As usual, I am on my bike as I reflect on what is happening. Nightly Den Haag, with the traffic lights all flashing by and the trees quietly shaking in the breeze that never leaves this city. In the last weeks, Lisa has been tossing around the phrase “Why are we leaving again?”, and I find her looking sincere. It is hard not to, as moments immediately come to mind, which beg that very question: The split second when you are holding your head over the water, blinking into the sun before a wave rolls over you. The last glimpses of light on one of these long days in July, the heat when you wake up in the morning. Summer rain, with puddles 10 centimeters deep, they color your feet black. And that swarm of bees in front of work, suspended in midair, that keeps the neighbors staring and the bikers gasping when then ride through it.
It is things like that, which stick in my memory despite of their apparent mundaneness; because this is the time when we wrap things up, make up our minds, and transition to something else. So why are we leaving this place? Because it is starting to become the right thing to do, I suppose.
Sitting on the roof, with the late afternoon sun warming the book in my hands, the vuvuzelas are making their trademark sound for what is to be the last time ever. People are shouting in the distance, and everyone in the city is really excited to be Dutch, buy Dutch things, or dress in orange. It is the night of the world cup final, that Holland was going to lose, eventually, and the city is buzzing. The same night it rains, and the next day is a lot colder. After the game, people are biking home in their orange shirts, it is eerily quiet and yet some avid supporters are lighting up their fireworks, realizing they won’t stay good until the turn of the year.
Since returning from New York City, time has been going by quickly and the summer months are in full swing. I am spending my days canceling contracts, working out scenarios on how to accomplish my eventual move to Berlin, and with every day the pace is picking up. Former housemates come back, graduate, leave. They are “passing through”. At home I drink coffee, iced, by the blue table and I listen to the girls trying to find apartments in Sweden. And over dinner we make elaborate plans on how to move, where we might live, how it is going to be. Clearly, nobody really knows, but one after one we are taking the plunge. And so for another few weeks we will bike home from our endeavors, through the quiet and windy city; eyes ahead. We might obsessively swim in the North Sea, but the time is winding down and those common things start to seem important.