„What, what, do you do at such a godforsaken, or otherwise abandoned place all day? How is the time around? „Maria had asked herself the first day, the day she arrived, but the next question had disappeared. In the wind the day had passed, filled with activities that immediately made sense, until she fell asleep in the evening, with a book in her hand. She could not recall the last time she had slept so quietly and well, without the persistent inner drunkenness, which, like a sergeant, she always cried, she should condemn every moment of the day.
„Do you know why you are one of my best, yes, my best student?“ She asked her professor, who constantly asked such questions to answer them herself. This was always the moment when the newcomers were immediately recognized, for they were the ones who thought the question was addressed to someone else. Briskly they took the floor, but they were immediately told that they had to keep their mouths shut when the superior spoke. Awe-inspiring, threatening glances passed through the sermons like sabers. Everyone had understood it, except for a student, who did not let himself be disturbed by anything and chattered cheerfully.
„A question that you answer yourself is not a question, but a frolicking,“ she explained after being pointed out by her colleague on the faux pas. She had soon left the institute, and was now studying philosophy, or anything else unnecessary, as far as Mary had known.
„You are my best student,“ the professor answered, „because you use every minute of the day, because you are active 16 hours a day, and because you follow my guidelines.“ and satisfied with the world during this lecture, he sat on his desk, his legs wide, while Maria sat opposite him on a small chair. Even this arrangement showed the social position they occupied.
Maria had to smile, because for the first time, she realized how much redundancy it took to meet these requirements. Lift holes to fill them again. That was the whole point. But when she kindled the fire in the fireplace, the meaning became immediately apparent. The fire warmed the room, but unlike a sterile electric heating, with a living warmth.
„Come, we have to chop chips,“ Magdalena asked her niece after washing the breakfast dishes.
„But I can not,“ Maria interjected, although she knew that it was no use.
„When you were small, you could,“ said Magdalena, smiling, walking forward into the shed that was next to the house. The storm had finally subsided, so that the thick snowflakes fell calmly and slowly to the ground.
„My elves have eaten a bit too much,“ Maria had thought this morning, but without wanting to push the thought away. She let him go, even outside of her dreams.
The landscape lay in gentle hills in front of them, covered with a thick, white blanket. Timidly, the sun broke through the clouds and gave the snow crystals a glitter here and there. Magdalena did not press, but let Maria grant her when she realized she was looking out into the world. As if she were really looking for the first time in a very long time. It was not until Maria came back to look again that Magdalena took her a few steps into the shed. Wood was stacked on all sides. It would be enough for this winter, even for such a long time as it was at the northernmost point of Austria.
„Winter feels good,“ Magdalena used to say. Out of some ark in her memory had jumped out the phrase, a ark that Mary did not even know was there, but now she was discovered and gently took Mary out one by one.
„But why did we hew shavings if I was here in the summer?“ Maria asked after they entered the shed.
„You were so inquisitive, so curious, you wanted to do everything, learn everything. Quite in contrast to your sister, who always sat around and was served. She did not step outside the door, getting out of sheer fear of getting dirty or attacking something unclean with her hands, but you were right in the middle of the action, caring for the animals, working in the vegetable garden, cooking and just hacking chips Your great-uncle already prepared for the winter. And then you must not forget that it can be quite cold here even in the summer. That way you are always prepared. “
„And I went with him into the forest?“ Maria asked.
„Yes, that’s you,“ Magdalena smiled as she put the first log on the peg and picked up the little hoe, „My husband knew all about the forest. You were so enthusiastic when you managed to discover something, an anthill, a burrow, the beaver dam. “
„It was so peaceful and harmonious with you,“ Maria heard herself say as she shot incoherent images through the jug of a jam jar, of sheep grazing on the pasture, the tall grass she ran through before she could Reaper had to bend, from stealthy sunbeams that fell through the trees and the hoe in her hand. Yes, it was true, they had been right here and her great-uncle had shown it to her. Her skin was flushed with zeal and joy. Create with your hands.
„Peaceful and harmonious,“ she repeated, as if to recapture the sound of the words, „Unlike our home, where it was always loud and nothing prevailed as dissatisfaction. I would have loved to stay here. At some point, I thought then, I would learn a craft, carpenter or carpenter and then I could fix everything and repair and restore the furniture. That’s what I said to Uncle Toni, and I remember, he laughed at me and said that would be nice if I stayed with you. “
„It would have been nice,“ Magdalena admitted.
„And then they brought us, me and Johanna. Johanna was glad, but I did not want to leave and Mama told me that you did not want us here any longer, that you would be glad, when we finally left, because we were only a burden for you, she said that „Maria continued, suddenly understanding why she put that memory in one of the lowest drawers and did everything to forget it. She had almost succeeded, leaving nothing but a bitter aftertaste.
„I did not learn that until much later. At some point your mother told me, because she thought we had spoiled you, „Magdalene said, unmoved, who trusted more in the power of action than in the words, and Mary knew now how it really was, after that Image had recovered. The days full of sunshine and harmony and togetherness, but also the pain of farewell.
„Never again would I come here, I swore to myself then,“ Maria recalled, „I vowed to break out of misery and confinement, and the only way I saw it was financially independent, and that meant to me to have a lot of money that I did not need anyone, acquired through my own work. Then I would be happy, somewhere in a big city, somewhere in the midst of many people, all pursuing their own goals. But slowly I discover that independence is also loneliness. Where mistrust and caution dominate, because you know that the other person would act just as ruthlessly as you do, there is no friendship and no really human contact. Always on guard and always alert. That would have been the life that would have expected me. “
Resolutely, she picked up the pickaxe handed to her by Magdalena and set it down, slicing lightly into the wood to get a small notch, then lifting the log and thundering it on the stake with full force, so that the first chip fell off.
„You see, you can do it,“ Magdalena said with a smile, and the weaving shuttle rode through the tapes to form a new series on the Web image of life, a special series, for it included images from an earlier part of the bigger picture, and it was the third day of Advent.