The part of the Mauerweg that cuts between Pankow and Prenzlauerberg – PBerg – for short, is lined with cherry blossom trees. By mid-March it’s warm and the delicate pinky-white flowers are far enough along that the petals start falling, thereby hiding the pitted asphalt bike path below.
We texted about meeting at the park section of the Mauerweg, near the Fußball stadium on the hill. There is a common meeting place at the base of the octagonal cement lamppost. She agreed and I conferred.
From the apartment to the top of the path, I saw a few people. Warm enough for blossoms, but days with even the slightest chill are not a popular time on the Mauerweg. Those whom I rode by nodded hello, and one even said, yes, you go first, I’ll go after you, when the large potholes rendered themselves unmissable. People are quite gracious when biking, I find.
As I approached the beginning of the path, I thought about the beauty and lovely atmosphere created by the arcing blossoms. My phone pinged, I stopped, straddled the bar and held my bike between my legs. Are you almost at the park, she asked. I texted back, yes almost. I dropped a pin to share. I’ll ride towards you, yes, she asked in response. Totally, I replied. LOL, I added, as it felt like such a young thing to use. I hopped back on the seat, pulled the chinstrap on my helmet snug, and pushed down on the pedals.
About midway, I saw her approaching, her fuchsia helmet easily spotted amongst the cherry blossom petals scattering and floating down on the short windy gusts from the tangle of overhead branches. I waved. She raised her hand in acknowledgement. When we were finally close enough we faced one another from opposite directions and leaned in for a one-armed hug, holding our respective handlebars with the other.
My bike wobbled and fell to the ground. She caught herself before she too fell towards me. Oh my, are you ok, she gasped. Yes, I said, feeling a warm trickling of blood slide down my right shin, imagining the pinky-brown stain that would form as it dried. The oily, sharp gear ripped through my jeans, my foot having slipped on the blossom covered path.