Life is too short for boring stories

Franz F. jun., not related, or intermarried with Franz Ferdinand, who, we now say, did not find a good end to whatever one might understand, but a normal person, citizen, taxpayer and son. Franz F. jun. was a good child, quiet, calm, smiling. His mother put down the apron, pulled over something pretty, and unloaded. Then he was there and she put the apron back on. Franz F. jun. was the great pride of his father, Franz F. sen.

When the son was born, Franz F. sen. took the long and well-guarded Havana from the Humidor and gave his friends a round. Then he paid and went home. The drizzle was ready, the newspaper lay at the table, and the food was exactly the right temperature. It was always so. However, he came home every day at the same time. His wife could do it. But that day he was late. Nevertheless, his wife succeeded in keeping the food long enough to maintain operating temperature. These are just the subtleties that separate good from bad marriages. She smiled and gave him his food. As usual, she sat face to face as he peered through the newspaper. It could be that he had something to say to her. Then she had to be there. Instead, she let everything else go aside and even hung the apron on the hook. Perhaps he also asked her to tell him something. She would like to do the same. Only when Franz F. sen. had finished his meal and shifted his place of residence to the TV chair, which he did not want to leave until the time of bed, before she changed the apron again and came back to work. Everything had to be in the right place. Only then could she take the apron off again.

Franz F. jun. was good-natured, calm and easy-to-care, as a baby, as a kindergarden-child and also as a student. He never reproached himself with any blame, for what he was given up to do, he did, without ifs and buts. Just as his mother dressed his apron in the morning, he went to school in the morning, came home to lunch, where lunch was waiting for him. “Always what he likes, the boy,” his mother used to say. At all, her day seemed to be structured by the meals. At five she stood up to prepare breakfast for her husband. Then she went back to bed. At seven she made breakfast for her son. At two her soon ate lunch and at six she was preparing dinner for her husband. One evening he came home and said he was going to another woman. Then he ate his dinner. His wife washed her hands, dried her by her apron, and packed the suitcase for her husband. He would get the rest. Then he was gone. Franz F. jun. was fourteen. He noticed it only a week later. The shaving brush was missing in the bathroom. His mother tied the apron over again and went to bake a cake. Gradually everything settled again, for the new, young woman with whom Franz F. sen. lived together, could neither cook nor hold much of it behind him. So he soon returned regularly, to eat or to bring laundry, to bring back the dirty or washed and ironed again.

“It was the same with us,” Franz F. jun. Mother to say, “One has to care for his own. Everyone has his place. So I learned it and so I do it.” It was so simple that there could be no misunderstanding. Franz F. jun. made his school leaving examination and sought out a job. He found this at the post office. “A good post,” said his mother, “Nothing can happen to you.” And she cooked and ironed and washed and cared for her son. Every day she wore her white apron.


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