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12.07.2019 Feature Article

The Underground Man - Part 27

The Underground Man - Part 27

“The Green Party started off in Germany with a big bang, not only promising to fight against destruction of our world, but as a party to be so much different from all others”, stated Anna to explain accepting the offer from Paulina of another cup of tea, a student from Cambridge, UK`s most beautiful city and most certainly the best in the world.

“Petra Kelly, the founder of the Green Party and her boy-friend, General Bastian that later fist killed her and then himself, had declared never to use the shuttle service of the German Parliament, the Bundestag, to the Langen Eugen, the Office building for all Parliamentarians in Bonn , never to fly but to use the train, to keep strict mandate and party functions separate and so on. Madam Claudia Roth had cried seriously and complained…so mandate and party function was in one hand. Only for short time they used bikes and trains, now their behavior is like any other party. Sneakers to wear to be sworn into office as Minister is out of fashion now for them. Even Rudolph Bahro had proclaimed once when the forest in Bavaria dies to seek support from people traditionally voting for the same old Bavarian party only. In the Green Party the discussion was there before mandating themselves in such a legal form to remain a movement and not a party. The end of long debates was to form a party to be more effective and more into Parliaments and later Governments. What they did not consider was the fact in a Democracy when you enter a Parliament, that step corrupts your mind. To avoid after four years to become irrelevant and lose seats, you have to start making compromises as old voters might abandoned you and as Bahro had realized and propagated for, you as a political force need to win over a clientele that had never been in your focus before. The established parties in the early days of the new movement in Parliament soon had changed their strategy also and embraced green politics to a certain extend as expected from voters.”

“So, what is your conclusion after all your analyzing of the facts?” wanted Peter to know, the head of the group putting back the black file for the book keeping onto the white wooden shelf between the windows facing the street below.

“The Green Party from all parties, especially compared to the established parties, had betrayed their original clientele even faster than any party before them”, replied Anna while it was time for them to get up and make a last round in the house.

Martin would leave the place to stay at another house thee had rented last year to streets away.

It was not hard for Anna to get up at three o`clock in the morning. Her sleep was short, only four hours on a thin matrices on the floor of the office locked heavily for security reason as usual. The smell of the pee that hang over the house was not so intense next to the desk as the windows stayed open all night long. Papers all over the place was not of her concern but the seriousness of cases the people had to deal with were. Before they all had the chance the day before to enter their beds, not common for them. One of the drunkener had set outside on a metal bar underneath the staircase to the cellar was obviously not mindful off. He had smoked, shouted, lamented and taken to more red cheap wine that his balance had shifted to the wrong side to make him fall before the cellar´s door. People had rushed to him, no serious injuries had been visible. Nevertheless an ambulance had rushed to him to take him to the nearest hospital. Anna thought of the big, fat man that had been given the chance to come back after rehabilitation to stop his alcoholism, a man feared to get a heart attack or stroke at any time of no change of behavior would turn his life around. While she helped Inga to put sandwiches, tea, cigarettes, used well looked after clothes and shoes into their little van waiting outside ready to set off into the night, Anna thought of home in Hamburg.

Anna saw traffic lights, streetlights and neon-lights selling all sorts of things. London few hours before most people got up to be busy, pushing and pulling business, hammering and welding for e brighter future looked more like a ghost town, so unreal. Where during day light legs and heads would rush from place to place, there was really the time in the darkness of the city to hear the silence of life and explore the place to its core. For Anna she knew London is too big to make it call a nice city. For tourists to visit the place was certainly okay, but to live there, even to work in such a crowded city would be nothing she would ever consider for long. The driver knew so well where to go and park. Behind Dorchester Hotel the car stopped. No one was to be seen. The volunteers offloaded their tea and sandwiches, placed them nicely in the trunk as all of a sudden an army of hungry people fell over them.

Slowly, very, very slowly came one person after the other out of the darkness. Anna did not see the places they came from, where they had put their sleeping bags on the grey concrete of the pavements, nor where they kept their belongings. They took the paper tea cups like treasures into their hands to feel the warmth of the tea and smell of the aroma of carefully brewed tea bags brought at Tesco the other day. In their dark, brown faces, dirty and unshaved, eyes of human touch jumped on to the volunteers and entered Anna`s heart forever. She tried to keep her mind quiet to listen to the moment, to be present right where she was needed most. Giving out cigarettes and tobacco was reminding her of her late father, all against in life she was standing for.

An old man with grey hair, short and wide opened eyes started talking: “My wife and I were one heart, one soul. Everything in life…we did together. Life without one another was meaningless. Than the time came she died in my arms. I lost hope, work and home. Very fast was I down from far up….and somehow I have no energy anymore to change my situation. From day to day I survive somehow to wait for the final call and return back to my wife in heaven. What sense does it make for me to live anymore? I have seen so much in my life, had a most wonderful woman, have children even with her…but my life was only for her.”

Allan sat down on a concrete pillar smoking his cigarette his little treat warming his soul. His sharp eyes looked at Anna and he said whispering: “ Do you know young girl…oh so young still…that when you have seen it all…all that you need to know, all the basics in life…I do not mean all the repeats in shining, shinning form with glitter and trumpets…your life basically comes to an end?”

“Is it so?” asked Anna while handing out another cup of tea with milk over to Carl, the youngest man in the group of strangers that for half an hour each day would wait behind the hotel for they coming, take his portion before disappearing again in the darkness and unknown. He wanted to stay all by himself. He did not trust the others for a second. “Hate, love, jealous, care, cheating, eating, drinking, working, chasing people and things, sex, digestion feelings…all that I have seen ad felt a thousand times. What sense does it make to see it thousand and one time? That one extra time dressed up in new fashion? And even that new fashion is a replica of olden day`s fashion!”

Anna got confused. The team was ready to leave for their next stop.

“Why should I pull myself together, get nicely dressed, save, obey other people`s orders, have an apartment, a car, nice furniture when…yes, when in the end my bones get rotten…and I will be forgotten?”

Anna was pushed to enter the van as more people in need were waiting. She waved her new friend good-bye. While the car drove off into the lonely night she saw houses passing by but her mind was with Allan. That early morning Anna could not have known the old man would be found dead few hours later next to a waste container abandoned in one of London`s many one-way streets.

A young man at the next stop caught her attention. It was to her underneath his grim looks was a man hiding with great talents. Anna served him his salami sandwich with ham sliced well garnished with pickled cornichons and onion rings. The taste was topped by mayonnaise and ketchup. The volunteers wanted to ensure their clientele would always feel appreciated by someone. Anna asked him about his story. She looked into weary eyes that were too far from her standing right by his side.

“I have tried to stop this life for long”, started the young man to explain himself, ”God knows for how long!”

Anna noticed his facial expressions did not move an inch. It was as if at one stage of his life, his face got frozen, ice-cold looks. She tried to reach his heart by smiling towards him, but got no feedback of any kind. Anna was confused. What made Richard so emotionless? Yet, she felt somehow tears wanted to storm out of him. Like a giant water dam holding Millions of liters of water in a reservoir waiting for that special, particular moment to be released and bringing down the pressure on the structure holding the system together to function, and function well.

“Is human life all about that `to function‘`to function well or anyhow or what is it all about to make us live…in the first place? “ was a thought crossing Anna`s mind for a second.

Richard was born in Oxford not far from the Covered Market, a son raised by a Lecturer and a Hospital Nurse well protected, deeply loved. As a teenager harmony in life had felt to him so boring, constantly to be nice to all people an exhausting task. In circles outside the established society a new world, so wild and output rules, had drawn him to drugs and alcohol.

“Did anyone force you to take drugs and alcohol?” wanted Anna to know.

Richard looked at here, paused for a moment as if he was not sure of the right answer and said: “No one can force me to that…pressure you may be….but no, I wanted to feel and so how it is. Now I am in a mess…spinning around and around. Therapy follows therapy…I only do not know how long it will go on.”

…to be continued

Karl-Heinz Heerde
Karl-Heinz Heerde, © 2019

This author has authored 323 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KarlHeinzHeerde

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