On Friday morning, I awoke just after 7 a.m. in order to get ready to catch my train to Berlin. It left just before 10 a.m., so I made certain to be at the train station nearly a half hour before, because the last thing I wanted to do was miss my train. I figured it would be late (due to all the weather conditions affecting trains in Germany, and travel in Europe in general, as of late) but it arrived just on time. Once on board, I quickly found my seat (I had made a reservation) and settled in for what was supposed to be a four-hour ride, but which ended up being close to five.
The trip took us through the German countryside and towns like Duisburg, Essen, Hamm, Hannover and more. While it was interesting to see all the cities, at a certain point it became a bit boring, because the landscape was all the same: covered in snow. There was also a lot of empty space, particularly between Hannover and Berlin, the latter of which I realized really is surrounded by a lot of wooded areas. As my train crept closer and closer to Berlin, I found my nervousness exploding at the prospect of meeting with Oliver when I arrived. But that feeling was alleviated the moment I saw him standing on the platform as the train pulled in, and minutes later we were on our way out of the station and heading toward his place.
It wasn’t long before we felt almost completely at ease with one another; it was as though we’d known one another for much longer. Once at his place (which is just half a block west of the Berlin Wall) we hung out and talked, later cooking dinner and then sitting on the floor in the candlelight and talking until after midnight. Due to the location of his apartment in Mitte, we saw fireworks out the window nearly all evening, and in celebration of the new year, we listened first to Girls “Album” on vinyl, and then Trio “Trio,” before going to bed.
Over the course of the entire 48+ hours together, we had long, drawn-out conversations about everything, ranging from our families to our plans for the future, all about music and writing, and more. In the evenings we listened to record after record over glasses of wine or bottles of beer, and in the mornings we ate breakfast and drank coffee for hours, never running out of things to talk about. It was quite possibly one of the best New Year’s Eves/Days I’ve ever had, and definitely the best in my adult years. Oliver was a perfect and gracious host, and I have to admit that saying goodbye to him was not easy. It has been only three days and I already miss him terribly.