In front of a serene summer landscape Susanne and Christian go through the story of her love. Susanne, already promised to another man, feels a unprecedented affection for the human strong, unconventional but also aimless Christian, who brings them into a deep conflict and its controlled and manageable life suddenly call into question.
She heard the voice in the woods and the echo which came across the pond. She took her bikini out of the bag and put it on. Perhaps it was an angler, hoping to do some fishing from the jetty. The footfalls in the reeds came directly towards her. She never thought it might be Christian, but when she recognised him she was glad it was him and not a stranger.
“Well, well, Mrs. Susanne! Good morning. Am I disturbing you?”
“No,” she said off-handedly.
“Is there enough room for me?”
“The jetty isn’t very stable,” she said.
“Jetties like this can take more than you think,” he said as he stepped towards her and sat down. His light green eyes summed her up with quiet amusement: her mouth, her forehead, her eyebrows and the new reed crown. Her tiny bikini was red and slightly faded. He saw that she followed his glance, but he remained completely unruffled and went on looking at her breasts and her brown legs. Pie would have liked to touch her or pull a reed from her hair or make some impudent remark. He was truly happy to be sitting here, to have her so near, within his reach yet so wonderfully strange.
“Anything wrong?” she asked suddenly, and there was a stern expression on her face. But he remained unperturbed and said, “On the contrary.”
“Why are you looking at me like a censor?”
“I’m not. I’m simply looking at you.”
“And it simply annoys me,” she said angrily, for he wouldn't stop smiling.
“It’s nice to look at you.”
“Does nothing matter to you at all except your own pleasure?”
“Yes, it does,” he said. “But I don’t like admitting it. And it counts for very little.”
“Without exception?” she asked.
He lay down next to her so that he could look up into her face in the shadow cast by her body. He saw the dark hair in her armpits and he was glad, because he didn’t like girls to shave under their arms or pluck their eyebrows. Everything should be as it was made.
“This is no weather for philosophy,” he said.
“So you are always unwilling to admit what matters to you. Does that apply to the derrick too?”
“The derrick? Perhaps that’s the only exception. Why do you ask?”
“So that you can answer.”
“One needs reassurance,” he expanded. “The derrick can give it, stubborn and greasy as it is. And frail, too. It has to be conquered. That’s certainly no pleasure, or at least it’s a strange kind of pleasure. The derrick shows you who you are only afterwards, always much later. Pleasure with retarded ignition, you might say.”
She was a good listener and he saw that she was anxious to understand him.
“To be honest,” he went on, “it’s the only self-respect I can generate, the only respect that really counts. That’s no merit, I know, it’s not even very much in itself.”
“It’s something. But not very much. How come?”
“Lack of good influences,” he said without a sign of regret. “Or lack of people who set a good example.” That’s not quite true, he thought. Could be that I would have gone to the dogs without Max, and maybe if somebody else had been in his place, I would think nothing now of stealing or doing slapdash work or working only for the end-of-year bonus. Someone like that Jordan from the apprentice workshop, for instance, or the man at the Opera Cafe on Whit Sunday. Someone you can’t respect, or someone who leaves you absolutely cold, which is even worse.
“A great deal depends on who you meet,” he said.
Her eyes were a brownish colour. Light brown with a dark halo. That’s what enabled her to give him those firm, searching looks, which were so charming at the same time. He wanted suddenly to touch her shoulder or her hand, and had to hold himself back.
“But the derrick isn’t the most important thing,” he said.
“What remains afterwards -— the fact that you’re alive, moving about, that you can make use of everything you have. That you enjoy living and moving about. Perhaps that’s it.”
“But always, you are most important to yourself?” “Nearly always. And you? What is the most important thing for you?”
‘The children at the school, and the immense obligation I have towards them, which I have to fulfil as best I can.” “And is that fulfilment, or happiness as one calls it?” “Yes.”
“And what else? Your husband for instance?”
She had forgotten about her lie, but she stuck to it now and said, “My husband too.”
Herbert Otto was born in 1925 in Breslau (now Wroclaw), the son of a seamstress. He died in 2003 in Ahrenshoop. He was fourteen at the beginning of the Second World War and twenty when it was over. Like all young men of his generation in Germany, he was drafted into the Wehrmacht. He was sent to the Soviet Union. But he was among the lucky for he was taken prisoner. As a prisoner-of-war, he learned the reality of Socialism. He returned to Germany in 1949 — the year of the founding of the German Democratic Republic. In Berlin he worked as editor and in theatre. For his first novel, The Lie, he received the Theodor Fontane award.
Journeys to Asia and to Cuba resulted in three books of reportage. His screenplay, “September Love”, was filmed by DEFA.
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- Artikel-Nr.: SW9783956552960
- Artikelnummer SW9783956552960
- Wasserzeichen ja
- Verlag EDITION digital
- Seitenzahl 216
- Veröffentlichung 10.03.2017
- ISBN 9783956552960
- Wasserzeichen ja