… or Burritos in the Dark, either title would describe the evening to a tee. It was my last day at work for the year before wrapping things up for the holidays. As I left the office and contemplated the empty streets, it struck me how much colder everything seems at the moment. There is no Christmas cheer on the streets of Berlin, which, I must confess, I have come to enjoy and look forward to each year no matter how crazy it gets. The people standing in line outside the post office got grumpier – and (c)older – by the second, but I can’t say I blame them.
This may have been one of the most bizarre years ever, but I strongly believe in silver linings and unexpected blessings. Millions of people around the globe are struggling with depression, domestic violence, and suicide due to social distancing and isolation. My daughter and I, despite the circumstances, are incredibly grateful to be going through this pandemic together. Had she been stuck the entire time in Italy I would have been completely out of my mind worrying about her. Instead, we have had ten months to create several photo series that we can both be proud of.
Another silver lining – although I think it is more platinum – is the luxury of being able to meet up with her after work. I miss meeting up with friends either for lunch or a quick bite. The solitary life is something I have learned to live and appreciate, but those indulgent moments with your own flesh and blood are priceless.
We agreed to meet in front of the Tex-Mex restaurant, which only serves take-out these days. Ever since the pandemic and the first lockdown, we have gone out of our way to support the small businesses, and not just the food industry, so we grab the opportunity, budget permitting. This evening, since both our hungers were the primary driving forces, it was decided there was no way we would make it home in one piece so I had quesadillas and she ordered a burrito. Flatulence fodder in hand, and further armed with soft drinks, we chose a bench in the park across the street and dug in. Never, and I mean never, order a veggie quesadilla for takeout when you are wearing a silver grey woollen coat. First of all, with all the blasted layers of scarves, turtlenecks and coat, I could barely aim the quesadilla into my mouth properly. Small squares of something or the other kept jumping onto my coat, now nicely decorated with red tomato salsa dots for Christmas.
Who needs fancy restaurants when you can spend the time on a cold wooden bench in the dark holding a floppy quesadilla wrapped in tin foil and gossip with the most important person in your life? These mother-daughter moments are priceless and I have the lockdown to thank for this. Once I finished my meal, gulped down the soft drink, I grabbed my camera and took a few quick shots. The emptiness of the place struck me and I couldn’t help but compare it to previous years when you could barely move around or see the pavement because of all the crowds. So even though it was my beloved Blue Hour, I couldn’t allow myself to be swept off my feet with the contrasts of colours because the absence of Christmas crowds and merriment was too overwhelming.
Coming home to two grumpy and frumpy cats, and a wonderfully warm and cheerful home made all the difference though.
This is my sacred space.
This is my Christmas.