Chanticleer, Berlin, and a Special Friend

Friday, May 4, 2012

The fog is lifting here, the rain subsiding, and in two hours I'll meet my friend Annika at Chanticleer, where we will walk a path familiar to us both.  We have both taken solace and shelter in this pleasure garden.  We are both lovers of dance.  And I have a written a book about Annika's home, Germany, which she has generously agreed to read.

And so Berlin, gardens, dance, stories.  All of it here, in two hours. 

From the novel (first draft) that I will be sharing:

Some time, late, I wake to the sound of Omi snoring behind the door to her room.  She takes a long, rasping time filling her lungs, then snorts the air out quick, and then it’s silence, then rumbling again.  Who knows how she sleeps.  People who hide don’t want to be found, she said, and now when I close my eyes it’s her world, the stories she’s told me.  The Red Army has made its way in, is crossing the river.  There are German traitors—deserters—strung up by their flimsy necks from the lampposts at train stations, and women and children are almost all that is left of Berlin.  There will be no virgins standing after everything is done, and the newspapers have stopped, and the phones ring empty, and the trains run two-to-three to a car while everybody else walks, because no one else, including Omi, can afford the fare; they have all been issued the wrong ration cards.  She will wait in many lines.  She will fight for rancid butter.  She will loot the abandoned bakery for whatever there still is, and at night she will warm her feet by that brick, her legs cold and white beside her mother’s.  When the bombs go off she will scramble, her heart high and sick in her throat.  She will run, buckets of stolen things in either hand, the buckets clanging.  She will run beneath the streets into the shelter.


Serena said...

I always love the pictures of this garden.

Lilian Nattel said...

That is a powerful passage. Thank you for sharing it.

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