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15.12.2011

Cherry Liqueur (part 1)

This story is perhaps something for the more mature reader. Which doesn't mean that younger ones aren't welcome. 

When the coffin was carried outside, they were all there. Some faces I'd never seen before,
others seemed vaguely familiar. Like in a film; you knew you'd seen that actor but in what
role?

Years ago this anonymity had almost killed me. Three blocks of flats, each with sixteen four-
room apartments, playground, party-room in the basement, parking space guaranteed.

I moved here after Walter had died. Our cottage had seemed strange all of a sudden, too
crammed with memories and too big anyway. Our daughter lived in New Zealand and visited
about once a year. Without Walter, I didn't want to stay there.



The playground and party-room had caught my fancy when I went to see the flat. It had been
on a Tuesday morning. The silence had not bothered me then. The other people would be at
work, the children at school. From my balcony I could overlook the playground and imagined
how I would carry down a table and chairs to drink coffee with the mums while the children
were horsing around.

And I was often sitting on that garden bench, occasionally talking to Walter but mostly just
staring at the daisies.

There were only a few children. In some flats you could see the telly flicker all day, sometimes
from as early as six in the morning. When the weather was hot, some of the children would
play on the balcony. At first, I tried to persuade them to join me in the garden. But they were
only looking down at me through the railings, like monkeys in the zoo, and whispering to
each other.

One day I was again sitting on my bench. I missed Walter and must have been crying, when
suddenly a voice beside me said,

"Cherry liqueur."

I looked up. A lady of about my age was sitting beside me. At first I could only see her profile
as she was staring at the laundry door opposite. Ramrod posture, her hair tied in a severe-
looking knot, old-fashioned handbag on her knees. I admit I first thought she must be mad.
Still, I dried my eyes.

To be continued

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