Freitag, 18. September 2015

I should have been a cat, because ... for me: one Life is not enough!

Wish all my visitors a happy weekend! 

for me: one Life is not enough!

Amazon worldwide Dorothee Sargon 

Chapter 1

A Daydream

Oh, what wonderful weather! It had been raining solidly for two whole days and had turned the street outside into a river. I watched as a car drove by, washing the pavements with great fountains of water. I was sitting almost on top of the fire to keep warm and looking out of the window, hoping to see something interesting to break the boredom. There was nothing to see, however, but the dark grey sky, like night, with the clouds sitting there all bunched together seemingly a few feet above my head, without even the smallest gap to allow any sunlight to filter through. Every so often there would be a streak of lightning and a great crash of thunder. The rain was so heavy that there were hardly any people outside - just a couple of skinny cats running down the road in search of shelter. The storm was intense. The wind howled and blew, bending the trees this way and that, sending leaves whirling into the air, and reducing beautiful blooms to pools of petals. Our neighbour's tall palm trees were being tossed about as though there were some huge magician's hand shaking them.

I was happy not to be outdoors in such dreadful weather. I decided to take a long, hot shower and wash my hair. Feeling wonderfully clean and refreshed, I put on a brightly-coloured track suit and fluffy slippers and dried and styled my hair. Each time I caught sight of the slippers, Donald Duck slippers, I had to grin, but they did keep my feet warm after all. I didn’t feel like putting on make-up but, anyway, it wasn't necessary because, some years before, I had had some permanent makeup applied - eyebrows, eyeliner and around my lips. It had been quite painful at the time but I was pleased I had had it done because each morning, when I look in the mirror, there is an attractive face smiling back - that is if you ignore the wrinkles on my forehead and around my nose and mouth and the fine laugh lines coming from the corners of my eyes! I really think permanent makeup is worth every penny because I never look plain and washed out.

I returned to my place at the window, wondering if anything had changed. It seemed that the Spanish winter was getting close. Of course it's not as bad as a northern European winter, with its deep snow and sub-zero temperatures, although some Spaniards had told me that perhaps once every 20 to 25 years the winter can be as harsh as that. But, just imagine, only two weeks before, our swimming pool had been nearly 19 degrees and I had been able to swim. This year, however, November was colder than usual, with the nights being really chilly.
While I was sitting, staring out of the window, some funny thoughts went through my mind. I began comparing my life with the four seasons.

Spring my young life up to 21 – active, adventurous, and inquisitive
Summer from 22 to 45 - anticipating, ambitious, and hardworking
Autumn from 46 to 59 - sometimes disappointing, but lucky, happy, and thankful
Winter from 60 to who knows? – am I worried, melancholy or happy or accepting

When I consider this analogy, I have to admit that I am in the winter of my life. There may not be so many years left for me. Perhaps, I thought, it was time to put matters in order so that all would be ready for later. My wardrobe was full of dresses. Unfortunately I couldn't wear most of them because they didn’t fit and it was useless to keep them any longer as I just couldn't imagine that I would ever be able to lose enough weight to fit into them again. I tried giving myself a good talking to: "Just discipline yourself and lose that weight, go back to your original size and then you'll be able to wear all these dresses." But I knew, realistically, this would never happen and I also knew it was much more prudent to clear them all out, as upsetting as that would be. My head was full of a hundred thoughts but, as sensible as it might have been to throw all my pretty dresses out, and pass them on to someone else, I realised that I was not yet quite ready for that.

Meanwhile, the rain had become even heavier, making the window pane quite opaque with constant running water and it wasn't possible to even see through the panes, let alone look out of the window any more. I thought perhaps it was a 'gota fria', a phenomenon in the area where I was living which brought high winds and heavy storms and I thought about the consequences of that, with houses and plants being destroyed.

In Spain most houses have fireplaces, and ours did too. Slowly I turned away from the window and stared at the fire. It was mesmerising, with the crackling of the wood and the leaping flames. I felt so safe and cosy inside, away from the rain which hammered on the window pane. I was so peaceful and calm that I began yawning, my eyelids started to feel really heavy, they drooped and I fell asleep. It was just like a stage when the curtains go back. I found myself dreaming, and saw myself as a little girl, just two years old, playing in a green meadow. There was a house, which seemed to be far away from me, out of reach. Although this was strange, it did make sense because we hadn't been able to live for very long in that house.

It had been during the war. We were evacuated from Kassel in the centre of Germany, further east, to Neustadt. Nearly the whole family on my father's side suddenly had to up sticks and move. Unfortunately, at that tender age, I don't remember very much about how exactly the move was made, but I do recall that an old aunt took us in.

We were on a little farm. There were lots of animals including pigs, chickens and geese. I think I must have been quite a naughty little girl. My spirit of adventure drove me to wander off in search of new experiences, so that my mother and my old aunt spent all their time trying to find me. I would sit on the grass playing with worms in the muddy earth, so you can imagine what I looked like when they found me!

"You can't accept such behaviour, Margarete. Your daughter is doing just what she wants. You must be more resolute and be strict with her", nagged my old aunt. I didn't understand why they were so upset with me. I hadn't done anything wrong - or had I? As a punishment my old aunt locked me in the pigsty. My mother didn't agree with that kind of punishment, but she was weaker than my large old aunt and was unable to assert herself. I couldn't get out of the pigsty because there was a big heavy gate and it was closed. At first I was just very cross, so I screamed as loudly as I could and stamped my feet, but nobody came and then I started to feel scared and cry and I cowered in a corner. I pushed myself right up into the corner and tried to make myself as small as possible. I was afraid all those big pigs would eat me up as they were snorting and grunting the whole time and seemed very interested in me, pushing their large snouts through the bars of the gate in my direction. I thought that if I tried to pretend I was dead, maybe those monsters would let me go. For a long time I thought I would never get out of that smelly shed and away from the snuffling swine. But at last, after what seemed like an absolute age, my mother came and saved me. I was so happy and thankful that my mother had rescued me from certain death and martyrdom!

I awoke suddenly from my daydream and felt quite dizzy. Naturally, as an adult I realised that the pigs couldn't have hurt me because they had been on the other side of a heavy iron gate, but when you are little, everything seems enormous and frightening.

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