If happiness is fleeting moments of unsuspected joy then I’ve been very happy at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. Upon reflection, these moments have little to do with Frankfurt itself. The architecture of the city is not conducive to joy. The skyscrapers are misplaced: they look like glass thorns in the heart of the city. And the river is too solemn and neutral for my liking. The people, however, are another story. I’ve never met so many interesting, unique individuals in such a short span of time. If I were a writer I would write a Frankfurt love story. One in which the plot would unfold over countless –seemingly random- meetings between love-struck men and women united by a common object of affection. It would take place in the labyrinth of the Messe as well as restaurants, bars, streets, trains and busy platforms. It would be realistic. There would not be a happy ending to every meeting. And there would be moments of exhaustion, disappointment, confusion, loneliness or, even, despair. The object of the protagonists’ love would always remain elusive. It would appear in never-ending guises, at times beguiling, at others uninviting. There would be risk; miscalculated odds and probabilities. And in between there would be happiness: small transparent moments of joy destined to expire before the protagonists realize their existence. It would only be in retrospect that the heroes would be able to relive the joy of happenstance, the thrill of discovery and the certainty of real love. There would be no regrets, no ifs; only a desire to relive it all again in the next available opportunity. I am not sure if this Frankfurt love story would have a title, but if it did, it would be rather long and predictable: Books and People: A Story of Condensed Unsuspected Happiness in the (Invisible) City.
Photo: October Blossom by Evangelia Avloniti.