Posted here for Edition #15 of the Language/Place Blog Carnival, hosted this month by Abha Iyengar in New Delhi, India. The theme this month is “encountering the other in language/place”. This story, originally written for Flash Frontier‘s “after the party” issue (April 2012), crept up from my time living in Berlin and the former East Germany in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Wall: A love story, of sorts
You remember our first dance? You there, me here: a mismatched pair. You held out your hand. I didn’t know you, but you pulled me up, up, up… and I let go of everything and found myself in the arms of a strangely familiar stranger. We were high, floating on a wild November night. Hot breath, cold sweat, embracing an orgy of frenzy, noise, delight. We marvelled at the night, argued about wrong and right. I drank your Coke, you smoked my F6.
Just like a fucking commercial.
Five years later and we’re making commercials, only this time it’s Vita-Cola-Realpolitik and you keep saying baby, we’re selling what sells. You and me and Ostalgie. Don’t worry that the kid’s crying; Mama and Papa are self-employed. Achtung, baby, you keep saying, like it means something. But you still haven’t learned my language.
And now we don’t fight about wrong and right but the bottom fucking line and Turks living upstairs and bicycles crowding the entryway of our apartment building. I need to get in and out, you say.
I’m sick of the Marlboro Man but I pull long and hard anyway and can’t help but laugh when you come to bed wearing a stiff shit-green VoPo hat you call a relic, a find. But I feel a worry growing in my gut, wonder if our children will be more like us or them, and I realise what I really mean is whether they’ll be more like me or you.