Klaus Hnilica
Tuesday December 5th, 2017

The Second Darkness

Carl and Gerlinde (Instalment # 55)

When Carl woke up and found back to something that vaguely resembled human existence excruciatingly slowly, the first rudimentary things his not yet quite ready body noticed seemed to be the fact that his eyes were absolutely unwilling to open!

In fact, the synchronously beating rain showers even postponed the usual procedure of starting the day until later for the n-th time. Regardless of his only partially active cerebral cortex, he actually seemed to have a foreboding that told him that the state of affairs his open eyes would convey to him would not at all be a pleasant one. Instead, he felt that the darkness caused by his closed eyes would only be replaced by the second darkness of the closed rolling shutters while the root of his ’eye-lid immobility’, namely the unnerving patter of the rain and the noise of the rolling shutters would not be ending or suppressed. Which meant that there was not the slightest bit of a chance for him to look forward to a friendly daybreak with sunshine.

So what to do with a Sunday like this one in the pre-Christmas time where he had almost miraculously been freed of all obligations, since he did neither have to visit an old aunt nor friends who lived anywhere closer than a hundred kilometres away. And Gerlinde, lying next to him, too, did not seem to be anywhere near waking up. Instead, judging by the noise she made, she was still deep in slumber and dreaming of SCUBA-diving in the Red Sea or the Dead Sea?

At such conditions, no normal person – let alone Carl – could be expected to unwrap himself from his beautifully warm bed: after all, the sum of all the threatening evil of this probably dawning morning had the sole purpose of making his already – due to low blood pressure – bad morning mood even worse.

Who could and would take responsibility for that? , thought Carl with still heroically closed eyes while he rolled from left to right on his bed with rather little elegance and accompanied by plenty of moaning. However, this last motion was immediately corrected because his snoring Gerlindy, to his total surprise, also turned towards him, blowing a gust the strength of six to eight directly into his face in the process. It really sounded like she actually needed to free her mouth of the salty sea water.

After having returned to his original position, Carl rested irresolutely for quite a while, strictly sticking to his self-chosen darkness. He was wondering if it might be a good idea to go back to sleep or if it was perhaps already time to prepare breakfast.

In fact, there was a tricky idea trying to find its way into his already neurally activated brain cells: should he maybe, now that we were in the middle of advent time, just for once and for the first time ever, prepare Sunday breakfast? This would mean he could present the surprise of the century to a still industriously snoring Gerlinde at the very moment she would be surfacing both from slumber and from the warm floods of the Red Sea. Said surprise being a beautifully laid breakfast table by yours truly that contained all the morning delicacies she liked every morning, including her beloved strong coffee…

What a great inspiration and fantastic display of his love towards his always hard-working Gerlinde who had started going back to work half a year ago and appreciated every help at home so much more. Yes – even regardless of his still reduced operating mode, he recognized a sudden growth of a tiny plant of enthusiasm. It was accompanied by a touching warmth that not only spread in his head but also started to tentatively envelop all his extremities…
It was a beautiful feeling!

In fact, it was an extremely beautiful feeling! It was inspiring and stimulating – but also just a little worrying – found Carl if he was totally honest with himself and also if he did not close his eyes before the fact that, with all this enthusiasm, he found it rather hard to keep his eyes closed!

And this was not all!

All of a sudden, he also had the alarming feeling that something unknown and alien started growing inside him. It pushed and pulled him. It felt like an ugly parasite draining him of his strength and drinking it all up.
That was not nice! It was not nice at all!

Carl felt with immediate precision: if he now were to give in to these unsettling powers, then the night would be over and the perhaps already dawning morning with it. That was something he could not at all allow to happen, thought Carl. And above all, it was not advisable for him to now open his eyes and at long last fall into this second darkness that always was such a problem for him and that always left him extremely depressed …

The only thing that promised help in this situation was his second pillow! As always, his snoring Gerlinde had assumed possession of it. So he grabbed it back quite unceremoniously. And even while he, as so often, wrapped it around his head, he started counting tonelessly to himself – and when he reached number three-thousand-eight-hundred-and-seventy, he was actually asleep!

The only thing that eventually woke a Carl who felt reborn were Gerlinde’s energetic twice uttered summons from the kitchen: “Breakfast is waiting”.

Comfortable yawning and stretching in all directions, he was visibly content about having manfully resisted this more than alarming breakfast threat with all its foreseeable consequences for the future.

Now Carl felt he could actually face the second darkness and opened his eyes with a smile …

KH
(Translated by EG)

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