I spent four years here in this town. Half a year had passed since I have last seen her. They passed by uneventfully and then for the first time I saw someone die. In a city where people go tired to work, people are tired of coming from work and were always tired in their cars. I thought a rush hour would bring me the joy of seeing my first dead body. In the form of a guy who hadn’t really woken completely up one morning and in his carelessness drove into a horde of children on their way to school. Turns out, I was wrong about that.
I started dealing drugs because I didn’t feel like enslaving myself to the big man. But by doing so, I had even more become a slave to whom one could give all orders. There were no rules in this profession and the worst were those who enjoyed it. It’s not about freedom. It’s about money. I’d known that before, but I forgot.
Ätz broke his ribs. You could hear the bang of his bursting lung. All because of those addicts and the daughter. I even had to stay in the apartment while this guy was dying in front of me.
“Great,” I thought to myself. I watched the guy die for half an hour and I still had a conscience. I knew stoning people was wrong. I’m not a monster. Here I stood before the deed of a monster and did not allow myself to feel anything. We were the forgotten ones. The guy’s just another junkie dying. The world sees it every day. When I die, the newspapers will not tear themselves apart, tears may flow in the right faces, so I wish, but they too will dry up and no one will remember. My face is going to be a collection of old photos stored on smartphone memories and lofts; and my legacy, one that doesn’t need to be talked about. We are the death statistics, the sounds on the street, we are the ones who call into the night and are not heard.
I have no pity for him, we have chosen the life of a shadow, like the son of a carpenter’s master had chosen the way of an apprentice. His wife and daughter were sitting in the next room. The woman cried. The daughter was quiet. When Ätz came back, he had a teddy in his hand, some cash with him and a candy bar he ate when we left.
He put the bills on the table, gave the teddy bear to the daughter. I still don’t know if he tried to make it up to her. Give her a rag bear so she won’t talk about killing her daddy for a few bruises on her junkie mother’s face and hush money for Mommy to shoot herself in the arm. I don’t know if he was alive when we left, did it make a difference? Our job was to teach a lesson. The guy’s bad luck was the lesson wasn’t for him. Our task was fulfilled, there was not much more to think about. When the girl’s hair was completely ruffled by Ätz’s hand, we left. The chocolate with nuts had Ätz calmed on the spot.
I don’t see him nervous anymore, and we never talked about it again. What was I supposed to say? I think you’re projecting? That you should admit to yourself that killing someone or at least beating them to death is a cry for help? I think that your mother’s death put more a strain on you and that a sentence, as beautiful as it may sound, cannot encompass all your feelings?
When we got high, I thought he was gonna talk about it, but nothing. His hard skin didn’t crack. Like a sign he carried this sentence, armored and decorated with the same words over and over again:
“We didn’t have much, but she had us and we had her. So we had everything”
He carried his shield with dignity and above all in silence. He shut himself off from me and I shut myself off from him, and both of us from everyone else. I was alone, even with the women I felt that way. Even now that I wasn’t hiding anymore. The need for it, was, after all, gone.
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PART OF: TOXIC 24/7
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