Sitting at Luigi Zimmerman waiting for Mei to take her to Lichtenberg. She wanted to see a concentration camp, and I don’t feel like it and I don’t have the time. Actually, I have never been to one, not to Dachau, not to Sachsenhausen, not to Auschwitz. Maybe I should go – and Mei would be the perfect person to go with. Too bad she is leaving Berlin tomorrow. She is on a trip through Europe. She was in Italy before where she did research on the illegal chinese workers, and will go to Paris where she used to work for Louis Vuitton. She just got her Master`s from Princeton. “But I cannot build a building”, she says with some pride. I know her from a few years ago, before she left Berlin because it was too slow, had too little energy, made you lazy and content, as she said then. She was working with Bobby and me on the 80*81 project – and when we met her again last week for lunch at the Mozzarella Bar, corner of August and Joachim in Mitte, she said that Berlin had not changed. Which is not true: We used to have lunch at Culinario, corner of August and Tucholsky. Some things have changed. And Mei acknowledged that. The same people, she said, just more famous. We had a coffee and headed off to Don Xuan Market in Lichtenberg, a glimpse of the future, the largest Vietnamese market around. Mei freaked out when she saw a huge blue warehouse with the words Bubble Tea written on it. So this is home 2013, this is belonging. She could not believe I did not know what Bubble Tea was. (It has to do with Tapioca, I guess.) Then we wandered along the rows of useless, ugly merchandise trying to make sense of without using the tool of irony. It does not work. Without irony you end up with the sense that here capitalism is unwinding right infront of your eyes. We had noodle soup with chicken, and it felt like fall. What is next for Mei? She might go back to Walla Walla, she said, where she grew up, to be close to her parents and work in a factory that builds all the artworks for people like Matthew Barney. Walla Walla. I always loved that name.
It rained on their wedding day. What did the bride wear? What did the groom wear? Only the bride can tell. What did the guests wear? Four pichets of rosé. We downed them, our throats slick with gimlets and beer. Before the bride and the groom stood the mayor, and upon the mayor’s chest flapped his sash, red, white, and blue. Four flower girls danced in a circle, and in the church yard, two little pigs turned on their spits.
Like many marriages, this one required the bridging of oceans, the conquering of recent histories, and a resolution towards future circumstance. But if the groom held fear, or the bride any grief for her father’s adieu, it didn’t show. Perhaps they know something I don’t know. Beneath their soaring union lie certain memories, as paper lanterns set aflame in the night sky, and chance leaving them wet on their wedding day.