There were two towels in my kitchen -- a red one and a grey one. Towels, I know. But they were just the right towels.
I bought them in Germany from Ikea Berlin Tempelhof, halfway round the S-Bahn from my flat. I'd go there just to wander around on the days that were too grey. Or the days when choosing a new spatula fixes everything.
People would carry all their flatpack home on the train, Billy and laundry-airers and oversize posters and duvets packed like aerosol into polypropylene as if a duvet in a bag can ever be convenient.
I can't find them in England. It's a continental size of towel, or something. I've a matching one from Ikea Milton Keynes. Same towel, wrong size. It's too big. It sits on the hook like an abandoned superhero cape. I dry my hands on it faintly resentfully and it hangs there unwieldily, like it knows it wasn't what I wanted.
They're both gone now, the towels. The grey one disappeared over the summer, something to do with my fortieth. I had the red one left though, a soft, right-sized memory of my warm, glossy red kitchen on Gaudystrasse that coincidentally fit exactly on the grill door handle of the pocket-sized Tricity Bendix in the little house. But I burned it tonight. I made soup and left it accidentally on a hot element. I have it here on my desk, exhaling the caramelised sugar smell of scorched cotton.
The soup was OK. But it wasn't worth it.