Impediments

Her biggest wish was to go up to the sky, pick one particularly bright star and bring it down to earth to shed some light into the dark of people’s hearts. As far as she was concerned, she didn’t think she had the means to reach up that high though. Surely, she had been on aeroplanes, but they never took you nowhere nearly to where one could find them. All she could observe from up there were clouds – and people’s cloudy faces. The second excruciating fact that kept her down to earth, she reflected, and she was sure that this would not be the only obstacle that would hinder her from attaining her goal, was how to pay for the star once she got a hold of it. Certainly, she wasn’t poor, in comparison to indigenous people in Africa who had to walk for miles and miles to find a well, however she wasn’t rich either, if she compared herself to the average joe in her country. And even if she were to go the extra mile to the sky, with enough money in her pockets, how would she know which currency they would be using way up there? She didn’t think she was good at negotiating with aliens. Angels perhaps, but not aliens, who might send her right back down to earth. And even if she knew which currency they used up there, she was afraid, that under normal circumstances no regular bank would perform such a currency exchange. And as far as she knew, the circumstances were usually normal. They (whoever “they” were), had always told her to reach for the stars. But how was she supposed to, when the sky was out of her reach?

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Willi und die Kiste im Blumenbeet

Nachdem er die Flasche Whiskey, die er in kaum mehr als einem Zug geleert hatte, offenbar für Wasser gehalten hatte, war es nicht weiter verwunderlich, dass er das Haus verließ und sich fest einbildete, es soeben betreten zu haben. Es ist jedoch erstaunlich, dass er in weiterer Folge das Blumenbeet für sein Schlafgemach hielt und aus unerfindlichen Gründen darin zu graben begann, fast so wie ein Hund, der seinen Knochen vergräbt oder wieder ausgräbt. So war Willi. Willi war einunddreißig Jahre alt und ein gestandener Mann, dem man einen vernünftigen Umgang mit Alkohol oder sonstigen Genussmitteln nicht nachsagen durfte, nein, das wäre beinahe einer Beleidigung gleichzusetzen. Und einen gestandenen Mann beleidigt man nicht.

Als Willi nun also mehr oder weniger bewusst in seinem Zustand im Blumenbeet zu graben begann und dabei grunzte, als wäre er ein fündig gewordenes Trüffelschwein, stieß er zu seinem Erstaunen auf Widerstand. Wenn Willi noch zu denken fähig gewesen wäre, hätte er sich vielleicht gefragt, worauf dieser Widerstand zurückzuführen war. Möglicherweise war ein Hundeknochen schuld. Dann wäre er früher oder später zu der Schlussfolgerung gelangt, dass sich im Umkreis von zwei Kilometern keine Hunde aufhielten. Sein nächster morbider Gedanke hätte dem Vorbesitzer seines Hauses gegolten, der bestimmt eine Leiche im Keller, oder genauer gesagt, im Blumenbeet vergraben hatte. Einerseits angewidert, andererseits teils furchtsam, teils paranoid, hätte er das Blumenbeet Blumenbeet sein lassen und hätte sich in sein Wohnzimmer zurückgezogen. Andererseits, wenn er nüchtern gewesen wäre, welchen Grund hätte er dann gehabt, überhaupt sein Blumenbeet zu durchwühlen wie ein Maulwurf vor der Meisterprüfung?

Doch wie die Dinge standen war Willi weder vernünftig noch nüchtern, deswegen hielt ihn der Widerstand, den er in der Erde vernahm, nicht davon ab, weiter zu graben. Teils verwundert, teils wütend nahm er wenig später zur Kenntnis, dass der Widerstand sich zu einem richtigen Hindernis entpuppt hatte, an dem kein Weg vorbei führte. Willi grunzte unzufrieden und schien sich im gleichen Moment klar zu werden, dass er sich weder in seinem Haus noch in seinem Bett aufhielt, weswegen er sogleich auf das Haus zu torkelte und wenig später seine frisch überzogenen Laken mit Erde übersäte.
Der Morgen danach brachte wenig neue Erkenntnisse. Willi wachte auf, blickte nach rechts und links und wunderte sich über das schmutzige Bett. Während er sich die schmerzende Rübe rieb, versuchte er, sich die Geschehnisse der vorangegangenen Nacht in Erinnerung zu rufen. Doch in seinem Kopf war nichts und der einzigen Anhaltspunkt, den er hatte, war ein Bett voll Erde. Willi stieß einen leisen, unverständlichen Fluch aus und trottete hinaus in den Garten, um sein Werk von letzter Nacht zu betrachten. Er schwor sich feierlich, dem Alkohol in Zukunft Einhalt zu gebieten und betrachtete das Chaos im Blumenbeet. Darin lagen Gemüse, Kräuter und Walderdbeeren bunt durcheinander, als hätte nachts ein hungriger Bär sein Unwesen getrieben.

Doch inmitten des Beetes befand sich etwas, das Willis Aufmerksamkeit erregte. Es schien sich um eine augenscheinlich etwas morsche und ziemlich verdreckte Holzkiste zu handeln. Willi fragte sich, was die Holzkiste wohl enthalte. Wieder beschlich ihn die Angst, die ihn gestern, wäre er nüchtern gewesen, sicherlich beschlichen hätte und er dachte an seinen Vorbesitzer und die Leichen im Keller. Nun lag sie also vor ihm, diese mysteriöse Kiste und Willi, der gestandene Mann, hatte Angst, sie zu öffnen, da er den Boulevardzeitungen, die er eifrig jeden Tag überflog, schon fast religiösen Glauben schenkte und daher wusste, dass Gewaltverbrechen stets dort stattfanden, wo man sie am Wenigsten vermutete. Schließlich siegte die Neugier über die Angst und Willi suchte nach einer Möglichkeit, die Kiste zu öffnen. Da sich daran kein Schloss befand, aber der Zustand des Holzes bereits ziemlich schlecht war, trachtete Willi der Kiste mit dem Hammer. Er klemmte die Kiste unter seinen mehr oder weniger muskulösen Arm und machte sich auf den Weg in seine Werkstatt, in der er unbarmherzig und fröhlich zugleich die Kiste mit Hammer, Brecheisen und sonstigen Werkzeugen traktierte. Als das morsche Holz endlich seinen Geist auf- und die Kiste ihren Inhalt preisgab, traute Willi seinen Augen nicht: vor ihm bot sich ein unrealistischer Anblick. Insgeheim fragte er sich in einem seltenen Anflug von Vernunft, ob er denn nicht doch vielleicht immer noch betrunken war oder ob er träumte, deswegen griff er nach dem, was sich vor ihm bot, um es genauer zu inspizieren. Vor ihm, auf der Werkzeugbank in der Werkstatt, in einer mit Erde verdreckten, morschen Holzkiste befanden sich unzählige Münzen aus reinem Gold. Das musste der gestandene Mann erst einmal verdauen.

Il était une fois…

Il était une fois une princesse qui attendait son prince dans son château au sommet d’une montagne. La princesse s’appelait Isabelle. Elle était une jeune femme de vingt-deux ans avec les cheveux blonds et longs. En plus, elle était belle comme un mannequin et avait une âme benigne, comme une véritable princesse.
Pour se distraire, elle buvait du thé dans son immense salle de séjours. Elle pensait que c’était trop silencieux dans le château quand son mari n’était pas là.

A l’exception de Monsieur Usure, le concierge étrange, un homme grand et assez mince qui avait en dépit de son âge encore beaucoup de cheveux gris lesquels paraissaient changer de couleurs chaque fois qu’il travaillat dans le jardin pendant que le soleil brillait. Il faisait son  travail bien, mas il ne parlait pas et ne souriait pas non plus. Elle pensait qu’il devait avoir cent ans plus ou moins. C’était sûrement parce qu’il était déjà le concierge de ses parents et même, de ses grand-parents qu’elle ne puvait pas se souvenir exactement.

Elle faisait non de la tête et commencait á se promener dans son terran géant. Elle a pris place sur un banc sous des arbres à feuilles et fermait les yeux. La jolie princesse savourait les rayons de soleil de ce merveilleux jour de printemps. Il y avait encore cinq ou six heures jusqu’a que le prince revienne, alors elle commencait à rêvasser, comme tous les après-midis qu’elle passait seule.

Elle se presque endormait quand soudain Monsieur Usure est arrivé. Il soufflait comme un boeuf et il était en nage. Quand elle a noté son visage pâle, elle demandait surprise: “Qu’est-ce que’il s’est passé?”

“Le prince” le concierge répondait et il soufflait toujours comme un boeuf, “le prince avait eu un accident”. “Quoi? Qu’est-ce vous me dites”? disait la princesse et elle tremblait comme une feuille.

“Le coursier m’a informé il y a quelques minutes. Et il m’a donné aussi un message pour toi”. “Quel message”? demandait la princesse et elle commencait à pleurer. “Ma bien-aimée princesse” lisait le concierge et la princesse a occulté son visage avec ses mains, “tu sais bien que je t’aime. Tu es la seule pour moi et tu vas rester éternellement dans mon coeur, même quand je suis mort.” La princesse a hoqueté. “Je regrette de devoir te dire que je suis tombé de mon chêval. Je crois que je me suis cassé la jambe et aussi mon bras. C’est la raison pour laquelle le coursier a écrit cette lettre. Je suis désolé. Tu avais raison quand tu m’as dit que je devrais faire un cours d’équitation” Alors, maintenant je vais aller à l’hôpital. Je convie à Monsieur Usure qu’il te guarde comme le trésor que tu es vraiment. Ne te fais pas de mauvais sang! Á plus tard, je t’embrasse, ton prince.” La princesse s’est levée, a embrassé Monsieur Usure qu’était stupéfait et ensuite elle a rit de bon coeur.

 

Mariposario – Believing Is Make-Believe

Wien, 4.1.1955

Mary:

What a wonderful day! I’ve spent all morning at the market, exchanging conversations  with people and selling mother’s Apfelkuchen.  “I don’t mean to burden you with this additional task, Mary”, she said this morning, “There is no need for you to feel obligated to do my work. I know how employed you always are with your chores”. It almost made me feel guilty that my mother, who was constantly busy managing a household, a tremendous garden plus four children was about to have a bad conscience that I was selling pies on my free day, so I assured her, that I loved helping her out and told her not to worry about it. It was the best way for me to have some change once in a while and to socialize outside of the house. Another aspect about this task I very much  enjoyed was making an effort to neatly decorate my little counter with handicraft, to make the pies  look more appealing to the customers. Oh, I have created so many beautiful pieces of handicraft! I love knitting and sewing with a passion! It is somewhat relaxing to me and I like to daydream about the most random things, whilst devoting myself to another piece that I am sure to take delight in. What I really didn’t expect though was the fact that so many people were stopping at my table just so they could admire my work. One old lady particularly took me by surprise when she exclaimed that I was very skilled and that many people would love to decorate their houses with my embroidery, which almost made me blush. That was also the moment when I got the idea of offering my handcraft for sale, along with mother’s apple pies. I am convinced, that selling my work will earn me quite some money! To be frank, the thought of owning such an amount of money somewhat preoccupies me. I am afraid that it will spoil my character and lead me to indulge in selfish pleasures. I’d better donate all of it to charity, so that even more people will be able to benefit from my efforts! There are so many people out there who are not as well off as I am, people who would appreciate the taste of warm food and the luxury of their own bed. I have all of that – and more.  At times, I even find myself taking for granted what I have and it makes me feel quite ashamed. My parents work hard to fulfill my every wish – not that I am trying to have many wishes since that would contradict my idea of a modest lifestyle – so I am really not in a position to complain about anything at all.
In the evening, I got dressed for church. I have made a habit out of attending services every other day. I find that one doesn’t necessarily have to believe in God to be able to find that there is some truth to the stories in the bible. Even if one cannot identify with their meaning, the words are unmistakeably poetic and I am always able to derive inspiration from them.  One of my favourite pastimes is to philosophize about what I have learned at church when I am in one of my daydreaming moods again. I personally believe that these stories teach you a lesson about life whereas most of the advanced theories you learn at school don’t seem to apply to real life. Speaking of school, I am currently in my last year of a girls’ Catholic school. If I make  an effort, I will undoubtedly excel in most subjects, which will hopefully enable me to pursue a career as a social worker one day. I feel like this is a position in which I can really make a difference, even if it is only a small one. It seems like  there are so many people out there who need my help…

Wien, 4.1.2011

Casey:

What.a.day. I hated this day even before I was fully awake. There was just this odd day-hating vibe in the air and I must have inhaled too much of it. Anyways. I woke up too late, which meant that there “would be no breakfast”. (As if I even ate breakfast in the first place, DUH. I’d just take a piece of bread and say that I would eat it on the way to school to make my mum shut up. Geez, I’d do most anything to be spared a lecture about why breakfast was so damn important. I mean who the heck cares, right? And when mom wasn’t looking, I’d toss the bread into the next garbage can. If she knew about that, I’d get another lecture about how kids in Africa were starving and how I was an ungrateful brat, etc.) Oh yeah, and I was definitely late for school. I’m in my senior year at this lousy public school where students and teachers just don’t give a shit about shit. My parents expect me to do a good job though, so I can go to university and brag about some useless title. (Basically DAD wants to be able to brag with his little “baby girl”. I’m his only daughter so he “only wants what’s best for me” aka imposing a career on me that I couldn’t care less about). But that’s not to say that I am good for nothing. I am incredibly good at wasting time! And getting wasted! Who cares about hobbies when you can drink booze, right? And there is always booze. Plenty of booze. Or wait. In my mom’s book, “booze” stands for “study group” or “prayer circle”, as the case may be! (As if! My mum’s SO gullible. I am starting to believe that she only believes what she wants to believe. I mean if she admitted to herself what a failure her daughter was, she’d probably blow her brains out, lol). To cut a long story short, there is always booze. And sometimes there is sex. Mind-fucking, hot sex. Whatever it takes to get reality out of my brain…

Wien, 5.1.1955

Mary:

Yesterday’s sermon was on the good Samaritan. After I had said my evening prayers last night and rested my head on the cushions, the thought of it prevented me from entering the world of dreams, so I was left awake and contemplating. To me the thought of someone just passing by a fellow human being who had just been robbed of all his posessions and whose face showed traces of physical injury was simply unbearable. I was wondering what people’s motivation to ignore the pain of others might be. Were they simply heartless and self-centered individuals whose sole concern was their own well-being or were they in denial? Was it possible not to be aware of someone’s misery and was this therefore the reason to deny them one’s help? Either way, it didn’t make sense to me and I had a hard time choosing which one of the two options was worse. All I knew was that I’d never end up a person like that. I would try and keep my eyes open and rush if someone was in need, relieving their suffering and aiding them in the best way possible, as a good Samaritan would. I fell asleep with a satisfied smile on my face.

At school today I found myself to be somewhat distracted. I am usually good at paying attention and eagerly providing topic-related comments but today my thoughts kept drifting off to that sermon. Which is why I acknowledged it with a mixture between guilt and fear when the voice of the teacher calling my name brought me instantly back to reality. I sincerely wished that she wasn’t going to ask me anything that would reveal my absent-mindedness during the lesson. “Mary”, Mrs. Smith said, “the principle wants to see you in his office.” I was shell-shocked. In my head I quickly scanned through all the options and made a list of what I could have done wrong to deserve to get sent to the principle’s office, but failed to come up with anything. The way to the principle’s office reminded me of a slow-motion scene in a movie in which the convicted felon, chained up and accompanied by an army of police officers, would walk along the aisle leading from his jail cell to the hot seat. When I finally knocked on the principle’s door, a harsh voice that sent shivers down my spine, told me to enter and in that same manner demanded me to take a seat. I must have been trembling terribly, for the principle looked at me with an odd grimace (that was most likely intended to be a smile but gave the impression of someone who was in great pain) and said “Calm down, Mary. I know you’re probably wondering why I sent for you. It might comfort you to find that I haven’t heard any complaints about you ever since you have started at this school four years ago. Quite at the contrary.” A short pause ensued in which the principle, a large, stout man in his fifties with a proud mustache, got up from his chair and started wandering up and down his little office. This left me somewhat nervous so I embarked on pondering what the purpose of my being here might be. After all, I wasn’t aware of any wrong-doing on my part and his disarming of all of my fears had reassured me of this. “Mary”, the principle’s voice echoed through my thoughts and recalled me of his presence in the room. “I have heard nothing but good things about you. You’re an ambitious scholar and an excellent one as well, I daresay. I’ve witnessed the passion with which you dedicate yourself to the subject matters and the concerns of your fellow students alike. Hearsay tells me you always have an open ear for everyone and never fail to come up with some handy advice. I am sure that all of this praise must surprise you, but Mary, you do have a character of gold. Which is why I think you should receive some reward in exchange…