I am transparent.
Permeable like moss.
Ich bin durchlässig.
I’m walking through a curtain
Der Schmerz geht durch mich durch, Arschloch.
Ich bin durchlässig.
Regentropfen haften auf meiner Haut.
And I keep on going
Through the rain
’cause I’m transparent, baby!
Translucent like a diamond.
Even on my lowest of days,
I did not.
When my head banged against the wall;
When my heart broke a beat;
When I was neither dead nor alive,
With my last breath,
I did not
Als ich aufwachte war sie weg. Ich war ganz außer mir, denn ich hatte schon so lange mit ihr zusammengewohnt und sie war mir fast sympathisch geworden. Eine Gewohnheit, immer präsent, immer anwesend. Morgens war sie am Stärksten. Wenn ich das Haus verliess, um an die Arbeit zu radeln, sass sie mir im Nacken. Sie verfolgte mich in mein Büro, wo sie meine Termine verunstaltete, meine Telefonate abrupt unterbrach und meine Kaffeetasse umkippte.
In der Mittagspause ließ sie meine Hände zittern, so dass der Brokkoli runterfiel und der Tisch sich anfühlte, als passierte ein Erdbeben. Im Fitnessstudio schmiss sie mich von den Geräten und abends auf der Couch bewegte sie meine nervösen Füße.
Aber ich lernte mit ihr zu leben. Ich lernte das Zittern meiner Hände zu ignorieren, das Stottern meiner Stimme zu verstecken. Als sie dann heute Morgen plötzlich weg war, war es als ob mir etwas fehlte. Was sollte ich nur machen ohne dieses vertraute Gefühl der Angst?
When I awoke, she was gone. I was disturbed because we had been living together for such a long time and I had gotten used to her. A habit, always present. In the morning she was most intense. When I left the house to ride my bike to work, it was as if she was riding along behind me. She followed me to my office where she messed up my appointments, interrupted my calls and where she pushed my coffee cup from my desk.
During lunch she made my hands shake so much that the broccoli fell off the fork and the table rocked like in an earthquake. In the fitness center she pushed me from the machines and at night on the couch she moved my nervous feet.
But I learned to live with her. I learned to ignore the shaking of my hands and to hide my stuttering voice. Then when I woke up this morning and she was gone, it felt as if I was missing something. What should I do now without that familiar feeling of fear?
It is fascinating how everything burns. Cloth turns into a gooey clump and metal turns black, rough and ugly. Photos bubble and wrinkle into a ball. Some even make a popping sound. Paper is eaten hungrily by the raging flames and makes the fire temporarily bright and big.
I sat at the edge of a lake on a warm night, killing memories — old baggage. I had made a decision in my life and in a rage decided to burn everything associated with it. I had desired the feeling of relief; just like the decision had brought on, but burning all this stuff only made me hurt. It was painful and stupid.
Yet here I sat, wrapped in a sarong after taking a swim in the lake. I listened to a deer roaring and moaning on the other side of the lake. I wondered whether the deer was calling for sex or whether the animals make these noises while humping? In any case, it felt surreal, but I wanted to finish what I had started, so I kept fueling the fire with memories, when suddenly my dog began growling. Then he barked and I saw a man in camouflage coming towards me. He carried a bucket and fishing pole and barely took notice of me, while walking straight to my little fire at the lakeshore. I had gone away from the fire to hold on to the dog, so I watched the man from above the shore.
This scene could have been great stuff for a soap opera: A woman, hurting, in need of a strong man to rescue her from the flames of despair. They see each other and their needs (the man of course had been longing for a beautiful dame he could protect), she is already half-naked, he takes off the camo suit and his beautiful tanned muscles glisten in the setting sun; she lets go of the sarong and their hot bodies unite right there next to the baggage-fire like a storm of desire.
INSTEAD the man scooped up a big bucket of water and put out my fire! Then he yelled at me in Bavarian that number one: bathing at this spot was not allowed, number two: definitely no fires and three: the dog had to be on a leash. These were three violations already and the police would fine me at least 300 Euros for my misdemeanors. This time, he said, he would let me go. “Do you understand me?” he yelled. “Yes,” I said completely intimidated. Then he stormed off, mumbling that I had no respect for nature, while waving his fishing rod into the air.
Who was this guy? He clearly wasn’t authority otherwise he wouldn’t have talked about calling the police. What gave this man the right to put out my fire? Why didn’t I confront him? Why did I not stand up for myself? In fact, that night I didn’t give a shit whether the police busted me or God himself climbed down the ladder from heaven to punish me! I did what I had to do and I wanted to be left alone! And why didn’t he tell me these things nicely? We could have had a civil talk about this like mutually respectful adults. But we didn’t.
This was a fitting ending to a disastrous attempt to rid myself of memories that perhaps I shouldn’t have gotten rid of? On the other hand, it confirmed that I am done dancing after the nose of men. I am determined to learn to stand up for myself whether it is against a tyrant who puts out my fire or anyone who doesn’t honor me. My fire is lit. It’s burning, baby!
“Freedom cannot be given; it must be won.”
“Those who long for freedom attain it only after experiencing release – and release is a gift.” ~ The Spirituality of Imperfection
What does it mean to be free? I am free to do what I want. I am free to say what I want. Yet, when I know it may hurt someone what I do or say, I think twice about being so freely. Does that mean I am not free any longer? I suppose I choose not to do or say something. That’s my free will.
I choose to be a teacher, which means I go to school every day. Some mornings I don’t want to go to class. Yet, I do it anyway because I made a commitment to the kids. Am I still free then? I choose to make this commitment. That’s my free will.
A partner once asked me to give him freedom. I did. Yet, I felt I no longer could talk freely to him because suddenly the partnership was on his terms. I did not feel free, even though I made the choice to give him freedom.
Feeling free and being free seem to me two different things. I can feel free when I dance to music, when I watch a copper snake wind through the mud. I feel free when I see the sun rise above the mountains or when a double-shooting star falls from the sky. I feel free when I laugh or when my dog tries to kill his leash and I chase him across the field. I mostly feel free when I am in the here and now. In these moments I am just with myself and with what is directly in front of me. Past and future are irrelevant as is the purpose of my life or that of anyone else.
However, this doesn’t mean I don’t care about anyone or anything. While in the present moment, in the background I am still a friend to other human beings. I am committed to my friends and family and I care about their needs and wants because I love them. So, while I am in the present moment, feeling free, I am still not entirely free. Any interaction or relationship with anyone or anything limits freedom.
Going with this definition, if I wanted to be entirely free, I would only live in the present moment and I would not commit to anything or anyone.
What would be left then? Lonely me.
My short memoir “I am Made of This” has been put on the “Shortlist” for the Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize 2015. I am one of 90 writers who made it on there. 780 writers submitted. I have no idea what all that means, but it’s kinda cool.
See the list of writers here: http://www.fishpublishing.com/2015-short-long-lists.php#mmls15
Read what the editor said about the submissions: http://www.fishpublishing.com/short-stories-news.php
Check out my Creative Writing Group in Frankfurt, Germany: