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09.06.2019 Feature Article

The Underground Man - Part 10

The Underground Man - Part 10
JUN 9, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE

„You are not my mother“, had Alexa said the last time before turning her back on her hiding under the staircase that was leading to the upper floor on which the children had their bedrooms.

Anna had looked over to Alexa with sadness. She had never liked nor understood her sister´s behavior towards the woman whose blood runs in her body. No mother is perfect, even she had problems with her, but this was no reason for her to her mother not as her mother. Irena meanwhile had not shown too much interest in the farewell ceremony of Monika Willers. She had started to walk around the high complex checking out the people.

„Anna…you take good care of yourself and your sisters, please“, had Monika Willers kissed her good-bye and had walked off.

A man the children had only called Uncle Peter, good looking, light red hair, a car calling his own, had made her pregnant. One of Monika Willers friends had arranged a meeting between both of them. He had not mind a woman in her condition, had even shown interest to entertain the children.

„In one weeks’ time or so“, explained Miss Wohlfart Anna at dinner table, „ your mother will come to pick you up again. She called and said today, she loves you all and is missing you. She is okay, she told me. “

It had been nearly two months that Anna, Irena and Alexa had seen their pregnant mother leaving them in the orphanage behind. Long expected did Monika Willers enter the orphanage with a smile on her face. She had missed their daughters a lot feeling guilty not having given them a better life.

Alexa kept quiet when she saw her mother collecting all her clothing’s. Irena ignored her tender kisses.

Anna asked: „Where is the baby? “

Monika Willers had thought for a long time how best to explain to them. She answered with shame in her voice: „The girl…was…born…dead. “

She paused to observe her daughters reactions. Irena did not mind the news, took it just like any of life´s events.

Alexa shouted out loud: „I do not trust you…you lie to us! “ She folded her arms in anger and walked to the dining hall.

Anna took her mother´s hand to comfort her and said with warm voice: „ It is okay…life is sometimes like that. I am not unhappy…because, why should I? As what cannot be changed must be accepted. “

Monika Willers was too busy to take good care of all emotions of the small family. She finished the paper work with the orphanage and walked out of the home back to Alte Wöhr.

„I never believe what you said“, stated Alexa categorically at dinner table. „I will never believe you on this! Never! She run to her bed to hide her anger.

„The old folks here around have told me, Barmbek used to be a blue color area with people working her das carpenters, electricians, plumbers and alike. Voting was for left wing parties mostly. The people enjoyed a close neighborhood, were friendly with each other while sharing mainly the same life expectations. Ortmann & Herbst in Alte Wöhr produced machinery for the tobacco industry. The small park between Alte Wöhr and Fraenkelstraße was designed and constructed by someone called Karl Heerde. Fuhlsbüttler Straße was crowned at Barmbek Station with Hertie, their local department store while towards Ohlsdorf Station undertakers were going about their work.“

Anna had given him permission to sit next to her on the plastic bench overseeing to her immediate right Planetarium, a former water tower converted into an observation to watch and teach the stars and planets around the earth. To her left the public swimming pool with lake to canoeing on was filled with people to jump into cold water on that sunny day, hot Saturday afternoon.

The black man had introduced himself as Joe from Kumasi in the heart of Ghana. He was very well mannered appearing to her like any gentlemen would do. A break between writing her new book was what had directed her to come to Stadtpark. Exercising helped her to clear her mind, get new ideas and peruse with fresh idea her stories.

Joe was dressed decently, clean, latest fashion. She had the impression to sit next to a well-educated man with high hopes and expectations about a better life. His voice was deep and his tone well placed on each word spoken. Before he allowed a word to leave his mouth, he had well thought about each word to make the world hear.

„But now…look around you in Barmbek…so much has changed in the past…for years. Turkish people came to be good neighbors but stayed more by themselves. Then, look at all the Blacks around. Schools are filled with second generation of African Migrants. In most classes you find one or two of them; some behave more German than a white born German. They have no intentions to go back to Africa…even their experiences in life is what we in Africa need so much. They mostly have built houses in Africa to retire there or go for holidays. But to return for good….no, no, that is not what they want. “

Anna looked at him trying hard to follow his ideas. She watched a Turkish family having a grill party with friends, their kids playing football on the central lawn of the city park.

„So many of them come from Ghana, just like me, “continued Joe sharing his insights with Anna, „ but I can tell you, we in our country have no civil war, nobody gets prosecuted because of his political believes…even gays we allow to go about their own business regardless the fact anal sex is not allowed by law…that is how peaceful we are. So, “did he turn to Anna with grim, dark face, „ how come, all these Ghanaians are here in our country? “

Anna kept quiet for few seconds thinking of the right answer: „They need money? “

„Even they have more than you, all that gold, bauxite, cocoa beans, gas and oil! “

She looked at him not knowing what to say. Loud cheers around her, music from ghetto blasters and singing of drunken young men disturbing her flow of thinking.

„Take me for example. I share a room with someone from Togo. That man recently was a witness at Jungfernstieg where a man from Nigeria stabbed his former girl-friend to death having lost few hours before the custody over the child both had together. This would have meant for him to return back to Africa. My room-mate was the new boy-friend of that woman. He was with her when she was killed in cold blood, so the police wanted to question him as a witness. He was hiding in our room. Than the police turned up and I had to escape through the window and start sleeping on the streets.

…to be continued

Karl-Heinz Heerde
Karl-Heinz Heerde, © 2019

This author has authored 295 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KarlHeinzHeerde

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