Hermann, a retired Station Master, had been dreaming that they called him back to work and he felt happy that they needed him again. But as soon as he took up his shift at the station, things fell apart. Trains appeared from nowhere and had to be crossed at his station that lay on a single line. Soon chaos reigned and the trains were delayed. Every time he looked outside the office another train approached the station limit.
This dream was a persistent one. In order for not to be dismissed as a dream, it told him to look around and check that it wasn’t a dream. Indeed the nightmare seemed real.
Hermann was happy to be awake and the re-occurring nightmare was over. He slept in a double bed, a leftover from his life as a married man. He absent mindedly started to touch the side of the bed where his wife used to sleep. He should not have, but he was surprised that her side was empty. Gone – ah, yes, she was dead for years. but his feelings for her lingered on.
Through a gap in the blinds he could see some daylight. But still there was no colour and everything in the room looked monochrome, just as his life, he thought.
The memories of his wife were mixed with the memories of a later affair and he realised that the feelings he had now were actually a longing for a non-existing female person generally. That was what he was missing, the other half of his persona. Especially after his nightmarish dream he looked for the peace and reassurance a woman could give. The balance of his persona was missing.
Herman strongly believed a human being was not a single unit, male or female, but the couple. Without the other half I’m incomplete, he thought. If we could not share our feelings with the other, we were just self pollinating wankers. Love, he felt, was the bond that tied us to one person, to complete the persona.
He looked at the clock on his bed side table. ‘My God – already 6.15!’, he thought. It was time to get up as he wanted to go for a run before the sun got the upper hand again. There was some stretching to be done, too.
Running was his hobby, if you could call it that. More likely an obsession. He had to run early before the sun came up , otherwise it would be too hot and would slow him down and fatigue him for the rest of the day.
Thinking of running made him think of Berlin, the city were he was born and raised. There, running was much easier, never too hot, the air seemed softer than in Australia, and the running was friendlier to the bones too, because of the soft, sandy soil of the woods that surround Berlin.
Herman had barely opened his eyes and realised two things that were missing in his life, a partner and Berlin. A touch of self-pity got hold of him and a tear or two welled up from his eyes.
‘Don’t be silly’, he chided himself and another look at the clock confirmed his suspicion that time had not stopped. Time was relentlessly grinding on and being the envelope in which everything happened, and everything comes to a conclusion.
He got up and tried to walk, but as was the case lately in the mornings, he stumbled as he did not have his full feeling in his feet and legs. ‘Getting old, Old Man’ he mumbled and knew that there was a price to paid for being seventy and over. But he slowly made his way to the toilet to have the first pee of the day, which was sometimes such a pitiful, dribbling affair, that he had to repeat it in a few minutes with some more satisfaction. He also knew, he had to drink apple cider vinegar again.
But he was up and once again able to face the day and all its complications. Which could not be avoided, unless of course one wanted to end ones life now. But that, was never on his agenda.
Soon he was out of the door and started to walk. The sun, not at full power, warmed his legs and he fell into a trot. While passing one of the houses a woman, watering her front garden, gave him a cheery “Hello”. “Attractive woman”, he thought and increased his steps. His trot became jogging and he was happy with himself.