|Peter Bratislava spring 2016|
From 2004 I lived for a year in an apartment in a two floor house with a garden on Zvolenska street. It is one of a handful of streets named after cities, that some how have the feeling of being in the countryside. After a week of living there I came home one day to find my apartment flooded, I was ankle deep in water and from the wet ceiling I quickly realised it had come from my neighbours above, so I went upstairs and knocked at the door and that's when I first met Peter. Over the following months Peter taught me to speak Slovak on evenings around a fire in the garden. He spoke no English but he could draw which helped me to understand some things better. He was married and had two boys aged three and ten and a small dog, they all lived packed into a small two room apartment. The garden was a great advantage and in all seasons and weather we sat outside and talked about books and history or of his boys and what he imagined for their future. We grilled sausages and drank beer and my vocabulary grew.
Purely by chance I met Betka, Peters wife in the city last week and she invited me to visit them over easter, so yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening sitting under the old walnut tree in their garden, it felt as if ten years had passed in just a few months, the garden looked much the same but Symon was now thirteen and Matko twenty. As we swapped stories in the fading light around the fire, I was once again reminded of how quickly time flies.