Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Today, I'm thinking about my Berlin novel (Berlin, circa 1983) even as I write corporate story upon story and sneak in the daily 200 words on Florence. Berlin is the book I wrote for Tamra Tuller, the book, indeed, that I've dedicated to her and that remains with her as she begins what I know will be a storied career at Chronicle Books. Sometimes we miss our characters. Today I'm missing my Ada and her best friend, Arabelle. I'm missing the conversations Tamra and I had about this city we both love.
And so I return them to myself:
The snow that melted during the day has slicked. The piles of snow that Timur shoveled to each side are dirty white walls, zigging and crusted. I ride a crooked path across the cobblestones and out of the gates onto the street and turn. St. Thomas Church shines in the distance. There’s mush and ice and cars and music coming from the bar down the alley. Beneath the wide wheels of Arabelle’s bike the ice snaps and the mush goes squish and when a gray cat scampers out from behind a parked truck and I swerve, the belt of Arabelle’s arms around me tightens. I’m yanked back and my boot slips. The front wheel wobbles. I get us going again and look up and back at our complex, and there she is, Mutti in the window, her face in a halo of frosted glass.