The Little Things: Strasbourg

-Max Gouchian

It’s just too good, what can I say. Monkeycare has been shut down. After the least qualified president in the history of the world every period got elected he decided to take a shot at healthcare only to realize that it was much harder than selling stakes or opening a fake university. Paul Ryan said and I quote “Obamacare” will remain the law of the land. The worst part is, if that’s the healthcare the U.S. is stuck with maybe we should go to Europe instead. Speaking of, I went to Strasbourg; bear with me.

The country sides, like any other, reveal large trees randomly sprouted in the midst of green planes. They reach high, with thick bark supported by deep roots grounded in the earth’s crust with a loud crackle. In the distance there are homes; unified in color, their roofs company a sense of monogamy that makes you believe. One point reaches above all, a sharp tip to which all the other structures bow and prey to; this proves to be a foreshadowing, a taste of what I am to expect.

The city is neither here nor their. Gothic architecture expresses a French style while the rough wooden structures painted with colored glass hint at a German influence. Here is the point of compassion, of unity, of the endless trust and love I soon will have for these people. This is the bridge between worlds, somewhere to point to in despair, calling against the doubters, the seekers of evil.

The city floor guides; with its beaten path assembled like a mausoleum, the work of madness, it forces you to watch your step. Every now and then I look up towards the small apartments that cannot be described with words alone. I mean as a whole nothing is special, like any other French city perhaps, even similar to houses in Prague, but there is of course something there.

Little windows with wooden crosses hide the secrets that lie inside, with yellow lamps revealing a warm red atmosphere inside. Maybe an old man sits beside his library reading one of the many books he collected as kid. In a state of nostalgia his life is relived and filled once more with meaning. Or maybe a couple sits on the floor holding a bottle of cheap dark wine between there legs listening to a vinyl scratch in the background as they pierce into each others eyes at the break of tears. She puts her head on his shoulder as he takes a drink from the bottle, a momentary laps of happiness.

Among these homes with sharp rising roofs that store wine in wooden barracks and small shops she makes her self visible. Only on the very top a portion of her is revealed. She teases you showing herself to you in small ways not like a whole. You get to see every part of her but not together, not yet. You have to work to get to her. Swivel between the labyrinth of the city among the strong smell of cheese shops and sticky wood of pubs and bars, only then will you see her.

And finally, there she is, the cathedral. There is of course nothing particularly special about her, she is neither the only one in the world nor is she a feat of great genius. Not in anyway, in fact the entirety is a bit overplayed and bland, with no key feature that screams Strasbourg! No. It is in fact the context of it all that accompanies something magical. Something to be cherished for ages to come.

A cold gentle breeze pushes me in no clear direction swinging the store signs that give soft creeks. There are few to walk around. The noise of clubs and dance floors remain hidden below the ground. The  sound of women moaning as their partners caress their necks, remains under the tall arched tunnels that engulf old train rails and a river. There is very little action around her, a few tourists and locals will swing past occasionally looking upwards and perhaps taking a photos, nothing special. Wrong, what a waste.

A man sits below her feet playing cello. The song is something out of a horror book, its strings are thick and rusty. Long deep strokes are made shaking the air and curdling my blood. The sound rings in my ear until it becomes familiar and necessary.

The building itself is an architectural masterpiece every inch, every corner, every part is decorated with some intricate detail, some statue, so gargoyle. A bald man reaches forward on one wing his arms thin and expose grabbing his face as he yells in agony the cello only mimicking his voice. A queen thrusts herself forward decorated in large garments covering her feet as she sips wine. A monster cries in the dust as the black smut takes over his face. All the while everything is lit up by creamy yellow lights that warm my thoughts and warn my actions. Do not approach this giant with ill fate, she will punish you. Admire her beauty and excellence and be awarded with a memory that befits gods. This gothic beast will forever remain with my thoughts as a beauty unattained.

 

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