A barefoot man runs by as if he’s trying to catch the bus. His pink, loose trousers flapping like the flag of a country that never existed.

Here and there the rotten sidewalk has been repaired with fresh asphalt. Black wound effluvium, blacker than the cobbles, blacker than the rubbish.

The balcony is warm. I’ve cast my shoes aside and I’m reading a book that jumpstarts my brain. So many things are so dull. So many things are so very brilliant. My legs are up, my toes are braided into the metal railing. I’m drinking beer that I know very well but it tastes novel.

I can hear church bells not too far off, on a Friday—what could they be announcing? From some other corner, the Islamic call to prayer (I wish I could remember what that’s called) cuts through the chiming. The bells have lost their monopoly long ago. A man is chanting words on a rhythm that is unfamiliar to my ears.

A giant rose blooms, painted on the blind, soft-yellow wall of a high-rise. Just that image: a rose, with some stripes around it, like beams of light. Like traces of an explosion. Sometimes, things don’t have to signify.

There are so many sounds—a motorbike making a wonderful amount of noise, kids on the square playing at the angel statue, some lazy seagulls that surely have something better to do…—but still, there is a kind of silence over the city. Over me. A kind of calm.

I feel… peaceful. What a bullshit word. More peaceful that I have felt in a long time. The word “home” has never really meant anything to me.


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