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  • Nobody ever wanted to sit beside Cordula.

    I had to that evening and for 20 minutes!

    It took 20 minutes in the subway from our suburb into the center of Hamburg where our class attended theater plays on a regular base.

    It was spring, I was 13 years old and remember I wore a blouse that my Omi had crocheted out of a bright pink cotton thread with golden buttons. I wore the blouse for the first time and felt like a spring flower myself. Omi In Springtime

    But all the other girls ran to seats away from Codula and the only empty one in our wagon was the one beside her.

    I admit: Cordula was strange. A skinny blond girl, serious and shy and without much humor. Her father owned a chocolate factory, but even that did not help poor Cordula. Her mother was filthy rich because of so much sold chocolate, but worn down by depressions.

    It must have been torture, daily continuous torture to live inside Cordula´s skin, but that spring evening I just felt the torture of having to sit 20 minutes beside her.

    I felt like shit and even my new blouse could not change that, gold - buttons and all. If the other girls let me sit beside Cordula: that must mean that they thought I was nearly as bad and ugly and detestable as she seemed to them.

    After the first shock and shame I dared look up into Cordulas pale and sad face. Suddenly the thought hit me that once forced beside her, why not strike up a conversation?

    I did. I do not remember about what, I asked her something and she answered. She was in shock that someone had started talking to her. She did not hesitate, she let the words come out, so many words, held back for eternities, because hardly ever anyone listened. She told me about her Canary Bird, the crush she had on Elvis Presley, that she could not stand chocolate anymore and anyways her Dad hardly ever was home and how she missed him and how her Mom just cried most of the day.

    20 minutes flew past and whatever play we watched I cannot remember, but I was shocked now: Cordula was a living and feeling person just like me! Somehow I had always assumed she was from a different planet, The Planet Of The Weird, Outsiders´- World! But she was not. She felt crushes and missed her Dad when he traveled and had crushes on singers - just like me!

    This was a revelation to me. It changed everything. On the way home I went and sat volunteerly beside her and we continued our chat and I did not even loook at the other girls.

    That night 50 years ago was the first time that I really and deeply loved myself even though many others did not.

    Cordula was later diagnosed as bipolar and kept leading a lonely and difficult life, but we stayed friends until 14 years later I emigrated to Mexico.

    Art by KIKI ( I Love Myself Very Much)
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