I know it’s late for my Thursday post but I have been working on the story. I have been kissed by the muse. Please comment and feel free to give me any constructive feedback on anything you might see a problem in. So here we go:
Because being 20 didn’t mean feeling it. My best friend had been standing next to me the whole time. Watching me walk back and forth and freaking out. “You’re okay. Considering the situation, you’re more than okay. If I had to walk in your shoes, I wouldn’t last an hour without completely freaking out. And you’re right, it’s not enough time. Not nearly. But we’ll figure something out. I’m sure we will.” But I knew that, even if I wanted to believe it so badly, I’d have to leave. There was no way I could stay. I’d have to accept the decision eventually. No one knew that deep inside I already had. And no one would, for quite some time. The wind was howling viciously. It was already getting dark. “We will. Thanks for listening to me. And even though I’d love to talk longer I’ve got to go. They’re waiting for me. And if I don’t get work done, I’ll lose my Job. If that happens I’ll be screwed. Then they’ll just send me off earlier.” I didn’t remember when the last time was, I had used work to get out of a talk with my best friend. “Fine. I get it. I really do. Just think about it. And if you need me I’ll be here for you. Wherever you go, and whatever amazing things you’ll do, I’ll be your friend and I’ll be so proud of you. See you soon. Bye” And now I was alone again. The darkness was now complete. But a few stars were shining brightly, and the moon came up. As I was walking, all the roads that I’d known and walked since my childhood, suddenly seemed new and unknown. It felt like walking into the future, not knowing what to expect. Not knowing if I’d ever come back home. Not knowing who to trust, I felt lost. Lost and scared. But I had to keep it together, I had to control my fears and not be controlled by them. As I picked up speed, it became clear what I was running from. And it was absolutely ridiculous. Because it was a completely hopeless situation. I was running from my fears, and especially from the future. But some things just couldn’t be outrun. Some things, I knew, you had to face, to be free from them. The haunting thoughts, the feeling of being lost, lonely and unloved. Sometimes you had to realize that the fears were no actual dangers, but your brain couldn’t comprehend it. And you felt overwhelmed. Soon I could see my home from the distance. So I kept running till I was there. The house was a warming light in my soul, something I knew. And yet, I’d leave it behind. As I opened the door, the creaking sound I heard brought a smile to my face. My parents were in the kitchen, making dinner. I didn’t feel like talking to them, as I was still quite angry. Even though I had cooled down enough not to be snappy, I still was in a bad mood. A pensive state. But then I decided to ignore it. I knew it was childish and would get me nowhere, but I’d feel better for some time and I could enjoy some time outside my head. “Hey mom, dad. I’m back, can we just not talk about it? For just some time, maybe a month or so. Just give me time to adjust. Please. Because apparently, I’m not ready yet. And I’d appreciate it, if you understood.” Wow that felt weird. Inside my anger was brewing, there was a storm coming everybody’s way. And if it went out, it’d destroy everything. But the time wasn’t right, so I’d keep back with it, for now. My dad just nodded his head, sighed and it wasn’t talked about. It was gone, for now. The fear and the pain vanished, for now. All those ‘for now’s’ made me fear, what would come after. “Today it was terribly windy, wasn’t it?” my mother said. We started with the weather, then we went to the work topic. After that, we pretty much had it. Deep enough for small talk but not for anything else. That was fine by me. As long as it didn’t turn to a discussion about future concerns, everything was good. I didn’t even know what it was, what made me freak about that sort of stuff. I helped do the dishes and we talked about memories. My mother and I. She remembered me liking the English language and having an affinity for it.
And she had bought me a book, the 5th edition of “Englisches Lesebuch” by Professor Dr. Luebeding. It was amazing, full of stories written by famous English writers like Dickens or Shakespeare. And I felt sorry for her. She was trying everything to make me feel better and prepare me for life and I didn’t thank her for it, not once. Well she hadn’t had much time when I was a kid because we were so many. And she had to take care of all of us. Dad had tons of work. And he was always somewhere else. “Mom, why is it so hard to grow up? Why am I so scared of leaving? I’ve got so many questions and I feel so lonely and helpless. Can you answer these questions, or at least help me to understand?” I just had to know, I had to understand. And she looked at me, for a very long time. Then she said: “I can’t answer these questions for you, for they are part of growing up itself. But I can tell you something, whatever is out there, whoever you might meet, no matter what happens, be yourself. Don’t change for anyone. Be your amazing, smart, beautiful, open self. You can’t do anything wrong with that. And don’t go too easy on guys. They might just want to use you. But you’re worth more than that. And your father and I really do want the best for you. It’s not like we won’t miss you. But sometimes in life, you’re going to have to make a decision. It might not feel good right now, but you’ll see that there will be times when you’ll be thankful for that decision.” And as she stood there, talking, all about what life was like. I started crying like a baby. At least I wanted to. But I held back my tears and I picked myself up from the ground. What she said hit me like a slap in the face. I was confused, for on one hand I understood what she was saying, but on the other hand I was hurt, hurt by the fact that they were sending me away. “Thanks for the talk, mom. I’ve got to work early tomorrow, so I’m going to get some sleep. It’s late already and I can’t risk any mistakes with this client, she wants everything awfully neat. And God help me if there is one wrinkle in her favourite bedsheet. It’s not like she’d use it the same night to sleep on anyways. She’s just enjoying it, making other people feel small. Anyways, she’s a good-paying client. And I’ve got her in first thing tomorrow. So, goodnight” My mother smiled and nodded: “I know her, she can be quite nerve- wracking. Go get your sleep. Goodnight, honey”. So, I went upstairs, brushed my teeth and lied down on the bed. I read a little in the new book till I was tired enough to put it down. The candle had almost burned down completely. As it was burning down I watched its flames, playful yet dangerous if you came too near. My thoughts were traveling. Finally, the flame extinguished by itself. Now it was really dark, the best conditions for sleeping. But I couldn’t sleep. Too many thoughts circling around in my head, always moving, never stopping. Today, a lot had happened. And it was hard to process all those thoughts at the same time. I already saw my head exploding into thousands of little pieces. All spreading into every direction and getting smaller all the time. Thinking was exhausting. After 2 hours of thinking I fell into a thick, dreamless sleep. My alarm clock rang the next morning. It was 5:30 AM. The way to work was long, so I had to get up early. The moment I woke up I felt quite good. It was one of those moments you only have between sleeping and awake. Those moments when your mind was blank. No worries, no sadness, it just felt like everything was fine. But it wasn’t. And it would come back eventually, till then I just enjoyed that feeling. I dressed myself, washed my face and went downstairs to get breakfast. Dad was already up. And he drank his coffee, as usual. I said: “Morning, dad. How’d you sleep?” He said he had slept fine. I wasn’t quite the morning person, but if you had to work, you couldn’t show your bad mood. You just had to get over it. So I did. And I had improved a lot since I’d started. I drank my coffee, took my green coat and went out the door. It was windy again. As I crossed the fence, my feelings and thoughts seemed far away. Not that they were gone completely.
But I managed to put them to another place in my head. Somewhere deep down, locked in a metal box with Iron chains around it. Somewhere I was free from them. As I was walking, I mentally prepared myself for the encounter with that woman. If there was a person I hated because of their personality, it was her. She was always dressed in at least 3 layers of cloth, rich colours. Variations of blue, red and yellow. A walking-stick. A white hat on top of her head. That was her, she stood above all of it. It started raining, probably wouldn’t stop till around 3 PM. Again, this was typical for the season. After 45 minutes walking to work, I was glad to get into the warm store. Even if it meant talking to that terrible woman. Only 2 months left of it, anyways. My boss said I was late, but I was lucky because my client hadn’t arrived yet. The doorbell rang. And there she was, in all her magnificence. Standing in the door. “WHY ARE MY BEDSHEETS WRINKLED?!” she was screaming. I had a pretty good guess, but I didn’t want to provoke her. Provoking that woman meant having a death wish. Which I certainly didn’t have. “We’ll fix it straight away, Madam. Do not be concerned about any of it.” She scoffed. And then a mean smile lit her face. “Oh well, if it isn’t that Meyer girl. The one that’s leaving for America, off to another world. Away to leave her family behind? You should be ashamed of yourself, being so selfish.” She really topped it. I tried to figure out, how she had gotten the information. But if she knew, the whole town knew about it. She was the one with the biggest blabber mouth in town, if you wanted any gossip she’d know. “Dear Madam…, why don’t you mind your own business and do some shopping till your bedsheets are ready. I will not let myself be provoked by your opinions. You have yours and I have mine, so I’d appreciate it if we both accepted that fact and made peace with it.” It was hard controlling my anger towards her. Her reaction was not quite what I had anticipated, she smiled and then said in her nicest voice possible: “Little girls don’t tell me what to do or say, nor will you be able to dictate me away from doing and saying whatever I want.” She left the store, without the bedsheets. Which meant she was going to come back. I got started with washing them, then fixing the little holes in it, I was pretty sure she had moths, and after that I ironed it. After 3 hours she came back. A demanding glance on her face. I gave her what she wanted. She gave me a polite “thank you” and left. After what felt like thousands of customers later, I was finally done for the day. It was 7:30 PM. The stars lit my way. And I couldn’t wait to get home. It had been an awful day. On days like that I just wanted to disappear into thin air and come back when it was over. My siblings were already home. The babies were asleep. What a carefree time that had been. My 2-years- younger sister was waiting for me in the living room. “Hey there. I missed you. What’s been going on lately? I know something’s up” and she was right. She must’ve overheard a talk mom and dad had about me leaving. “Yeah, you’re right. Something is. I’m leaving for the United States. In 2 months’ time. And mom and dad have been talking about it. Now you know” And her eyes were filled with tears. “I don’t want you to go. I’ll just chain myself to you, then they can’t take you away from me” But we both knew that this was a stupid idea. “We’ve got to figure something out. But I won’t leave that soon, kiddo. You can’t shake me off so easily.” I hugged her and we talked. About everything and nothing. We spent the rest of the evening talking. And I got my safe world back. Even if it was just a few hours, these few hours were worth the world. And I knew I had to spend as much time with her as I could. Because we didn’t know what would happen after. No one knew if we’d see each other again. No one knew about the future, but that was okay. Because it was just the way things were. If I had known then how short a time it was, I would’ve valued it more than I did.
So that’s it for today. Nothing more, nothing less. But yet enough, I hope.
Goodnight, morning, afternoon or whatever it is at yours right now.