Don't Fade Away
Lotte's boyfriend died while they were having a day in Berlin. He had a birth heart defect that nobody knew about; he had an arrest and dropped down by a traffic light in Friedrichstraße. Nothing could be done: he was gone the moment he touched the floor.
Lotte sat on a grey chair for a couple of hours in a waiting room full of confused and nervous people. It was a busy day there, not as usual, said someone. She felt cold and empty. Finally they took her to him: he was laid over a shiny metal table, almost naked, stiff like a table. What's the point of this, she thought for herself, of course it's him. His belongings were given to her in a plastic bag, some papers were signed and she was out of that awful building.
She wandered the streets while her mind was whirling. Of course phoning mama wasn't an option: Lotte would end up buried under a pile of tears, empty words and useless religious references. She met comfort sitting by concrete walls. The night fell and brought a thin rain.
Young people gathered here and there and there were laughter, kisses and chatter and that was great. By a night club, the lovely voice of a girl sang "It's a fine day / people open windows / they leave the house / just for a short while" and Lotte cried for a long time. She remembered her own life and it seemed like an old photograph, static and gone.
The sun was already there when she opened her eyes. Her clothes were wet and her soul broken apart. She remembered something he was talking about all the day; a homage to his grandparents, somewhat puerile, but probably meditated for a long time. So she walked down the Unter den Linden, crossed the Branderburger Tor and entered the Tiergarten; the air was full of petrichor and the somewhat out of tune singing of birds. The place was not hard to find.
A greenish metal soldier in a long coat, helmet, rifle, bayonet and all, looked at Lotte from upon a square column covered by a somewhat bombastic golden inscription. My granma died the day before they arrived here, he said. My granpa made us swear it: go there and read it.
Lotte took the piece of paper that belonged to him. A somewhat melodramatic wind started to blow. The paper, worn and old, was written in Russian: Спасибо, това́рищ. She could not read it, but somewhat felt it.