I met Noa for the first time on one of the first summer nights. I don't remember how I got into conversation with him. He stood in front of a brothel and tried to convince me of the quality of his stuff. He talked incessantly about how good it was. I didn't want any. He followed me into a bar. He wanted money for a drink. He drank and later he wanted more money. I gave it to him. He wanted to go get some stuff. He'd give it back to me, he said. I didn't see him again that night. I didn't see him again for a long time after that. I only had his number saved on my phone. Sometime 3 or 4 months later my phone rang. It was him and he said he wanted to make it up for back then. We should meet up. He would compensate me for not coming back that night. I had a strange feeling about it but I wanted to see him again. “I'm not ripping you off again”, he said on the phone. Half an hour later, I was on the S-Bahn to a station quite far away.
When we met again, we went to the gas station first. He wanted me to get cigarettes and alcohol. “You have money. Now come with me. Up there. In here. Best couch, I've been here with my friends since yesterday.”
The apartment was 3 rooms, kitchen, bathroom. One room was the bedroom, the other room had a TV and the couch. The third and smallest room is unused and that's why it's still full of moving boxes, none of them unpacked. A college jacket is sticking out of one of the boxes. The friend lives here.
The friend is driving. A small white car. He turns on loud music and we drive further out of the city - to get some stuff. Then we go on. “Where to?” I ask. “Wait for it.” Noa gets out, only briefly. The friend turns up the music. We can't talk. Noa gets back in.
We drive towards the setting sun. We arrive at dusk—meet up with friends. Conversations about cars and drugs. How expensive, where from, from whom. It's gotten cold. Using and drinking. They wonder why I'm there. We stand for hours under the canopy over the shopping carts in front of a supermarket. I have a camera with me—currently my daily companion. Camera-shy and still wanting to be filmed. A crescent moon can now be seen over the parking lot, directly opposite the hotel.
We share the room. Rates are normal, as you know them. Everything works automatically, without reception and direct contact with the staff. We open the door with a chip card. We get the chip card from a machine that also swallows the credit card.
Affection shown through pretended dislike. Delicate touches that look rough at first. Like a child learning to walk and occasionally buckling on its wobbly legs. Encounters are like that. Much like how this text was written, even printed out, and lies here to be read. A bit shaky, in short sentences. We all don't get along but learn to be together in the hotel room that night.
It seems to me that learning is more important than understanding. What is understood needs constant renewal. Otherwise, stagnation comes and I will move away from what is new and undiscovered. My world should not freeze or turn gray. Do not allow stagnation.