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It's nighttime. The streets and sidewalks are dimly lit and a train passes by next to me. I'm listening to music like I always do - probably Prince or something - but am extremely aware of what is to come. My eyes are on the ground and I walk a little closer to the edge. There it is. I see the shadow - the shadow of that tile. That little shit that I trip on way more than I'd like to admit.

I don't trip this time. Success. I continue walking and receive a message. I look down and read it - I'm a good multi-tasker. I glance up briefly, like anyone does when also walking, before getting ready to respond.

There it is.

All of a sudden I feel my body lunging forward. There's not much I can do, but my right foot slams down on the ground before I lose complete control. I stumble a bit but recover. Immediately I glance back at that second tile. The kind of glance meant to signify it wasn't me, it was the ground - there's something there. That glance you give when blaming an inanimate object for your idiocy and somehow convincing yourself that you're doing everyone else a favor by warning them that it's there. But it got me.... again.

If one is the loneliest number, then I’m going to say that three is the most dangerous. Three is the number of elevated tiles on the walk from Sternschanze station to my apartment here in Germany. Three is the number of chances I get to avoid tripping on my walk home.

I've tripped a countless amount of times since I've been here and now am relentlessly focused on this short segment of my walk home. Call me clumsy if you want. All three of these tiles occur in less than 20 meters and if I don't trip on the first, noticeably larger tile, I'm filled with so much satisfaction that my focus for the second fades and I trip on that.

It's been about a week-and-a-half since I've last tripped on these tiles. I'm doing my best, but they're out to get me.

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