Forty days of confinement. 174 miles walked or run – within my 1 km radius. 34 blog posts written. I’m tired. We are sapped. I’ve run out of new places to sit in my apartment. Yes, I’m grumpy. And so many sad stories and utter political lunacy coming from my country. I do not dwell very much on the future but the present is heavy today. Borders closed. Looming uncertainty.
My grandmother lived through WWII with two small children and she told me a long complicated story of waiting for a sign. They were in rural Pomerania in a large house with many relatives nearby in other large houses. She had grown up there, married there and probably thought that would be her life. My grandfather was busy taking pictures out of airplanes or making deals or somehow being involved in the world of greater Germany.
She was waiting to decide when to flee west, when it would be too dangerous to wait any longer for the Russians. My decisions seem so small. The cook was killed in her bed by a jealous lover. There was a lot of blood. The sign. My grandmother took as many valuables as possible, her severely depressed postpartum friend and three small children and they went west. I don’t know when this happened but I imagine a beautiful Baltic summer, my aunt and mother with short dresses and white socks and a train full of very anxious women and children.
A new border. No return. A closed boundary. Gone. All just gone. The wind.
I have some of those precious objects spirited from the ruins of an epoch. But to me they are old and pretentious mementoes of a life I never knew. When I was little her story made so much sense. A cook with her throat slit in bed, of course it was time to go. That is a very clear signal that one should not stay.
But thinking of it now it seems awful and confusing and so unnecessary. People were losing their minds of uncertainty out there among the wheat and potato fields. Handsome French POWs enscripted to help in the fields were somehow to blame. So young, so lonely, so desperate for a caress and willing to risk the jealous lovers. That cook, her lovers, were so much younger than I am now and their desires heightened by the loss of so many futures.
I would like to think things will be normal on May 11 but I know they will not be. My grandmother’s life was shaped by that loss, by those stories. I would like a sign, but a gentle one, not a murder. And so I pulled a card and now I want to cry because anyone who knew my grandmother knows that this is her, her favorite symbol of herself – Löwe.