by Inês M.
He was a young man trapped in a miserable life, a bystander to everyone else's happiness.
|He wasn't a particularly happy person, not in the way a young man in his 20s should be. He was aware that he had barely scratched the surface of life and afraid of what was yet to come; he believed that books and old records would keep him from living what could possibly be the worst years of his life.
He was just "an innocent bystander", witnessing events and widely describing them in a beautifully-drawn handwriting, on empty sheets of paper or just random, coloured post-its he would find on the bottom of his backpack. Behind the thick lenses of his glasses, he would watch the world go round and round and he wouldn't interfere with it. Just like in those science-fiction tales of going back in time, here too can a single step, a simple clap of hands or even a breath could change the fate of mankind and he didn't want to risk it. So he just carefully continued his life watching and writing, and keeping those little sheets and post-its in a wooden box behind his bed. He would later type them into his computer, and compile them into a series of depictions of lives that he would never live himself.
His name was Daniel. Daniel, like so many others out there. He hated his name and sometimes even his mother for having given him that name, and he cursed genetics for having given him that shameful appearance, knowing his father had been one of the most handsome men in his time. He lived in Berlin, in the Kreuzberg district, in a Soviet-style apartment complex with a cat named Heff. He earned his money tutoring rebellious kids from posh private schools in Wannsee, and teaching History and Philosophy at a high school near Potsdamer Platz. He had never had a girlfriend in his whole life, and to him love seemed like something out of a Holywood cliché - he despised love, he didn't feel the need and therefore he despised women, or just people in general.
I had never before seen a man so consumed in his shitty little life that he was unable to see anything past that. I felt sorry for him, and yet I couldn't help but believing he deserved it. A man who spends most of time watching others being happy and describing it, resuming it into a few sentences when there's a lot more to say rarely ever finds happiness in his own life or himself.
It took me a while to fully get to know him, but when I did I saw that this was never what he had wanted for his life; deep down he still believed in the American dream (or the German dream, depending on how you put it). But like he said, "doesn't matter how much you plan your life, it will always turn out the fucking opposite".
The fucking opposite, indeed.
We both had a laugh at that, and jugged beer down our throats. We then resumed our pointless lives, sitting down in that little bar near the river, eating Currywurst, watching people live their lives and drowning in our own misery as we wondered why the fuck we couldn't be like them.