November 17, 2023•855 words
The roads look like winter, but it's not quite there yet. Still, some flowers wither away slowly. Others look like they're holding on a bit longer. It's funny how these flowers get appreciated the most, as they don't stand out in summer when all the flowers stand firm.
The green grass grows between the cobblestones but slower in places where outdoor platforms of cafes and restaurants once covered them. The buildings look empty. I look for a cat looking at the road from one of the windows, but all I see are some warm green plants standing guard to the privacy of whoever inhabits these homes. How nice it would be to see a chubby, fluffy cat looking down at the world, intrigued by every movement. How simple of a joy that would be. But staring at a non-existent sun do the green plants, without excitement or curiosity.
I should be cold, but I feel the occasional chill entering my body from the unzipped upper part of my jacket. While I could zip it up, I enjoy the sensation. The feeling of movement, of change, of invisible currents. People waiting for the bus, taking cover in the alley off the main road, smoking, checking their feeds, forever occupied in a small, intimate yet public world as I observe their movements, style, and presence. Unnoticed, I go by, my feet scuffling in the almost dead greenish-yellow-brown leaves covering the cobblestone.
Such large, impressive trees with so much to tell, but they don't speak, and even if they could, they wouldn't say a word. For observers of so many years will not share the secrets of life with us, pure mortals. In a moment of specialness and uniqueness that I now write about, how many such fools have these trees seen. How uneventful am I in the context of a tree's life? Do I even stand out? Or am I just a passing breeze, a passing annoyance, just another creature of flesh and blood, so temporary, so loud, so self-important, yet only taking up space?
Does the tree care when I rest my hand on it or if I carve words into it? Would it care if I punched it in anger or kicked it violently? Would it feel? Would it hate me? Nothing I do or say matters to these remarkable trees. Even when they're cut down, it means nothing to them, just to us mere mortals, for we enjoyed looking at them as we walked down these empty near-winter roads.
A community garden, with so much random growth that only a seasoned individual could recognise its variety of plants, looks like it's heading into a winter death. Still, signs of struggle or resistance are evident even to me. The berries grow strong from one tree. A desire comes upon me to pick them and eat them. Still, my inner monkey warns me of the danger, of the potential discomforts that could ensue from eating random red berries. Flowers, beautiful flowers growing out of pots settled in a random mud mound. Everywhere, there is the appearance of a battlefield of plants vs zombies. Still, the only trace of zombies is the meaningless graffiti on the walls. But these flowers grow strong among the corpses of their brethren.
I know there must be rats, but they're out of sight, just like the zombies. But aren't rats preferable to zombies? The traffic moving slowly by my side, but not slow enough for eye contact with random occupants and not fast enough not to recognise the various features of these people. I go into the coffee shop, and the smell of these legal drugs surrounds me. Uplifts me. The selection of flat whites, cappuccinos, chai lattes, and filtered coffees exceeded by the choice of coffee beans, flavours, and altitudes.
I'm getting lost in variants and terminologies I can't even fake to be pretentious enough to understand or value. Filtered coffee with flavours of tea, tomatoes, and blackcurrant. Can I even taste these? I try, and to my surprise, I can. It's not just an illusion! Or is it? Do I taste what I taste or what I'm expected to taste? Where does reality respect marketing, and where does marketing respect fact? And what is reality anyway? I see a different world with my glasses than without. I hear different words than others. I remember things differently. Right now, I feel weak, yet I'm seen as strong. I feel like a failure, yet I'm seen as a success. Who defines our path? Who defines our essence? And what does it truly matter?
2000 meters above sea level, in Kenya grow coffee beans. They are then picked, brewed, ground, and filtered with hot Viennese water into my cup. A passing moment, a temporary pleasure, as I age and go through what I got through, this coffee is eternal, without beginning without end, and I am but a statistic. But I, too, hold on, among the corpses, among the withering, for just a little bit more. For one more day. For one more fight. Before I, too, become one with the mud.