Sabine sat, as so often, just at the breakfast table and sipped her coffee. As always, it was quiet at this time. No street noise, no house noise. But wait, then “Rumms” flew to the door of the neighbor’s apartment. Shuffling footsteps, softly pawing paws. Mrs. Wiedemann went for a walk with her dog Boris. Without looking at the clock, Sabine knew what time it was now: ten to seven. Not about ten to seven, no, if the door fell into the lock, it was 6:50. And exactly ten minutes later, the key in the lock was turned to unlock the door. Not about ten minutes later, but at seven o’clock. Mondays like Tuesdays and every other day of the week, even on weekends.
Why can not she just sleep in? Sabine often wondered, but Frau Wiedemann did not think about it. Day in, day in, 6:50 am: “Wumm”, 7:00 am: “Knirsch”. Last week, last month, last year, and therefore tomorrow and next week, and for all eternity.
That’s absurd! She did not really know what bothered her. Basically, Mrs. Wiedemann did not care. She hardly knew her, because except for Boris in the morning, she rarely seemed to move out of the apartment. Actually, an ideal neighbor, if you had his office at home. One that you neither heard nor saw. Except in the morning. These ominous ten minutes.
Could not the dog have constipation or diarrhea or even both? Sabine could hardly admit such thoughts to herself. They seemed as silly as their recently staged stunt. Fortunately, no one had any idea that it was intentional when one morning with joyful excitement, she lifted a supposedly heavy garbage bag out of the door exactly at 6:49 am and then dragged her down the stairs. Every step a hardships. Groaning and groaning, she needed a full three minutes to get to the dumpster. Because before that bag had actually still hooked in the front door. Of course, she had apologized to Mrs. Wiedemann, who patiently came down the stairs behind her. As patient as Boris, the decrepit Cocker Spaniel.
Ha! Sabine rubbed her hands. And now Mrs. Wiedemann? It is already 6:55! You can never do that! She jumped up the stairs cheerfully. She felt as if she had just found the ultimate advertising slogan that was missing for the new cosmetics campaign. She went into her small kitchen, cleared the table. Here she could best listen to the stairwell.
Were there some steps? No, that could not be, right? The radio sounded the seven o’clock gong and – over there the key was turned in the lock.
Neiiiiiin! Sabine sank into the chair and rested her head in her hands. How so? HOW SO? Furious, she drummed around on the table.
That day she did not find a good advertising slogan anymore. Instead, her very ludicrous ideas haunted her mind, as did those of a masked person holding on to Frau Wiedemann until 7:01.
After this shameful defeat, she simply tried to ignore the morning Wiedemann sounds. That could not be that difficult. Others eventually got used to trains that almost snorted through the living room. But she was bewitched the more she tried not to worry about Frau Wiedemann, the louder she heard the slamming and unlocking of the door. Yes, she even lurked directly on it. Would not it fail today? Was Frau Wiedemann possibly ill? Everyone was sick at some point. And Mrs. Wiedemann was after all an elderly woman. Like her dog. But Mrs. Wiedemann did not get sick. Sabine was ashamed. How could she wish such poor things to a poor old woman? But how about the dog? Only such a mini-tiny cold, such a
The day came completely unexpected. Sabine sipped her morning coffee and sullenly considered the tasks ahead of her. The text for the new cream series had to be completely revised. Not only that he was ridiculous of spelling mistakes – instead of preservatives she had written with canned food – somehow everything sounded more like wrinkles and paleness instead of freshness and peach skin. This cream would buy at most anyone who wanted to ruin the skin – or someone who wanted to miss another facial allergy …
While she puzzled in front of him, sounded on the radio of the seven o’clock gong. She jumped up, poured hot coffee over her red silk blouse, jumped up with a sharp scream and then slumped back in the chair. What happened?
She had overheard Frau Wiedemann. That did not exist. How could one simply ignore such a striking sound? She had heard it yesterday. Loud and clear. Even more clearly than the jackhammer, which at seven o’clock in the morning cracked half the street. Or almost at seven o’clock. The man was not as stupid as the neighbor. Even now she could hear the jackhammer rattling. Frau Wiedemann had not heard her. Should she cry or laugh now? Had not she always wanted that?
The next day Sabine also missed her neighbor. It was amazing. Suddenly she seemed to be Wiedemann-deaf. She was totally confused with her own schedule. She had always cleared her breakfast table between 6:50 and 7:00, but now she had been startled by the seven o’clock gong for the second time. She did not really know what really bothered her. But it could not go on like that. The next day she set her alarm clock: 6:49. Sabine sneaked into her hall and listened outside. Nothing. No “bums”, no Frau Wiedemann and no Boris. What was going on?
Restless, she marched through the apartment. There it was, that tiny cold, she told herself, but a triumphant feeling did not come. On the contrary, the thought was even worse. Do not be silly, that’s not your fault, she scolded and ruffled her hair unhappily.
Finally she could not stand it anymore, ran out of the apartment and rang the bell next door. After long minutes, a gap opened and an ancient, wrinkled face appeared. It took Sabine a while to recognize Mrs. Wiedemann.
“Ahem,” she cleared her throat.
“Come on in,” said the wrinkled face, tired but friendly, and the door slid open. Frau Wiedemann in a blue-robed dressing gown with a slightly disheveled hair waved feebly and Sabine stepped in hesitantly. When they were sitting at the kitchen table, each holding a cup of hot tea, Mrs. Wiedemann began to talk
Two years ago, her husband Heinrich died. “Heinrich had always been so fussy, everything had to be done on time, everything had to be always in its place. Not somehow and approximately but quite accurately. Everything arranged in one direction, always in the same order. “Mrs. Wiedemann sighed softly before she breathed out the next words than said,” It was awful. “She put her hands on her lap and looked thoughtfully into her teacup.
After a few minutes of silence, Sabine learned that Frau Wiedemann realized after Henry’s death what she had actually done with him.
“And I used to scold this way because of his nimbleness. We have almost only argued the last few years. Often I deliberately put things the other way around, put them somewhere else, was unpunctual. Just to annoy him, just to bring some disruption to this exaggerated order, you understand? ”
Oh, Sabine understood only too well and got a red head.
“He had done so much good, too. But I did not realize that until after his death. When I did not have it anymore. That’s when I realized what I lost with him. “Mrs. Wiedemann sighed again. “And guess, it did not take long and I even missed his ordeal. Is not that incredible? Oh, I’ve done him so wrong, so plagued him. And then, I said to Boris, look, we’ll do it like a master, we’ll always go at the same time. Very punctually over exact on time. So we want to keep his memory high, and then he can watch from above and be happy about us afterwards. “Mrs. Wiedemann fell silent and Sabine looked at her questioningly. “Yes, and now Boris died too.”
Boris suddenly got sick – Sabine swallowed a big lump – and then everything had gone very fast. First he did not tolerate the medication – “he was already 15 years old” – then fell from one day to another, could barely breathe – pneumonia, from.
“Yesterday I buried him, with Monika, the daughter of our baker, you know.” Sabine did not know.
“The Monika always ran Boris in the afternoon, you certainly noticed that was not?” Sabine had not noticed. Nothing at all. It suddenly became clear to her how little she had heard from Frau Wiedemann, although they lived next door to each other. Actually, she had never paid any attention to her except for this morning walk-by-walk.
“I can not walk so much anymore,” continued Mrs. Wiedemann. “And Monika then still drunk a cocoa with me.” Mrs. Wiedemann took a large sip of tea and looked out of the window. “The Monika is of course no longer coming.”
Overwhelmed by a variety of feelings and the impression that she must now absolutely something “right” to say, could Sabine just barely the “how about a new dog?” No, a lively puppy, that did not fit. But at the same moment a very different thought matured in her. An absurd thought. And quickly, before she could change her mind, she made her offer to Mrs. Wiedemann.
At first a little incredulous and hesitant, but then smilingly accepted Mrs. Wiedemann.
“Yes then … then thank you too, and see you tomorrow, I … I’m looking forward to it,” she said visibly moved and escorted Sabine to the door.
“I’m happy too,” Sabine answered truthfully and turned around again. “Um, Mrs. Wiedemann, … but it could possibly be a bit later,” she said, shrugging her shoulders uncertainly.
“But that does not matter,” said Mrs. Wiedemann and looked a little younger, “if you only come at all. What are you doing for a few minutes? Heinrich has to understand that. “