Dichtung und Wahrheit

My memories were vague and even the rare moments that I could bring to mind seemed uncertain. They were dreamlike certainties, not more real than any memory perhaps, but I could not even be certain of my own. There was nothing to establish beyond doubt that the bike, which I had found laying in the front yard of the villa was mine. There was no indication how it had gotten there, if it was mine. I had been cycling through Limbricht on my way home around 3 in the morning one moment. The other moment I was walking through the grain fields toward Guttecoven.
There was no reason to know that the bike, which I saw standing upside down on the little field of grass, which I used to sharpen the dried clumps of clay into diamond shaped forms by pressing them against the spinning rubber of the rear wheel, was mine.
What was real, what was a distortion, what was false? What was ‘Dichtung’ and what was ‘Wahrheit’ in my life?

Not that it mattered of course, rationally, when I thought about it. The force of the impression remained as strong, regardless of the source. But still, there remained this original desire for authenticity. I believed it to matter in some way. Was the bicycle red? Green perhaps? I tried to bring back to life the colors. Against the black background of my inner eye lids, brightened by orange white flashes of light penetrating my eye’s cones and rods. It did not help, but red seemed more probable for a child’s bike. But maybe already as a child that would make it more likely for me having chosen the green bike.

As a child I had always felt different from other children already. I was a special child, unlike everyone else, there was something special about me. In third grade my teacher said my name meant ‘being famous’, although I later found out that it meant ‘black raven’ instead, but at the time i wholeheartedly believed in this proclamation of fate, a destiny that seemed obvious to. In another memory from fourth grade, my teacher Truus had mica black, long curly hair, or perhaps it had been short and wavy. I couldn’t determine if she was wearing glasses or not. She called me before class, took my hand and guided me to the open door separating our classroom from the sixth grade classroom, which she was overseeing in the ebsence of their teacher. The children, two years my seniors, were doing calculations. I was asked to finish the sum on the black board, which I did, before under the noise of a giggling class, was sent back to my desk. My brother who went to sixth grade later told me I was called in to show one of their pupils who didnt get the sum’s solution that even a fourth grader understood it. Although I now think the incident was a cruel example of an incompetent Catholic pedagogic system, at the time given the limitation of a child’s mind, I felt proud.

As an adolescent, I understood that being special was simply the effect of being loved by one’s parents as a child, but the feeling was imprinted and remained as evident as before, and proof of being special as before.

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