Life is too short for boring stories

Edgar Barfuss, the owner of the odds and ends shop, sat down in front of the cozy, crackling fire in the room, around which he had built a nice little tea corner with armchairs that invited people to linger, rest or chat. Actually, it had been his wife. However, she had not only set up the tea corner, but also the entire odds and ends shop all around. Previously it had been an old-fashioned shop where you could get everything you needed for your day-to-day life. Affectionately called Greisler in Austria. Elli, his wife, then gradually added things that might not have been necessary, but could mean an emotional added value, such as the porcelain crockery for the doll’s kitchen, which someone no longer had any use for, but which someone else was very happy with remember happy, carefree childhood days. Over time, more and more people had come and offered such things. However, Elli only took what actually fit into the odds and ends store. She died two years ago and left Edgar alone with the shop. At first, he had thought of giving it up. But then he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He had become too much a refuge. Thoughtfully he put the cup down and went to the door again. It was now pouring with rain. So, he turned the sign on the door so that “Closed” read from the outside. “In this weather, no one is coming anyway,” Edgar thought to himself when he heard a scraping at the door.

Timidly he opened the door. Countless raindrops immediately poured in, but he hardly noticed it, because in the middle of the storm a small bundle of fur sat like a heap of misery. “Tinka, is that you?” he asked, as if the medium-sized mongrel could answer, “Come in, you’re completely frozen.” The dog followed his request and ran straight to the fireplace, leaving a not inconsiderable trail of water. Edgar knew that the dog belonged to a lady who had gradually become a regular customer. Now when her husband had died at about the same time as his wife, they had supported each other in their grief. Three times a week Mrs. Inge Wächter came to tea on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Although it was Monday, Edgar hadn’t worried at first when she didn’t come, because who could blame her, given the weather, but then why had her dog come alone. But first he rubbed the fur of the trembling four-legged friend dry, whereupon she curled up on the pillow that Edgar had placed for her by the fireplace and fell asleep immediately. She must have been very tired. Only then did he call Dr. Inge Wächter. A woman’s voice answered gruffly with “Wächter”, but it wasn’t Inge’s voice. “Good evening,” Edgar said in his level-headed manner, “I’d like to speak to Mrs. Inge Wächter.” “No chance, she’s been in the morgue for three days,” said the woman on the other end of the line. “But what happened?” Edgar asked without hiding his horror at this news. “Just old,” she replied completely emotionless. “But then I think you’ll miss your dog, little Tinka. She’s with me,” said Edgar. “Well then it’s all right. I put the mutt in front of the door. Wasn’t that easy to chase it away. She kept coming back and whining at us all the time. I don’t need that”, she said and slammed the receiver down. Thoughtfully, Edgar hung up while he looked at Tinka asleep. “Poor girl,” he thought, “Now Inge has saved you from the hell of a killing station and then you have to experience something like this. It amazes me that you can ever have trust in someone again.” But that’s exactly what she seemed to be doing, trusting as she lay in front of the fireplace and slept, despite all the bad experiences she let herself in, again. “I won’t disappoint you anymore,” said Edgar in the direction of the sleeping dog, “no matter what happens, you will never be harmed again.” But could he really promise that credibly? After all, he was now 84 years old. How long would he have to live? But for some reason he was confident that everything would turn out fine. Perhaps it was the fundamental trust that had never deserted him, despite all the difficult times, all the blows of fate he had had to cope with. With this comforting thought he went to sleep. Tinka followed him and lay down on the carpet in front of his bed. She had arrived. That was the only thing that mattered at the moment.



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