Issue 3 | Winter

Page 8

MEMORY FOAM by Luise Mörke

I stole the bunny on one of the rare, truly hot summer days, sometime in early August, when the air weighs heavy with dust and heat and languor. Every now and then the tooting horn of a container ship could be heard in the distance, perhaps a sign of impatience on behalf of the crew to evade the narrow canal and pass through the locks into the inland sea. The ships rivaled the size of large housing blocks and pushed their way through the flat landscape at the lagging speed of an overfed, sedated body. When the waterway occupied a blind spot, which was the case from certain positions in the nearby fields, it looked as if a colossus of stacked containers was gliding on land, majestic and destructive, leaving ravaged brick houses and slashed-up acres of rapeseed in its wake. I still wonder whether these ships can make it through oceanic turmoil, waves and storms that far exceed the faintly temperamental weather that marks the passage of time here. The inland sea is a place of confused identity, where salty air and screaming seagulls create a maritime


atmosphere while the horizon remains foreshortened. Can you really be free as an unbound sailor, chewing tobacco and breaking into drunken song in every harbor, if the next country is visible on a clear day? People here like to pretend, paying primes on yacht club memberships and naming sailing boats for their first-born’s favorite cartoon character. They spend their summers cruising between port cities, more or less the same each year, running into the familiar faces of those who are equally hooked on the idea of themselves as men of the sea. I imagine awkward exchanges in the Portapotti line or convivial reunions over grilled sausages and beers and think that I would rather stay home forever than delude myself into thinking that this kind of travel takes you anywhere at all. Stay home I did that summer, hardly keen on joining the parents on their two-week vacation and too broke to pay my way into an allegedly “fun trip to Barcelona” that two girls from one of last semester’s seminars had organized. And so I spent