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13.06.2019 Feature Article

The Underground Man - Part 12

The Underground Man - Part 12

„Anna, you talk like an old, wise woman. I wonder, were it comes from…as certainly your family does not think that far and matured. “Hans-Georg Friese looked at Alexa on their way out.

„It only takes one person to change the world“, looked Anna up to the man she had taken as her father even he had never known. Her desire for a father by her side to explain life`s issues was deeply rooted in all her life time, but never fulfilled. Over the years she had began to understand her needs and situation, to gain positive momentum from her special life given to see the world with eyes she was privileged to see. It were these sad feelings to give her a power for impact that is needed to see, hear, overcome, invent and act on conviction to promote fight for an improved, better life for many unable to fight the same way. Her pains became her heroes, a driving force to make her stand up and more forward. Life without pain, no scares left behind, is a life on the ocean`s surface being the tool to be used for uncertainty, left to chances, not for a great plan to see the other side of history.

Irena and her siblings sat around the kitchen table. She was tense not knowing how her mother would take the information, her period had stopped some time ago being aged sixteen only. Nervously was she waiting for the right moment to come fearing it would potentially come as a devastating news to her mother.

From the fridge Monika Willers brought out vanilla pudding prepared the day before topped up with chocolate sauce from work. During the past week Monika Willers had felt rheumatism in both lower arms inherited from her mother. All family members had it in their blood, but only the female side was effected by pain. She had thought to ask her boss, a very friendly chef highly decorated in their industry to stop serving the bank owners in their private dinner rooms on the fifth floor of the bank in Ferdinand Straße close to Lake Alster, home of a Jewish family that had to sell the bank by force to the Nazis but after the war run the management again. She enjoyed her time working in the kitchen of the old, impressive building facing Thalia Theater.

Monika Willers felt spontaneous, that day would be a significant moment in her life remembering herself so much. While Alexa went to her bedroom and Anna tried to fix her bike after dinner, Irena was alone with her mother at the kitchen table.

„My period has stopped“, was it coming out like a hurricane from Irena´s mouth while her mother had started to do the dishes.

With great surprise in her eyes did Monika Willers looked at Irena understanding right away the meaning of what she had said.

„We must see a doctor right away“, commented Monika Willers with no hesitation or doubt in her voice.

Few days later it was confirmed, Irena was pregnant. Her mother wanted to ask her about the boy that had made her pregnant. Thousands of thoughts and ideas rushed through her mind confronting her with the `WHY` all that questions. Instinctively she knew if she would do that holding the unbelievable mistake her daughter had made against Irena, she surely would have lost her and caused more harm to a difficult situation than finding a way forward. She kept quiet thinking and thinking of what next to do. Irena was not in love with that boy that had made her pregnant, was only foolish enough to have had unprotected sex at such an early age ignoring the consequences of her lust. When she did something action came before thinking, that is how she always was. Irena was a lifelong a woman not able and willing to imagine a long distance future. For her the here and now was what mattered to her most, not times far away that could have given her a better life. Complex considerations of her being in relation to life`s circumstances and improvements, were never on her mind. The obvious of today and not the possibilities of tomorrow were always on her mind. She would never be willing to see a project lasting a decade or more of preparation through until the end, something that in between could have possibly brought disgrace and shame to her. Little did she know her own daughter one day been born would follow in her mother´s footsteps. That girl would get pregnant as a teenager from an Afghan man running a restaurant at Mundsburger Brücke not intending to establish a family with him delivering a baby girl, ending school with the least school qualification possible in Germany, just like her mother, to get married later in life to a simple-minded man of her own level making a working match of their own.

While Irena was in Hauptschule class, a low standard school form of her time, Alexa and Anna had moved on to the next level, a middle school, named Realschule.

Irena had felt pain in her body for days not knowing the exact cause of the problem. Few days later it was certain, she had lost the unborn child due to a hormone defect.

Monika Willers knew instinctively to shout on Irena would not help again the situation. She calmed herself down with repeating words spoken in her mind. All she could do is to hope she would keep her legs closed and move on in life to improve in school. Night after night was Monika Willers lying in bed sleepless thinking and worrying, asking herself why it was her having to endure so many problems in life, such hard times and all by herself. Others were not punished that much, were happily married with children progressing in life. She used to speak out her fears to the universe, occasionally call on the name of God but as she saw no immediate effect her belief faded away. Patience and trust to carry for long time ion her spirit was never for her. Irena from all her three children had inherited this weakness the most while Alexa had built on her character to follow instructions given by letter and Anna helped herself by writing to reflect on her blood inheritance to move from level to level. She stepped out from her comfort zone constantly ignoring others saying what she should do ort leave but developed a more and more sharp and robust sense of and for herself and her individual needs. She had come to understand at very early age in life that life to live is not for others, only for oneself. Parents can guide a child, friends comfort someone but their decision making process ends at the door of another person’s destiny.

The bags were nearly packed, time to leave for summer vacations. Hot air blew through parks and streets. All weather predictions had forecasted the hottest time for years. People started to complain, sleeping at nights uncovered in their beds became the norm. Water was rationed for plants and using for swimming pools. Everybody had climate change on their mind and lips. Political parties all across Europe gained momentum demanding a rapid change in attitude. Avoiding the use of plastics was the talk of the day everywhere.

Anna had received the recommendation of her school to move on to higher education and peruse an A-level status. For years she had wanted to become a Kindergartener only. As often as she could she would help out in her old Kindergarden to assist entertaining younger once trusting it would give her credit later to enter her beloved profession. She was confused and sad, but only for a moment, that no Kindergarden she contacted would have given her the chance for training. As time was running out ending Realschule, she panicked and applied for Manager training in various fields. One Human Resources Manager at Kühne & Nagel GmbH, a logistics company, located at Baumwall in Hamburg at River Elbe looked at her, listen to her and advice Anna to move on in life and go to High-School. Anna herself had never thought about it as no one in her family had ever done that, it was not common. For her such an idea seemed to be impossible for a girl of her background. She was not thinking it was a way of life open to herself but only to intelligent people of higher class.

The year before she had become the Deputy Students Union President of her school representing more than six hundred students. The work of the President was left to her as the one that had been elected, a much beloved boy chewing gums all the time, very good looking, handsome and smart, popular with many girls, had left the work for her knowing himself not to be qualified for the position elected into.. Smiling, telling jokes, flirting with the girls that was all on his mind. Fighting problems and attending to details, was far from him.

…to be continued

Karl-Heinz Heerde
Karl-Heinz Heerde, © 2019

This author has authored 299 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KarlHeinzHeerde

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