Some dude asked me how long I’ve been here the other day, and I replied I had been here for a few years. Upon further questioning he found out I worked for this magazine for seven years. “But you just told me that you have only been here for a few years?” “So I lied.” He wasn’t happy with that at all, but it didn’t bother me a bit. I lie sometimes to make things easier. So what? If I had actually told him the truth, that I’ve been here for seventeen years, what would he have thought? In the beginning it was like a pissing contest. Some guy would ask, “How long have you been here?” And I’d reply, “I’ve been here for three years and four months.” And, at the time, I had actually only been here for three years and three months and two weeks, but I felt justified in rounding it up a bit, but when I hit ten years, I started to round it down, and say nine, sometimes I even said eight because I subtracted all of the vacations I’d taken. When I hit seventeen years, I started to really round it down. It frightens some people or makes them ask stupid questions like, “Will you stay here forever?” How the hell am I supposed to know? Forever is a long time my friends. Then I get an email from my mom saying that my Grandma is going to die, and I think about all the time that has gone by, and all the things I miss back home. My family. Wasn’t it my Grandma who always understood why I live so far away after all? She would always say that she would miss me and she wished I could visit more often, but if it was my wish to live over here than I should do it and that she would always support me. But now that she’s going to die, I feel a bit of regret.
She would tell me not to be so “silly”. I remember a long time ago, before I was married, my Grandma would ask me if I had a serious girlfriend, and when I told her I didn’t, she would applaud me and tell me to have fun. And this was coming from an old lady who was brought up until the age of eight in “conservative” Germany; the woman who used to tell us to be grateful for all we had because she remembered the day, back in the day, when she got a piece of bologna for Christmas, and she enjoyed it. One day at her dinner table I mentioned that her husband, my Grandpa, might have other kids from other love affairs he may have had while at sea. All she did was laugh. The thought actually amused her. “You’ve got to live your life and live it well”. Bye-bye, Grandma. I love you.
By Tim Hoerle