When I took the wheel, I immediately drove into the ditch. You had called, turn right, but I had not reacted fast enough and anyway I was immensely overwhelmed, you sat next to me in the rental car and we were on our way to the Spreewald, our first weekend together away from Berlin. I backed out of the field, turned on the road, there was no other car far and wide and I turned at the right place. It was no big deal and we continued our ride, through small villages and past avenues of trees, I saw in the corner of my eye a forest cemetery.
The small town where we would spend the weekend was not big, across from the guesthouse I had picked out on the internet was a beautiful church made of field stones, when we got out of the car it was cold and quiet. The room was not nice, it had a window without a view, a brown bathroom without a window and the bed consisted of two single mattresses, the room made a loveless impression. I couldn't tell what impression you had, whether you didn't care where we were, I had felt a strong need to leave the city and you had come with me.
It was not far to the spa, which was the real reason for our trip, I had no longer endured the Berlin cold, it had been too much for me and I had infected you with it. When we changed clothes and you stood in front of me in black swimming trunks it was the most normal thing in the world, we were by far the youngest, even you, only now and then a gray haired older lady seemed to have brought her grandchild with her. The water was warm and salty, I submerged my head and enjoyed the warmth, when I resurfaced you were standing next to me and took me in your arms. We were alone, I hardly noticed the other people, I was far away from Berlin, I didn't even know where exactly I really was, it didn't matter, you were there.
In the sauna you were excited, I didn't understand what about, there seemed to be a special kind of Finnish sauna, you went there alone while I sat in another sauna, I was sweating on my towel, I closed my eyes, I felt the heat of the hot stones on my skin and another heat, deeper, yours.
We ate potato salad with Spreewald gherkins in the small café in the spa, which was more like a cafeteria and didn't really fit into the wellness atmosphere of the building, I drank a tea and you a beer, you saw something different in wellness than I did, you talked about how strange you found the word, wellness, that it was an invention. After dinner you went back to the sauna, you didn't seem to get enough of it, I watched you and your black bathing suit and sat down on a deck chair, I had brought a book and started reading. I could not concentrate on the book, I was not tired and the strange thought arose in me, you would not come back, wrap yourself in your towel, leave the premises and I would not see you again, it was absurd. I put the book down, lay on my back and waited, I looked in the direction you had disappeared, and it was a long time before you came back, actually wrapped in your towel and smiling happily. You lay down next to me without a word, you closed your eyes and I calmed down, I took my book and read a few pages.
When we left the spa we were hungry and I felt quite relaxed, maybe out of principle, maybe really, and we decided to make our way through the little town on foot and find something to eat. All of a sudden there was a train in front of us, it was on the sidewalk and it was big and black, it was an old car with red painted wheels. We walked along the railroad and opposite its end we found a building that housed the local railroad enthusiasts club, and at the same time a restaurant. The posted menu didn't read vegetarian-friendly, more like a clubhouse, but it looked so nice and friendly and cozy inside, so we gave it a try and took a seat. Only after we had been sitting for a while and had delved into the menu, we noticed the model train, which was running on rails along the walls through the entire restaurant, just transporting an ice cream sundae with colorful sprinkles and flags to one of the other tables, it stopped directly in front of a little boy, who received the ice cream sundae beaming.
You were happy like a little child about the train, you didn't stop looking at it and talking about it, then you noticed the interior decoration, it was very woody and full of train pictures, you said, it's like timetravelling back to the GDR, and when we got our cutlery also delivered by the train, you were beaming all over your face. We ate fish and Spreewald gherkins, we drank beer and talked about the day, the GDR and Berlin, except for the decor of the restaurant it was as if we were sitting in a bar in Kreuzberg on any day of the week.
When we left the restaurant we were not the last ones, some regulars were sitting at the bar drinking schnapps, they also fit into the picture, we walked past the railroad through the dark little town and decided not to go to sleep yet, we walked on past the church and the pension, there was nothing going on and we walked through a residential area past low houses with gardens. We found a building that was lit up, it was impossible to tell what function it had, inside there was a buffet, someone seemed to be celebrating a birthday. We were allowed to sit at the bar in the midst of the party crowd, you liked it, you looked around and seemed to still be thinking your thoughts about East Germany, we weren't sure if anyone understood us, we drank beer and then schnapps, someone sang something into a microphone and everyone clapped.
It was not late when we walked back to the pension, it was still quiet, I felt exhausted and tired in a good way. You were lying to my right, I was trying to read in my book, you were typing in your cell phone, at some point we turned off the light, we said good night and we weren't lying there together, we each had our own mattress, I couldn't fall asleep.
Breakfast the next morning was fine, there was a buffet with a large selection, we drove once through Cottbus, there was not much to see, and on the way home we passed the same trees and houses. When we arrived in Berlin it was dark early, it was Sunday and it was not clear when and how exactly we would return the car, you wanted to drive by the car rental, I wanted to get home as fast as possible, we argued, you drove into the parking lot of the car rental and braked abruptly, just like that, the car stopped with a jerk and I said nothing more, I didn't know where the argument came from, it made no sense. You got out and looked something next to the door of the building, and when you got back in you said nothing, we drove without a word the few minutes down the road to you. There was no parking, you had to park a good distance from your apartment, you let the driver's door slam shut with a loud bang, when I got out I couldn't believe how cold it was, I froze bitterly after a few seconds. You went to the trunk and took out your bag, you put mine on the floor and said do you come to my place, and I shivered.