Sunday afternoon in the Tiergarten.
A group of four shirtless guys sit on the grass, smoking pot and rolling a soccer ball in listless circles.
Across the clearing, a man in a leather costume, with a mask and a long graceful tail, is pulling a two-wheeled cart. The lingerie-clad woman in the cart smacks him with the reigns and urges him to trot faster.
At first, I took a small group of people sitting together on the ground to be a typical picnic gathering. Closer inspection reveals that those struggling into horse costumes are waiting for their turn to be in harness.
Nearby, a group of families with small children kick balls and play games and pay no attention to them at all.
We read and drowse in the afternoon sun. The occasional horse-fetishist canters past. A couple who has spent most of the afternoon all over each other stands and begins to tie one another up with elaborate shibari-inspired knots. The girlfriend removes her boyfriend’s shirt, blindfolds him with it, and slowly, methodically, meditatively wraps him in rope, until his arms are bound to his legs with a diamond pattern.
The grass is damp, and the birdsong mildly hypnotic. I close my book and shut my eyes, dozing in the sun and thinking of cold draft beer.