1 Near Viktoria Park

DSC_0490 So much has changed… Those roads are now perfect, thin ribbons bordered by trees; and today the flow of traffic is out of the city, towards the northern coast and the forests of Brandenburg, it is Friday. Driving from the North-West easing the car into Kreuzberg is light work. Soon we find the street, and with her usual flair, Sarah navigates me to a parking space just in front of our door. I feel her eyes on me: it is her city, and she awaits my reaction to the new Berlin, now at peace.

We pick up our bags. Bicycles are locked randomly on railings and scaffoldings on the wide sidewalk. The air is warm, the street quiet. Sarah unlocks the door which closes silently behind us, and we walk up to the third floor. Melissa is standing at the entrance to the apartment, smiling. She and Sarah kiss for an eternity. We walk in, drops our bags, and then Melissa hugs me. The apartment is delightful, airy, a small balcony opening on the side street, trees and small shops, bicycles, summer dust…

Keith Jarrett plays in the background. In white shorts and a green T-shirt that reads NO SURRENDER! Melissa looks stunning. Sarah thinks so too, and soon the two of them disappear to the bedroom and shut the door. I find the stack of documents from the federal government I am expected to study closely in the meantime. I feel elated: the dread that overwhelmed me during the journey is now gone. Sarah said before we arrived that, here, in this city, she felt invincible. Her new intimacy, or should I say, her deeper intimacy, with Melissa, is for me an enchantment. What else could a man ask for? Two beautiful lovers in love with each other…

The documents set out the role of the support team – us among others – in the Coven’s conference, named “Towards Universal Peace”, and the supervising role of the German authorities during the proceedings. I understand that the main conference is taking place in Unter den Linden, in one of the government buildings, with working sessions in other places, including the Russian embassy. The three of us have separate briefing notes in sealed envelopes. I decide to wait for the women to reappear before I open mine. I walk to the kitchen, open the fridge, and observe that Melissa has done a clever shop of everything Sarah and I love, inclusive of dry Mosel wine. I pull three lovely glasses out of the rack and walk back to the lounge, setting the glasses on the table. Then I fall asleep on the couch.

Sarah wakes me up. Melissa is behind her opening a bottle of Mosel. The two of them  are not wearing much, and I am stunned. We toast to our success and a happy outcome to the conference. For dinner in a few hours Melissa has invited us to a local Turkish restaurant a block away. Sarah sends me to refresh and change in the bathroom, while the ladies get dressed. Suddenly, I realise I have surrendered – to them.