On a bright spring afternoon in 1992 and for the first time in twelve years, I returned to my abandoned condo. After climbing up all those staircases I entered into a thirty five feet corridor that led up to my condo's entrance. On both sides were raw attic spaces while two glass doors on each wall allowed spreading light to the floor. I reached my 'house' door but didn't have the courage to walk straight-ahead, and hold my head upright, so I entered my former home walking backwards. I felt as if I were lifting a cloth, or a lid, and expecting something unsavory or terrifying, to jump out at me. My knees were shaking. With the back of my hand, I carefully pushed open the door. Surprisingly, it was already open a small crack - as if my return was expected. The condo sat empty since I moved out twelve years ago. The current owners were ignorant enough not to rent it,  although they were in bitter need of the money. The owners were my former Mother-in-Law, her daughter Ellen -  whose thirteen-year-old son was my escort - and her indescribable husband Edward, a man of Sudanese descent Edward came to Europe to study politics in East Berlin - the German Democratic Republic - which was the Communist part of Germany at the time. He accordingly was considered a Communist and avoided where ever possible. Of white race with a very dark complexion and thus looking somewhat dire, he nevertheless married Ellen but not before my husband was gone. Edward jumped into a ready-made nest. He tyrannized my son and me until we left our home, our castle. Time Travel Twice, while I was still living there, I had to call police when I came home late at night. I needed help to walk across the huge yard, which was guarded by a German shepherd dog. For that purpose, I had to prove to police, that I was legally allowed to enter my own home. It was humiliating. Mr. Arab (as I called him) had the whole property locked and barricaded. I needed four keys for access. The first one to open a pad lock on the gate. A second one to open the gate itself. A third one for entering the house and a fourth key to get into my own four walls. Probably suffering from persecution mania, he was a strange, nutty, and bad tempered man. On one occasion, over an argument about a trashcan, he grabbed my throat and choked me. I thought about reporting him, but I didn’t dare because I was alone, and living in the same house with him. Who would believe me? Having experienced his explosive violent temper first hand, I feared he would do me even greater harm if I did call the police. However, today, Mr. Arab fled on his bicycle like a frightened child, and disappeared until I left the property. The big question was why Mr. Arab was so vehemently against renting out my beautiful condo? It remained a mystery. At least the condo would’ve been taken care of. The whole family downstairs was obviously afraid of having people walking through the house, climbing open stairs into the apartment above their head. My former domicile was built in so called ‘dry interior construction’ fashion, just like one would imagine a prefabricated house. Two Hundred square yard on one level. My husband’s late father bought the ‘Castle Mill’ around 1965. It was an enormous four hundred year old building, placed under monumental protection. My father-in-law renovated, restored, and rebuilt the inside mostly with his own hands. The first floor was converted into offices, show rooms and storages for his wholesale business. He had about eight employees. Above all that, the family of four had their private quarters with humongous living space. When my engagement to his son Peter came into the picture my own father came to see how my future home would look like. After some back and forth and that “the kids have enough space on the second floor close to their in-laws”, he turned around and went up another floor. “What’s this up here?” he asked. “Oh, that’s the old granary. There is nothing up there. No electric, no water, just attic without any insulation.” “And that’s where we are going to erect the young couple’s home.” “What does a young couple need such a luxurious condo for to start out with?” My father-in-law shook his head in disbelief. But Father had his mind set. “I will pay for it, including architect, statics, material, and craftsmen’s work. You should find a good local carpenter and local businesses for all necessary trades. It will be Johanna’s dowry.” All Rights reserved *JFK 2014
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