This is a hastily written story about the suitcase which carried years of the past.
It was the end of my two weeks in Berlin. My flight was scheduled for 16.50. I was supposed leave the bike at Janina’s. It was snowing slightly. And I was riding this old rusty bike which used to belong to Janina’s grandfather. I met a man the night before. He suggested I don’t ride that night because of slippery road so we took metro together. In that last carriage he said he owned exactly the same kind of bike, with the same white lines and shape and that it said at the back wheel that it was released in 1936.
Before going to Janina’s I met Urte on the bridge at Kotbusse Tor. She introduced me to her father and his girlfriend and then they went to see a Dali exhibition. I wanted to drink coffee. So we sat in this nice café. I had a double espresso, Urte had something with milk and I also got a sandwich. I felt comfortable in there and had no wish to control time. I have been seeing Urte probably every day since Berlinale started. It was an exhausting and extremely pleasant two weeks that seemed like a rubber vacuum, which stretches but has no exit.
We parted and I went on to leave the bike. It was probably a 10 minute ride to Janina’s place at Gneisenaustrasse. I knew she would not be home. So I just rang somebody’s bell and as the door opened I headed towards the inner yard to lock the bicycle. Then wrote a small note, tied it up with the bike key and threw it in the postbox. I felt happy.
Coming back to Schleissesche Tor I was in a hurry. I still had to pack a bit. And I wanted to see Giorgi before he would go to work. I had been living with him the past three days in an area which I honestly liked. Giorgi gave me some things to take with me to Tbilisi. I zipped it all up, gathered trash and ate the remaining banana and kiwi salad.
The suitcase was full.
After locking the door from outside and throwing the key in the post box hole, I had to elaborating a special technique to bring this heavy thing down from the fifth floor. It’s easy, even if I’m holding a trash box in my hand. You just drop the soft side of the suitcase from stair to stair. It does not make much noise and the weight it unnoticeable. Well ok, this probably wouldn’t work on plastic Samsonite suitcases. Mine was not a Samsonite. It was blue. I had bought it in London, in a small shop at Charring Cross road three years ago. It was not a special one.
It must have been over 2.30. I was ok with time. I came out, put the suitcase right next to the door and went to the corner to dump the trash. I also looked around the corner looking for a larger bin and there I suddenly saw Leandro. So strange. He was holding an 8mm camera. He said he was filming some staff in Berlin. He had told me about it earlier. He had this fascinating idea at the Talent Campus for his documentary, for which he had already found full funding. The project was called Dead Youth and it was about frequent suicide cases among teenagers in one of the Argentinean towns, which had a huge oil mine. What he wanted to show in his film was the absence. I also loved the idea about different sounds of the wind… Anyway, Leadro was still in Berlin and he said he wanted to stay for several more days. I said I was leaving just now, hugged him and came back to the corner to pick up my suitcase.
The wall and the door looked different now. There was no suitcase there. Just the empty merging of the street with the building. The first feeling was that of emptiness. Now, I had nothing to carry. I missed this weight so much, that I started to feel the panic. What do I do now. I stood there and saw someone’s head sticking out from somewhere. I ran there, had a look. It was an old man. Buh! Then a shop across the road. The guy said he had not seen anyone. Then a bar. We could not find a common language to speak. Then a guy who was smoking a cigarette outside. He felt very sorry. Nothing. The first thing was my passport and the ticket. I made sure I had it with me. And money and the cards were with me. But this sudden loss of things which I would remember one by one in the coming half hour made me sob as I was passing a doner place in the snow.
The blue suitcase started to unwrap in my mind. My earrings. One a very precious present, with purple shiny stones, and the other my favorite, yellow stone with silver. My necklaces. One that I had bought in Riga years ago. I wore it all the time. Almost every day. And the other with turquoise stones and a silver textured piece in the center. Also an old present. Another necklace, from my mother.
What else was there. Clothes were easy to remember. When I was comparing them with the earrings, I did not care any more. But then it was the red scarf from Cappadocia. Why did not I put it on? I kept another scarf from Iran in my backpack to keep my laptop safe. So the Iranian one had the fortune to survive. Oh, my worm socks. They have been so helpful both in Berlin and in Chokhatauri. And the shoes I had bought just about two months ago, which Janina liked.
...My old, very old Dr. Martens boots, which I had brought in Berlin just in case it would have been very cold. Oh, my Talent Campus bag and an accreditation which I wanted to keep. Ella’s accreditation was there as well. I had promised to send it back to her. I could not find mine, so she just left it to me three days before. My Georgian ID. My underwear. My crèmes for face and a comb. It was a plastic comb. Green. I had been using it for years. Catalogues and a book which I was supposed to read. My old black jacket with a pin. I felt slightly revealed that I did not have that jacket any more. I have worn it so much, that it was just like a piece of something, shapeless and I really needed to get a new one. But I just could not get rid of it. I kind of adored it somehow. I also felt relieved that my black velvet trousers were in that suitcase as well. I bought them when I started working in a restaurant in London. I worked for five days and was asked to wear something black. So I got it for very cheap specially for the restaurant but have been wearing it ever since. My yellow bag, a present from Lejava, and a blue one, which I had bought in Berlin were now sniffed by somebody. I was sitting in Metro, U7, and crying.
This feeling of loss was making be dizzy. My feet were now wet from snow when waiting for a bus and the realization that nobody knew of my current trauma made me feel good. I felt fresh.
I still had an hour when I entered the departures. I got the ticket and looked at the departure board. My flight was not listed there. Even from the bus I had this feeling that I was going somewhere wrong. And in deed it was a different airport on the other side of Berlin. Fuck. This U7 has airports on each end.
Someone was unpacking the taxi right outside and I asked him like crazy how much it would cost to take me to Tegel. He said 50. I only counted 45 in my purse. I said I only have 45. He did not mind. He could speak only words in English. I had to say I was having a bad day. I told him my suitcase had been stolen and now I’m in the wrong airport. He looked at me with a noticeable pity and straight away offered a cigarette. He even insisted on it I think. When the meter kicked 40 Euros, he turned it off. His gesture to let me keep the remaining 5 Euro note made me feel safe. I was in time. Sad and also refreshed. A restart. But Berlin had to have this kind of an end. Something like this. I find it logical and pleasant.