Gabriel peers from the window of his apartment, sweeping his eyes over the quiet, huddled city.
28 months, he thinks. And it’s still a pile of shit.
Why on Earth did he come back, anyway? He asks himself daily and the answer never pleases him. To find some scrap of what was and begin again with it. To get back to normal. To show he hasn’t been beaten, that they didn’t get him.
Problem is, they seem to have gotten everyone else.
He came back to bury his family but there was nothing of them to bury. And when he returned to Berlin, to the neighborhood around Nollendorfplatz, he saw little recognized. His old apartment was still vacant after all this time or, rather more likely, whoever had moved into it after him now had to use for it, their current living quarters either being out of Germany or in a pine box.
He moved back in as soon as he could and just as immediately wished he hasn’t. I didn’t take more than a week to realize he didn’t want to stay in Berlin. What he loved of it was gone and there were whispers of bad things to come. He wasn’t attached to the place anymore nor did he trust it. He would return to Zurich as soon as his short lease was up. Until then…
Well, until then, it would be boredom mostly. He passes the time. He sits in cafes and glanced at newspapers. He re-reads The Divine Comedy, smirking morosely at how familiar it seems now.
This way into the city of woe
This way into eternal pain
Through to among the people lost for aye…
Perhaps the worst sign of all was that he had somehow ended up with a cat. Only invalids and the insane keep cats. Not that he hasn’t often found himself falling into one or the other of those categories in his life, it still doesn’t mean he should give in fully to senility and cat ownership.
But he does not lose hope. For this is just purgatory for him. Soon he will leave and drink the waters of the Lethe, the river of forgetting...