Germany

Posted on 29 May 2005

I am in Germany with Kate, John, and wee Brian. It’s after midnight and the sweat is running down my forehead and back of my neck. The heat makes it impossible to sleep though I think I have not yet absorbed the nine hour time difference. I am also a little stunned. It’s difficult to jump from one world to another, difficult to be crazy-busy and then not at all.

I can’t pronounce, let alone spell the places I’ve been. On Friday, Kate, Brian, and I wandered in the heat through a nearby town’s park with a huge wedding tower, through a rose garden with few roses but with a lily pond, loaded with tadpoles and a few perched frogs that captured Brian’s attention. We sat, under a shelter of trees, drank coffee, and talked, moved on to a Asian restaurant for lunch, and back to Kate’s apartment in Langen for salads and more conversation. (Funny thing with Kate – we meet every year or two – and it’s as if no time as gone by.) Last night also I couldn’t sleep and so began (and finished today) an easy novel, feeling only a little guilty that the dozen research books in my suitcase are still packed away. Why do I always feel that I must be doing something productive, intelligent or I am lazy, useless?

I’m allowing myself a break. Today, we spent the afternoon at a thermal bath (I’m not sure what you call them) that appears to me like a spa for the rich and famous -well, the King of Siam used to visit them – and inspired the Asian architecture. Inside and out, there are numerous pools, waterfalls and jets that massage the back, currents that carry the body along passages (good for the muscles, says Kate), lounge chairs, and small cafes. Upstairs there are special baths that must be enjoyed in the nude and although I was curious and intended to wander up, our time was up before I had the chance (next visit.)

In the evening, Kate prepared a cool cucumber soup, laid out cold meats, peppers, tomatoes, cheese, and German potato salad – bought in my honour, while Brian played at our feet with his wooden tracks and trains… more interested in his toys than the food, though Kate tried every once in a while to pop something healthy into his mouth, reminding me of the time when my three were young. I have forgotten how time-consuming and draining these years are… and Kate is a little crazy. She thinks she’s not working hard enough – has two Globe columns due – says she needs a nice chunk of time when she knows that Brian will not climb up the shelves and pull the television down on himself… and has put her life on hold to spend time with me – this evening she handed me a German guide book and told me to read, to plan where we shall go tomorrow, Sunday.


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