The Bridge

I was born and raised in the very center of Berlin, in Kreuzberg. There was a little beautiful olive-green steel bridge in front of my house from where you could see a nice sunset over the canal. I crossed this bridge every day when I went to kindergarten and to school. From my perspective it was a grey area and my first memories with this bridge were when I had to escape across it from the bullies in my school, or later going there to buy some grass from people around or beer from the little shop next to it, where a very nice Turkish guy was making his living. So the years passed and once, in the summer of 2002 or 2003 maybe, there were some people on this bridge whom I had never seen before, mysterious people with long hair and even guitars and sometimes with a big backpack drinking beer, making music and speaking southern European languages like Italian or Spanish, which for me was quite exotic.


I only knew the sound of Turkish and Berliner German which are both quite rude languages compared to the musical birdlike Mediterranean chattering. I loved these people, and sometimes I sat down and listened. At some point my friends and I were also more often sitting on the bridge, and the bridge was becoming popular. In the next summer even more people arrived and in the next one even more and then about four summers after the first encounter with the long-haired, long-bearded strangers this bridge was packed with people. I mean packed: natives, adventurous travellers and also less adventurous tourists were all sitting there together. Even fully equipped electric bands started to play there in the evening. And one day I heard from some tourist people that they read about my bridge, my good old bridge in a tourist-guide from America… from America, I couldn’t believe it. Obviously it was “the place to be” in the world for all the first-world kids around the globe. What a coincidence the wind of the world was blowing into my face so strongly that I could lean against it.

Now the Turkish shop had become a castle and everything was new and shiny. He added another room to the back with huge fridges with beer and from now on he was dressed like a millionaire and I think he was more cold now, at least he pretended not to remember me when I asked him. But this global wind didn’t blow for very long, the neighbouring people were soon complaining about the noise at night. When noise and silence have a fight in Germany the silence always wins, so next summer there were police coming every evening at 10 pm to clean the bridge, not with teargas but with friendly words, yet with quite the same result that people were gone. People were still coming but the peak was reached by now, it all goes down the hill as Berlin’s general popularity goes down the hill. The New York Times even wrote a crushing article about Berlin and that Berlin is “over” or something like that, and this article is right I think, like with my bridge, all Berlin slowly becomes more expensive, more cold and more silent than it was and than it should be. So I took off and moved to Athens with my long hair, my beard, and my guitar.