I woke up today and the first thing that came to my mind was that Dragoș had left Amsterdam. I checked the time: 10:25. He must have been on the plane that would bring him to Bucharest, for time undefined. It’s about the same time last year that another good friend of mine left Amsterdam. Will this ever stop? I guess not.
When you live away from your family, you inevitably create a new one – a family made of friends. When a friend is leaving, the balance is affected. Things cannot be the same again. The same way you cannot replace a sister with another sister, a father with another father, a friend cannot be replaced with another friend.
I cried over coffee this morning. I then had some scrambled eggs and cried over scrambled eggs, too. When I realized things won’t get any better, I did the only two things that work in such moments – I wrote and I went out to take photos.
Meandering through the streets around the Prinsengracht, with a sadness I got so used to, I ended up on that same bench I always end up to whenever I need to collect the broken pieces of my soul and glue them back together again. I sat, I smoked, I drank my coffee to go. I looked at the beautiful houses and bridges and asked myself what was Amsterdam without my people. Was it still a city I wanted to live in? Beautiful it was for sure, but was beauty reason enough? And how come the end of a year brought me, time and time again, face to face with those questions, strangely enough on that same bench, too?
On that bench, I realized that so far Amsterdam gave me more than it took away. For the time being, it is here where I’m staying because I feel that I haven’t reached my full potential in Amsterdam just yet. I am too intertwined with this city, my life here, and those friends who remained in the family.
With these in mind, I made a detour and reached the Kinkerstraat. I queued in front of the street vendor selling oliebollen. The Christmas lights, the smell of vanilla sugar, the people waiting in the line anticipating a guilty pleasure… I smiled and jumped back in the tram with a lighter heart – and two oliebollen. My Amsterdam saga is to be continued.