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Heart of a City

Listen While Reading: Berlin // RY  X

I have this childlike obsession with big cities. I love the infinite feeling of being lost in a crowd, being one with the swirling wind carrying dark perfumes of yesterday’s pizza, spilt coffee, and unwanted emotion. I love that uplifting sense of destiny you feel while your feet occupy perfect inches of pavement, the comfort of travelling down familiar streets, paved with desire. I love the larger than life expectations you can’t withhold in this seemingly scary place you call home…

As far as the eye can see, beautifully empowering architecture is being taken for granted, soulful street music is being shut into oblivion and the tangible incense of lover’s devotion gets admired into eternity. I take a moment to breathe in the intimate lives that are pursued around me. I get rooted to one spot and try to listen, even just for a second, to every single heart that is beating to the melody of this magnificent orchestra. Behind the never-ending array of faces of today’s modern world, there are real people, creating real stories and drowning out real feelings. A joyful mix of young and old, of race, colour, and religion find peace and refuge within the same walls of ancient metropolis. The adventures all have a similar plot, the desire to create a web of connections, of memories from first loves, to great food, to an attractive future. Things have the undeniable power of getting messy along the way, but the fight stays the same – one’s own definition of happiness.

But the intensity of modern life can instantly be classed as overwhelming, and in less than a second, a blaring horn can shatter my utopic perspective. I get reminded that humans are fallible creatures, first destined for the inevitable rollercoaster, before achieving what we call success.

In those moments of sheer confusion, where my heart leaps out of my chest before I almost get run over by a bus of Chinese tourists, I walk to my favourite place in the whole city. The safe haven I feel I rightly own. In the heart of Brussels lies an arch. Above this arch lies this secret, beautifully un-kept roof garden. I find my way here, slip up the never ending stairs and watch city life go by one ant-like car at a time. There is something so absolutely peaceful about having the choice to be a part of the story of a city, or to join the gods and admire the view. Perspective is everything. Life high off the ground never seems so desolate, so complicated, so climb out of your comfort zone and find your hiding place.

Words by Marie Verheul // Photography by Ashley Sharma.

© 2015 Reef Magazine


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