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Ruby eyes

When you don’t do things that you like in your life, you just get terribly tired.
In petto. Lives in petto.
Sometimes my patience fails me.
The man decides. How can I escape this generation?

Obedience is asked of everyone.
And individuality has only one righteous place.
The dominance is always right.
The head of the family is the lion with the loudest roar. And ruby eyes.

Widerrede nicht erlaubt.
More to criticise than to love.
Only dementia can save you.
Now he has to help around.

A couple like oil and water, only combined by the mustard of age.
And desperation. The lack of options.
What a blessing.
And we think it’s cute. Finally they get along.
Finally a union. Of love?
What kind of love is that? Is that a truce?
Learned affection? Fear of loss of someone loved and hated?
Loved and disregarded.
Shut out and kept there.
Good enough.

Bad husband. Red lights. Frankfurt taxi driving.
Fix the problem. Catholic marriage counselling. Countryside.
The problem became less evident but she felt the same.
People came up. “Do you know what your husband’s up to?”
“How should I know?”
You can’t escape the words of whispers.

High fences.
Cold faces.
Two kids.
Absent. Husband.

Absent. Father.
Lonely people.
Sad islands.
Lost souls.
Love poured into children.
Never enough.

Where do you take your power from?
Who is your enemy?
Sleeping in the same room. When he’s home.
Rare enough.

Two weeks absent. Child born.
Proud father nowhere to be seen. Didn’t matter.
What’s a life worth anyway?
She didn’t have it in herself to feed the life.
Starved mother, formula baby. Just so to survive.
We’ve made it through. But the how is never seen.

Gambling, running, chasing aprons all around.
Flashing lights. Blinded by false priorities.

One mistake you pay for all your life.

Too young. Parents had to sign his marriage papers.
Forced by convention and religion.

Grandma ran. Home again.
One child crying on her arm.
But there she couldn’t stay. Couple nights, that was all. Off you go again.
Things like this. Happen all the time.

Years later. Same thing. He was in the car outside his younger son’s house.
In the city. Honking. Waiting. Expecting and angry.
She was hiding from him.
Third floor. Her son’s home. He is there for her.
In the end she gave up. In the end she gave in.
Good wife. Does what everyone expects.

Crying, screaming, drama always ends.
The wise give in. Is that so? The line of my childhood.
But what’s the price? Better not to know.

Remembrance. Painful. Consequences. Are. Reminders.
Better to let go. Ciao. Here we go.

A life in forgetfulness. Cultivated. For survival.

We can’t help them. People have to want. Change for themselves.
Strength in submission. Self-suppression. Unimaginable. Strength in self-control.
Willing herself. To conform.

Every other woman would have run from him.
We had a mother. Grandmother. Because of her.

I had a home I knew as my grandparents’ house.
Because. Of. Her. Her strength.
The strength of a woman goes silently.
Flows in our blood. I know what I am.
Capable of. Because of her.

I don’t need to make this sacrifice.
The fear still stays. Can I not defend myself?
Am I the same? Is my territory lost already?
Is my mind lost?
Can I do better?
Or have I ceded my land before I even fought?

Teenage me. Rebellious.
I couldn’t understand.
Her anymore. She wasn’t strong.
I thought I was strong. What does that mean?
No one can be that alone.
I didn’t know.

Twenty-one. I find out. What everyone’s been knowing long.
I used to think my family was small.
Turns out there are secret members to the club. Not part of us.

Me thirteen.
Bankruptcy made him crash against a wall.
Lost house. Money. All.
All my life I heard him say… Joke around.
I need to pay his pension now.

Lucky one. He plays games.
The only one believing in his luck is he.
Won money. Lost again.
Everything is flowing out.
The faith in luck is all that remains.
Nothings stays.

500 euros are like toilet paper. Down the drain.
Every month. Thank god you got two sons.
Fun seemed to be everywhere. Everywhere but home.
Responsibility. Out the window. It flies. Far away.
Respect gone, too. Nothing to unite.
He thought, he won. Having fun.
But you were never one.
And did he really win?

Not to care about a child made.
Not to take responsibility or interest beyond legal obligations.
That is him. That’s my flesh and blood.
That’s my father’s father.
People who have made me.

He wants pity all the time. What for?
For all the wrong decisions?
What is there to save?
You need to fall on your bum. Maybe that can help you.

But he defended me. When I was outnumbered.
The only one.
Standing up for me.
The only one taking on the fight.
The only one.
Running risks.
The only one.
In search of harmony.

What we do. Normally. Is sweep it all under carpets.
So no one can see.
He went to dust us off.
He helped me then. When no one would.
No one would.

The only one.

We can fight.
He respects me more. When I fight.
That is strange. Someone needs to be confronted.
Even insulted. With positive results.

Bad weather. Blows over. Sunshine.
The sky is clear.
Doesn’t work with everyone.

You can say what you think.
I can speak the truth, I think.
Provocation’s part of him.
He doesn’t break. He’s still there. I like that.
The only one. Like that.

Only grandfather I know.
Only old man, so strange. So odd.
A family dictatorship run by a child.
Extravagant, can’t handle things.
Buys stuff. Endlessly.
Means well. But refuses to learn.
He’s never wrong.
Flamboyant style. Italian shoes.
Imagine excess is your father.

Everything expensive must be good.
Good times. Bad times. Up and down.
Sells every scrap in the house.
Violin gone. Without permission.
Treats people like subjects. They don’t belong.

No one gets along.

My mother says, I look homeless.
My clothes don’t match.

Eccentricity. Must be his. I don’t mind. I don’t find.
Myself that odd.

Copyright Hannah Knaack-Völker
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