Der Abschiedsbrief

Es ist mir bewusst, dass ich euch allen eine Antwort schulde. Ihr werdet euch wahrscheinlich immer wieder diese eine Frage stellen „Warum?“ Je öfter ihr euch diese Frage stellt, desto weniger Sinn werdet ihr in ihr finden. Ihr werdet nicht schlau werden. Möglicherweise werdet ihr euch fragen, was ihr getan haben könntet, um zu verhindern, was hier soeben geschehen ist.

Liebe Agnes, kannst du dich noch erinnern, als wir am Translationszentrum saßen, im zweiten Stock und du mich fragtest, ob das der Ort sei, an dem bei einem unserer vorhergehenden Besuchen diese große, tote Spinne gehangen war. Ich wusste es nicht. Du meintest, sie habe sich ein Stockwerk über uns befunden. Ich wusste es immer noch nicht. Wir sprachen über dieses und jenes, als ich dich ansah und mir innerlich die Frage stellte, ob bei dir alles in Ordnung wäre. Dann bedrängte mich dieser Gedanke so sehr, dass ich ihn aussprach und dich fragte, ob bei dir alles in Ordnung wäre. Du fragtest mich überrascht, „Wieso“? – „Du siehst so besorgt aus“ bemerkte ich. Da sagtest du, du hättest darüber nachgedacht, was ich dir letzte Woche erzählt hatte. Du machtest eine Pause und ich sah, wie dir Tränen in die Augen stiegen.

Die Woche davor waren wir beide in einem völlig überfüllten U-Bahn-Abteil nach Hause gefahren, beide in dieselbe Richtung. Damals wussten wir noch nicht, dass wir nicht weit voneinander wohnen. Das haben wir beide erst zwei Wochen vor jenem Tag erfahren, als wir uns zufällig darüber unterhalten hatten, wo wir denn eigentlich wohnen. „In welche Richtung musst du“? Habe ich dich gefragt. „In Richtung Westbahnhof“ – „Cool“, habe ich geantwortet, „ich muss zur Gumpendorfer Straße“. Du hast mich erstaunt angesehen und gesagt, „da wohnen wir eh gleich in der Nähe! Ich wohne im 6. Bezirk!“ Ich habe gesagt, „Ich wohne im 5.“ Jedenfalls waren wir in diesem U-Bahn-Abteil, das so überfüllt war wie eine unterdurchschnittlich ausgestattete Legehennenfabrik – was mir überhaupt nicht schmeckte, da mir Menschenmassen ein Gräuel sind. „Du warst letzten Freitag nicht in Deutsch“. Mit diesen Worten hast du mich fragend angesehen. Vielleicht hast du etwas geahnt, bevor ich die Worte aussprach. Vielleicht auch nicht. Vielleicht hattest du die Ahnung einer Ahnung, wolltest sie aber nicht als die Realität anerkennen. Aus Selbstschutz womöglich. Ich könnte meine Theorien noch weiterspinnen, doch wozu? „Ich war am Wochenende im Krankenhaus“ bemerkte ich emotionslos und fast wie nebenbei. „Wieso“? – „Ich wäre fast gestorben. Wenn Michael mir nicht das Leben gerettet hätte“. Michael. Du hast mir jeden Tag das Leben gerettet, ohne es zu wissen. Du kannst getrost sein, dass ich es niemals so lange ohne dich geschafft hätte. Du gabst mir einen guten Grund, Tag für Tag aufzustehen und es zu versuchen. Du kannst dich sicher noch an unsere zahlreichen Abende erinnern, an denen ich sinnloserweise versuchte, gegen dich und den Pinguin – der Pinguin war die Spielfigur unseres dritten Mitspielers, dem Computer – in Monopoly zu gewinnen. Du hast mich immer lachend gefragt, ob ich denn wieder eine Runde Monopoly mit dir spielen wolle. Ich habe immer „ja“ gesagt und es immer wieder versucht, auch wenn ich immer wieder aufs Neue verlor. „Wieso bist du immer so zickig“, fragtest du mich während des Spiels, wenn ich missmutig den Würfel auf das Spielbrett knallte, weil mein Konto mal wieder überzogen war und meine Hotels von der Bank eingezogen worden waren. Meistens gab ich auf, bevor das Spiel beendet war. „Du musst lernen, zu verlieren“, tadeltest du. „Ich habe in meinem Leben schon so vieles verloren“, meinte ich schmollend, warf mich auf das Bett und vergrub meinen Kopf im Kissen.

„Was ist denn passiert“? Hast du mich schockiert gefragt, als meine Gedanken von Michael zu dir in die U-Bahn zurückkehrten. „Ich hatte eine Überdosis Schlaftabletten geschluckt und mir danach eine Plastiktüte um den Kopf geschnürt.“

„Was ist eigentlich passiert, nachdem du in die Wohnung kamst?“ fragte ich Michael aus Neugierde.

„Ich kam nach Hause und die ganze Wohnung war dunkel. Du warst nicht da, also dachte ich, du seist spazieren gegangen“ – „So spät am Abend?“ Du zucktest mit den Schultern, „wieso auch nicht?“ Du führtest deine Ausführungen weiter, „jedenfalls hörte ich plötzlich ein Geräusch, das aus dem Badezimmer zu kommen schien“ – „Ein Geräusch? Wie war das möglich? Ich war doch bewusstlos!“ – „Ich weiß es auch nicht. Vielleicht war es auch nur so etwas wie Intuition. Guter Gott, ich war so froh, dass ich früher von Martin nach Hause gekommen bin. Eigentlich wollten wir uns noch gemeinsam >Avatar< ansehen und der dauert normalerweise drei Stunden. Und gottseidank war die Haustüre nicht verschlossen, denn sonst hätte ich ja nicht einmal die Wohnung betreten können“. Ich war an diesem Tag, wie so oft, im Besitz unseres einzigen Haustürschlüssels gewesen, weil ich normalerweise früher als du nach Hause kam. Ich gab zu, das waren viele Zufälle auf einmal. „Ich habe dich sofort aus der Dusche in das Wohnzimmer gezerrt und dich in eine stabile Seitenlage gebracht. Du hast gewimmert und ich habe sofort die Rettung verständigt.“ – „Daran kann ich mich nicht mehr erinnern“, meinte ich. „Du hast mir so einen Schrecken eingejagt“, sagtest du.

Danach muss ich das Bewusstsein verloren haben. Ich wachte in der Intensivstation des Krankenhauses auf. Ich war verkabelt wie ein Roboter im Anfangsstadium. Für alle Fälle wurde ich intravenös mit irgendeiner Flüssigkeit versorgt und meine Herzfrequenz wurde unter die Lupe genommen. Ich bin wieder eingeschlafen und immer wieder aufgewacht, da ich aufgrund der Magensonde – die man mir freundlicherweise in meinem bewusstlosen Zustand gesetzt hatte – immer wieder eine tiefschwarze Brühe – ihres Zeichens Aktivkohle – erbrach. Am nächsten Tag langweilte ich mich zutiefst und hätte am Liebsten das Weite gesucht, doch dies war aufgrund meiner erhöhten Herzfrequenz ein Ding der Unmöglichkeit. Also musste ich mein Dasein wohl oder übel in einem unbequemen Krankenbett, das dank einer untereifrigen Krankenschwester übersät mit meinem Erbrochenen war, fristen. Wenigstens wurde ich die Magensonde los, da ich mich heftigst über Schmerzen im Bereich meiner Speiseröhre beklagte. Erst in diesem Moment wurde mir bewusst, dass diese durch meine Nase in den Magenraum reichte. Wäre ich bei Bewusstsein gewesen, hätte ich aufs Heftigste gegen dieses Ding in meinem Körper protestiert.

Zurück zu unserem Gespräch in der U-Bahn. Du schütteltest den Kopf und meintest „Aber das muss doch total belastend für das Umfeld sein“. In meinem Inneren war ich erzürnt. Nicht, dass ich deinen Gedankengang nicht hätte nachvollziehen können, ganz im Gegenteil. Ich konnte mich gut in deine Lage versetzen. Bloß konnte ich mich besser in meine Lage versetzen.

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autobiographie.

Man erzählt sich, in jener Nacht habe das Wetter verrückt gespielt. Die Wetterfee habe an den Bäumen gerüttelt und mit hinterhältigem Gelächter, das sich in der Form eines Gewitters äußerte, mit jenen die Straßen dekoriert, was so manchen Autofahrer, einen Durchschnittsmenschen, der unter normalen Umständen wohlgemerkt schlechte Emotionen gar nicht erst aufkommen lässt, zur Weißglut brachte. Jener Autofahrer hätten seine wertvolle Energie jedoch wesentlicheren Dingen widmen sollen, denn weder Weiß- noch Schwarzglut vermochten es, die Wetterfee (oder wollen wir sie Wetterhexe nennen?) zu besänftigen.

In jeder Nacht wurde ich gegen meinen Willen aus meiner gemütlichen Höhle vertrieben, so als würde jemand auf Gerechtigkeit pochen und mit einem vor Neid zitternden Zeigefinger, dessen zugehöriger Fingernagel zwangsläufig aufgrund von erzwungener Unterwürfigkeit des mächtig stolzen Fingernagelbesitzers und seiner Quelle unerschöpflichen Neides in dessen Darmtrakt umziehen musste, auf mich zeigen. Ich war einem Gericht ausgeliefert, dass es mir untersagte, mich zu etwaigen Vorwürfen zu äußern. Das Urteil stand fest, bevor man mit Zeigefingern auf mich oder die Idee von mir zeigte. Ich sollte dafür bestraft werden, dass ich die letzten neun Monate, einer Periode konstanten Wohlbefindes, einfach nur existierte.

Ein Gruppe von Ärzten und Krankenschwestern umringte das Bett einer jungen Frau, die sich im künstlichen Tiefschlaf befand. Der Gedanke an Schmerzen schien sie genauso zu quälen wie das sich anbahnende Unglück. Insgeheim hoffte sie, nie wieder aufzuwachen. Es war so weit. Die Gruppe von Ärzten und Krankenschwestern, denen man die Frustration darüber, zu dieser Stunde und bei diesem Wetter anwesend sein zu müssen, deutlich ansah, hatten alle auf das Signal gewartet. Es blieb jedoch aus. Ich wollte nicht schreien. Niemand stellte sich die Frage, ob ich leben wollte oder leben sollte.

Anfangs freute sich die Kaffeemaschine, dass sie vom Keller in die freundliche Wohnung umsiedeln durfte und endlich, endlich wieder ihrer Bestimmung nachgehen durfte. Sie konnte es kaum erwarten, endlich dieses wohlriechende, liebgewonnene Gebräu, die vollständige Erfüllung ihres Daseins, zu erzeugen. Sie liebte den Gesichtsausdruck der Menschen, das Lächeln, das erleichternde Seufzen, die einsetzende Entspannung nach einer frühmorgendlichen Tasse Kaffee und war stolz auf sich selbst. Doch an Tagen wie diesen wünschte sie sich nichts sehnlicheres, als wieder zurück in den Keller zu dürfen. Wie war sie doch überansprucht worden, dachte sie und rieb sich ihre schmerzenden Glieder. Die junge Frau, jene, mit dem elenden Gesichtsausdruck, jene, die ihre offensichtliche Überforderung mit dem neuen Menschen oder mit dem Leben im Allgemeinen im Kaffee zu ersäufen versuchte, war daran schuld. Wenn die Kaffeemaschine an das Kind dachte, das Kind! Überkamen sie fast mütterliche Gefühle. Obwohl sie selbst nie Kinder hatte, wohlgemerkt. Was wird bloß mit diesem Kind geschehen, fragte sie sich. Heute hatte sie miterlebt, wie die junge Frau auf dem kleinen Hocker vor dem Spiegel im Flur saß, den Ellbogen auf die kleine Kommode unter dem Spiegel stürzte und die Nummer ihrer Eltern wählte. Sie zitterte merklich und war kurz davor, in Tränen auszubrechen. “Hallo” begann sie mit verzagter Stimme. “Ich bin es. Marianne”. Den Rest des Gespräches konnte die Kaffeemaschine nur aufgrund Marianne’s Aussagen und den manchmal aufgebrachten Stimmen am anderen Ende des Leitung, die bis in die Küche drangen, deuten. “Ich weiß, dass ich einen Fehler gemacht habe” flehte die junge Frau, die sich Marianne nennt und fasste sich an die Stirn. Dieser Berg von Sorgen über das Kind und über die Welt, hatten beschlossen, auf ihrem Kopf Bauarbeiten durchzuführen, wogegen – die Kaffeemaschine rollte bei diesem Gedanken die Augen – natürlich Kaffee die Lösung war. “Papa, ich schaffe das nicht. Ich habe keine Nerven dazu. Du weißt doch, ich bin krank”. Die Verzweiflung der jungen Frau war nun offenkundig. Fast tat sie der Kaffeemaschine leid. “Bitte sprich noch einmal mit Mutter” meinte sie abschließend. Nach diesem Gespräch gönnte sie sich eine wohlverdiente Tasse Kaffee, bis das Kind in ihrem Schlafzimmer wie am Spieß zu schreien begann.

Die Frau war dagegen. Nicht um die Welt würde sie sich ein uneheliches Kind ins Haus holen, selbst wenn es ihr eigenes Enkelkind war. Schließlich und endlich war sie eine rechtschaffene, eine christliche Frau. Eine, die mit den Sünden anderer nichts am Hut hatte. Sie wusste jedoch, dass der Mann, der naiverweise ein Herz für Abtrünnige besaß, nicht locker lassen würde. “Ich habe gerade mit Marianne telefoniert”, meinte der Mann. Er schwieg für einen Moment und heftete seinen Blick auf seine Frau, die diesem gekonnt auswich. “Und”? Erwiederte sie. Natürlich wusste sie, worauf dieses Gespräch hinauslaufen würde, doch irgendwo im hintersten Winkel des Hinterkopfes hoffte sie, er würde das Offensichtliche nicht aussprechen, würde das Grauen nicht in Worte fassen. “Sie ist unsere Tochter. Und sie braucht unsere Hilfe. Wir tragen schließlich Mitverantwortung”. “Mitverantwortung”, wollte es verächtlich aus der Frau herausplatzen, doch anstatt ein Wort zu sagen, drehte sie ihrem Mann den Rücken zu, und begann, als gäbe es kein größeres Problem auf dieser Erde als verschmutzte Teller, eifrig mit dem Geschirr zu hantieren. Der Mann ließ nicht locker. “Ich denke, wir sollten Susanna hier aufnehmen.” Die Frau schien einen Moment lang wie gelähmt. Im Bewusstsein, dass es nichts half, ihrem Mann zu widersprechen und vor Wut an die zusätzliche Arbeit, dass dieses Balg zwangsweise erforden würde, denkend, würgte sie den Schwamm in der Spüle, der sich entsetzt fragte, was er denn dafür könnte.

truth comes in many shapes but never in the form of a lie.

Every day for the past few months I’ve been thinking about putting my story to paper. I’d get into the habit of sitting down on my bed, getting as comfortable as possible as though as I was hoping it would give some sort of structure to the thoughts in my head. I’d mute every sound, and in an almost solemn way I’d focus on what I was going to say whilst staring at a blank piece of paper that kept reminding me of the nothingness I’ve been feeling lately. Perhaps this was due to the subconscious voice within me that kept telling me that I wasn’t much of a writer and besides that, that I had nothing to say and which difference would my words make to the world anyways? Somehow I never accomplished to mute that voice in my head nor could I answer that question for myself. These thoughts were always accompanied by an unknown fear within me, a fear that was more than just a little vague, that had so far successfully prevented me from telling the truth, and nothing but the truth

Sometimes reality doesn’t seem so real if one doesn’t realize it’s real. I mean, you might know that it’s real but that doesn’t mean you realize it. Realization to me is an active process that involves critical thinking. I’d like to give an example: Imagine you’re in high school and your teacher tells you you’re supposed to know, let’s say, a theory of a famous physician if you wish to graduate. Now you can learn the cold hard facts that are being fed to you and in this sense, know. But you’ll never see the theory in the way the physicist saw it. You most likely won’t try to comprehend how the physicist got to his conclusion let alone question the physicist’s theory and after intense study declare it invalid. You might know all the formulas, learn it all by heart, but realization is more than just dealing with facts. It’s about looking behind the scenes, it’s about trying to put yourself in the physicist’s shoes and get a whole different perspective on the matter. Knowing, or knowledge in this sense is passive and as such, will never alter reality. So I’d say knowledge is safe but realization is dangerous, especially to those who realize that they’re realizing.

Once Upon A Time

Wolfgang:

I remember when I was seven and had just started my first year at primary school. There was this boy in my class with the cutest haircut ever that I had a bit of a crush on. For some reason – I have no clue why – we always sat next to each other on the school bus. He didn’t live very far away from me – perhaps a mile – and even less when you took a shortcut. Wolfgang – that was his name, seemed rather quiet and shy to me but I still liked him – secretly, of course.

I remember one time when we were on our way back from school and all the other girls had already left the bus. Two boys that were known for being rascals, one called Simon – which was a neighbour and friend of mine – and the other one called Daniel, took their seatbelts off and started messing around. Wolfgang was still sitting quietly beside me. Until the two other boys suddenly got this crazy idea that I had to be kissed by him. I acted like I was disgusted and turned away so that Wolfgang – who found the idea hilarious and was attempting to plant a perfect smooch on me wouldn’t be able to accomplish his mission (I secretly didn’t mind at all, but of course I couldn’t just show them that I liked their idea), so I struggled as hard as I could to avoid Wolfgang kissing me until the boys figured out I wouldn’t hold still and get kissed unless they held me against my will. Wolfgang then successfully kissed me  on my bright red cheek with the two other boys cheering in the background and I got off the bus the happiest person on the planet.

 

Rene:

I will always remember the first time I met Rene. I was around 8 or 9 years old and my mother told me one day that I should get ready for a party/barbecue we would be having that evening. My parents had invited lots of people over and I would be knowing none of them, hence my attitude towards said event was rather negative. But since I had no say in the matter, I did as I was told. Mother explained to me that there was a society of foster parents that usually met up once a month. One of the members had recently come up with the idea that it might be great to meet up one day and bring the fostered children along so we could all get to know each other. And what, for this occasion, would be a better idea than a barbecue?

I remember lying down in front of the TV set, until my mother exclaimed that the first guests had arrived. I was not excited, but opened the front door. All I saw, at first sight, were plenty of strangers as well as cars. A little boy was complaining that the car ride had taken far too long. Then I spotted him. He was just standing there and wearing a blue jacket, which was nothing unusual. Something about him struck me like a lightning though so before I knew what I was doing, I marched towards him, shook his hand and said “Hi, I am Susanna” and welcomed him. The poor boy looked terribly confused. I left him standing there and started to gather all the candy that the rest of the guests had brought for me and my brothers. Most children – as far as I could see I was the only girl apart from a 3-year-old that wouldn’t leave her parents’ side – ran off to play in the sandbox.

The boy in the blue jacket just stuck around me and followed me wherever I went. There would be a surprise awaiting us in the kitchen, which was why we weren’t allowed to enter the house, so I decided to head for the barn, where I jumped off huge piles of hay along with a couple of boys including the one wearing the blue jacket. When we were alone, I asked him what his name was and he said “Rene”. We struck up a conversation as we both petted a couple of baby cats. I asked him how old he was and he replied that he had just turned 9 a couple of days ago. I congratulated him and said that I was still eight, but that my birthday was only a few months away. We were finally allowed to enter the house and there was indeed a huge surprise awaiting us. It consisted of cakes as far as the eye could see – and we were allowed to eat as much as we wanted to. So me and Rene, who was sitting next to me, stuffed each other’s faces. While we were doing so, I explained that the hayloft above the barn was actually a labyrinth. Rene got all excited and wanted to go there, which we later on did. Up on the hayloft, we  just strolled around randomly. I asked him whether he had ever been to a farm before. “Yeah”, he replied “my grandfather owns one”. Suddenly we heard two voices saying “I wonder where Rene and Susanna are. Let’s go and search for them.” “Come, let’s lie down on the floor so they won’t see us”, Rene whispered. I giggled and did as he told me. “Oh, they’re not here”, the voice said, “let’s go downstairs”. Rene and I grinned at each other and then also went downstairs to where the barbecue had already started. Again, we sat down next to each other. We even shared a piece of banana cake on one plate, as – as his mother put it – there was no dishwasher and they’d rather not waste too many plates. Later, a picture of all of us kids was taken. Rene was standing underneath me which made me incredibly proud. After this, everyone had to leave soon, so Rene and I sat down outside in the backyard at the swings and just talked until it was time for him to go home. I was really sad that he had to leave but his mother and my mother exchanged addresses and she promised me that she’d arrange for us to meet again in summer. My mother later told me that Rene had never gotten along so well with a girl. I also found out that he had only learned how to speak at the age of four.

Throughout the year, Rene and I kept sending each other letters. I remember having received the cutest birthday card from him. As I was told, he would rush to the mailbox daily in order to see whether there was a letter there from me. In summer, Rene was invited to stay over for a week at my place. My parents and I went to pick him up. While Rene got all of his things ready and the adults got into a conversation in the kitchen, I created a huge havoc with his younger brother, Sigi, in the living room. Rene would not participate. To me, at that point, he seemed rather grown up and serious. He hardly smiled too. On the ride back to my place, we sat next to each other but basically didn’t really exchange a word. At home, Rene was tired and ready to go to sleep so we both disappeared into my room, where there was a mattress on the floor prepared for him. When he was fast asleep, I’d turn the lights on and just look at him and marvel at how beautiful he was.

The week went by fast. I don’t remember everything that we did, but one day we took my dog Daisy for a long walk and I showed him around in the little town I grew up in. I even showed him my primary teacher’s house. Another day, we went to the public pool together. I was a bit afraid of the water – always had been – therefore I only stayed in the shallow areas which Rene didn’t understand. He ran off to the more deeper ends and made fun of me with the other boys because I just wouldn’t muster up the courage to jump into the water from a bridge. (I was honestly convinced that I was going to die). One evening, Rene and I were in my room as usual, when he asked me, if I knew what sex was. I laughed, called him a fool and said, of course I knew what that was. “Do you want to do it”? he asked me. I replied: “Sure”. “Well, then you have to get undressed”. Which I did, thinking this was perfectly funny. I lay down on top of him and wouldn’t stop giggling. “You’ll have to take off your clothes as well or it won’t work!” I demanded and we got into a play-fight. We were interrupted because we noticed somebody opening or rather closing my bedroom door.

The next and last time that I saw Rene, was at the next foster children meeting, which took place in his hometown. Rene successfully pretended (or did he pretend?) not to like me, so I mostly hung out with the other guys. One of them, he was referred to as “Richie”, a bespectacled thirteen-year-old that everyone respected, even told Rene off for calling me names. “Stop messing with my girl” he said and invited me to his treehouse where there was a “no girls”- policy, a fact that one of the other boys pointed out to him. “Well, she’s an exception”, Richie declared and that was that. Up in the treehouse, Richie produced a pack of cigarettes. We all sat in a circle and he passed the lit cigarette from boy to boy. I remember my brother inhaling the fumes and some six-year-old that always wet his pants, as well. I didn’t feel like joining in, but I still liked the almost solemn atmosphere.

 

David:

When I was fourteen and in my last year of junior high, I had a crush on about every guy I came across, it didn’t really matter to me whether I knew his names or not. I would keep journals where I’d rate boys according to hotness (if I didn’t know a guy’s name, I would refer to him as f.e.: “the guy with the striped shirt” or compare him to a celebrity). It didn’t help that the students in my parallel class were all boys. Of course, as I was rather plain-looking, the fact of me fruitlessly chasing after guys was met with both ridicule and escape. One week in April, the school had organized a trip to London for some students, including myself, so I was away for a week. When I got back from the trip, Nadine, one of the children that I shared my home with and who always knew the latest gossip, got all excited and said: “There’s a new guy. In the parallel class. His name’s David”. – “Uh-huh”. I said, not even trying to pretend as though as I was actually interested in what she was going to say. “And he doesn’t like fur” Nadine giggled, “he’s a vegetarian”. That’s when I stopped and listened, raising my eyebrows. I was a vegetarian as well.

The next day, I saw a guy walking down the stairs to the afore-mentioned parallel class. I only saw his hair and not his face, as he was walking with his head down, but I immediately knew that this must be the guy they referred to as  “David” aka “The New Guy”. When it was time for Math class, a class that I generally dreaded, not because I didn’t like the subject but because of the fact that the teacher always arrived late and some kids would seize this opportunity to constantly tease me up to the point where I’d be at the verge of tears, the teacher entered the class as usual and behind him, there was David. “We have a new student”, Mr. Wolfgang announced. I told myself I didn’t care and just went back to business, doing some equations. Still I could not help but look at him. There was something special about him, something that I could not explain. David, at that point, had black hair, blue eyes and constantly wore a suit to school which I found very unusual. Even the teachers at my school dressed casually.

We were each told to do our own calculating. The teacher would be sitting at the front desk and we’d queue up if we had a question or needed our results to be corrected. I lined up right behind David, who, when he turned around to me, smiled at me. I got suspicious. People normally didn’t smile at me. Heck, I didn’t even smile at myself, what was his deal? His behaviour both irritated and confused me but still I couldn’t help but smile back – whether I wanted to or not. The next day, I arrived at school at the same time as David. I hung up my jacket at the wardrobe, and David would smile and say “Hello”. I’d turn around to see if anybody was standing behind me but there was no-one. When I wanted to say “Hi” back, David had already disappeared. This kept going on for a couple of days, until we both finally accomplished to say “Hi” to one another.

David soon became a rather popular student. He was cheeky yet charming and knew who not to get in trouble with. Of course he soon realized, that those, that you did not mess with, were out to get me. One of the guys that had turned my trip to London into a living nightmare, his name was Felix, would always say things to me like “Susie, are you going home after class? Oh, excuse me, I forgot that you didn’t have a home”. He was also the author of my nickname “Eskimo”, a title I had earned for going to Canada each summer. “Susie, why do they keep calling you an Eskimo”? David asked me cheekily. Since I knew that he knew and also knew that he was just asking me in order to make an impression on Felix and his gang and earn plenty of laughter, I turned around, stuck out my tongue and watched as the smile on his face froze.

Another day, I was sitting in the back row and putting up with some other guys calling me names, shooting items at me as well as taping adhesive tape to my hair and force-feeding me my own pencil case. David happened to sit right before me. At one point, he’d turn around and again he’d have that cheeky little look on his face that really annoyed the hell out of me. Well, maybe deep inside within me I actually found it cute, but the fact that I didn’t want to find it cute, amounted to me finding it annoying. Either way, he leaned on my desk, stared at me bluntly and chewed on his gum for a couple of moments before pointing at the back of my hand, which had the word “Cocoa” written all over it – I had forgotten to pay this month’s bill. “You drink cocoa?” he asked me. “Yeah. So?” – “I drink Cocoa too”. Good for you, I thought. But David didn’t stop right there. He pointed at my pencil case, which was decorated with pictures of my then favourite band, Busted. “Boo-Sted”, David exclaimed. Although I didn’t want to find this funny, it made me laugh. “Look at this guy”, David continued, “he’s got such a funny face. And this one, just look at his eyebrows!”  David grinned and then turned back around.

Whilst trying to do my English homework one day, I discovered that my dictionary was missing. I saw that in one of the lockers next to mine, there was a dictionary and said to myself  “Oh I am sure its owner won’t mind if I borrowed it for just one day”, so I took it home. There, when I opened the first page, I got shell-shocked. It had David’s name written all over it. I ran over to Nadine’s room and we both marvelled at the dictionary. I marvelled at it even more than her because I had no clue how on earth David’s dictionary could end up in my class. The next day, I’d just put the dictionary on his desk. David looked at me like I was the strangest person he’d ever met and didn’t know what was going on. I tried to make  clear to him that I had found his dictionary, so I just said “Open it”. A part of me facepalmed hard inside of me for getting all tongue-tied. How hard was it to say “I’ve found your dictionary”? David frowned and opened the dictionary just to exclaim “Oh, it’s mine”. (DUH).

Another time, during Math class, David went past me to the teacher’s desk. I don’t even know why I did it, but I coughed. It was not like I needed to cough or that I had anything to say that would require a cough, because I didn’t, but of course David’s attention was all mine. I turned bright red, so red that all I could feel was heat rising up in my face and my ears starting to burn like fire. I didn’t want to think about myself blushing because I thought that would only make it worse, but what was I to do? I couldn’t stop focusing on my face. I also couldn’t move nor speak a word of reason. I felt like the whole class was aware of what was going on. It didn’t help that David actually bent over my desk to see what I was doing. I thought I was going to die, now finding it hard to breathe. I was so glad when class was over and I could go back to my classroom. The whole scenario just repeated itself the next few days. David, if he knew, and I am sure he did, just went about it in the same cheeky manner as he always did. “Who stole the Math book”? He’d ask “It was you, Susie, wasn’t it? Oh come on, just admit it”. I told him to shut up.

It was nearly time for graduation and everyone was heading into different directions. Some would go to Senior High, some would start looking for jobs and others would start an apprenticeship. I overheard David saying that he wanted to go to an art school in Styria because he was one of these people they call “art fanatics”. I found it a real shame that under these circumstances, I’d never see him again because I detested art and really wanted to attend  Senior High School. It was the school that David had flunked out of before he became a student at our school. “I’d never go there again”, he once told me when we were talking about our plans for the future.

It was the summer before I started High School. I had more or less gotten over the fact that I was never going to see David again. Until I found out that his application to art school had not been successful and his second choice had been “my” Senior High School.

Dear Diary

I thought that I could fix it all by myself. I thought that I didn’t need anybody, that I could take everything. I told myself I was completely unaffected by everything surrounding me, even things that directly affected me. I thought that I was perfectly alright, that there was nothing wrong in my life. I thought that I wouldn’t need anybody that would listen to me, anyone that would genuinely care about me let alone  love me. If somebody asked me how I was doing, I would usually start a shallow conversation or try to steer the conversation into a different direction but never really talked about what was really going on inside of me. Maybe there was nothing really going on at first, but as time went on, the void in my life became more and more evident to me. I became weary of life, I stopped smiling, I searched in vain for my purpose in live and stopped wanting to live. Before, my life was filled with relative happiness, I could always find pleasure and joy in other people and little everyday things. I daresay I was a girl who was always smiling, building others up when they were down, someone who always joked around in order to make others feel better and a good listener.

Then things changed and I found it hard to get up in the morning. I’d sleep until lunchtime, sometimes longer, ignoring the alarm clock that’d persistently play music for approximately 20 minutes, wallowing in my sadness, burying myself deeper into my mysery, waiting for life to be over. I grew restless, way too restless to do anything and I felt like giving in, putting this life to a hold. Of course, nobody knew what was going on inside me since I began locking people out. If I was “in danger” of being approached by anyone, I’d push them away. I had a feeling that nobody would care or if they cared, that they’d end up disrespecting me for my weaknesses. Perhaps I disrespected myself the most and therefore suspected everyone else to think that way. I don’t know if people assumed that I was fine but somewhere in the back of my head I knew that people mainly thought about themselves only and rhe last thing I wanted were Walmart-people that came in bulk and cared more for their reputations and good looks than building up an emotional relationship.  If you’re gone, nobody cares. The world keeps moving. After all, a human being is a mass-produced good. And I am saying “good” because one is only “good” when one becomes a “good” by being “good” at selling “goods”. Or themselves, as the case may be. You know, I never saw myself like that. I never saw myself doing that. Spending all my life just working, living  for other people. Not that I thought that I could ever get a job. My self-confidence, or lack of, was one more thing that bothered me. I mean, who would hire me? I collapse under stress, I really cannot handle it. I am not a person who likes to compete. Competing makes me scared. I have never been in for it. I always let people pass me by in the queue even though I was there first. I felt like I wasn’t worthy to be in a better position than anybody, even if I theoretically “deserved it”. You might have assumed that I didn’t think very highly of myself.

I have often thought that I was invisible. I know that I am “past the age” of imagining something so unrealistic, but this is merely an observation I have made throughout my life. People never noticed me. Even if they were standing next to me, nobody would even look at me let alone talk to me. I was often firmly convinced that I must be invisible. I always felt worthless, non-existent, not good enough to have friends, not good enough to even live. I often wished that they would shout at me, call me names or go even further but they never did. I wanted them to notice me, show me some kind of attention at least, even if it was negative. I could handle a lot but the most painful thing was to be invisible all these years. If somebody, by coincidence, looked at me or talked to me, I would not react at all, not being aware that I was being addressed until the person actually called my name (If there was a chance that by coincidence anybody else called “Susanna” was around, I’d turn my head several heads to make certain it was me). Times like these I was shocked that somebody actually noticed that I existed.

I am way too sensitive. Everything that anybody says, or does, anything in their body language that might indicate that they thought little of me I would notice and it would deeply hurt me. I don’t know how often my heart was close to breaking because of small things. I thought that sometime, I would get used to the pain and it wouldn’t feel so bad, but I was wrong. Each time, facing the world hurt just the same. This is one of the reasons why I started to avoid people. If there was nobody around me, nobody could hurt me, those were my thoughts. So I spent hour after hour, day after day and night after night in my room, with the curtains pulled so I didn’t have to look outside. I felt like someone who was suffering from Epidermolysis bullosa only that my heart was turned inside out. To me, going outside and talking to people was like taking a shower of pain. A shower of tiny little bombs that would explode in my heart and leave it like a battlefield.

To make it short, I couldn’t stand myself, I couldn’t stand anybody else and I saw no point in life. I saw my future as a future I’d be living out on the streets, with nobody to give me a smile or sympathy, let alone a job. Desperation came as a veil, covering my body and sight. It told me that there was no carrying on. I agreed with desperation, after all she raised a valid point. Also, one had to die eventually, why not accelerate it if there is nothing to live for and no happiness for me. I honestly did not want spend another 60 years of my life just waiting for death. I stopped caring, I felt tired, I wanted to sleep. I didn’t want to go on. That is when I swallowed all those pills at once whilst crying my heart out, hoping it would all be over soon.

The Dog Must Live

It started out with me ending up at the farm I grew up at, but the family that used to live there wasn’t present. Instead, I observed my grandparents as well as my godfather shooting little kittens or throwing them repeatedly at rocks until they died a slow, painful death. I begged them to stop, I yelled at them desperately and started crying until I ran out of tears. “Please, please, let me adopt them. I will take care of each and every one of them”. – “You can’t take care of anything” someone replied. “I’ve had two cats before” I asserted, raising my voice under the noise of the bullets. “They ran away from you. Maybe they hated you”. With these words, they killed the last kitten, in front of my eyes. “Please stop” I cried. “At least”, I demanded in a high-pitched voice, “at least spare the dog”. Someone in the background said “The dog is old. He’ll die eventually. Let her have him”. My grandfather, the one killing all those innoncent little animals, put the shooting to a halt and agreed. “Let her have him”, he said cynically, “She can’t take care of him anyways. Let her see for herself, maybe it’ll teach her a lesson”. The person in the background having defended my cause had been an old lady I used to call “granny” because of us having been very close. She was my godfather’s mother who had died last December. It didn’t matter though because at this moment she was perfectly alive and the fact that she was was the only one sticking up for me helped me cope with reality. She stepped up to me and said “Here are all the necessary documents for the dog. Take good care of it”. – “I will!” I sobbed gratefully, still crying over all the dead little kittens.

Then the scene changed to Canada. I was standing before my grandparents’ house. Around the corner from them, there was a beautiful, large river. The sun was shining brightly and it warmed my body and heart. I got the great urge to go kayaking. I had a boat, but I figured I wouldn’t get far without a paddle. To my disgrace I found that the only paddle within reach was owned by my grandparents, so there was no way I would be able to indulge in my passion.

Next thing I  know, I was in my bedroom, where all of a sudden, my mother appeared. Behind my back, she had come to an agreement with a couple of other people that it was better to have the dog killed than to have me take care of him, which, according to her, would have been “outrageously irresponsible”. After all, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Next to my mother my “granny” appeared out of the blue. She looked deep into my eyes that were filled with tears. I wondered if she could feel my agony. Was I the only one who could sense her presence?
My brain switched itself off and all there was left of me were my pure, animalistic survival instincts.  All I knew was that I cared about the dog.  The dog needed to live. Then again, in retrospect, I didn’t know if this was just about the dog. Maybe the dog was a sign. I drew my rifle and pointed it straight at my mother. My voice was loud and clear. “If you touch the dog”, I said with a cold voice that sent shivers down my own spine, “I will kill you”. I could feel the blood pumping in my ears.

The next moment I found myself in front of my grandparents’ house again. It was transparent, since there were no doors or windows one could close as far as I could see. There was nothing that could be hidden. Inside of the house, there was my grandmother setting the table. I looked at her and felt a sudden urge for nourishment and shelter. I wondered where I’d sleep tonight. I wondered where I’d eat tonight. I went back to the lake and couldn’t help but marvel. I was at peace with myself and I was at peace with the river. I was sure that the world’s beauty was united at this one spot. Once again, I desperately glanced at the paddle. My aunt pointed an accusatory finger at me and told me that it was all my fault. It was my fault that things had gone wrong. It was my fault that she’d make sure that I could never have the paddle. It was my fault that I was suffering from her punishment. I looked at my grandmother, as though as I were hoping to find some kind of spark in her eyes that would indicate the opposite. She looked as though as she genuinely wanted me to stay but she had given in to the pain that had surrounded her, the pain I had given her. Within all this misery, I understood that she was deeply hurt. I understood that she couldn’t and wouldn’t take lightly what I had done to her.
There was a small cabin next to my grandparents’ house. It was just big enough to contain a small bed. In there, there was my “granny” who shared life’s wisdom with me.

Rewinding Time

My grandfather, a rather wealthy and well-known farmer from a little town called “Schlierbach”, had one secret desire his wife, my grandmother, didn’t much approve of. Ever since she could remember, he had gathered books of his one desire, had marvelled at the pictures, had marvelled of a different place far away from here. My grandmother must have thought this would just be a fading phase, one of many he had delvelopped thoughout the years. When he wouldn’t stop going on about it, she would usually not bother to listen anymore and went to the kitchen to do more productive things. What was so productive about dreaming anyway”? she grumbled, “it doesn’t feed your family”. And that, after all, was the point, was it not? My grandfather’s “silly little phase” didn’t pass though. The desire of getting to know the place that he knew from the pictures grew stronger until one day, much to my grandmother’s dislike, he told her goodbye and jumped on the first flight to Canada. More flights were yet to come because as it turned out, the beautiful pictueres in the books that he had red didn’t do justice to the real impression, the experience of diving into a completely new world, breathing it all in and actively enjoying the landscape, the quiet and the people’s amabilité. Back in his little country and the even smaller place called Schlierbach, my grandfather couldn’t get his mind off Canada. Someday, he told himself, he would move there. The time just had to be right. He couldn’t leave Austria just yet. Schlierbach – or Austria in general, was a rather mountainous country. Since my grandfather owned an impressive amount of grounds that consisted mainly of steep little hills, it was sometimes a rather dangerous undertake to do harvest the crops. One day, my grandfather was out in the hills, aiding his brother Engelbert who was using the tractor in the rather steep areas. I don’t know whether my grandfather was afraid for him because it seemed a rather risky undertake and I am sure that if my grandmother had seen it, she would have shaken her head in disapproval and declared “I would never do such a thing! You guys must be weary of life, eh?” in such a loud voice that would scare off any kitten, bird or other living thing on the farm. She then would go on working in the kitchen. She always did that.