The air heavy with thought and my sight somewhat blurred with rum. Trying to focus on a single point in the small space in which I had confined myself seemed to be difficult. Bottles on the walls: liquor, beer, wine, whiskey. Paintings hanging on the walls: postmodernism laid down by children, black and white photographs, portraits of people long gone. Objects floating on the floor of the small room: old chairs, tables stained with the passing of the years and alcohol, the well-known green armchair in the right corner. And the music whispering in my ears: Jack White, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Band of Skulls, even the annoying reggae. So many other countless artists which found their way in my iPod after so many afternoons and evenings spent on the green armchair or on an old chair.
Firing off a new life in Ingolstadt was something else entirely. I remember my thrill when only a few weeks would separate me from a new job, some new friends, a new living. Then the weeks turned into days, the days into minutes. The sand in the hourglass of my expectations started counting up from zero when I set foot on Bavarian soil. The loneliness which I had so much longed for, the clear time to enjoy the new city and the lack of sharing responsibilities were at hand.
After two weeks in Ingolstadt the excitement had worn off. Danube, check. Ducks on the Danube, check. Shops, check. Museums, check. Greek restaurants, check. Finding a flat, check. Practicing German, bored already. With the dictionary at least.
It must have been the end of May when I discovered it. It was a time when I was reading a lot. I already knew the parks and the banks of the Danube, I needed a new place to rest what always was a new book. And there it was, slightly askew from the city center, slightly unnoticeable, slightly something else. Just like my new life.
It became the refuge of my Sunday afternoons, of my Saturday evenings, of my pre-weekend drinks. Would have become my Monday morning, too, hadn’t it been closed. The place to go where there was no other place to go to. Getting free Mojitos must have contributed to the attraction, I have to admit. So did the free, unforced conversations with people whose names I didn’t even know and who were never to be seen again, the smile of the stranger whom I asked for a light, the southern wind softly caressing my hair while warm afternoons turned into chilly evenings as the sunglasses were no longer needed.
I took to drinking black tea with rum there, I never before knew such a fatal combination existed. But this happened later when I no longer needed only my books to spark up a controversy. When on the oter side of the wall people started showing up and real arguments were thrown in the face of my sometimes infantile ideas. I soon didn’t have time for reading or contemplating the beverages on the walls anymore, I had to come up with arguments to back up my boredom with Kafka or my sympathy for the classical ballet. Each hour and minute was electrifying.
Only the tea and the rum stayed the same, just together now. I see strange faces lately there, I see new colours on the walls, I see some new chairs instead of the uncomfortable, but familiar ones. The atmosphere is still there, the smiles still painted but the the place seems to have grown out of its old heart a bit. Maybe I see my own changes reflected by the dull walls, my own ideas whom I can’t afford to be infantile anymore. It’s been a year.