Tag : cold

Winter’s Child

I’m passing the hill, changing up. Third gear. Dark plain ahead of me, no back-lights to be seen. Edith sings the Milord, as I speed up. My hand resting on the gear stick. The long, drawn-out road feels like driving on dark shortpastry. Like the one sprawled on my mother’s table, when I was six years old.

Je vous connais, Milord.**

A light vibration under my hand. The sound of the engine is getting louder. I reach for the switch and turn on the long distance light. Silver cross dangling from the rear-view mirror. I hear my mother’s voice, as she asked me where I was going tonight. I am carefree in my diagram of lies.
I steer the car into the first bend, take my foot off the pedal and let the vehicle glide. Just as I let myself drift into the arms of a man who could be my father.

Je ne suis qu’une fille du port, qu’une ombre de la rue.

An old tree in the emptiness of the landscape. A reflection in the corner of my eye.
A rabbit running across the field, onto the street. A big animal as I can see, in the cone of light.
I wish to avoid it. It was a game of childhood. Green light, red light.
I turn the steering wheel to the left, a little. Green light, red light. Like I did countless times before.

J’en ai froid dans le coeur.

I hear a rumbling, sense a minor rocking. The steering wheel is turning to the right. I am counter-steering. I steer against it, this movement, which I feel underneath my hands. Green light, red light.
I freeze in my seat. Time seems to be standing still. I feel my right foot applying to the brake. Hushed I am inside. All has gone quiet.
I understand this vehicle has one thousand five hundred kilograms. I understand it is moving at an approximate speed of fifty kilometres per hour. I close my eyes.

Vous ne m’avez jamais vu.

A deep crack in an old tree. My hands rest on my head as if the sudden silence was too loud. I open my eyes, wish to ask myself what happened. But I am voiceless, deaf, insensible. And darkness is.
All of a sudden, Edith begins to sing again and with a numbing sound level, the light returns.
There is a dull pain on my hip, on my forehead. I reach out for the seatbelt-fastener, and touch my face. I want to get out. The door is locked. I hammer against the plastic. A click. Something breaks. I crawl outside. Cold and hard the chunks of soil under my knees. I turn around and see my mother’s car. The motor compartment is compressed up to half. The trunk of a tree growing out in the middle. As if it had been standing there always.
I look down, see my hands shaking.

Qui n’a pas su comprendre, qu’elle brisait votre vie.

Now I hear the engine’s sound. The lights illuminate a field, like a scene. I rise, ignoring the pain in my knees, on my hip. Reach behind the steering wheel and turn off the engine. The music is over. My thoughts race.
Where’s my mobile, where’s my mobile. Where is it. Where is it. Mother, a rabbit was crossing the field. It was green light, red light. A sobbing. This is not a joke.
I am waiting. On dark shortpastry which is sprawled on my mother’s plain.
I cover my face with my hands. A moaning escapes my throat. I am humiliated by this sound. But nobody is hearing it.
Stillness makes me gasp. I feel like a patient after the electric shock. Can hear, can feel, but not utter a word. The night is dark and shapeless. No wind, no sound, only the silent resplendence of the stars.
Steps on the asphalt, my own. I situate the breakdown triangle. Search for my bag, find it underneath the dashboard. Search for my innocence, find nothing but lighters, cigarettes, a spectacle case. My devised life has been expecting me. I have to refuse.

Rien ne vas plus, a voice is saying and it is not Edith.
Who will clear this debt, it is asking. I owe my mother a daughter.
L’amour, ca fait pleurer, comme quoi l’existence.

Father. Mother. At their sight I force words to come out, which seem to have been lingering between lips and throat forever. I am surprised to hear myself speak.
Such was not my intention, I say.
I wish to clean up the mess. But they take me home with them. They command me to stay.


Je vous connais, Milord.
I know you, Milord.

Je ne suis qu’une fille du port, qu’une ombre de la rue.
I’m just a girl from the docks, just a shadow of the street.

J’en ai froid dans le coeur.
It makes my blood run cold.

Vous ne m’avez jamais vu.
You’ve never seen me.

Qui n’a pas su comprendre, qu’elle brisait votre vie.
Who didn’t understand she was ruining your life.

L’amour, ca fait pleurer, comme quoi l’existence.
Love makes one cry, as follows life.


“Winter’s Child” has been published in my book “Autumn Wood’s Colour” in May 2012.
Translation and text © Marianne Jungmaier. Rome, 2012.

Categories: Autumn Wood's Colour, Bücher / Books