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Under the Palm Trees

Under the Palm Trees

Three stars on the highway. The hotel I'm staying in is 100% grown-up. Crumbling asphalt in front of bright red signs pointing to the bar and restaurant. The white dining room with the ornate chairs and the pork knuckle with fries. Next to the hotel is a gas station, and across the street is a parking lot where a wrecked truck has been left to die. Behind it, scattered clouds of smoke, carefully trying to disguise the rushing highway in the evening twilight. The black cable phone next to the bed and the orange light in the room, shining warmly through the semi-transparent curtains from the streetlights in Blade Runner style, also speak of seriousness. Nothing here is playful anymore. Everything is serious. The moon and the night, the lobby and the plastic palm trees, the border patrol, the pool table and above its holy Mary. Only the carpathians, with their industrial silhouettes, from the distance in blurry air, look in the haze like toys for adults.

Surrounded by an eerie quietness and pleasantly smoky air, I am invited for a drink by a colleague of the dead. The school bus driver looks through the windshield, empty of thought, and smokes while the children get off the bus. What am I actually looking for? What does a landscape mean anymore? The sky is always there. No matter what. Two hundret meter further exists martial law. This is the line that separates Europe from the war.

I have to take out my earring and the driver bangs his fist hard on the air conditioner because it is broken. When I'm asked if I carry weapons with me or if I hide people here; and that I could be thrown dead into the forest at night because these people don't care about me, my whole voice trembles. I think of all the shaking heads, I think of the knife I carry with me to cut my bread with, I think of the shoes I quickly put back on to look at least somewhat respectable. And I remember that I never really wanted to cross the line into reality.

The twilight is peaceful. As if nothing had happened. Blue-red-purple sky. Everything is quiet. Except for a crow, an eagle owl and three stray dogs that are purposefully biting into trash bags. Somewhere in the distance I can hear the sound of The Eye Of The Tiger. Military vehicles occasionally hum in a disturbing manner. And the box-me-machine, that casually alarms with warning sirens into the silence.