A couple of weekends ago we once again found ourselves piloting from village to village in search of a Centre Sportif (a central community gym.) Stretched 50 miles long and 35 miles wide with Luxembourg City smack dab at the lip line, most villages in Luxembourg are within an oft quoted “20 minute” drive. On the occasion of this weekend however, two games for two different boys demanded our presence at the exact same time– one at the forehead of the Grand Duchy, the other at its chin. Earlier in the morning, we had already played a game somewhere on the East cheek. Seizing the opportunity toward simplification living in a small city flush with reliable public transportation, it is the rare Saturday such as this one where having one family car has been problematic. Problematic, to be precise, for those not disposed to waiting.
There are worse things than passing time in the quiet of a small village. Only an early drop-off would have provided an empty gym for a Jimmy Chitwood moment. Post-game, families gather around an out-of-place bar in the gym lobby waiting for their young athletes to toast both wins and losses. This time a scarce loss, most likely the result of fatigued boys from an earlier triumphant game. Soon the lobby empties leaving only the two of us, but not before the oversized Tupperware container of dirty jerseys passes on to us for our turn at community washing. Ear buds in to recharge, my tired athlete reclines against the Tupperware while I busy myself for the hour wait counting all the shades of yellow paint used to bejewel this cavernous Centre Sportif.
Unlike a dream where you are desperate but unable to zoom out from the mire of your situation, simply being awake allows me the choice to leave the yellow paints for something else. Out the window, into my field of view came this row of houses. This residential line up with their pea patch smoking balconies, perpendicular driveways, and heavily blinded windows. Even in the small villages, post war reconstruction has put the premium on trading private space for public space where green space is meant to be shared not individually manicured. Shoulder to shoulder, uniform in height and width but joyously irregular in color. Every color of the parachute on one village block. Being awake in the light also means we get to see the world in full color. In black and white, we’d only see the sameness of this row of house. In color, we appreciate the solidarity of being conjoined with our neighbor and the wonderful surprise that we are each graciously dyed in our own distinctive hue. A reminder worth hanging around for.