Cochem, day 3
Day 3 in Bonn found Esther and me getting a late start, for obvious reasons; we didn't even get out of Florian's apartment until nearly 11 am, and by the time we had run a couple of errands and had lunch it was after two. By then it was time to meet up with Johanna again, who had called in sick that day from such a bad hangover. We met up at the Beethoven statue and walked around for a bit before finding a cafe for us to rest our weary asses and gab for the rest of the afternoon.
I'm finding it hard to express exactly what meeting Johanna has meant to me here in the last four days of the tour, and what it is exactly that's made me have such a quick, intense reaction to her; simple attraction, yes, because she's definitely good-looking and sexy; but more than that, it's also this profound sense of relief over meeting someone here who seems to know exactly what I'm going through, and is able to express the fact that she understands. I have conflicting emotions when I think of her now - sadness and frustration that I didn't meet her on day 1 of the tour, but also a certain amount of wary happiness that I met her right before I'm about to go home. I'm bad enough in relationships back in Chicago, much less ones taking place halfway across the planet.
She and I talked about this very subject yesterday, in fact; on top of everything else, Johanna also had a torrid affair of her own back during her trip to Thailand. "When you are on holiday," she said, "all rules are off. Everything is so strange and foreign to you to begin with, and so much of your life back home can't apply anymore here, so you open yourself to these strange new experiences. And that works with love too, and so you may find yourself doing things and feeling things you may not have at home." Well put, Johanna. And so I go back and forth about it in my head; happiness I was able to meet someone that I connected that strongly with while here in Germany, sadness that I most likely will never see her again, hopefulness that maybe she'd come visit me in Chicago in the future, frustration that she most likely wouldn't.
About 4 pm Johanna walked me over to the Hauptbahnhof and saw me off for my hour train ride back to Cochem. We were just standing there at the end, up close to each other, speaking quietly and trying as much as possible not to say goodbye. And I was thinking, do I reach in and hug her? Do I kiss her? What does she want me to do, and what would she be offended by? And at that moment she smiled and stuck out her hand to be shook and said, "I am a German, after all," and that broke the ice and we both laughed and said tschuss. And I hopped on the train.
And now here I am in Cochem again, 11 pm on a Tuesday night, sitting at Murphy's Bar and Internet Cafe, furiously scribbling and trying to get this entire damn epic down before I start forgetting the details. Cochem at night is a singularly pleasurable experience, by the way, one I wouldnt've gotten to experience if not for Ricardo and Karin inviting me here in the first place; the streets are empty at night and the town is lit up like a fairy castle, so you get a chance to just walk around the narrow Medieval streets and take in the chill of the autumn Mosel air, to hear your footsteps against the thousand-year-old cobblestones echo among the narrow walls on either side of the pedestrian valley you're in. The rest of my tour is now planned out, if you'd like to hear it; tomorrow around 10 am, off to Wiesbaden, site of my last performance of the tour. Then Thursday I come back to Cochem and make the final preparations for going back to Chicago; get my film developed, repack my rucksack, get a final journal entry up (which will be a really long one, because it'll be up for something like four days in a row). Then, at 4:30 in the damn morning on Friday, off to Koblenz, then on to Frankfurt, then over to the Frankfurt airport, through the check-in, through the passport control, onto a plane, and eight hours later, back in Chicago. I worry sometimes about what is waiting for me when I get back to Chicago; but that, sadly enough, will have to wait for a future entry. Tschuss.