1) On the U2, a little girl of about 5 kneeling on the seats, nose pressed against the window. A quiet gasp of ‘no, not dark, not dark’ escapes her every time the train pulls into a station and the walls obscure her view of the street below. Narrating what she sees to her mother, she says in a small voice: ‘I’m sad that I’m on the train and can’t pet that dog out there.’ I can’t help but be impressed by how well this small person deals with her emotions: feel the sadness, acknowledge it, and move on. I hope she holds on to this skill.
2) A woman sitting outside the café where I’m trying to write. She’s drinking coffee, and has nearly finished her breakfast when a sparrow approaches, looking up at her with expectation. The woman spoons a little muesli out of her cup and drops it on the floor. Word travels fast, and one sparrow becomes three within seconds. They flit around her feet in excitement, so she reaches into a paper bag and breaks a few pieces off her croissant, and throws them to the birds. The woman, the man next to me and I watch as the sparrows fly off with them, and fight over the food a few feet away, until the last crumbs are gone.
3) We’re walking down Ku’damm when, in front of the Hard Rock Cafe, a man stops us. Behind him is a cart full of colourful trinkets; I barely get the glimpse of a live rat and a live guinea pig set into little scenes (this barely feels real now) when he slurs something at me I don’t understand. I make a polite and – I hope – interested noise. He looks me up and down and decides, ‘You colour your hair. I don’t like you.’ So dismissed, we keep walking.
4) Sometimes when I talk, I can hear my dad. I can see my mum in some of the things I do or the choices I make, but this experience is more immediate. Echoes of my dad are coming out of me in full sentences, and I don’t know how I feel about that.
5) I saw some stunning buildings today. Look at those: