Turn for Destiny
by Beate Conrad
It was the first time that they came by to play with their new comrade from school. He invited them in. The contents from the open cabinets were spread out all over the kitchen. An ironing board stood in the middle of the living room, where laundry had piled up in front of jam-packed bookshelves. The half open door to the master bedroom allowed a view of one small unmade bed, unwashed clothes, books, newspapers, and piles of paper.
Gently, he shoved his visitors into his exemplary room.
" ... yes, probably later, highly trained in Belgium ... group without borders, or whatever they call it these days", the elderly woman says. "You know, these people, who stand up against the biggest adversities in Africa — and who knows where else in the world — in order to help those in need and operate people who would die otherwise. But nobody knows for sure ..."
The hairdresser dries her face and eyes with a few pats. "But they had him almost expelled from high school, right?" She is getting busy with comb and scissors.
A partly charred, old book lay on his desk. Soon after, his younger brother came home. Still out of breath, he handed him pump and bicycle keys.
"Well, from early on, he seemed to be a bit strange, running around barefoot even in late November, you know. And he rambled a lot about some guy named Feuerbach. Or was it Rousseau?"
"Someone like him probably feels at home in the jungle", the hairdresser remarks. "I wonder what he might be doing these days?" She puts the scissors down.
On their way out, one of the group noted: "Some time you guys must clean up. Nobody can live in such a pigpen." "Tell my mom about it", the comrade laughed. Bawling they raced down the alley
Last year's leaves squeezed in front
of the basement.
"De Beata Vita"*
The clear voices of the choir reverberate from the vaulted ceilings of Saint Boniface: "Libera me ..." followed by a full baritone: "Libera eas de peonis ..."**
An animal baas in between.
"Mother has to soak and scrub him thoroughly, trim the white scruff, and stick him in a suit for once. It's gonna be all right, this wedding. He seems to have a few things, that is savings. His entire life he has been a farm laborer. He even slept next to the sheep in the barn. But what's most important, — as the eldest of five siblings she knows that."
"Simple is not simple at all", I heard me whisper and felt the frown of the choirmaster on me.
I carry the stray sheep and my memories with me to the nightly marketplace of a former farmers town, — my hometown in another life. Right behind the church the meadows stretch toward the river. So I amble across the new pedestrian bridge and further out
New Year's dream ...
The moon is carving faces
in the bog.
*De Beata Vita (Happiness) refers to Saint Augustine's philosophical treatise written in 386. It reflects the long lasting dialogue on life in search of happiness.
** free me ... free us from punishment