mine. His big paws. I remember everything. And the fact that I remember, even though he died about 8 years ago, gives me a lot of comfort. I might remember it forever. I hope I will.
Together with the comfort of this memory, I’ve spent the past weeks in my apartment, as probably most of you. Just occasionally I went went out to see friends with a distance. We walked along the canal, around Kreuzberg, looking at people and houses. I’ve enjoyed observing the slow progress of coffee shops and ice cream parlors re-opening, arranging themselves with the safety restrictions. Everyone has been extra-friendly, it seemed, and that made me happy. It should stay like that. I hope it does.
I also noticed that the activities I do with friends are a lot more active and thought-through. We go on bike tours, we explore unknown parts of the city, and we share more feelings. I tried making a list of what stays from this pandemic on an interpersonal level, and this should be one of the things. I hope so.
When I walk around my neighborhood now, everything seems to be back to normal. The bridges and parks are full of people, the smell of weed and take-away pizza is everywhere. I get invitations to gatherings; people are dating again; and when I hear loud house music from a party in the park, I want to believe that we can all relax and live summer as we were used to. But I don’t think I’m ready yet, to be honest. It doesn’t feel right. And so I stay here, with my memories and video calls and bike rides, watching cats on TikTok, remembering Kasimir, seeing one friend at a time. It will get better. I’m sure it will.
* * *
I read Rachel Cusks “Outline”. That’s what it is; an outline; observations loosely tied together in a story. I tend to enjoy books where nothing happens, and this is one of them, but some sentences Cusk writes are just very on point.
I wrote a brief love letter to the Flurry screensaver, which you probably know from your Mac or from computers in movies.
The weekly (German) YouTube series “Social Distancing” by Hazel Brugger and Thomas Spitzer is the most wholesome thing to watch on a Sunday (or any day).
* * *
What are your old memories that make you feel all the feels? Think about them for a minute or two. It’s a nice thing to hold on to. And in case you have a cat: Give him or her a big kiss and pat on the head from me. If you have a dog, please do the same. I hope you’re all safe and well and finding your way through these troubled times.
* * *
If you enjoy content like this: I send it out as (irregular) monthly newsletter called Christel’s Corner. Sign up for it here.