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03.08.2019 Feature Article

The Underground Man - Part 44

The Underground Man - Part 44
AUG 3, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE

Puschel was nasty to Anna as usual but she tried to ignore the cat of Monika Willers most of the time. Few weeks before Moritz, a tiger striped grey cat had entered her life. She was asked to take it as the former owner had got an additional child making Moritz feel no longer feel loved as expected resulting in jealousy and attacks against the oldest toddler of the couple.

Monika Willers asked Anna how she would get along with Moritz and got the answer: „Him and me...we are born for each other. Each night he comes to me into my bed, lays down besides my head awaiting to be touched. This goes on for about ten minutes, after that he goes his own ways. In the mornings, funny enough, he comes back to me to wake me up when I am still asleep. Once his food is in his bowl, he goes off again and does not mind me. Cutting his nails from time to time is a nightmare. He hates it...he really does. I help myself with a trick to give him snacks which gives me ample time to cut the nails and give him again after he has finished before realizing what I do to him. That is really funny!"

"So, then both of you are a really good team I can see", commented Monika Willers while serving the cake she had made herself.

"Oh, sure...we get on well with each other...and I guess love is very much part of our being together", answered Anna enjoying the lemon flavored cake looking already forward to her mother´s potato salad that only she was ever so good in making. As hard as she had tried, her own would never come out that good. Only what Monika Willers was able to cook, was perfect for her, and was feeling like home. Only yeast pastry her mother was never good at asking Anna to do it. Anna was always laughing imagining that her parent were both cooks she could have ended up in life being a chef herself.

"All the things in life I wanted so much and I worked so hard for, in the end I never got it! Remembered Anna her past with a big smile on her face. "But when I consider that I have moved on to a level I never had thought off, writing books after books, even finishing University...I cannot imagine how my life would be if I would not have embraced the unknown but stacked to what is known in our family."

"The uncle of your father had a landscaping company and the idea was you would eventually run it when you have come of age!" reminded Monika Willers her daughter. "Because of the divorce our families split and so the idea was no more an idea but gone."

Anna walked out into the small garden fenced with bushes to the neighbors at each side looking over to the other side of the triangle courtyard deep down in memory lane: "These days, and I do not know why, I often think of the baby that you had lost years ago...and wonder, what would have been if that girl would have survived and I could call her my sister...the third one."

Monika Willers looked down to the green grass, picked up Puschel, kissed her on her shoulders and proclaimed: „It is better in life that we do not know certain things but move on and manage life as it has been given to us." She turned around and disappeared in the kitchen.

Anna looked after her mother as she left her wondering about the face she had made while the talk was about the girl she had lost. A certain sad and insecure feeling was to be seen on the face of Monika Willers. Shades of darkness had all of a sudden covered her face just before she had kissed Puschel to find comfort in hugging her cat. She knew this subject was hard for her mother to bare but this moment something strange was there between both of them. It felt like she kept a secret, hiding behind a mask put up for a generation. Anna was not sure what to feel, what to think, what to believe. She pulled herself up, positioned her head up high when Walter stepped out form the living room to greet her. He had done some wood work in the cellar.

Anna looked at Walter carefully and said carefully: "You look much better than when I saw you last time we met." She tried to avoid any encounter with him as much as possible, seeing her mother when he was not around seeing friends or his children.

Walter stayed away from her at safe distance and responded: „OH yes, I feel much better now."

"So, the therapy in hospital was helping you to stop drinking too much and detoxify your body", said Anna straight forward.

"Yes, I was in hospital for that and the therapy was very long this time. Now I am back at work and I feel good...very good", answered Walter checking the sunflowers that had grown to be taller than him. "This year they have come out very, very well. Don`t you agree?"

"Yes, I think they look lovely", did Anna not know what to say. Communication with him was not easy at all. He would talk about simple things of daily life, issues that only mattered to him, not to her. His mind was not set on changing the world or reaching the top of life, more about other people`s matters, cars, football, children and food. He was a negative, empty man few years before going on pension.

As Walter had gone back to his room, Monika Willers corrected the impression he had given to Anna: "He is still drinking. In the upper drawer of the desk at his work place you will find still a bottle of snaps. I have to say, he is very good not to let other people know about his problem even all of them know it already. He wants all of them to love him, to think well of him. At work he is not fainting but able to finish his job. So, they let him do whatever he wants to do...as after all they cannot change him, only he can."

"Is he peaceful?"
"Thanks to God...he is. When he is drunken, he is not shouting and also not doing any stupid things to me. He comes home, gets his foot, walks into his room and drinks until he falls asleep", described Monika Willers the daily routine of the house. "No, do not worry for that. I do not think he would ever become such kind of drunken person to scream and shout...touch wood."

"But I still do not understand that he does not say to himself, enough is enough, I do not want to live from bottle to bottle...rather from happiness to happiness...to climb mountains of a better life", was Anna shaking her head and moving from side to side.

"Some people are like that...you cannot help them when they have crossed a certain point in their lies. Let them have their peace as I want my peace. As long as he bring money home and pays half of the rent and for his food, I am okay."

Anna was shaking her head: "But something is about you that I still do not understand."

Monika Willers was looking at Anna from the side with a big question mark on her lips: "What do you mean by that?"

"Why you do not leave him and walk away to live a better life."

"A better life...at my age?"
"Better life is possible at any age and at any place...even you can do it", proclaimed Anna enjoying her mother´s special potato salad. The Wieners she was served were extra delicious.

"You can talk anyhow...I guess. But when you put yourself into my shoes you will see, life is not simple like that...go and walk away to have a better life. This world is very, very complicated for me."

"For you?"
"Yes...for me!"
"But not for others that are facing similar circumstances and challenges", was Anna holding against her mother.

"Do not try to change me", got Monika Willers angry pulling the bowl with the potato salad away from Anna and pushed the plate with the warm Wieners aside out of reach of her daughter. "You are my child and have no right to tell me what and what not I am supposed to do. Only because you finished University...this does not give you the right to lecture or judge me!"

Anna had suffered for years. Knowing where she had come from, intellectual down under, to make it all the way to University, she had been so excited the moment her intellectual horizon got widened, the moment a universe of knowing and of knowledge opened up before her eyes and entered her mind, people she had the privilege of discussing with that helped her to climb up higher and higher, all that is what she so much had wanted to share with her mother. It never had come to her mind to put herself above her mother or any other person she had spent most of her time with. Such arguments between her and Monika Willers were hurting Anna deep down in her soul. Again and again had she thought about her relationship with the woman once having given birth to her, a mother not to be lost on the way. One day her eyes had opened and her heart had understood that the new world she had stepped in and had wanted too much to be part of it, could never be understood by her mother. Therefore it was her job to communicate with her mother on the level she was at and accept her for what she was and capable to understand. She had to find her own space and people in life to share thoughts and insights with that they would be able to understand. With her mother only simple, simple discussions were possible about matters so important to her, for Anna below her level of the matters in life she felt of greater importance to mankind. Discussions about the behavior of other family members, work issues and health matters would most certainly not satisfy Anna´s mind and give her the feeling to be complete. She took time in her heart aside when meeting her for low level talks and saw this as a kind of entertainment, a time to give her mother satisfaction to be understood and move on after the visit in her apartment.

"So...I am only happy to hear form your own mouth, that Walter is not violent to you...that is a great reassurance", changed Anna the topic.

"Yes, yes...that is so", was Monika Willers ready to get up and walk over to the kitchen. The door to Walter´s room was closed, no noise to be heard. She came back to the living room with ice-cream from the supermarket.

Anna enjoyed the col treat listening to her mother saying: "I am also very happy that he is peaceful. Of course I would wish he would stop drinking at all...but I also know of other people that suffer from such men, even getting beaten up."

"Yes...that is certainly not easy for such ladies!"

Karl-Heinz Heerde
Karl-Heinz Heerde, © 2019

This author has authored 330 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KarlHeinzHeerde

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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