There was no more city, just countless trees lining a mirage of endless autobahn. There would be no more abrasive Sonnenallee mornings, no more late night Spätis, no more dreamy parties of sunshine dancing. There had been mere danglings of hopeful sunny days but I could no longer wait. I had made a decision and I was finally driving out of the city for good. No longer finding the fun in the perplexing allurement of escapism, I wriggled out of the grip of city life. Berlin had made final attempts of kindness — in classic narcissistic fashion — only after I had made the decision to leave.
Janis Joplin once said about men in an interview, “Have you ever seen those mule carts? They dangle a carrot in front of the mule’s face and it keeps chasing something it’s never gonna get.” I felt like I was the mule, stepping forward but never being able to taste the sweet earthy goodness. I saw Berlin as the carrot, having much to offer that I could never really savour.
About two hours south of Berlin, I stretched out at a petrol station and wandered onto a daisy flecked field. I felt something unravel as I breathed in a benign air. This tumultuous affair was over.
I clicked myself back into the car seat and continued driving, this time without a carrot to guide my desire. I smiled and drove towards the horizon and thought, I love you Berlin but you were never for me. I finally realised that the carrot was never Berlin — it was my unrealistic expectation of what Berlin could offer me.