the stories we are breathing

the stories we tell

“There are stories we like to tell and stories we tell reluctantly with low voices. There are stories we never tell because we barely know them ourselves. Then there are the stories we are breathing, our lives which make so little sense in the moment. I’m beginning finally,  to learn a hard lesson. We can never know the truth of our days. The truth is always behind us, already accomplished, already there, but we have eyes for the horizon only. Years later we turn around to find the truth  following us like a patient stray dog. Years later we see it: the clear vision of our lives now, what we truly need, who we really are.”
Karen Connelly – One Room in a Castle
(thanks for posting the perfect quote at the perfect time, Mary!)

I’ve returned from a journey. I am still waiting for the South African sun to set at 6 pm, still walking to the left door of the car when I am not driving and watching out for potholes on Berlin’s clean streets from the passenger seat. I am drinking rooibos tea and it tastes like the Karoo desert but the Southern Cross is nowhere to be seen. I am waiting for five film rolls to be developed, reading a novel by Nadine Gordimer I have started reading in Africa. Still not quite here and not there anymore. When I try to tell the stories there is no chronological or topical order. The aftermath of a journey. A memory, already: we were just breathing, looking, walking, driving, reading, writing, photographing through the country. I collected –

and soon, I will put all in order.

Ich bin zurück von einer Reise. Ich warte noch darauf, dass die Südafrikanische Sonne um 18 Uhr untergeht, laufe zur linken Autotür, obwohl ich nicht fahre, suche nach Schlaglöchern auf Berlins einwandfreien Straßen. Ich trinke Roibusch-Tee, der nach der Karoo-Wüste schmeckt, doch das Southern Cross taucht nicht auf. Ich warte darauf, die fünf Filmrollen abholen zu können, lese einen Roman von Nadine Gordimer, den ich in Afrika angefangen habe zu lesen. Ich bin noch nicht ganz hier und auch nicht mehr dort. Wenn ich versuche, die Geschichten zu erzählen, sind sie in keiner zeitlichen oder thematischen Reihenfolge. Die Nachwirkungen einer Reise. Eine Erinnerung, jetzt schon: wir atmeten, schauten, liefen, fuhren, lasen, schrieben, fotografierten durch das Land. Ich sammelte –

und bald werde ich alles sortieren.


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