November 4, 1953

 

I’m at the Cafeteria Eos and I can see Schutzengasse Lane. I needed to get off at this station, not only to warm up- it’s a very cold and rainy November that penetrates right to the bones-, but to be here again, really present, not only in thought. It’s certainly like coming home – after 13 years, but I will stay for only an hour-. The idea occurred to me at the cemetery and I did it. Now I’m here, but I don’t belong here anymore. Still, I do not feel strange here, somehow everything is familiar; I could find my way even in my dreams. Have they rebuilt the house? All these years, since 1945, they hadn’t; only the ruins were there for a long time, half of the house. I lived here for nine years, difficult and sad years.

I arrived on time today, I wanted to be at the cemetery at the exact time of death, ten past nine they wrote on the death certificate. Back then, when Kurt died, it must have been a sunny day. Christian probably still remembers. Kurt’s mother and I stayed at the hospital all night. Christian did too, then he left early in the morning, his mother as well, and then I stayed alone for a while, perhaps half an hour. Christian returned, just before nine. As if Kurt had been waiting for him, and also his mother’s absence to spare her the pain, he died in my hands. My right hand in his right hand. I felt his last agony, the convulsions and I could do nothing. I felt completely helpless. Desperately, I called the doctor, who arrived just after he died and only confirmed what I already knew. And so I was entrusted to Christian, almost formally, and all these years he has been faithful. We have lived together since then, united by all the difficulties we passed together. Today, sometimes, I can’t seem to distinguish properly between the two marriages. It was a line, obviously curved, but nothing else marked my life so profoundly. Everything else remained at the edge, even when the pain was sometimes very deep.

 

 

Today I am happy that everything happened like it did, I am in peace and I wouldn’t want it to be any different. Certainly, I would have liked for Kurt’s sickness never to have happened, even when it did bring us closer together and it changed him in certain aspects. Near the end we remained practically alone, friends no longer came, some for political reasons, other perhaps out of fear, but Christian was faithful until the end. Before he died, when Kurt found himself alone, I was often not at home, I hated the office, because of it I wasn’t with him the last morning. It was a bad night, I was tired and almost impatient. Kurt couldn’t sleep and he would wake me often. Even today I want to scream from desperation for how foolish and naïve I was. I couldn’t forgive myself for a long time. In the morning he asked me to stay with him. If only I had! When I finally arrived at noon, he was no longer conscious or only for brief moments. Then he fell asleep and he did not wake up from midday Saturday until Monday morning, when he was finally freed. I did so many things wrong; I was too young, stupid and immature for him. I don’t know. I suppose I shall never have the answer. But I never want to hurt someone I love again, never.

 

Hilda Broda

 

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