I remember my grandmother in details.
A warm, saturated light falling in broad streams through her milky bathroom window,. The silhouettes of trees, dust particles floating through the room. The kitchen door left ajar, just a bit, so I could slip in. The once white, now greyish woolen carpet bent up in one corner. Plastic peeled off the rims of the kitchenette.
Tiny oval picture frames in the hallway, in a crepuscular light, photos of her dead. The view from the window onto thuja, the black and green fir trees, apple trees, poplars, with the silver undersides of their leaves gleaming in the wind.
Red shingle roofs and rudimental hills.
It smelled of dust, and cakes, and old grease.
I hear her high pitched laughter on the phone. An old phone with a dial plate it was, moss green, the black wire twisted. Hear her step, the floor creaking underneath her slippers. The soft skin of her cheeks, fine hair, and eyeglass lenses as thick as the glass from which I drank raspberry syrup. Crystalline streaks on the bottom.
Her strong arms and fingers clinging to the doorknob as she reached the front door.
The white space in the message emphasized the words, the missing letters intensified their weight, made it impossible for me to understand.
My breath caught involuntarily. I could not handle the tremor in my shoulders, nor the feeling of nausea that rose from my stomach all of a sudden. My legs turned into jelly and my vision went blind. All of a sudden there was a hole in my body, which would not close. Which might never close. I looked out of the window and saw nothing but walls and a grey sky above the city.
I remember her hand wiping the kitchenette.
Her broad fingers, and dry skin. Working class hands like my father’s.
Her upper body turning, her head tilting to the side, and then she said something in this high pitched voice.
I have never lost anybody, at least not without intention.
Nobody ever ceased being, ceased breathing in my surrounding.
When she slept on the sofa, she held her hands folded. On her chest, slowly rising and falling, and her mouth slightly opened. A soft whistle escaped her narrow colorless lips. I sneaked up on her and observed her. Tickled her soles. Or just sat next to her on the sofa, counting its yellow and blue streaks. Dry flowers on the table, cacti on the windowsill, and tiny souvenirs on the television set: seashells, a glass turtle, and crossword puzzles.
I am waiting in front of a glass wall, behind which a November sky is waiting for rain to fall. This city is grimmer than its reputation, but only in Winter.
They call us; boarding has started and I think of the woman at the check-in, who cried secretly behind her sunglasses, pulling herself together, moving one step at a time, cautiously. And how much I wished for sunglasses and someone to hold me.
Grandmother had tiny brown wings attached to her glasses, which she pulled down, when the sun blinded her. An entomologist she was with these glasses. A white haired entomologist, although she killed every fly she could find. The kitchen floor was covered in heaps of chitin.
She was not a friendly woman, neither to me nor to others. Neither to useful animals, nor to useful people. She liked little children and grandchildren, little animals and cats, her cat as well, but never caress anyone too much, never love too much.
It might be derived from her history or her character. Maybe she loved and I didn’t understand her. Some build a gazebo for their loved ones, others write love letters. Maybe I didn’t understand her love language. Maybe there was no reason I never felt loved, by her or the others.
The members of this family love each other with sweets. With ice cream and desserts, spiked on pastry forks, caught in spoons. It is not my way of loving; this is why I left when age permitted me to. Even now I feel sick. Maybe because I’m flying back. It doesn’t agree with me, having to go back.
The taste on this plane is one of boredom, of plastic and dust.
People are bored. Nobody considers it special anymore to enter a plane but me, I have always been cheerful about the aisles, the small windows, the seatbelt. And only today I can hardly hold myself together.
A stewardess clad in red hurries through the aisles, people turn to look at her. She is counting the passengers, simultaneously closing the overhead bins, double pace. Then the plane takes off and I feel the adrenaline rising in my body and notice the first raindrops on the window.
They move slowly across the oval shaped Plexiglas, vibrating, transparent lines, one after the other. Before I can spot them they disappear, and others emerge. They float by without touching me; they do not stop dropping and dripping. As long as there are atmospheres and atoms, they will trickle past me.
The seat holds me: a soft plastic shell in the cabin, safe atmosphere in which I cannot touch any drops nor hold any one.
The drop moves slowly down, inside and outside, on the outer layer of the plane, on the inner layer of my body. I cannot do anything about it. I cannot stop crying. It overcomes me without warning. I feel a pull and feel sick and see the grey runway disappear, see the city disappear. A streak, one after the other.
Maybe she floated by like these drops.
Maybe her atoms, before dissolving, dripped past me.
The news came in an email.
Just minutes before, a photo from Tobi, a meadow covered in white frost, winter is coming, it said, bisou from the village.
And then an email from my mother.
Grandmother is dead, she wrote. No grief, no pain put into words, no greeting.
Not even a sad emoticon.
The funeral will be held next Friday, said the following line. And I booked a flight.
I am waiting at the baggage belt. It turns, curving, a gentle buzz in the background. I search for something, something to hold on to, a sign, a sound, a human that I can glue my gaze onto. The blue colour of the monitor flickers. Doors swing open, continuously, intervals of opening and closing. People in uniforms enter and leave, walk past. Faces which have become familiar in the hour I spent with them, I will have forgotten in a few minutes.
The sun draws lines, squares and rectangles on the stone floor. No suitcases to be seen, only the whizz of the baggage belt to be heard, rustling and snuffling and coughing, a loud hoot and then the first black suitcase falls out of a black hole.
And then the sun disappears behind a thundercloud.
It is the time of the year in which the clouds accumulate snow, to let it fall from their cloud bellies, cold and ice, onto people and villages, until the whole country has become an entity of snow. Here they love snow, this white substance, which I dread, because it always also brings darkness.
My grandmother’s eyes were steel blue like the clouds behind the window and they could make my heart stop.
She is dead, I wrote, grandma is dead.
He sent a blank message. Then nothing, for a long time. Then one with three dots. Late at night he called.
I am sorry, Tobi said. And I answered, after a long break, in which I suppressed a sob, until I couldn’t take the pain in my throat any longer: I can’t remember if I told her that I am sorry.
But I don’t know what I am sorry for.
Maybe that I never understood her way of loving me. Tobi loved me before we both knew what this means.
I visited my grandmother on Saturdays.
On Sundays the others came, her children and their children, whom I didn’t like. I didn’t know how to talk with them, even when I was a child they seemed grotesque to me. Their red faces and fleshy hands, that took too much from the meat, the cakes, the bodies they touched. From everything they took too much, and talked and drank too much.
I brought Tobi as a present, because my grandmother loved him more than me, at least this is what I believed. Tobi, with whom I grew up, who was more of a brother to me than my sister. We were gang members, cops and robbers, dragon slayers, passing trials together, later confidants, lovers, and then the closest two could be.
He said that he went to see her, after I had gone away.
My grandmother was his home, just like his grandfather, and the village, in which we lost our innocence, first to each other and now, by her death.
He was the last one to see her.
Death is nothing you reckon with.
There were no signs, he said.
Although I am sure she knew. She knew this day would be her chance. Her chance to vanish, because nobody would have let her go, neither Tobi, nor me, nor the others.
The ambulance tried all they could, he said. There had been enough time to come back. To say goodbye.
I bear her name, and even so, she did not come back, to say goodbye.
The train is leaving the station, drifting past half naked trees, earth walls, fortified by concrete blocks and iron nets. Houses, chocolate sprinkles on a green cake, bulky dark balconies, carports and garages, yolk-colored, white and grey.
Her house is located at the end of the village, skew-whiff, its shingle roof porous, but impervious and steadfast, in the face of people’s moods, withstanding any weather.
It lies hidden, behind thuja, on the back of a four-cornered farm. A house for the exiled, the elders, who are not of use anymore, but not to give up, to be taken care of, who don’t have to do anything, but still do everything.
There was not one day she didn’t work.
In fall, she disemboweled hare and deer and cut the game, cooked the beetroot, which colored her hands blood-red. In spring she boiled down nettle to spinach and in Summer turned the strawberries, cherries and gooseberries to jelly, juice and marmalade. And blended sugar, cream, butter and flour to cake dough, year in and year out.
In the darkness of her basement the jars stood in lines, with smeared surfaces, blackened from the dust and dankness: wrinkled apricots in their juice, pears in schnapps and elderberry stew. Nuts in bags, walnuts, which my sister Agnes and I collected, and sometimes Tobi helped, too.
Green skins, and brown nuts, which we collected in nets. In the attic, between lemon balm, thyme, chamomile and sage these nuts dried, between calendula pedals, which she boiled with butter oil to make ointment with it. And hypericum, which she prepared to soothe aching joints.
In bags we carried these nuts down the stairs, dried and loose, on the back of the house, and put them in grandmother’s freezer, which was well filled, with cutlet meat and pork belly, sausages, farmer’s bread and rolls, frozen butter in packages, raspberries, cake crusts, strudel dough and dumplings. With the provisions in this house one could have survived a war.
On Saturdays mother sent me over to her house, so I did not get in the way, the ways were barred these days and the floors were wet. Doors were shut with brooms, in a pervasive smell of vinegar cleaner. My mother knew I was of no use before I’d ever been to school.
Grandmother’s doorframe was just so high that the women of the family could enter without bumping their heads. Only the vine had to be brushed aside, frail twigs on both sides, the oak wood patterned by wormholes.
I climbed the stairs after passing through the hallway, in which it was dark and smelled of mothballs, the stiff bristles of the carpet under my feet.
Grandmother expected me without taking further notice, one hand in the pouch of her apron, where she squeezed a piece of cloth. In front of her, black filter coffee in a mug with darkened seam, and bread and butter on a tiny wooden plate. The table covered in cumin seed.
A piece of brioche was set aside for me in front of the window, along with a mug of malt coffee, tart and sweet, and a piece of marzipan, which she cut off the big roll.
Each time she would do three pages of crossword puzzles and then clean the table, and I followed her, to fluff up the bedding, and hang the laundry and do all the other things that had to be done.
I sought out her kitchen on other days, too, for in this place I could watch the dust particles in the rays of the sun, I didn’t have to do any homework, I didn’t feel out of place. In this place I could steal away, without being punished, sit in the hay, where it smelled of Summer and warmth, without anyone wanting to find me.
I could sneak over to the farm and touch the cows’ muzzles, which were moist, and the cows would sway their heads this way and that way, and lick my hand with their coarse tongues. A smell of tripe and fermented milk around me, and cats sleeping in the shade of tumbrils, brown colored with black and white patches.
Tri-colored cats, they call them.
Fluky cats, Tobi said.
Newt-like they looked, barely naked, their eyes still not opened. The kitten I found on the dunghill, of which grandmother said there were too many. This is why she threw them onto the eggshells, the rotten lettuce, the things even the pigs wouldn’t eat. And I closed my eyes, when I walked past them, until fresh cow dung covered their twisted, tiny bodies, and drank the fresh milk myself, which I had stolen for them. Which tasted of grease and Sunday mornings.
Like snow, Tobi said, it looked, the cloth they used to cover her body.
Like the first snow of the year, which never stays.
Which only covers the tips of the blades of grass, the molehills, a tender blanket of cold white on her body.
She was still warm, Tobi said. Up to the chin they covered her, and I couldn’t help but think they should dress her.
And my father hit the wall with his fist, he said, so hard, the plaster gushed down from the ceiling.
I have never seen your father cry, Tobi said, this time was not different.
They all came. Her daughters, and their husbands, and their children gathered in her chamber, stood around her, remained silent, muted, and also those who get drunk on the weekends and don’t have anything else in mind, came.
Nobody knew what to do for there was nothing that could have been done.
Nothing to embellish, nothing to drink to, nothing that could have been improved with sweets, a cream slice, an Americano, cream, a chocolate cake or a filled doughnut.
Unlike before, unlike other times, when they gathered and instead of talking, just loaded bigger pieces on their plates, pouring even more vanilla sauce on their strudel, topping up their brandy glasses. The recipe didn’t work anymore. This time their silence could not be ignored.
From now on, there is a before and an after.
From now on, she will only exist in our memory, Tobi said.
We talked about the smell of her bed, her old squeaking bed, of starch and detergent and cologne it smelled. And how we lay in it, when we were children, and hid underneath her blanket.
And I cried, on the phone, and for seconds, all he could hear was my sobbing.
Later that night I thought we should have bottled it, her smell, in phials, and keep it in a room without light, so we could taste it later.
I tried to remember her bedroom, her pillow, where she stowed away her book. The angle at which she left her slippers beside the bed, the drawer she had opened last and the nightgown she wore.
When I asked Tobi why he had gone back to her house, why he went there, he wrote: Because I feel at home there.
Because there were no borders for us, neither when we were children nor after that, neither in her house nor on his parent’s farm, our homes were many.
Let’s go there together, he wrote, I will wait for you at the train station.
It is always Tobi, who picks me up. My parents say that I am late, for everything, my whole life I have been late, even at birth.
I count the red lines on the seat in front of me. Eleven up to my right knee, the material thick cotton or plastic, seamed in threads, like the thread that links me to my family. It never breaks, no matter how far I go.
I left my parent’s house for the first time when I was five years old.
If I left by my own choice or was made to leave, I do not know.
I packed my mother’s old doctor bag, which became my travel bag, and moved behind the chestnut tree in the driveway.
Every year I went further, up to the poplar trees at the creek, where it was cool and smelled of mud and moss, behind the nettles and the privet thickets. As far as the old willow trees on the edge of the fields I went, where I could still see the garden and my mother. Behind grandmother’s house I went, and then to the hillside, in which the foxes dwelled.
They ground herbs, baked cakes and brushed the concrete in front of their houses, but neither mother nor grandmother came to get me.
When I then returned, mother sent me to my room or to other places, many days I spent sitting at my desk, waiting in the pantry, with the lights on or in the dark, as the case may have been. My mother’s favorite punishment was detention. I received it for minor or major offenses, its length I could read in the wrinkles of her forehead or the ones around her mouth.
I asked myself if this made me take to my heels, or if it is something inherent in someone, as it was inherent in my grandmother to be bitter.
I recognise him from afar, with his back towards me, standing there, a scraggy figure with brown curls, hands in his pockets, ragged shoes with holes, he will wear them until they fall off his feet. His gaze is looking for me among those who flee downstairs, into the warmth, to get away from the cold rails. It won’t be just in my head, it will be reality, as soon as we see each other.
My heart is beating, when it sees him, is still speeding up, after all these years. Its rhythm calms me down for a moment, like his hand, touching my face. We hold on to each other. People hasten by. I bury my face into his shawl, in his smell of skin and sweat and old wool. The train is long gone as we finally start walking. I have to keep up, always have to keep up with him, have to take two steps, where Tobi takes one.
The first words we speak in the car.
It smells of stale cigarette smoke in here, his grandfather’s smoke, who took us to the corner-shop with it, to buy jelly snakes and fizzy powder. The smoke is hiding in the cord fabric, the plastic, the dashboard, now covered in little manga figurines and plastic flowers, golden kitsch and waving cats.
I can hardly speak without sobbing. Tears are stifling. He starts the car, it coughs and whirrs, and I am looking at his long thin fingers, sitting on the steering wheel calmly. Fine hair on his knuckles, his skin is light, still carrying a faded, gleaming summer. A burn mark on his middle finger, from when we used to light up balloons, and hot rubber seeped onto our hands. I carry the same scar, on the other hand.
I know every single cut and scratch on Tobi’s body. The white hairs in his beard, first laugh lines around his eyes, cat’s gold in the green of his eyes, under these bristly brows.
Only grandmother called him by his full name. Tobias, she said, and tousled his hair, when we showed up in her kitchen, or slipped ice cups into his pockets, because she knew these were his favourites, and let us walk off, without assigning us with work.
His parents’ farm was our kingdom: innumerable rooms, which we adopted as our own: old granaries and repositories, garages, pig, cow and horse barns, a hayloft, which stretched over two lengths of the building, abandoned storehouses, whose floors were covered in a dust layer as thick as a finger, the dust dispersed so densely, we could hardly breathe. The timber floorboards in the hayloft were full of holes, we balanced past them, always carrying a fear of falling, of tumbling down six meters onto the floor. Must cellars, fruit cellars, wood cellars there were, secret connections between living room, grandfather’s room and hallway, stairs which led to barred iron doors, windows which led to nowhere.
His parents’ farm was between my parents’ house and my grandmother’s, I could have walked past it, if I had wanted to, but most of the time I turned right after the old wooden barn, past the old ad cards of newspapers and milking machines, and the old pear tree, ran through the courtyard, ducked down, and rushed out on the other side.
Sometimes we ate lunch there, his grandfather, Tobi and me. Ate what grandmother had cooked, everyday she cooked there. Tobi and I would stay with Emil, whose room was a treasure box for us, filigree umbrellas of silk paper, a globe on the windowsill, world maps from different eras, leather bound, little wooden dolls, and crystals, which painted rainbow colours onto the wall when you held them towards the sun.
With Emil we drank malt coffee from tiny porcelain cups and ate peppermint candy with chocolate core, until we got a stomach ache, in this all-consuming smell of cigarettes, which was moving through the rooms.
Emil gifted me seashells, which he had collected on beaches in the south. Behind the Alps, he said. Together with dried blossoms and maple leaves, with wooden pieces that looked like animals and little messages, which Tobi and I had written each other, I glued those seashells on a wooden board and gave it to grandmother, because in my parents’ house there was no space for it. The order in their house corresponded to their ways of thinking: things were archived, numbered and labelled, cleared out, sorted out and given away, everything was given away except for the things I saved from the trash.
Tobi spoke about those who cleared out grandmother’s house, who removed things of value, and I asked myself, whereabouts they removed them, and for what reason.
My seashell piece, I said. Do you think they found it?
He shrugged his shoulders.
I don’t think anyone knows what to do with it.
We reach for each other’s hand, automatically and without thinking. Cold and clammy are our hands. I close my eyes, sink into the seat, sink deeper, because with Tobi I can be this way: still.
The driveway is covered by a leafy carpet, the chestnut tree has lost all its leaves. He lets the car roll on, pulling the break, and we halt with a sudden movement, ten meters before the door.
My parents’ house looks small, if you drive past it.
It sits on a street which meanders through the village, alongside a stream, on whose sides houses are strewn like dice on a playing field. Its walls are white, and the shingles overgrown by moss. Like a toad it sits at the end of a driveway, ducking, fitting in its surrounding, between birches and walnut trees, privet thickets and thuja.
In its interior, one loses oneself in corners and corridors.
Sliding doors are hiding behind wooden panels, bookshelves growing out of rooms and crocheted curtains waiting in niches to be drawn. It is a labyrinth, outside as inside, might swell from one moment to the next, or shrink and change its size, in a game of light and shade.
In June, the green of mother’s orchids is glowing, the sky closes in on the windows and the garden becomes an extension of every room. Yet the darkening of a summer’s thunderstorm suffices, and the walls close in, and a dusty, mouldy smell rises in the air, taking one’s breath.
The game of light and shade changes by the hour in this house, it lives by its own rhythm. When I was a child, suspicion took hold of me that it changed with mother’s moods, just as her cheerfulness would change into eeriness from one second to the next, the frames and borders in the house would do the same.
I climb the stairs slowly, close the door, and wait in the twilight, peel off my jacket and put my bag in the wardrobe. I have been away long enough to forget about the wind chimes in the anteroom, where corridors and floors meet. Only the one who knows can go round them, no one else can come or leave unnoticed. It jingles and jangles. The noise of a starting motor mingles with its sound and the crunching of pebbles. It is dark and quiet. Nobody is home. I wait until the only sound left is the ticking of the clock.
On the table in the kitchen sits a bowl with apples and oranges, reading glasses, my grandmother’s lace doily, the tissue which my mother uses to wipe the sweat off her face, since she’s in menopause. A piece of paper lies on the table, a telephone number on it and the word mortician.
Mild light chimes into the living room, makes the dark furniture look small. I lay down on the carpet and breathe in its smell, examine the picture on the wall, my sister and I. With a rigid gaze we are waiting for the photographer to push the button, braided and vested, in quilling, wearing the same dress. In the centre an image of us with our parents, in a golden frame, father-mother-children, next to it mother as a girl and when she was pregnant with me. A photo of father in a boiler suit, Tobi’s relatives in their farm’s courtyard, in the centre his grandfather Emil in front of a hay wagon, in suit and tie, taller than my father, taller than any man I knew.
Tobi’s grandfather had time.
He had time for the cat, whom no one ever gave a name, to pet her when she appeared in his room and lay down at his feet, when he was sitting on his daybed, reading. He had time to watch the garden, for hours, writing down a line or two. He had time to spread the butter on bread deliberately, for long walks he had time, and excursions to the Danube and into the Bohemian Forest, for movie nights and board games, when it was wet outside and too cold. He had time for us, and especially for Tobi. I believe that Emil was Tobi’s saviour, if anyone can be someone’s saviour.
Emil mastered idleness like nobody could, this sweet idleness, in which thoughts gather, this pause between inhale and exhale, which reveals that one is alive. He understood more about life than we could fathom, was a magician of time, at least until his world lost its magic.
His angular face, framed by a crown of curls, laugh lines like ditches around his eyes, his bristly brows. His gaze, brown like the poplar trees. The checked shirt, which he wore daily, with suspenders, his shovel-like hands in his trousers’ pockets, which always dangled from his hips a bit neglectfully. Brown clogs on his feet, which he towed over concrete and plastic.
We noticed in details that he changed.
His mouth all of a sudden didn’t speak clear words any more, and his smile was afflicted, and sometimes his lips trembled, as if he wanted to say something, but couldn’t. In his walk we recognised it, which carried him to the kitchen and back to his room and no further, and eventually nowhere. Motionless he stayed on his sofa, like Tobi’s mother, they sat and didn’t move. His suitcase collected dust, his car began to rust, and eventually he couldn’t wash himself anymore. Grandmother did it and we helped her, supported him, held his arms, it needed both of our strength.
We didn’t understand what had happened to him, but it was highly visible; he wouldn’t come back. Stroke, my mother explained and we tried to understand what this word meant. When he died, I was seven and Tobi eight.
When he died, we looked at his dead body, which they had laid out on the daybed in his room, under the Chinese umbrella, which cast a red shimmer on his face and let us believe he was still alive, and a fly crawled into his nostril and didn’t come back.
Tobi didn’t cry that day, and also his father did not, nobody in this family cried for Emil.
I sit down in the winged chair with the flower pattern, let myself sink into it deeply and close my eyes, listen to the silence in these rooms, floating like an invisible ribbon.
Nothing moves, neither in front of the window nor in the house, no bird, no cat, nothing moves in the scrawny branches, as if all of life has left the village. Though it is just resting, the plants coated by a fine white layer, like sugar powder.
Softly the palm leaves move above the heating. It smells of Christmas, barely noticeable, the air is flickering above the windowsill, but it isn’t warm.
The silence is so dense it hurts in one’s ears.
When we were children, we jumped up and down the stairs to the first floor, taking three steps at once. The wallpaper with the pink flowers in the anteroom is greasy from the hands of the people who went up there. One could easily slip on the old red carpet, the new rugs are pastel green and glued to the old wood with sticky tape.
By the stairs one reaches my parents’ bedroom, next to my sister’s, connected by a narrow door, locked with a small key, which has been lost. I envied Agnes for this access to our parents, which I never had, my room is on the other end of the corridor.
You have no business being here, my mother used to say, you have no business in our bedroom, and I was wondering what business we could have had there, and if we might have found a fortune in it.
I went in when they were at work.
The wrought-iron white bed, the quilted beige cover, square ornamented pillows which reminded me of the Viennese confectionary my mother would eat secretly while watching TV. Above the bed a holy Mary, I wished mother would have tilted her head likewise and closed her eyes, on us, on me.
I don’t know when I lost the feeling that my parents love me, maybe I never knew it. Maybe I imagined it, just as one believes all their life they spell a word correctly, until they realize they have been wrong all along.
That my parents must love each other I understood by looking at the only photo in their bedroom: mother in a white bouffant dress, with puffed sleeves and a backcombed hairdo, father behind her, one hand on her hip. I often tried to imagine their wedding, the moment in which they said Yes, tried to imagine my parents as happy people, when they were young, my age, I never could.
Next to their bed are two bedside tables, symmetrically placed, with lion feet and golden ornaments. In my mother’s I found her grandmother’s wedding rings, in my father’s his grandfather’s pipe and a picture of his parents.
My father always knew when I had been in their bedroom, to this day I don’t know how he found out. He punished me with my mother’s wooden spoon. One of these spoons broke on my hand, another on my sister’s leg. When he had chased us through the house, I sneaked into Agnes’ bed, crawled under her blanket, close to her warm body, even though I knew she didn’t like it, I recognised it by the way she turned over.
In front of my parents’ bedroom there is a terrace, on which you can hear the village’s sounds more intensely than anywhere else, at least that is what Tobi says. The blackbirds’ naggings, the rustling in the walnut tree, the buzz of the tractors in the fields, the hammering, the lawnmowers, the chicken and sheep. Every sound is amplified and clear, as if you only have to give space to the things, so they can unfold.
On this terrace we watched the flight of the buzzard in August, in the glimmering air above the cornfield, and heard the wing beat of the pigeons, who bickered at the roof rail and lost their feathers, only for us to find them. Nobody knew how clear the stars were up there at a new moon, when no light was found in the night, not even Agnes. Nobody saw the last sunray of a day on grandmother’s roof, or the long shade, just before the sun set behind the hill, but us.
© Marianne Jungmaier // translated by Marianne Jungmaier, 2015
This is the transaltion of the first chapters of the novel “The Cake Protocol” (Das Tortenprotokoll).
Release Date: August 17th, 2015
The German version of this book is published by Kremayr & Scheriau, Wien. All rights reserved.