The desert

I was supposed to reach Olga and Luon in Berlin. That was what we set up while staying in Paris. They were both coming from Canada and where anxious to see the difference between them and our Europe.

Them hotel was in the North part of the city and I was staying in Bitte, not very far buy tram.

That one it was a good night, it was the first of may, not much people around and the city was almost asleep. I decide to take a walk and on the way to them place I stoped in Alexanderplatz to have a kebab in the last open stand. Not as much meat as I hoped.

Olga was waiting for me at the reception. Had a pair of black jeans and a black transparent shirt that made her red brah easy to spot. Long blond hair where falling all over her shoulders and here and there I could detect some tiny braids. I smiled, she smiled back and kissed me. At that time I was still in love with her way to smile just before kissing me.

I asked her how did the trip to Copenhagen go. No problems, as usual.

“Actually” she said playing with her braids “we had an argument in Cristiania. We where just trying to get some weed, you know, but nothing to worry about”.

All regular. No one goes to Cristiania thinking to have a smoothy day.

We went to buy some white wine and we sat down on a bench right out the store to drink and talk. I lit a sigarette, a light breeze came out and made Olga use her green coat to get repaired.

A baby gang came by asking for cigarettes and when I refused it they started to shout out some staff in German. I didn’t care, Olga was there, nothing else was important.

In Paris we exchanged love promises in which we both believed but we knew it couldn’t last long. We both knew and we both kept this secret unrevealed. Only that exact moment was important.

At the half of the bottle came Luon. Was wearing a green shirt freely undone to make his chain be seen and wasn’t looking that happy.

“Look at this selfish bastards. If I was late a bit more you’ll have left none for me.” said taking a cigarette and putting the other back on his pocket “fortunately I brought my own wine.”

“Relax Lu, drink your wine and ger ready. We go to the suicide tonight” told him Olga looking at him.

“Oh no, not again. That filthy place could kill me this time, I’m serious.”

In some way he wasn’t exaggerating. The suicide was a fetish club where the dress code was all about black leather, chains, ropes and other sadomaso staff. No way I could go there, they wouldn’t even allow me to get in.

We kept drinking, trying to figure out what to do next and in the mean time we get closer with the baby gang. One of the girls asked me for some change and I gave her one euro. She went inside the shop and after few minutes came out with two cokes, a bottle of wine and 2 sticks of chocolate. The way she was doing business I could see her working in Wall Street, impressive.

We stood up and took the road. The idea was to go to Katen Blue, a place that Luon heard about, but we had no idea how to get there. It was The International Workers’ day and no public transport where working at that point of night.

I saw a man inside his car waiting for the traffic lights to become green, went there and asked him for a ride. He had no problems, but his car did. It was a white old fiorino, with a free sit in the front and no more. If we wanted the lift two of us had to go on the back, be closed from the outside and be driven around Berlin by an unknown man in a total darkness. It was fine for Luon, we had some problems to convince Olga, but at the end she went on the back with him and I sat in front, excited to go.

Yasin was a Moroccan man on his forties and that Fiorino was his life. During the day he was driving around the main parks and main squares of Berlin selling traditional Moroccan food. Lamb, pastillas and pasties, all the fiorino was full of its tropical aroma.

As everybody in that age does, he was dreaming to come back in his home town, in Marocco, but for now Berlin was his home.

“I tell you, Berlin is crazy and I love it” he was telling me while driving between few cars on the street. “But nothing it’s like Morocco”.

He was looking at the road but I could easily tell his mind was somewhere else. He was driving by memory and thinking about some previous life that wasn’t his anymore.

“I would love to go there. I heard some stories about the life in the desert” I started.

“Ah, the desert..” he said in a melancholic way.

Some minutes passed, we stoped at a street light and he gave me a look full of memories.

“You must go there, I do it myself anytime I go back home”


“It’s kind of a ritual, you know? I go to kiss my mother and my sister, go to drink a tea with my uncle, get ready my bag for a couple of days and off I go heading east. It’s the wildest part of the country but at the same time it’s the most beautiful. I stay there, for two, three nights. It reminds me who I am and helps me to clean my spirit.”

We crossed other two bridges. Around me walls colored by unknown artists light up with the light of the business buildings of the city.

“Remember to speak with the people, when you go. They are the most kind people that I met. They look surly,” and here made a lough “but once you are there they will share anything with you. And listen the stories, carefully. Some of them will make you dream with open eyes.”

I was looking outside, the cars passing by, listening and thinking about the Sahara and its stars.

“The night it’s cold though.” I said, giving speech to my thoughts.

“It doesn’t really bother you. You have a big fire and you are in good company.”

We made the last part of the trip in silence. I was thinking about my friends, how far they were and how it would be nice to share with them that moment, or the desert it self. One day perhaps.

As by promise he left us at the tram station. The guys looked a bit different after the ride, kind of wired smile in his face, but maybe it was just my imagination.

“Good luck!” shouted Yasin out of the car while driving away.

I didn’t need any luck. I was feeling great that night. We were young and we were in Berlin. The luck was our natural ally.

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