Chapter Two - Berlin and France 2008
I realised my infamy had spread when I encountered disturbing reactions to my being in Berlin. I left after two weeks, when I took a flight to France, where I had been invited to live with my New Love’s mother and my New Love’s orphaned son. My New Love’s mother had adopted her grandson after her daughter had died.
They lived in the upper floor of a stone house, sitting at the shins of a mountain range near a town in the south of France. At the foot of a flight of stone steps leading up to their home, at the side of the road, a cast iron statue of Jesus upon the cross stood peering through a bush blooming into spring leaf.
I told my New Love’s mother about my Internet infamy, and although she found the notion absurd and suggested I was being paranoid, she agreed to take care of duties outside the home, such as shopping. I bought my first ever pc – a laptop – during the first week, on one of my rare trips into town with her, and spent most of my time transforming the hand written manuscript into type.
Sometimes, I worked through the night, when I would occasionally stop to have tarot cards read by my New Love’s mother, who sat analysing the meaning of each new spread until the wee hours of the morning, in her bedroom, where her daughter’s ashes rested in an urn in a tiny cupboard.
One evening, after dinner, during a discussion regarding intent and purpose, she began to scream – “INTENT! INTENT! INTENT!” – while glaring at me with wet, glinting blue eyes, which shone as though jewels embedded in her face that had flushed red with passion, and harboured a screaming mouth and tongue stained red with wine.
My New Love’s mother is a deeply philosophical woman. She had studied philosophy at La Sorbonne, in Paris, where she had met her husband, who had studied the same. I don’t think I was supposed to forget the word ‘intent’ and consider mine frequently, and often with the intensity with which the gravity of its meaning was delivered.
I met one of our neighbours, after I had lived there for about two months, who complained tirelessly of French bureaucracy, which hindered the construction of his home in the mountains. Sometimes, he became passionately irate and say he would like to blow up their offices. “BOUM!” – he would yell, while motioning with his hands as though scooping up water and throwing it high into the air.
Eventually, I found an opportunity to ask whether he liked to smoke. He said he did, and gave me enough hashish for three joints. I waited until my New Love’s son had gone to bed before sitting outside, midway up the flight of stone steps, and lighting a spliff.
As the hashish began to take effect, a rush of paranoia enveloped me and my mind seemed to scream – “NO!”. Voices and murmurings invaded my mind, and my thoughts did not seem as though my own, as I had experienced before. I was terrified, and thought I would have to call for an ambulance. I tried to calm myself, and after sitting on the steps for some time, in the silence of the mountains, I eventually relaxed into a pleasantly stoned frame of mind, and even smoked another small joint before going to bed.
In the morning, my first thought was that I would like to smoke, but I decided to wait until the evening, when I enjoyed smoking the rest of the hashish our neighbour had given me. My familiar desire to smoke had arisen once more, so when I saw our neighbour again, I offered my bank card and asked if he would take some money and score for me, but he refused. He said he would drive me to a bar where I could score myself, but I told him I couldn’t go, without giving a reason. Although I sensed he was becoming suspicious of me, I hoped he had been reluctant to score because he felt uncomfortable taking my bank card, so I asked my New Love’s mother to take money from my account, but I didn’t see him again.
Before I had smoked the hashish, I hadn’t smoked since leaving Holland, some two months before. I had began to look forward to bedtime, because I saw incredibly intense dreams.
In one, I was a dark skinned fisherman, standing in front of a small wooden hut painted a deep cobalt blue, with white trimmings around the door and eaves. I gazed upon an azure ocean, happy and at peace. An occasional thought drifted through my mind, of my son and the woman I loved. It was a thrilling sensation, because I was that person – I had become the fisherman; I had ceased to exist.
Another was the only dream I recall of flying. Again, the dream was vividly real. I cannot say for certain I was a bird, although I flew as one over an expansive vineyard, growing upon the undulating face of a golden, sandy hillside. I rode the thermals above an old man, with snow white hair, who was tending the vines. I swept back and forth, descending further with each passing, until he was only a few meters beneath, when I realised the old man was me.
So, although I felt somewhat disappointed, I wondered whether fate had intervened to remind me of the intent I should develop, since I knew smoking would interfere with dreaming and their recollection upon waking.
One night, shortly before I left, I stood at the summit of the stone steps, chatting with my New Love’s son, with the hope of tiring his overactive mind. Even though he was only five years old, he spoke English and German fluently and was busy learning French. I had to swallow my tears when he pointed to the starry night sky and said – “my mummy’s in the stars, and I don’t have a daddy” – in a very matter of fact way.
I hope we meet again, some day. I sense he will live a notable life, and wish him strength and courage for his journey. I wish he will remember me, and the fun and laughs we had. I hope he received the magnifying glass I sent to him after I had left, so he would be able to observe the ants he had once stomped upon, but later protected from the same fate, from beneath his grandmother’s careless feet, when he understood they led their own special little lives, like us, and just because they were tiny didn’t mean we should disrespect them.