A usual, an ordinary, an every-day-morning. I take a shower. A shiver.
Great – no hot water. I take a look at the boiler. No sign of life. I should
call the installer, I think, and as I habitually turn on the laptop, I forgot
it again. Now I’m not cold anymore. Twenty-five emails have arrived. My mother
writes: I’m back home. I am okay. Love you. Oh right, she was on course. Did
not you write postcards sooner? It was nice to go outside to the mailbox and
experience real surprises, letters from good friends, whole sentences, or the
first secret, bashful messages of love on paper, to paste or insert into the
diary, which was then carefully hidden – now find only newspapers and
advertising material in the mailbox, and my wife asks me what she should buy
for dinner. Bells and whistles. To mother: I am glad that you came home well.
Love you too.
Suddenly, my daughter squeezes between me and
the keyboard, coming straight from breakfast, holding a chocolate bar in one
hand and her obligatory teddy bear in the other, the bear looking as if he was
allowed to have a snack.
„Should not you finish the chocolate bar first, and then cuddle with the bear?“ I ask her laconically.
„No,“ answers Natalie determined, „Max must not be neglected!“ Even a name has the bear! Is she talking to him? But I had to continue. She bothers me. My time is planned, but educationally empathetic – I mean – I lift her off my lap and put her on the floor.
„I have to keep working“, I accompany my work. She looks at me as if she’s hearing this for the first time and does not understand me. Oh, careless youth, no problems and no need to divide the time!
„But Daddy,“ she tries to contradict, „I wanted to tell you something very important!“. What can you already have important things to say to me, I think, but add aloud:
„There’s certainly time until tonight, darling.“
„No, it does not!“ She protests vehemently, „And besides, you always say that. It’s always said later or tonight, and then you say you’re tired, and then I have to go to sleep. Or you’re sitting on this stupid computer.“ Her little fist unwillingly hits the table. I have to admit that she’s right, and what does the Universal Lexicon for Good Fathers say in this case? So much time has to be! So, I lift her back up onto my lap and feel a small, sticky hand on my neck and a cheek like mine.
„Daddy,“ she says solemnly, „you are a Knurx, my Knurx.“
Knurx? What for heaven’s sake is a Knurx, please? I ask my question aloud. But even before Nathalie can answer, my wife puts her head in at the door: „Would you like to accompany me to the library, Nathalie?“, And my daughter jumps from my knees, with which she had just resisted so violently and runs to the door. She shares the love of libraries with her mother. No wonder, where she had brought Nathalie from the beginning. It had always been a mystery to me how one could do such a thing – to walk among infinite rows of shelves, just about any old one. looking for dusty book, which may then be a large format and terribly heavy. No, I prefer electronic media. They are small and handy.
I remember with horror the move of the small library that my wife had clung to over the years, from the apartment to our new house. Not only was it a dreadful drudgery, but more than that, she figured she had to take each book one by one and look at it from all sides before packing it in the box. At almost every one of them she knew something to tell. At some point I told her to pack up all the stuff so we could get on with it. She looked at me in concern
„That’s part of my story,“ she said quietly, but in a tone that could not hide her disappointment, „and you do not care?“, After a brief pause in the silence that seemed endless to me I had nothing to say, to add, „Just do what you have to do, and obviously more important. I’ll call you later. „And though, strictly speaking, I had nothing to do, I went, especially now, because my pride was offended, I said, or was it just the feeling of guilt that I was trying to cover. No – and told me it was not like that. Something was left …