Happiness is not only having a sip of water when you are thirsty but also noticing that while all the other trains arrive in about 20 minutes, yours will be there in only three, even though it is past one in the morning.
Had I taken the metro, I would have noticed that the wagons are as full as if it was just regular day time and people were coming from work. You rarely feel lonely on the metro here, no matter what time it is. Today it seemed as if no one wanted to take the city train (the S-Bahn) at such a late hour or maybe all of those who work night shifts or are off to another party only find use for the metro.
In the emptiness around me, my mind calms down a little. I will be fine, I think to myself. As we stop at more and more stations and even less than a handful of people join us, I think about whether I should have stayed with my friends and gone to the club with them. They would finish at around 4 a.m. though which means I would be home by six the very earliest unless one of them would let me sleep on their couch. It would also mean, if I came home at 6 a.m., that I would break my personal record and stay up for 24 hours. I still had a lunch coming up in a few hours though…next time, I decided. Let’s try next time.
By the time we reach Olympiastadion, there are only two people left in the wagon. Me at the one end by the window, and a man with a military haircut and a blue shirt, his eyes glued to his smartphone.
I know someone who is a flight attendant for a German airline but is afraid of using public transport at night. I am not so concerned about public transport though. At least there are always a few people there, as well as a surveillance camera but once you get out at Spandau station and make it out into the street you may find yourself completely alone. Not that this is a terrible part of town to be in at night. A lot of people who are even younger than me stay out for even longer but to me it still seemed a little strange. Sometimes you can see a man or a woman sitting by the bus stop but often times he or she is a patient of the psychiatry at the nearby hospital. I wonder how they manage to get out so often. I was sitting there once, waiting for my bus when the woman next to me got up and quickly slapped me on the knee as she walked by. It all came so suddenly that I didn’t even know what happened and how to react while she just walked past me without a word, carrying the weight of her own body tediously.
More people join me at the traffic light. A group of young people in party outfits, a lady with short white hair and a white suit, as well as a man with a plastic bag full of empty bottles, which he would return to the store in a couple of hours to get some money. I wouldn’t spend money on a taxi, I decide. If my friends can stay out all night, I can just as well take the night bus home. If they can be save, I can be save.
The N39 bus would be there in 20 minutes. Again, I am not the only person waiting. Five teenage boys are sitting on the metallic bench, one of them eating Asian instant noodles out of the bag, dry as they are. A common practice among children and teens here. Even I used to do that, to the discontent of my parents and the confusion of my stomach. The boys are happily but quietly chatting about who of them has a relationship with two girls at the same time, how they are both “too stupid” to notice anything and how it sucks to drink with girls because they just drink one sip and fill you up with the rest in the bottle. After five minutes a woman in a black business suit and high heels cannot take it any longer being out this late surrounded by strangers and gets into the taxi that just stopped at the side of the road. Maybe I should take the taxi right behind it? On the other side of the street, the Turkish kebab place is still open at 1.45 a.m. I am tempted by the long waiting time and the idea of meat and potatoes in a box but the laughter of the men with beer bottles in hand. makes me change my mind.
With roughly 200 meters left till my apartment building, I am nearly home. It is so quiet outside that my steps and the friction between my shoulder bag and my hip sound so loud in my ears,I fear I might wake up the entire street. The park to my right hand side lies in total darkness and so does the green area to my left. Two cars pass me and that is it in terms of company on the road. They should have street lights where the parks are, I thought. How else are you supposed to know if there is maybe someone sitting there and watching you without your notice?
I will be fine, I will be fine, I repeat to myself and only stop once I locked the door behind me.