It’s an upside down kind of day today. For almost two years I’ve been travelling from Hamburg back home. Today, I’m going up to Hamburg from Pforzheim just for a day to sort out a few things. But really, it’s just another of these days where everything seems to move, seems to be on the move, constantly, without rest. It takes a few minutes in the morning for me to know where I am. Even during the night. Do I need to wake up to turn Pádraig? Or am I sleeping on my own in an otherwise empty bedroom? Do I need to listen out for sounds of discomfort? Do we need to get up early to get everything done in time for therapies? What language are people speaking? And it’s not just as easy as German and English; it’s Polish, Russian, Croatian and who knows what else. When I go out for a run, will it be on the hills (mountains, really) of Pforzheim or along the Wandse in Hamburg or towards Clontarf along Dublin’s seafront? Who will I be meeting today? Therapists, for sure. Doctors, not anymore. Which bed will I be waking up in? I rarely remember the bed I fell asleep in because you don’t remember anything when you collapse into a bed and pull the blanket on top of you to find some hours of rest. Will people be coming to meet me? Will I go to meet them? Will I have to travel or stay? Will we need to go somewhere with Pádraig or will they be coming to see him? Pádraig is eating lasagne, potato dumplings, chicken, turkey, vegetables, all of course almost mashed with a fork, but so what? He is drinking water, juice, beer and fizzy drinks. He is trying so so so so hard you wouldn’t believe it. I am absolutely shattered in the afternoon. How does he manage? We get up at 6:30 am to be ready for the first therapy session at 8 am that lasts for an hour. Break to have something to eat for breakfast. Another three hours of stretches, pull ups, and standing for a full hour, until 1 pm. Another hour of this robotic Lokomat walking machine. Before finally having something to eat in an empty cafeteria because everybody else is long gone for a siesta, some rest after a long and challenging morning. How Pádraig is doing this, keeping at it, telling his therapists to continue, with his tongue to the right, meaning “yes, go on, do what you can, make an effort, I’m trying like hell myself!” It’s Karlsruhe, Frankfurt, Kassel, Göttingen, Hannover, Hamburg. A journey from the hot south to the rainy, cold north of Germany. One big country. Much bigger than I did remember. Hours on motorways when we went there. Now, it’s hours on a high speed train that could go from Dublin to Limerick in an hour. It won’t happen because there’s always Limerick junction in the winter when the points freeze and can’t be moved and in the summer when there’s horse racing. When I grew up, the street and the neighbourhood we lived in were my home, the city, maybe, but the rest? Now, I am driving, getting onto planes, trains, buses, missing connections, trying to make up for lost time, travelling with people on the phone converting wherever they are into their office, people with perfumes I cannot stand, nobody talking, except to a wire hanging between their teeth out of their mouth, connected to what was once a phone, couples trying to hide away their fights, avoid looking at your fellow traveler, and if you do make sure not to be caught.
This world is too big for me.
Maybe I’m too small for the world.
I want to remember where I went to bed last night when I wake up in the morning.
I want to know that I am, we are. Where we belong.
Having made new memories over the past 2 years and 2 months.