It was not much of a break. To start with, we didn’t really want to go back to Home City for the holidays, we wanted to actually go to New York. Seriously. But we had to, given the state of our parents and of our finances. We ended up spending too much time getting drawn into other people’s lives and then being blamed for this. We once more had to face up to unpleasant facts. One of these facts is that we’ve been away too long, making it strenuous and ultimately impossible to catch up with everyone and their goings-on. Another fact: returning for good to Home City is closer than ever before but not as desirable as it used to be; life over there has become too expensive and even less straightforward, while the city looked uglier than before — although I always love it.
We were at least rewarded with good theatre and dance. And bars. And clubs.
Speaking of loving Home City. After my sister moved to a new flat in this really working class neighbourhood, which Compatridos abandon en masse to be replaced by immigrants, lots of African-Compatridos and Africans among them, I had the chance to again walk the streets over there. I found some of the corners simply enchanting, particularly Fortuna (!) Street. In fact I walked a lot in the city, with music in my ears for the first time in decades, courtesy of a Sony Ericsson W700i Jod gave me as a present.
Familiar sights and places, the 45-minute walks back to my parents’ home at 4 am, people walking and fast food places busy at 3 am, public transport, city lights, waits, the humanity swarming around day or night — they now all looked and felt different, almost enchanted.