I am writing about Germany.
I know it is an ongoing story that you—readers, friends, and family—are probably sick of hearing at this point. My creative writing teacher asked us to write 10 pages of a memoir. I’ve chosen Germany, because I have ignored writing the most difficult parts of my experience. Partly because I want to forget, and partly because I worry I won’t find the right words in expressing the instances of failure, loneliness, and terror.
I don’t want to pick out the right words in how I felt behind the church in Aldenhoven—when that stranger yelled at me for not answering his calls. I don’t want to find the right words to tell you that he was crazy and I was scared he’d beat me up. He was inches shorter than me and I was still terrified. I don’t know how to explain my stupid decision in walking behind the church, even though Micky said on the phone, go to the coffee shop, don’t stay there. I waited for the man to find me in an empty churchyard, isolated from the rest of Aldenhoven. How do I tell you the specifics of getting out of the situation? How did I get out? What happened? I’ve ignored it for so long. Why was he yelling at me? What brought me to leave the bus stop when I saw him coming? I’ve forgotten.
And I don’t want to tell you how pathetic and useless I felt when Josa, dear Josa, came to my rescue and called this man on the phone. And how I sat in the car, staring at the dashboard, as Josa told him to never talk to me again. I wished I’d been strong enough to do it myself.
And what about the girls in the gymnasium? How do I show you that they were bitches without saying the word bitch? I don’t want to tell you all those stupid things they did on a daily basis. I don’t want to remember.
And how about the loneliness? Sitting by myself at the ice cream shop. In Jülich. Counting down the minutes until I could sit with Oma. Or eat noodles with Ann-Kathrin after school. All the times sitting by myself. Writing. I wrote because I didn’t want others to see me as a lonely person. I wrote because I wanted to act normal. I wanted an excuse. Oh, I was just a writer. An introvert. I liked to be by myself.
I guess I could forget. I guess I could write about something else.
No. I can’t. It’s burned in me. I dream about it. It screams “write me!”
So I’ll drink some hot chocolate.
And remember I am not alone now.
And I’ll write the difficult times.