I watch the landscape move by and journal about my last adventure.
The one and only Wildlife Sanctuary in Cologne
On the way to Berlin, we made a pit stop to visit an old friend of mine in Cologne. Frank was the boyfriend of my best friend from growing up, Danny, who’d died almost 4 years ago. Now Frank is his widow. Frank met us at the station and alternately carried each of our bags for us.
He’s Peruvian born and raised, lived in Canada, lived in Miami a bit (where I met him), then Colorado, then Wyoming, then Portland, briefly in Brazil and now here. He told us a bit about the city.
There are not too many old structures left after World War II, but luckily the Cathedral was spared, which we planned to visit the next day. Cologne is a college town. It’s home to the largest gay population in Europe (supposedly), which I can see some proof of as we trek back to his apartment.
He does nothing here, but study German. The German system has some incredible social programs that give Frank and countless others welfare for living. It’s not much, but it’s enough.
Frank’s small one bedroom is on the 4th floor, so he helps us with our bags up the narrow winding stairs. It was so good to see him. We had never been very close, so our conversation kept coming back to Danny, who was a joy when he was alive and so there’s still this irresistible pleasure in reminiscing about him. Frank had devoted his life so fully to their relationship and now that Danny is gone, he continues to hold space for him as something of a memorial. I know, it
sounds kind of sad and it kind of is, but to know
Frank is to know that the only real committed relationship he’d had before Danny was to the Catholic Church. The ghost of Danny had become his new God. He’s happy
to worship. He holds Danny’s old rollerskates from childhood, his writing, his cake mixer (even though he doesn’t have an electrical converter) and the many things they had gathered together. The most notable of those things is their collection of wildlife novelties, including: a china set, place settings, posters, a bathmat, a toothbrush holder, a toilet brush… all depicting bears, wolves (Frank’s favorite), moose, elk, foxes, etc. It’s kitsch without trying. It’s surreal.
Frank is a great host. He was willing and ready to take us out and show us around or whatever we wanted to do, but after our exhaustive experiences over the past few days, long travel and lack of sleep, we decided to just stay in. Frank makes us an appetizer and dinner, lets me use his computer, and sets up a comfortable place for us to sleep.
In the morning, we’re treated like queens, once again and escorted back to the bus station, right next to the Cathedral. Frank watched our things as we checked out he Cathedral, the first historically famous church that I have ventured inside of, on this trip.
Thank you, sweet Franky!!! xo