There is some disagreement between #165 and I as regards where we actually kissed. She claims I pushed her up against the wall in the women’s toilets in a Berlin bar. I think it was just outside the toilets, at the foot of the staircase, although I concede that I pushed her. Wherever it happened, anyway, she later wrote that I was the sexiest kisser ever, which, of course, more modest people wouldn’t subsequently mention in their blogs.
It was my last night in Berlin. I’d been there nine or ten days, which is a lot to ask of a host, in this case #128, when you’re involved with each other but she’s recently gotten considerably more involved with someone else, and also you’re still dealing with bereavement and you’re kind of emotional and needy. I’d spent my last day desperately trying to find a way to get home quicker, feeling awkward about having been so awkward, and then I’d wandered around by myself, found a graveyard to go cry in except I didn’t have any tissues with me which was a whole other kind of awkward.
Which is not to say that Berlin had been a complete disaster. #128 and #141 and I had eaten good food together, and they’d humoured me when I wanted to go see a punk band from Luxembourg, and one night #141 and I had gotten really drunk and almost went into a swingers’ club before doing the sensible thing and having sex in a park instead, and I’d checked out the Berlin Wall with my Mysterious Friend Germán, and #128 and I had visited the Schwules Museum. And I loved seeing the sparrows everywhere.
#128 and I had managed to sort things out before we went to the bar that night, and then #141 and I both made out with #165, and we drank until about eight in the morning, and I was amazed that the bar stayed open, and #141’s bag got stolen. It was pretty much a straight bar, so we began to attract looks that we weren’t altogether thrilled about, but for some reason we stayed on. Finally, #128 and I went back to her place for some blurry action, and #165 went back to #141’s.
I vaguely remember getting to Hamburg after that, couchsurfing with someone in a big suburban family home where I slept in the basement and looked with sadness at the photos of a family that seemed to be complete. I got up around 5 in the morning, took a taxi to the airport before my hosts were awake, left behind a graphic novel I’d bought in Berlin but hadn’t liked, hoped afterwards that they wouldn’t think I endorsed the ethnocentric bullshit therein.
#165 lives in Scotland, so I see her sometimes, although I hadn’t known her before Berlin. A couple of years ago, #165 and #151 and I got drunk during the Festival and staggered back to my place arm in arm, narrating our journey in song. I was enthusiastically demonstrating to them how to throw a punch, when my fist inadvertently connected with the face of a passer-by.
#165 is working on her first novel, and early indicators suggest it’s going to be a bloody good read. I gave her phone number to a writer friend of mine a few years ago, and that seemed to go pretty well, seeing as I attended their flatwarming last month and they’ve got the whole glorious coupledom thing going on.