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Erfurt, Germany

I can remember myself

by Christopher Hohlbaum christopherhohlbaum.com

I can remember myself…or at least I try…it was long after his brothers followed him…long after my grandpa started with these walks… before the heart attack of my grandmother.


Grandma advised me against accompanying him. Only grandpa could get anything out of his walks. Regardless I did accompany him – fresh air and so on … movement … And it became clear to me what she tried to express. Basically there were just two or three places my grandpa was heading for. There he paused. 20 minutes, 30 … no clue! … everlasting these minutes seemed to me. They were as well the only moments in which he talked to me at all: “There” he said “See that?….See that?…There”. Grandma, who formerly followed him didn´t see anything and eventually stayed home. Recently grandpa found a special interest in the new storehouse, she said. Generally it became the only destination of his walks. Also when I accompanied him. Although I wasn´t sure if he was talking to me with his “You see that?…There…Look…Can you see that?…Look carefully…see?”

I was completely at loss at what I was supposed to see. The blue hall? Of course I saw it. So? Of course it was ugly, but it wasn´t even built on his grounds. Not even close to it.  I thought maybe he hated it just because it was newfangled stuff.  Later I heard that he has planned to insert windows made of plastics in the entire house. What was worth seeing this blue thing? Did they build it exactly on the place where his favorite tree had stood? Or where he had buried his first guinea pig as a child? Or was it the shape, the color? What was so special with it? There were hundreds of that kind. “See that?…There…Look…Look…Look carefully…See?” I saw nothing. Nothing. As little as grandma. As little as anybody else. Why couldn´t he just tell me?

One day at any rate he didn´t…walk back home as unhurried as he used to… Instead he started to run. In his heavy wellingtons. The whole way without stopping. Without seeing the other people who shouted at him. Apparently without seeing anything at all. He left the shed to enter the house.

To Grandma…Heart attack as I said.