I and Me

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That Sunday morning I had completely forgotten that my mother had gone to visit her sister, who was ill, on Saturday and had stayed there in the evening to be with her young children. I awoke from a rather confused dream and got up sleepily to go to the master bedroom. I knocked and entered as Alfred was humming. As I was about to slip under the covers, I realized my mistake and was about to leave, but Alfred grumbled that I could lie down, he wouldn't bite. Somehow I liked the smell of mother's bed and slipped quietly under her covers.

Alfred immediately went back to sleep, his slow breathing made me tired, and soon I dozed off too. I woke up again only when I heard him sigh and roll around restlessly, for he had gotten a hard‐on again in his sleep. Sleepily he reached under the light blanket, under which the hard‐on stood out like a small tree under a blanket of snow, and played with this little tree. He smiled in his sleep and played a bit until he woke up. He pulled the blanket away and rubbed his cock, just like that. I was still "asleep" and turned away when he grabbed me hard with his hand and pulled my nightgown up to my neck. I was terribly frightened when he put a hand on my thigh and continued rubbing his cock. I was still considering whether I had better run out quickly, but he grabbed me around the waist and pulled me on top of him in a flash, turning me onto his belly. My heart almost stopped, my breath too.

I lay on his bare belly, trying to get free with both hands, but he pulled his knees up and straddled my legs so that I lay astride him as if on the back of a horse, my spread inner thighs pressed firmly against his side. I felt his hairy chest with my small breasts and heard my heart pounding loudly as he slowly reached under my thigh and nibbled on his cock. His other hand held my bottom and pressed me firmly against his jiggling belly, making my butt gyrate and rubbing my pubic against his belly. He panted and rubbed, and I wiggled along with the wiggle of his hand, feeling his cock fleetingly touch my butt crack. For a few seconds it stayed that way, then I felt him press his glans rubbing against my bottom. My fear mixed with a slowly rising horniness, I felt the wetness of his cock and my own, got racing heart palpitations from rubbing my pubic against his belly and because he rhythmically poked and prodded his glans against it.

I will never forget his aggressive, almost evil look when he stopped and tried to pull off my nightgown with a wild jerk; of course it got caught by my arms, but he tore at it until it tore in at the side. Heedlessly he left it hanging and grabbed my naked back, stroking me wildly and holding me by my thighs. Like a frog, I lay on top of him, feeling his hairy hands all over and his cock thrusting firmly against my butt crack and slit. Everything in me was in wild turmoil, horniness fought against palpitations, fear against curiosity and Alfred's hands, whose strokes left me defenseless and a little horny.

He slid one hand down again while the other stroked my cunt. Again he rubbed his cock, pressing it firmly against my slit, which the other hand stroked and kneaded. I could have screamed, but I was paralyzed at the same time as he put both hands on my butt cheeks and pushed me deeper. He pushed me slowly but firmly down and against his cock. I wrenched my mouth open into a silent scream as I felt a sharp pain. His glans had entered me with a jerk.

Before I could have done anything or even thought anything, he grabbed and pulled me by the buttocks deeper and deeper, spreading my thighs wide apart. Dull and blunt, his cock pushed deep into me, the pain paralyzing me. Alfred held me by my buttocks, pulled me up and down a few times like a toy doll and didn't care at all that I had found my voice again in the meantime and was screaming at the top of my lungs. Screamed because his cock had made me wet and slippery and a horniness coupled with fear and pain and guilt turned into a mad lust. He paused and stared at me with his mouth open, I felt his cock throbbing and twitching inside me and felt his cock squirt, squirt and squirt.

At the same moment he pushed me away from him, his pole tore free from me with a muffled smacking sound as I fell beside him. I cried out again, startled, for my inner thighs were a little bloody. I fell silent and looked at Alfred, who had his hands folded in front of his face and from whose still slightly throbbing cock a thin strip ran over his pubic hair.

After a few moments Alfred abruptly stood up, grabbed his clothes and started to get dressed, then puffed loudly and quickly walked out, buttoning himself up on the way out. I heard him start the car and roar away.

I was empty and desperate; could I have felt something like rising horniness just then? Groaning, I pulled my torn nightgown as best I could and hid under Mother's covers. Paralyzed, rigid and silent, I thought about the last few minutes and tried not to feel guilty. He had grabbed me, he had torn off my nightgown, he had raped me. The little devil in my ear whispered, however, that I had watched him jerk off with pleasure after all, that I had become a little horny after all. I remained lying and cried to myself, because the devil was not so wrong, even if I wanted to convince myself that he, and only he, had done violence to me. I cried all morning until the door opened and my mother came in.

Rushed in, because she had immediately panicked when Alfred's car was not in front of the house.

I think she realized everything in a split second. She saw my blubbery face, the torn nightgown and the traces of blood on the sheet. Pale and toneless, she sat down on the edge of the bed and straightened the blanket with an automatic gesture and an absent look. I immediately began to cry again, clutching her in despair; how could I explain to her that it was not he alone who was guilty, but that it was a little bit me too, that it had been brewing for months? That he had caught me "at it", had stayed again and again and behaved unabashedly? But that I had also provoked him, with my naked legs stretched out or when I put my hand on my pubic under the blanket? That I had watched them both unabashedly, Sunday after Sunday?

Mother held me in silence. I felt her sobbing tearlessly, her body hardening. I sobbed and cried, because everything hurt me, but most of all I was afraid to tell her everything. After some time, Mother straightened up, put both hands on my shoulders and looked me in the face. "I'll kill him!" she said, and that was the only thing she said that day. Wordlessly she took me by the hand and went with me to the bathroom, washed me carefully, and cried silently as she dried me. I cried too and hated Alfred, because he had grabbed me, he had torn off my nightgown, he had raped me. Mother held me for a long time and cried with me, then I soon crawled into bed and tossed and turned restlessly while mother sat silently in the kitchen waiting.

Alfred did not return until evening. I woke up when I heard loud shouting from the kitchen. I couldn't understand a coherent sentence because they kept interrupting each other screaming. But I knew exactly what they were talking about and picked up individual words. Mother's threats with the police he apparently ignored completely, defended himself with loud roars that the little whore was constantly running around half‐naked or even lying in her bed. Little by little, roaring, he spewed out chunk after chunk of all the secrets, but my mother didn't seem to listen to him. She would report him and he would not get off lightly, she would see to that! My mother could also get loud, but I have never heard her scream so loudly.

At first I would have liked to die, I was still completely confused and everything hurt me. Mother yelled at him again to pack his things and leave, immediately, then she slammed the door and went down to the basement. Alfred fell silent and I heard him fiddling with the coffee maker. Somehow he was already an ice‐cold lump, how could he think of coffee now! I quietly closed my room door and threw myself on the bed, howling in pain and in anger at this guy.

After a while I heard him scolding loudly, but I didn't hear mother. Only once, she shouted, "Now go, go already!" Then he slammed the door behind him and drove away. I heard it only with half an ear, then I fell asleep again.

The next morning I awoke to loud voices and strange footsteps in our house. I quickly put something on and went to the kitchen. The police had come and had told my mother, the Alfred Newrkla had flown out last night in the Nehringer forest in a curve and fallen into the Lemmerbach. He had died immediately. Mother sat at the kitchen table with a petrified face and just nodded. Then the policemen left again.

Mother did not speak a word. In me was a storm of most different feelings, my tormentor dead and right serves him, but the Alfred, mother's dear Alfred, was no more! I didn't know yet what it was, death, and I was very afraid when someone died; where was he now? And: what was he like? I had often thought before whether old Mr. Müller, after he had died, was still the grouchy old child‐hater or had become a friendly little angel? I opened my mouth and was about to say something, when my mother looked at me silently and said tonelessly, "I killed him!"

I cried out in horror, thoughts tumbling in my head ‐ this could not be true! How could she have ‐ ? And how? Above all ‐ hadn't I killed Alfred? Hadn't it happened because of me? Wasn't it me who had conjured up the whole disaster and provoked the act of violence? I was trembling, thinking about it for the first time, and it frightened me.

"The best thing is to go to Aunt Martha's for a few days, she can take care of you when they come for me. And they will come for me, for sure!" I resisted, begging and pleading to be allowed to stay, but my mother stood firm, rose, and began packing my things into her old brown cardboard suitcase. Then she went over to the Mosers and made a phone call to Aunt Martha. When she returned, she said that Theresa, my cousin, was coming to get me. They were all happy that I was going to stay with them for a few days. When I had to think about the fact that my father wouldn't be back from the overseas construction site for a few weeks, I had to cry again in despair.

Then we sat in silence in the kitchen, silently looking at the patterned tablecloth. For the first time, I saw my mother smoking. I wanted to tell her everything, about masturbating and about Alfred who had been sitting by my bed, and also about the fact that on Sunday mornings I had always just pretended to be asleep and had overheard everything, but I had a thick, choking dumpling in my throat and couldn't get a sound out. I kept silent, although I should have told her everything. But we sat in silence at the kitchen table, and I saw my mother smoking for the first time.

I was crying and didn't want to let go of my mother at all when Theresa came to pick me up. Then I sat silently next to her in the car and watched the trees and fields whiz by. Theresa had no idea at all about the drama and babbled on that it was already over with Peter and that the current one was called Franz, he was a baker's apprentice and very, very nice. They lived in the attic and I would get the small room next to her, but this time I would have to sleep alone, she giggled and nudged me with her elbow with a wink. Only then did she see that I still didn't say a word and looked out sadly. But I said nothing, though she asked insistently. We drove on in silence.

I stayed at home for a few days, Aunt Martha had sent a notification to the school, I was ill. She knew, but she left me alone and did not ask. After two or three days she came into my room and sat down pale on the edge of my bed. "They took your mother away" she said softly, "they say she drugged him with sleeping pills, that's why the accident happened." Aunt Martha was silent for a long time. Then she gave herself a jolt and said, "However it may have been, it served him right, the bastard!"

I cried and said nothing. Mother in prison! Because of me, because I was to blame for all this. In my head it kept hammering: blame, blame, blame!

The fever came at night, I lay in bed for days, oblivious to my surroundings. Aunt Martha was desperate because I neither ate nor drank. I screamed when the devil's grimaces bent over me in dreams or I was whirled around in a macabre dance of death with Alfred, my mother, or Bello, the farm dog at Monika's house that had fucked the little girl. Vaguely I remember the village doctor palpating me with cool, slender fingers and giving me an injection. I did not feel the puncture at all, laughed like a madwoman and immediately fell asleep again.

Someday, a few days later, the fever broke. I had become skinny, slender and feeble, could hardly stand up. Aunt Martha lovingly cared for me, chattering about this and that and the other. When I felt stronger, I asked how mother was. Aunt Martha immediately became serious again and told me that the uncle (her husband) had been allowed to visit her, that she was very composed. The uncle had hired the best lawyer in the district to help Mother, and they would talk about the costs later. I asked her if I could also visit my mother. Aunt Martha did not know, but she promised to ask. Of course I was not allowed. Besides, she said, I was still much too weak. I just nodded, because that was exactly what I had expected. But during the long lie‐down I had had a lot of time to think. The plan had matured for a long time, now I wanted to carry it out. I was not yet 14, but I had to act like an adult now.

The next morning, while Aunt Martha had gone shopping in town, I crept down the stairs to the telephone hanging on the wall in the front room. I dialed and waited a long time for someone to answer. Then I wanted to speak to the officer who was responsible for the Alfred N. case. I had to say my name again, then a deep, scratchy male voice answered, wanting to know what I wanted. To make a statement, I said. I see, he said, and which one? I swallowed and choked, for it was not easy for me, but at last I stammered, "I did it! I did it!"

There was silence on the other end of the line. Yes, if that was all, he asked, and I heard his lighter flick, apparently he was lighting a cigarette. "No," I said, "please listen: it was me, I did the Alfred murder, my mother had nothing to do with it! She is innocent!"

Once again there was an eerie silence, I wasn't used to talking on the phone either and found the pauses confusing. "My mother didn't do it, I did!" again I shouted into the receiver, "can you understand? You have to release her, she didn't know anything about it!" He interrupted, "Wait a minute, wait a minute," then again that utterly paralyzing silence. I waited, shaking with fear. I could hear him talking to someone in the background.

Then the voice was back. "Where do you live now?" I told him Aunt Martha's address. "All right. In fifteen minutes an officer will come to see you. Don't go away, stay at home! Can I depend on that?" Yes, I whispered, and put the receiver back on the fork. I remained standing next to the telephone, barefoot and in my shirt. At last, at last, I had saved my mother! I stood there, letting the thoughts swirl through my head that my mother was finally free and that I could now admit guilt.

The doorbell buzzed. I saw a slender female figure through the glass pane and opened. The young woman looked at me inquiringly, then said her name was Ms. Ehmer and that she worked for the police. Did I just call there? Yes, I nodded and let her enter. "I have to go right away, don't I?" I asked, getting a little annoyed because even as I asked that question, tears were welling up and choking my throat. "Oh, there's still time," Mrs. Ehmer said, "maybe we'll sit down and you'll just tell me everything, all right?" I nodded, then looked down at myself. "I'm still in my nightgown," I said, completely redundantly. Mrs. Ehmer smiled. "Let's get dressed then, shall we?" I nodded and climbed the stairs, Mrs. Ehmer close behind me. "Is this your room?" she asked after looking around for a moment. "Yes," I answered and quickly improved, "no, that's just while my mother isn't here, I have my own room at home." Damn, I'm crying again! "Well, I'll wait outside until you're done getting dressed" said Mrs. Ehmer and went outside the door, but she left it open. "And don't keep me waiting too long!" she said, smiling mischievously, "I have to go soon!" Quickly I got dressed and ran a brush through my hair. "Ready!" I said to Mrs. Ehmer, who looked in amazement at the brown cardboard suitcase in my hand.

Slightly unsure, I said, "I'm coming with you!" She was still silent, and pauses I hate, I really do. "I have everything for the prison, it was still packed anyway" I stuttered and wanted to go down, but Mrs. Ehmer said, "Well, first you have to tell me everything in detail, then we'll see!" Friendly, but determined, she took the suitcase from my hand and put it next to the door, then she gently took me by the hand and led me to the bed. I sat down, Mrs. Ehmer sat down at the table and looked at me. "Your mother is doing quite well, under the circumstances" she began, looking me straight in the eye, "she is very strong and bears it with pride. That she drugged the man who raped you with sleeping pills will be difficult to prove, besides the court will be lenient in this case. It is unlikely that she will be sentenced, and if she is, it will be for a few months at most. You know, there are important differences between murder and manslaughter or homicide in the heat of passion." Ms. Ehmer paused, then added, "I'm sure the lawyer will put in a good effort, I'm sure of it."

We were silent, and I tried to understand exactly the meaning of her words. Mrs. Ehmer fidgeted in her chair, then asked if she could smoke. Absentmindedly, I nodded, for I was thinking about what she was actually trying to tell me. I mustered up all my courage and asked, "What does it all mean?"

She smiled. She belligerently blew smoke out the window before answering, "It means you don't have to make up a story to take the blame for Alfred's death. The police know for a fact that he had taken sleeping pills in his last coffee and then passed out while driving. What they don't know for sure is who put them in the coffee. He may as well have taken them himself, he was intoxicated besides. But the tablets belonged to your mother, that is proven. And her persistent silence doesn't make things any easier for us." She paused for a moment and watched me sharply. "But what we don't need at all is a tall tale you're telling us. It might even hurt your mother in some circumstances."

I was frightened. I didn't want to harm my mother after all! My plan shrank in a second to a tiny, insignificant point. Mrs. Ehmer let me cry it out, put her hand around my shoulder and reassured me with kind, understanding words. Gently she asked me if I could talk about everything and made little notes while I haltingly and bumblingly told about the whole Alfred story. Sometimes she said I didn't need to describe everything in such detail if I was having a hard time, because she would only pass on the things relevant to the investigation, definitely not everything.

When Aunt Martha came back, Mrs. Ehmer asked if she could take me to see Mother. I whooped and was allowed to visit my mother, who smiled sweetly at me and then sternly told me not to tell such stupid things, that it had been me and so on. And the good news was that the lawyer thought he could get her out soon. Then she thought for a moment and added, "Even if we both know the truth."

It came out that way, too, but only sort of. Father came and worried touchingly about me, in the fall I came to the upper school and Mrs. Ehmer was not a real policewoman at all, but a psychologist who looked after me for many months afterwards. The court sentenced my mother to 2 years, but released her after 8 months. My father and I visited her as often as we could, and on my 17th birthday they fulfilled the only wish I had: that all three of us celebrated together and above all at home. It took them another year to get back together.

But it took me several more years to come to terms with this catastrophe. And it should take even longer until I could write about it.