This online space is a collection of stories of the times during our weekends that are lived within the space of our arm’s reach… the places that are the source of our ‘humanness’… the foundations on which the rest of our life is built. The pieces of our life that quietly pass by – no grand adventures, no obviously meaningful exchanges. The moments where chores happen, we take our children to sports practise, we do our grocery shopping, go for a run, attend a weekend event, spend reverent time with our chosen deity, catch up with friends, try something new or stay home and fold the laundry.
The moments we often perceive as everyday / boring / not worth telling about, are very often just the moments that someone else craves… These are the moments that make up our lives… These are weekends, collected.
she runs down the stairs, the worn wood of the steps shining in the sunlight coming in through the hallway windows. downstairs, she barely manages to push open the heavy gate that separates the cool darkness of the alley from the heat outside. the smell of dust and cement and hot stone hits her. it’s early morning and the streets are quiet. every so often, the tram screeches as it struggles along its rails cutting through the neighbourhood in an enormous s-shape. the church bells will call for mass soon, even though she has never seen anyone go there or knows what the inside of a church looks like or what it’s good for.
she skips along the street, past the little shop that never sells anything except for bread and apples and onions and beer. it’s so hot, it feels like she is swimming through air, and stepping from shade into sun into shade into sun like crossing countries and like you are a different person depending on which side you’re on. she visits all her favourite places. the salon where her mother gets her hair done, now closed and deserted. the big metal garbage bins lined up in a way so that she can walk behind them and secretly overtake old people that never look at anything but their feet or to see if you are dressed properly anyway. the bakery where she sometimes buys a whole loaf of bread all for herself. the other bakery that sometimes sells cake.
she stops at the main road that separates her neighbourhood from the one where her grandmother lives. she could walk along the railway tracks or zigzag through the apartment blocks past where her school teacher with the parakeet lives. or she could go to the factory where her mother works, the road leading up to it paved in cobble stones so big and uneven that crossing it always feels like wading through a mountain river and that the trucks delivering fabrics and sewing cotton bop around like apples in a bowl.
from the factory, she takes her secret trail through the wood back to the right side of the train tracks. the wood is only three or four rows of trees deep, but if you know how you can walk the length of four or five blocks in it without anyone noticing you. there are empty beer bottles and cigarette butts and a broken chair and her mother says that the people who put them there are bad, but she has never seen anyone who looks bad and she is quicker than them anyways. she passes another church, its doors locked and the windows barred. but the clock at the top of the tower is working and her mother has taught her to see there what time it is so that she doesn’t have to ask anyone and if she does it can only be women.
back home, she pushes the heavy gate open again. it’s too early for lunch. coming from the bright sunlight into the dimness of the hall, everything is suddenly covered in a glossy black and the walls around her seem to move. it smells like coal and wet earth and mouldy stones and she twirls around, letting herself fall from wall to wall until her eyes have adjusted to the darkness and the ground is standing still again. it feels like what being in a spaceship must be like so she runs out again, blinks into the sun for a few seconds and comes back to feel the waves of the glossy blackness another time. the coldness of the alley smells different than the coldness of the cellar and different from the heat of the street, and she wonders what the heat up in the attic will smell like. she is not allowed to go there. the roof beams are rotten and her mother tells her that she will fall through the ceiling if she does, but if you know how you can do it and everything will be fine. there are abandoned storage rooms plastered in old newspapers that you can peel off in long strips, and sometimes she manages to get a whole page off without tearing it to pieces. they are as old as the building and therefore almost as important as things in museums and her grandmother has taught her to read the old font and she sometimes pictures herself reading these newspapers on the tram or at the doctor’s office impressing everyone.
above the storage rooms is the real attic with loose wooden boards that bounce when you step on them. it smells like wood chips and furniture polish and bakelite and walking around there you have to be quiet. she knows that if the old caretaker catches her up here, he’s going to tell her mother. and even though her mother doesn’t like him and says that one shouldn’t feed beer and chocolate to one’s dog, she would still listen to him and agree with him on everything else. and thinking about trouble and because she can’t see the church tower’s clock from the attic and doesn’t want to be late for Sunday lunch, she decides to go home, down the stairs, the worn wood of the steps shining in the sunlight coming in through the hallway windows.
Petra Zehner is a graphic designer, photographer and writer living somewhere between England and Malaysia. She is single, tends to overthink, travels a lot and is trying to figure out how to make a living as a global nomad.
When I deeply see: • bedsheets painted with highlighter? … children live here! • dead rose left too long in vase? … lingering memories of a brother’s gift. • Great-grandma’s wicker laundry basket overflowing in the mudroom? … we had a full, rich weekend! • vehicle souvenirs — a collection of shoes, Sunday school paper, Lego pieces? … we’ll gather them up too. • study table spread out with thoughts and ideas? … we’re thinking now. • a pile of tossed shoes on a shelf in the garage? … worn days of a good summer. • stack of tattered books? … stories that have become real.
― Zondervan Publishing, One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces
She had always felt that the essence of human experience lay not primarily in the peak experiences, the wedding days and triumphs which stood out in the memory like dates circled in red on old calendars, but, rather, in the unself-conscious flow of little things—the weekend afternoon with each member of the family engaged in his or her own pursuit, their crossings and connections casual, dialogues imminently forgettable, but the sum of such hours creating a synergy which was important and eternal.
― Dan Simmons, Hyperion
The click of the kettle, steaming water unfolding green leaves.
I open the back door, the cats scurry in for breakfast, leaving fleeting damp pawprints on the wooden floor.
I take my mug and my journal outside on the patio. The cats will soon follow me.
This time of year mornings hold a gentle freshness, a soft breeze that sweeps away the last haze of sleepiness.
I miss out on this during the week. From Monday to Friday there are lunch boxes to pack and schedules to keep. But today is Sunday and Sundays are different. Sundays hold space and allow me to shed the layers I put on through the week.
I exhale and sip my tea, open up a blank new page. And I`m me.
Elke Sewöster is living in Northern Germany with her husband, their three boys and two cats. She is a book-loving, list-making, Yoga-teaching seeker of life`s simple beauty.