Algae glistens on the freshwater lake of Kladow in the throng and the thrum of late-July 2022. A covey of bikes form a barricade, a fort, a castle moat onboard the navel of the ferry.

S-Bahn to Wannsee, ferry to Kladow.

It’s Jack’s birthday and we have just moved to Berlin.

Water beings stretch their limbs through labrynthine crevices far out across from the radiant matrix of the sea and into the banks of this resort. But I taste the sea still, saline laced through muggy air; and with tongue and mind awash with the muss, it feels like a holy day.

A small boat arrives at the nearby wharf, docks itself under the foliage of the trees in a thick nest of reeds; plays pop-punk music and DGAF. A group of teenagers loll over the edges, rest languidly. They melt like waxen figures under the pulse of a burning sun.

We cycle out in search of a place to swim, by way of Dr. Max Fränkel’s Landhausgarten, through chalk tracks and bulrush. Glances stolen between the fences of summer houses and their back gardens in which we pass by; there is nowhere to swim.

Out there among some back road the shock of gunfire ripples through the quiescence and at once a group of police cars swarm the street in which we are approaching. In momentary astonishment we hold still, gawp, ossify.

They tell us, of course, in their great, quaking force to to move on, to move away and into another direction. So we scatter, we cleave, we take another route as we make our way back through the trees, the water and the reeds; passing the same grand houses along the same path and by the end of the day, after hours of refreshing a Google search for “kladow news gunshot” we find a local article diffusing some anxiety about the events. No one injured or harmed, all fine, all fine.

But somewhere, out there, a man stands tall on a tiled roof with a gun, palms faced upward toward a sun, heavy-lidded in exhaustion and delirium, and somewhere out there, a mother wails.