In the Mossfield
A little, simple-minded melody succeeded to subvert my sensory thresholds. Otherwise I would probably have slept until evening, probably not even an earthquake would have ripped me out of my comatose sleep, but if you have the same ring tone for a while, it’s like someone calling you by your nickname. So I turned back and forth, rummaging all over the bed until I noticed my cell phone was lying on the floor; just before I could pick it up, the ringing stopped. I saw on the display: A missed call from Shawn. I threw myself back, closed my eyes again. My restless mind (although this is a pleonasm: there is no such thing as a calm mind), so my mind began to sweep up the remains of the night. We had been also in the Blitz and lost each other immediately. I remembered that we were standing in front of the DJ desk, I yelled in Shawn’s ear that I just have to poop. In the toilet, I fell into a kind of trance. I must have sat there for half an eternity with my pants down, glad not to have to talk anymore (we had been through with five hours of focused deep adult conversations – about the fortune of being father and the misfortune of being married, about the sexual Misery, the partnership and the small business that calls itself family, about upcoming vacation plans, work-life balance, neglecting hobbies, friends, ideals – and at the same time getting tanked up properly: beer, red wine, grappa, white wine, then gin, The Illusionist, some purple stuff Shawn brought as a gift). The gin had made me feel sick the whole time. But on the way back, as I was pushing my way through the turnstile in the Deutsches Museum, I felt really sick. A large spate emerged, it was as if the door was throwing me up. Fortunately, no one had seen it. The people sat together in small, conspiratorial groups, or walked from A to B with unerring steps – everyone suspiciously lively, suspiciously laboriously. Even the woman behind the counter was so. She looked like Nena, she even wore a headband like my cousin used to. She stared at me attentively, took my order and prepared a whiskey-cola with flowing movements. I always hated the eighties, I thought, but I’d take her anyway. I couldn’t afford to choose women according to my own style, I didn’t have any. No style, no personality … I noticed that this train of thought hardly got me any further and went back to the DJ booth. Shawn was nowhere to be seen. He had already announced that he would not stay long, there were family obligations waiting for him tomorrow, etc. Going to the disco with him was pointless anyway, he was just watching. But this was no chamber play. The people were beside themselves, liberated, everyone went crazy to the beat and I only had one thought in my head: Ecstasy. Alex would have made something clear by now, he found the right people straight away, no idea how he did it. I always got rebukes like: „Dude, what do you mean, what I’ve been looking for about hours“, or „Dream on, man, you’re in Munich“ etc. Shawn asked me what I would find in this stuff, a little amused, as if this were a drug for children. Happiness, I replied, quick, blind happiness in movement and touch. A good drug, a harmless drug. Which one cannot exactly say about alcohol. He frowned, smirked. Most people, including Shawn, distrusted chemistry. They wanted the big feelings to come naturally. I didn’t give a shit, the main thing was that it went off. I saw Shawn in front of me again, as he was refilling his wine glass: smiling, relaxed, self-confident. And then somehow I got completely depressed. I only had negative thoughts buzzing around in my head. I thought my whole life was a mistake, a huge, stinking lie that I never wanted to live like this, that I was caught in a web of responsibilities that you couldn’t just cut apart without mutilating yourself. Being held hostage, I kept telling myself, being held hostage as a hard name for love. I was really desperate. A young father who hung out drunk in an electro-club only to forget for a short time his slavery. I was about to cry. I would have loved to undo everything …
I felt a sharp pain behind my eyes – every hangover is ultimately just a physiological correlate of remorse. When I got up and went into the kitchen (conveniently I was already dressed), I noticed that something was different, an atmospheric dimming of the noise, of the light. It was quieter, or otherwise quiet, from outside calm, dull light fell into the room; before I went to the window I knew it had snowed. I made myself some coffee, put away bottles and plates. Then I called Shawn back.
Been poop for a long time, he said.
Got completely lost.
I sent you another message.
Yes sorry. Was really bad.
I still have this sticker on my phone.
They pretend to be Berghain or so.
What are you doing today?
I let my gaze wander around the tidy apartment:
Two hours later.
I took the subway towards Messestadt. After a few stops, I got off in Moosfeld. When I came out of the shaft, I was standing on a street with single-family houses, one house with a car in front of them, endless as if in a nightmare. A couple of Sunday excursionists spread out on the sidewalks. A few meters in front of me a man turned into a kind of side street. You walked through two houses, so to speak, with graffiti on the side, someone had tagged Mösenfeld on the wall. Further back, on the other side, shimmered red light garlands, you could see a group of skyscrapers, surrounded by a group of trees like an island: the Stahlgruberring. A pedestrian walkway snaked through a snow-covered field under old-fashioned lanterns. I stopped for a moment. I was overwhelmed by this sight, this vast snowy landscape that opened up completely unexpectedly behind the houses. Something attracted me to it – the purity, the barreness, the vastness? No idea, I heard men laughing, tore myself free and went on. The girl I chose was called Noli, an Asian-Brazilian exotic with soft, golden-brown skin (according to rotelaterne.de). Noli, not a bad name for a hooker. Noli me tangere. In the internet photos her flawless beauty radiated something aloof, almost dismissive. Maybe that’s what attracted me to her.
When I rang the bell, a middle-aged woman opened the door and looked irritably at me. She looked pale, seemed stressed and annoyed, so far from any promise of happiness that I would have loved to leave again immediately.
How much is it?
Fifty Euros fifteen minutes. Half an hour eighty.
I only got thirty.
She slammed the door.
I left the brothel in a strange mood: thoughtful, absent-minded, out of my reach. On the way back I stopped again in front of the snow field. Mesmerized. They had something to say to me, these white mats, how they stretched into the distance, they asked me to do something – but what? Break, breakup … change? I stepped into the fresh snow, took two or three steps, sank, moisture got through my pants, I stopped. Everything white and pure and still. I looked around: single-family houses on the one hand, the industrial park on the other – and in the middle German Romanticism. Which urban planner came up with this picture puzzle?
I turned around and went back to the subway. A man shuffled across the platform with his head bowed. As he passed me, he looked up hostile, I recognized him again (he had stood in front of the door with the trannies for a very long time and was apparently just waiting for me to finally move in). Probably more than eighty percent of the people entering and exiting were johnnies at this time of the day.
During the drive I remembered what this standing around in the mossfield had reminded me of: It was a passage in the castle, a very strong, impressive passage in which K. is waiting for Klamm in some backyard. At home I looked for the passage, found it finally at the end of the eighth chapter: „And when now, after finishing his work in the shed, the coachman went across the courtyard in his slow, rolling walk, closed the huge gate and then returned, all very slowly, while he literally looked at nothing but his own footprints in the snow and finally shut himself into the shed; and now as all the electric lights went out too – for whom should they remain on? – and only up above the slit in the wooden gallery still remained bright, holding one’s wondering gaze for a little, it seemed to K. as if at last those people had broken off all relations with him, and as if now in reality he were freer than he had ever been, and at liberty to wait here in this place usually forbidden to him as long as he desired, and had won a freedom such as hardly anybody else had ever succeeded in winning, and as if nobody could dare touch him or drive him away, or even speak to him; but — this conviction was at least equally as strong — as if at the same time there was nothing more senseless, more hopeless, than this freedom, this waiting, this inviolability.“