On the ground

From the underground station to L.’s house its maybe 500 meters but not more than 750 meters to walk. I carry a bouquet of roses in one hand and two big black file folders in the other hand. Even if I can’t see very well, I see when leaving the station that someone lies on the ground. It’s a bright and sunny day, the street is full of people passing by, they carry strollers or café latte, groceries, mobile phones or big black folders as I do. We are in a part of Berlin where the people do not drive only one car but two and most women don’t go to work but looking after the kids. It’s Tuesday morning and approximately  25 people passed by, when I arrive at the person who still lies on the ground. On the ground lies an elderly men, hello say I and can you hear me?, I ask him? He can obviously hear my voice and tries to speak but he can’t. While I search in my bag for my phone, other people pass by, one woman says to her child, who ask her what happened to the man on the ground, that “ he’s scum“. The man on the emergency phone line ask many questions and promises that the ambulance will arrive quickly. I pet the man’s hand, saying that everything will be fine soon. I try not to think of my mother but I can’t help it much, in a bag next to the men are a few bottles, the man takes my hand and grabs inside of his jacket, he pulls a wallet out of his jacket, together we open the wallet, inside is a copy of his passport. His name is a Russian one. I can’t speak any Russian. The only words I remember are djewutschka- girl, kniga-book and krasnaja- red and so I repeat the tree words again and again. A man helps to sit up the man, he tries to zip small amounts of water but then he wants to lie down again-but the ambulance arrives, for the last time I say that things will be fine soon. The man and the ambulance are driving away. I pick up my roses, my bag and the folder and ring at L.’s door. One day later, I am about to leave home with friends, when my phone rings, a man from the police is on the line. Read On, he asks was it you who called the ambulance yesterday morning? Yes, I say and don’t dare to ask anymore if anything went fine. The man says the officer died two hours later, he was not drunk at all, he must have fallen down earlier, fell down so hard at the ground that he died of brain hemorrhage when in hospital. The officer wants to know if I saw someone who was beating the man up, but I just saw the street with all the men and women passing by, walking along the man on the ground. Still today, I hear me saying that things will be fine soon, kniga, djewutschka, krasnaja, on the broad street in a well off part of Berlin, where death was already leaning around the corner, even if the sky was sunny, bright and clear, on a Tuesday morning, around noon. Still today I see the rather pale voice and hear me again and again repeating helplessly that things will be fine after all.

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