Berlin – Portrait 1 – Maya

One apartment, a social worker, a psychiatrist, a physiotherapist, two cats, a broken sink, foodshare.

And bliss.

Maya was the last housemate that I met when I was surfing with Stefan. I had been having a blast in Berlin with Delia, making the best out of the brutal cold and trying to stay positive while my toes froze and killed me each step I took, beyond the 30th minute outdoors.

Tall, she was. Very tall, and stout (read: intimidating). Add the fact that she’s french, and I was nervous as hell in front of her. I wonder why I feel that way. I think I scare myself too much to impress people whom I find intimidating in a very attractive way.

I wish that I had sketched her eyes. They were beautiful. Brown, soft, strong, true, sharp. They cut to the chase. She studied something similar to physical therapy but much more specialised; they use a very specific method to heal bodily damage. It was fascinating and I wish that I remembered more.

And her hair reaffirmed my love affair with huge, wild ringlets. Too beautiful. She had picked up the pencil for the first time in 6 months, the night that we had a huge party (>20 people) and she spent most of the evening in a corner, silently, intensely, observing and sketching two friends who were laughing on the bed. She found more truth in her messy, 5-minute sketches of people, than her more intricate 2-hour portraits. There’s more life in them, she said.

What a party it was – Brenda had turned her bedroom into a dining room, with one of those formal long tables, and rested a side against her bed, plonking chairs along the other 3 sides. It was cramped, it was messy, it was vegan. It was perfect.

The basin was clogged the night after the feast. We had used up all the possible crockery, including all the pots and pans, in preparation for the feast, and there was the equivalent of a kitchen jam; nothing moved. Nothing could move, as Maya squatted, cursing, trying to unclog the sink. It didn’t work, even with the help of Brenda’s boyfriend. The clog was too major.

The next day, Maya did up her own room. This included a 10 foot bunk with a ladder that had rungs so far apart that i would have split my legs trying to clamber my way up. She drilled away the whole day, fixing her room. I think that was when I decided that I would give her anything she asked for.

She did tarot reading, but only for herself. She recommended me a ton of french books and series, as cultural points of references. I wanted to kiss her feet. She cooked a delicious pumpkin soup, and made me dinner.

We had conversations entirely in french. I was over the moon. She told me that perhaps my 4 years of studying economics wasn’t entirely for nothing, if it meant that it forced me to take this trip to France. For the first time, I was stunned into silence. No one had ever shed light on that decision to change it from anything other than regret.

She shifted something in me further.

I left her with a solid hug, knowing that she had stolen a piece of my heart and would never return it.

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