Before you approach the following travel diary, please note that the protagonist is going through a phase wherein her relationship to loneliness has yet to be redefined. This is due to various unknown incidents before date, not mentioned or referenced in this piece.
Everything went according to plan. I saw yellow fields, read the entire last issue of the New Scientist (love the article about OCD, and toads). I had a giant cheese sandwich, carefully observed the train attendant laughing with a passenger and five minutes later going mute when she issued a ticket to a lady in a full body burka.
A culture alien to me.
On a more positive note, on the four hours train ride to Halle (Saale) I had my own little compartment with a door to shut. Luxury I needed, although the people who walked by the milky doors became zombies craving only one thing: Relief – the loo right next door.
This is the brother Grimm’s part of the continent. Thick fog calls for red riding hood, crawling in the mud behind a paper factory. The slightly hilly landscape of Hessen left an impression, as much on me as on the brothers.
“Anyone else unchecked tickets?”, she opens the door. I don’t look around because I know I am still alone in my compartment but she obviously isn’t aware.
Heavy fir trees melt into the mist and for just a moment my mouth stands widen open. We disappear under the most threatening cloud I have seen for a while. Harmless creature did not even spill one drop.
As it is getting darker I see my silhouette in the window. With my plainly tied hair coming lose everywhere I look like a milk maid from St Petersburg. The final pages of Nabokov in front of me.
With every such journey I see clearer that people in modern society don’t know what a full day is. People used to work from sunrise to dawn…but we, myself included, work only an eight hour day. So much shorter and so little relation to the natural life cycle.
Most patterns of behaviour in the general crowd are similar within one culture.
With the flow in alcohol on Friday night, the flow in blood sets in the morning after. Three days earlier than expected. Perhaps my physical system had enough sleep to relax and unleash womanhood before I could make use of the prescribed peak flow meter.
As fluctuating as my breath was my mood together with a rather low level of patience.
And yet when I saw green shrubs in a rapeseed field on our way for shopping they appeared like tanks rolling off to base in peace times. A German version of ‘Where have all the flowers gone’ on the radio of a small red French car.
With the (lately) conscious understanding of what I am I see why I have left all this long ago: their average brains are far behind me. No doubt lovely people still….my uncle showed me a couple of German comedians on video and, of course, he expected me to laugh. I just cannot laugh at or about comedians. I never find them funny and worth showing my teeth. So after a while, myself so very aware of his expectations I wandered off to the kitchen with a bowl of walnut ice cream which I haven’t had for a long time.
There were many of such small moments…between cake and the obsessive need to keep the general temperature of the house on tropical standards. If I was the radical type of writer I’d note here Freedom burns easily.
On a table in an ice cafe there is a vanilla milkshake. While I quietly torture the ice cream with a spoon I anticipate a life for living and the life for writing.
Word for Sunday: Nobody told me I cannot build something else with the bricks of my wall.
Soon enough my brother will blame me for leaving him and my parents but don’t you dare thinking it is easy knowing in a few decades our hometown will have no good families left. My family lived there for at least a hundred years – lots of new brilliant family stories (only from my father’s side) for example, once, over half a century ago my great grandmother left my grandmother at a friend’s home to go to a masquerade ball and, as it was custom, tights and panties still dried above a fireplace. So it happened that they caught fire and my grandmother nearly burned to death. Now being reason for her fear of doctors. And my great grandfather (*1903) was two years younger than his wife (*1901). Somehow unusual for such times.
I carry these stories with me wherever I go but I am just not able to stay anywhere near there. I am living proof of our nomad habits. Besides there is hope that one day I will settle and enrich another community.