It had been a while since they had travelled anywhere. They wanted to, but couldn’t; they never spoke about it. On this Saturday evening, she suggested a walk through town: let us pretend to be tourists, she said, and picked up the camera. He didn’t see the point, but agreed.
Afternoon rain had followed morning snowfall, and although the slushy streets made walking difficult, the sky was clear and the air fresh; it seemed like a new place after all, she said.
Around a corner, she pointed to the church tower at a distance: that looks interesting – we must walk towards it.
It was the town’s only Protestant church, one they crossed each day driving back from work, and yet, from this street at this hour it seemed unfamiliar. Was it the light, he wondered. Or was it the snow?
On hauptstrasse, boys were throwing balls of snow at people passing by, who stopped, glared at them for a while, and went on their way. Unruly kids, she remarked. Those in our town are so well behaved – things are so different here.
He played along (he’d realized that one only had to look at things anew), and added that this main street looked more modern than the one in their town. She looked at him, surprised and elated, and he noted he hadn’t seen that glint in her eye before.
Soon they reached the church, whose tower rose majestically against the backdrop of a blue sky. He took pictures; passers by looked at him the way people look at tourists in a not-so-touristy place, wondering why were they visiting this town at all.
In a parking lot next to the church he spotted graffiti on a nearby wall. They walked towards it to get a closer look, and stood for a while examining it the way curious people look at murals in museums and churches.
The walk back was through familiar territory: they returned along the same route, seeing things they had seen moments earlier, but from the opposite direction. A small bulldozer-like vehicle that hadn’t caught their attention earlier looked impressive this time, standing alone in a vacant plot.
Back home, they sat down and looked at the pictures they had taken. It was a nice town, they agreed, and decided they should visit it more often.