by davidbatho

I have spent the day between cafés in Friedrichschain, drinking coffee and writing. I am now heading home, though I intend to stop there only briefly to pick up my swimming gear before heading to the Stadtbad nearby. As I approach Frankfurter Allee from the south with my head bowed, I see a small brass plaque the size of a cobble embedded in the pavement. The brass is engraved with a name and some dates. I have seen things like this before on many streets in Berlin. In January I learned that they are called Stolpersteine, or stumbling blocks. For this reason I know that the name belongs to the members of a family who lived here for the time indicated but who were taken away and killed. Later I will not recall either the family name or the dates, as right now I move by too quickly without breaking my stride. I look up and to my left and see an advert that covers the left-hand side of a van. The advert consists of a photograph of a woman crying, holding a tissue to her left eye. There are only two words on the advert, to the bottom left of the photograph, neither of which I can read and neither of which I will remember. I can tell that the tone is comic, however. – The path my glance describes seems to me coherent; I do not sense a break between the plaque and the advert. These two things are supposed to be understood together, I think to myself blithely, as I make my way down the steps of Samariterstraße U-Bahn Station and then on to the train that takes me eastward one stop, where I disembark.