Finding Green Gold

Finding Green Gold

A Book by Kornelia33

The story of a woman from small town Bavaria: She falls in love with a Greek freak and they travel through India. She pursues the dream of her life: Becoming rich with the help of pink elephants.


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© 2011 Kornelia33

Author's Note


A travel romance

This novel is entirely a work of fiction.
The names, characters and events described are entirely the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, either living or dead, events or localities is purely coincidental.

Goa, November 2006

Copyright Kornelia C. Rebel, 2006


The woman flies like never before. Two boys watch her, hidden in some hazelnut bushes close by. “I am scared”, says Adolf Hunke to his friend Thomas Gleixner as they hold each other under the greenery. Bombs are exploding all around them.

The woman’s body flies high into the blue summer sky, lifted by the force of 5000 kilograms of explosives. Thirty feet in the air she reaches the turning point. Her scull cracks as it hits the ground just a few feet away from the hazelnut bushes. Light red blood trickles over her lips. In the heat of this 16th August 1943 Angelika Borscht has found her peace. After 28 years she has left the planet.

The boys will never forget the image of the flying woman. They hear the body hit the ground while all hell breaks loose around them.

Until this day ten year old Adolf had never thought about death. Today it hits home. It is a hot day in the narrow streets of Regensburg, a medieval town in northeastern Bavaria on the banks of the river Danube. After school and lunch under the eyes of his mother Adolf usually enjoys some hours of freedom. Together with his best friend Thomas he plays on the green fields behind the Messerschmidt factory in Prüfening, a suburb of Regensburg. Since the beginning of war Hitler is building ME 109 Bomber planes here. Close to the factory there stretches a small airfield where Adolf plays soccer or ‘hide and seek’ with his friend Thomas.

On this day a swarm of 376 Flying Fortresses executes this first major US air attack on German ground. They destroy the boys’ innocence forever with the deafening sound of sirens, exploding bombs and shattering glass.

The pilot Arthur Clarke, who helped to kill Angelika, does not care about the devastation he is sewing. He is a man with a mission for his country, happy to have come so far: The Air Strike did not start easily from East Anglia in England. Thick fog had kept them all waiting for hours on the ground, hours filled with nervous cigarette smoking. At the last possible moment the “double-strike mission” takes off to destroy the Messerschmidt factory in Regensburg and the Bearings factory in Schweinfurt.

As they enter German Airspace, the Flying Fortresses face German fighter airplanes. In this battle the Americans lose 15 planes until the Germans run out of fuel and ammunition and return to the ground. Arthur Clarke and his crew escape the Germans. They head for Regensburg which seems to be an easy target now.

At exactly at 12.24 pm the sirens are howling through the streets of Regensburg. With the sirens the workers in the factory start running towards the air raid shelters. The entrance to the underground caves is half a mile away from the production halls. Built in a hurry for war production, the large factory halls do not have a basement. Adolf and Thomas interrupt their ball game and look for a place to hide. They do not know where the bomb shelter for the factory workers is located. Seven minutes after the alarm six German ME 109 fighters take off from the Messerschmidt airfield to defend the factory.

Angelika almost reaches the entrance to safety when she remembers her medallion. During working hours she keeps her only piece of jewelry, a gift from her husband, in a locker. In the hurry she forgot to collect it. “My love, I cannot lose it…” Without thinking about the danger she runs back into the factory while the Flying Fortresses roar closer like a swarm of killer wasps.

Precious minutes pass while Angelika is fiddling with the lock. Running towards the exit her body trembles at the noise of the airplanes which now cover the sky. On the steps in front of the factory doors one of her heels breaks off. Precious seconds are wasted as she is taking off the shoes – she possesses only one pair. She starts running again as the first bomb hits the building barely ten feet away from her. It is exactly 12.42 pm.

Above the ground Arthur’s co-pilot has pushed the red lever which drops the bomb. A moment later he shouts: “We have hit the target, we have hit them.” The joy of the crew turns to silence as German machine gun fire pierces the hull of their B 17. Shot in the chest, Arthur dies instantly. The co-pilot gains control of the plane for a moment before the cockpit is ripped to pieces by a German missile.

As Angelika dies with the feeling of flying, other bombs are exploding on the ground. The shock waves burst all the windows. It is raining glass while the factory is hit again and again. Clusters of Phosphor spread fire over the factory grounds and the surrounding fields. Dust fills the air; stones and debris are crashing down everywhere.

Adolf and Thomas hold each other under the hazelnut trees and cover their noses with their shirts. The grass around the bushes catches fire. Seconds turn into eternity until suddenly it is all over. The Flying Fortresses turn south.

Few stones are left intact from the Messerschmidt Factory. As survivors are coming back to life and shake off the dust, the victims are nearing the eternal light. 400 people in Prüfening, a lot of them Russian prisoners of war, and 600 Americans lose their lives in the mission “Double Strike”. In this outburst of violence new karmic bonds have been formed. New karmic lessons will be learned in the future as we return, again and again.

The historic center of the town, with the gothic Cathedral and dozens of churches, remains standing until today. For a couple of weeks Hitler cannot build any planes in Regensburg. Yet in December the production reaches again the same level of August.

Chapter 1

The Magician

In the ancient system of Tarot the Magician carries the number one. He stands for power: The power to transform old situations and bring about new ones, a push of universal energy and the possibility of a breakthrough.

India, McLeod Ganj, 1800 meters high

August 1994

On this steamy monsoon day Uwe rises a bit too quickly from his makeshift bed in a tiny house close to McLeod Ganj, the home of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. From afar you can hear the sound of the Kangra River rushing from the ice covered peaks of the Himalayan Mountains. We have just been kissing on top of the blue blanket which hides a moth eaten cotton mattress. He had pulled me down, on top of him. Strands of my long, blond hair were falling over his face. “I love you completely”, he was whispering in my ear. That was what I longed to hear in this moment. Love is what I am looking for on this day in August 1994. Lulled by hormones my logical brain goes to sleep.

Later I am lying in a happy trance on the makeshift bed. As I am becoming slowly aware of the fact that the golden embroidery of the blanket has scratched my back, he gets up. In this moment I notice water stains on the ceiling of this bed room which belongs to Uwe Grabe, a German born in East Berlin. He turns towards me smiling: “That was great, Sonia, don’t you think so?” “Oh yes, I feel as if I have taken a bath in champagne.” My voice sounds a bit shaky.

I admire his lean body. Only the short blond dread locks on his head disturb my sense for aesthetics. But who cares? Nobody is perfect. He disappears into the cell which functions as a kitchen in this tiny house. I smell the kerosene cooker before I hear it. He is making tea - a man who knows his way around the kitchen.

In front of the window banana leafs are swinging in the breeze. In the kitchen Uwe Grabe overlooks pine trees which are covering the hill side of Bhagsu Nag, a little village close to McLeod Ganj, the exile of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, leader of the Tibetans. Uwe is thinking about his strategy. Growing up alone with his mother in the Socialist Republic of Germany has taught him how to manipulate woman. Early in life he had to learn to fight for the attention of his young mother. She had wanted more from life than looking after a small boy. Now he uses his women skills to keep himself well fed and clothed.

He has been traveling through India for two years. After six months his cash was finished. Now he is grabbing what he can from whoever comes along. Unfortunately that is me, at the moment: 32 years old, freshly flown into India from Germany, furnished with enough resources to survive well in the Himalaya. My orange cashmere sweater and my first class trekking boots show that I have money to spend.

Petty thoughts do not enter my brain at that moment. I am resting in the afterglow, dreaming about my future with this man, full of the thought that I have really found the one. When he arrives with the tea, the aroma of clove and cinnamon fills the room. “I love cooking. If you don’t want to live off rice and curry you have to do your own cooking here. By the way, in a little while we should go for a walk. Later on it is always raining here.” “That sounds good to me. I could do with a bit of exercise and then we could go somewhere for dinner…”

He is smiling into his tea as he is deciding about his strategy: promises of love mixed with sudden distance to keep me on my toes. “Sonia, you really got me. I am so happy that you have come back.” He kisses me with passion. “When I am happy I always remember my grandfather. He was a General in the army and he spent most of his time with me, when I was a little boy. Of course, he was retired at this point. On his death bed, he promised me I would never have to worry about money. When the wall came down in 1989 all my grandfather’s savings got changed into German Marks. That was great. But before starting a family, I came here to India, to spread my knowledge a bit, you know. I am a spiritual leader, not only for you, for many people around here.”

With the ability of hindsight I would have started to run at this point. Unfortunately my brain is in the grip of hormones, I just listen. Uwe takes a sip of his tea before he continues his monologue. “When I was fifteen, in the DDR, my friend Peter and I took LSD and everything else we could get our hands on. I learned everything about space traveling then. Here in India, we still have the hermits in the mountain caves. Click and you are there, it is like an information highway. Time to get you connected also, sweetheart. By the way, I forgive you everything. I love you, really.”

Now would be another good time to get up and leave. Under normal circumstances I am able to do some logical reasoning, but the Himalaya is a magical place, full of mystery. And the illusion of love makes me blind and deaf. He said he loves me, really, completely. So we leave his little house together and walk the two kilometers to McLeod Ganj. On the way we pass little stone houses with black slate covering the roofs. The smell of pine needles hangs in the air. My life as a city journalist seems centuries away. As we reach a coffee shop, a wooden barrack under metal sheets, Uwe drops my hand. “Ok, it was nice meeting you. See you then.” He disappears, the door closes.

My mouth drops open. That does not fit into my picture of fresh love. Instead of taking a deep breath and doing a bit of thinking finally, the stubborn part of me takes over. I go ahead with the grace of a steamroller. Inside the barrack I see him sitting next to an Israeli girl with almond shaped eyes. They are laughing. There is no space to make an exit unnoticed. “Hi, I’ll see you for dinner then?” I ask with as much dignity as I can muster. He smiles at me. “Sure darling, see you later.”

He called me darling. Maybe I am just too anxious. What is happening with my self-esteem? Did I not learn long ago with my psychotherapist that I do not have to fight to love myself? Men do not always want to put me down. My father simply did not understand how much he terrorized me with his screaming. Feeling silly I go back to my room in the Lotus Lodge and take a long, hot shower. Plenty of time before dinner, time for make-up and nail-polish.

The sun is setting over McLeod Ganj, a village hovering on the edge of a mountain riff. The sky turns orange and red while I am waiting in my room. Doubts are flooding my brain. Doubts and bubbles of anger keep turning my belly. The sun goes down and night sinks over McLeod Ganj. The smoke of cooking fires wafts through the air while I am fuming. Uwe made a small mistake in assessing my personality. I am a bit less docile than he thought.

At 9 pm. madness takes over. I run through the streets towards Bhagsu Nag. As I leave the houses behind, my rage takes over. “Aaaaagggghhhh, aaaaagggghhhh, aaaagggghhhh”, I am screaming on the top of my lungs, trying to get rid of the all consuming feeling of hatred, disappointment and despair. But it is in vain. I am hopelessly out of control. Like an angel of revenge I am climbing the hill towards his house. “Aaaaagggghhhh, aaaagggghhhh, aaaagggghhhh”, I keep on screaming. In my mind I kill him a thousand times while I am racing over the narrow mountain path, stumbling over roots, tearing my clothes and grazing my hands as I trip over a rock. I barely notice my fall. Madness has taken over.

I reach the side arm of the Kangra River which is separating Uwe’s house from the rest of the village. Instead of looking for safe stepping stones, I jump on the next rock, slip and fall into the icy water. My head crashes against a big river pebble and goes under while the strong current is pulling me rapidly downhill. In this moment, my survival instinct kicks in. A golden point burns a spiral into my brain and finally I realize: “I want to live. I don’t want to die. I want to live.” Luckily the water is not too deep. I manage to grab the root of a tree and hold myself. “Help, help, is anybody there? Help, help, please…”

While I am screaming my feet find a hold and somehow I manage to climb up the muddy river banks. Out of breath I fall on the ground. I do not know how much time has passed when a male voice asks me: “Are you ok? What happened?” A torch is shining into my eyes. I cannot make out the face which belongs to the voice. “I fell in the river. I think I’m ok. My head hurts, but I’m ok.” Suddenly I am surrounded by the people of the village. Men with the colorful caps of the Himachal farmers look down on me. They probably heard my screaming for a while. Nobody asks me for an explanation. They help me up and guide me to one of their stone houses. A blanket is wrapped around my shoulders. From somewhere comes a steaming cup of Tea. I feel numb and lost, unable to talk. My rescuers chatter away in their language. They are feeling sorry for me, a woman alone, no husband, no children. As nothing is happening and I am obviously not dying they disappear, one after the other.

A young man clad in the typical Indian pajamas made from white cotton, leads me to my hotel. He does not bother me with questions and refuses the 100 Rupees which I try to give him at the entrance of the Hotel. “Women should not go out late at night. What happened to your husband? Our women are not allowed to run around alone. Be more careful in the future.” His voice is as serious as his face. “I am sorry to have caused you trouble. Thank you very much for your help and good night.”

Back in my hotel room a joint is taking the edge off my bruised feelings. I have a good look in the bathroom mirror. “What happened to me? I am 32 years old and I still behave like a teenager. He loves me completely…Already the word completely should have made my alarm bells ring. Who has to say completely? Love is love. I should have known he is not the one for me when I kept on paying for him in Manali. Have I really not learnt anything? Am I really still going for the wrong kind of man? Obviously; in future I have to remember that a real man has money or is able to make money.”

A deep sigh is escaping my throat while I am checking a long scratch on my left cheek. My head is hurting where it hit the rock. “At least I have tried. I‘m here in India. Now it is time to concentrate on the work ahead, no more love affairs. First the money and then I will find my man, the one and only.”

And I remember one day, many years ago on Kovalam Beach in South India. On this day I have seen him in a childhood memory rising from the depths of my brain: the one, my man, the father of my children.

Chapter 2

The High Priestess

In Tarot, after the male power of the Magician comes the female side of Nature: The High Priestess. She signifies a time of intuition and of feeling, of doing nothing to awaken your inner life.

Germany, Regensburg, the most northern point of the River Danube

July 1956

Our personal rebellions and revolutions normally do not attract any attention from the general public. They happen in the confinement of our homes but that does not mean they are less important than a general upheaval. Every battle we win for ourselves changes our life. Every time we stand up for ourselves we have the chance of a victory, the chance to increase our confidence.

“You can say what you want. I will not join the Sisters of the Holy Cross to become a teacher in their elementary school. I will not live in a nunnery in the country side close to Regensburg. Forget it. I will go to Munich and become a public servant. I am already accepted. I will make my training at the courthouse in Munich. If you want to keep me as your daughter, you let me go.” For the first time in her life Elizabeth Lobenhofer rebels against her father.

She is trembling on the sofa in the living room; red spots have appeared on her round cheeks on this hot day in July 1956. Father Heinrich is facing her behind a heavy oak coffee table. His surprise about this outburst is silencing him. He cannot understand his daughter. He only knows she is highly ungrateful. Their life in the years after the Second World War is going well. Everything is fine for the family – and now this.

The house of the Lobenhofers survived the war unchanged. The bombings concentrated on the Messerschmidt Factory which lies far away on the other side of the ancient town. The Lobenhofers live in a settlement which was built during the golden years of Hitler. Houses with two small bedrooms on top of a living-room and a kitchen – father Heinrich even had to build a bathroom by himself. These houses were affordable for everyone - a blessing for thousands of Germans who had been struck with hunger and unemployment in the crisis during the 1920’s.

As a child Heinrich suffered more hunger than during the Second World War. One of the seven sons of a poor farmer in the Bavarian forest, his diet consisted mostly of potatoes. Rarely did he taste a bit of meat. His life changed when he came to Regensburg, where his father had found him a place as a hand for a bicycle mechanic. Of course he never asked his son if he wanted to do this work.

“I don’t know what you want. Teaching is a nice profession and the nuns are highly respected. You can continue to live at home and save your money for when the time comes that you marry. ” “But I don’t want to live with the nuns any more. I have suffered with the nuns all through high school, enough of nuns. I am a good catholic girl. In Munich I can stay in a boarding house for single girls. It is respectable. Just trust me.” Heinrich is shaking his balding head. His thin lips are pressed together. Surprise from the resistance of his daughter still silences him. He takes his bag with the stainless steel boxes which contain his midday meal, mounts his bicycle and pedals off to his work at the railway station.

When I was a young girl my mother never tired of telling me the story of her first rebellion. So far she had been the dutiful daughter, never using make-up and braiding her hair because everything which is making a woman attractive was strictly forbidden by her puritan father. This July of 1956 was a turning point in my mother’s life. “I kept telling my father, you can do what you want, but I will not become a teacher with the nuns. And finally he gave in.” A few days after her rebellion she met her future husband at a dance for the high school graduates: Adolf Hunke, the boy who was hiding during the American air raid under the hazelnut bushes, the boy who watched Angelika Borscht fly and die. Like Elizabeth he is looking for safety in his life, the safety of a public servant for the state of Bavaria with the guarantee of lifetime employment.

“Your father was so handsome when we fell in love. I always wanted a tall man because my father was so short and he was towering above everybody else. And he had these beautiful eyes and a nose like an eagle.” These days my mother was still in her twenties and as pretty as a peach. I could imagine my parents, holding hands, being in love. “The two years in Munich were the best time of our lives. We had a little money and Munich was such a nice town. During carnival we danced the nights away and had breakfast with sausages in the Hofbräuhaus.” My mother’s eyes were sparkling when she told me this over and over again.

Their life changed once they joined the public service. In 1960 Adolf Hunke is positioned in Ansbach, a small town in North Bavaria. They get married in the church close to the Lobenhofers’ house in Regensburg. Elizabeth follows him to Ansbach where she is employed by the court as an assistant to the public prosecutor. They rent one furnished room and start to save money for their first apartment.

Unfortunately the Pope does not permit any efficient measures for family planning. Good Catholics like Elizabeth and Adolf do not question the judgment of the church. Shortly after the marriage my mother becomes pregnant. The young couple is devastated; all their plans for the future seem to be put to a halt. However this changes when Elizabeth’s mother Irmgard is offering to care for the baby.

150 Kilometer distance between the both towns does not bother the young parents much. In December 1961 my mother gives birth to my brother Oliver. After exactly eight weeks maternity leave she is back at work. My brother is tucked away in Regensburg with his happy grandmother who finds new meaning in her life after both her daughters left home.

Nobody told me this story when I was a small child. I discovered this when I was digging into the family history during the psychotherapy for my eating disorders. Only then it became painfully clear to me what my arrival must have meant for my mother: the death of her hopes.

Again, thanks to the Pope Elizabeth discovers she is pregnant again, barely six months following the birth of Oliver. This time Adolf comes home and finds his wife lost in tears. After a serious discussion Elizabeth agrees to give up her work and to stay at home as a fulltime housewife and mother. Before I was born I was already deep in debt to my mother.

For some strange reason Elizabeth is convinced she will give birth to another boy. When I appear on the 10th of March 1962 my parents had not had a single thought about the name for a girl. So they call me Sonia, because the sun was shining on this day.

From the beginning my father looked at me with unconscious contempt. When my brother was born he was overjoyed. My birth gave rise to different feelings which he kept stowed away under the surface. It did not help that I was born on the same day as his mother, Augusta. He had never forgiven his mother for the strict discipline and continuous beating he suffered in the house of his parents, convinced National Socialists. It did not help, too, that I kept throwing up over his white shirts during the first months of my life. Whenever he tried to take me in his arms he ended up soiled – not really encouraging for a loving relationship.

Having been stopped at the start of her career, my mother became a perfect housewife. When she was not busy cooking or cleaning she was sewing clothes for herself and for her children. Because of his oversize Adolf got his clothes tailor-made, a quite costly affair even in those days. From the beginning there was no question who was the most important person in the house: my father.

The early years in my life I spend playing with my brother in the paved courtyard of the apartment building where we were living. A big part of the day I was dreaming. I was a princess, a queen, a fairy. And I was dreaming about the man who will share my life, the father of my children.

For the first time I have met him during the summer of 1962. My parents were pushing the pram, a little monster made of cream-colored plastic with rubber wheels, in the public park behind the baroque castle of Ansbach. In front of the wrought iron gate to the park I opened my baby eyes and saw a boy sitting on my blanket. I could see through his figure, he did not seem quite real but he was talking.

“Hallo darling, finally you have arrived. I hope they are treating you well.” I could hear his voice in my head but I could not see his lips moving. “Who are you? What are you doing here?” A question asked without spoken words. “My guardian angel explained everything to me: I am your man, your soul mate. The one and only, like romantic spirits say. I am here to remind you that I exist. At the moment I suffer from a rheumatic fever which made it easy for me to come here. Remember, I am here on earth, at the moment in Milan, Italy, and we have to find each other. Maybe we make it quickly; or maybe we take some more time for learning. Be careful that you don’t go to prison for a long time. I am here and I am waiting for you. Remember.”

After blowing me a kiss he vanished into thin air. I forgot everything. Fortunately my brain stowed this memory away in a remote corner for future reference.

Chapter 3

The Empress

The Empress expresses passion, sexuality and motherhood. She signifies a time where you should confront the world with intensive feelings and the joy of life.

France, Fréjus, Côte d’Azur, sea level

August 1980

It took me a long time to understand that sex can be infused with love. How many times do women give their body for a little bit of tenderness and the illusion to escape loneliness? I can only guess but from my experience it is happening all the time like on a hot summer day at the French Riviera a long time ago.

Three big blood stains are covering some of the hundreds of blue flowers printed on the bed sheet. A ray of sunlight is warming my right foot. I am lying naked on top the crumpled sheet. Yawning I stretch my slim legs. 54 Kilograms of bodyweight are spread nicely over my 1, 75 meter tall frame. Sweet eighteen years is my age on this day in August 1980: According to the law I am an adult now.

I am looking around the room. Two wooden chairs next to the bed are all the furniture. Sunlight is entering the room through a small window. From afar I can hear the waves beating against the red rocks of the Côte d’Azur. The sound of the shower next door mixes with the waves.

“It is beautiful.” This thought fills my mind but I do not know exactly what it means. Logical thinking does not fit into my teenage brain. I feel as if I have emerged from an ocean of thick, heavy slime shortly before drowning. A huge weight has lifted from my being but I cannot really understand what is happening to me - the completely normal insanity.

When my breasts started to grow, about four years ago, my life became very complicated. First of all with my brother Oliver with whom I used to play during my childhood. He is still hiding from the confusion of puberty behind Science fiction novels. The opposite sex does not seem to hold any interest for him.

I, on the other hand, am fascinated with everything male. The girls in my high school class talk about little else than men and all the things related to them: petting and kissing and what you can do and what not. They even discuss sexual intercourse in full detail. 1968 is long gone and even in small town Bavaria the contraceptive pill has changed premarital behavior. According to German law teenager can get a prescription for the pill without consent of the parents if they are older than 16 years. Nobody needs to be afraid any more of unwanted pregnancies.

Only my parents - at least so it seems to me - remain hopelessly old fashioned. They do not understand that I feel like a tiger in a cage. My parents have spun a web of everyday rituals over their life which gives them safety and keeps all memories of war, hunger and death hidden under the surface.

Most of the rituals revolve around eating: The dinner table made of solid hazelnut wood under a suffering Jesus Christ on a cross is the center of family life. Here they coach us in table manners. “Don’t chew with an open mouth.” Or “Keep your elbows off the table.” Short commands issued by our mother accompany our meals. On weekend afternoons we all meet around the table to have coffee and cakes baked by my mother. Every day we share breakfast, lunch and dinner here, no matter what. And every Sunday morning we go together to church to celebrate mass.

My parents’ life seems happy as long as nobody is disturbing the rituals. But I am suffering. I have not lived through the war; I have grown up in small town Bavaria, protected from temptations, excitement and adventure. During these years real life for me is happening everywhere else but not in Ansbach.

Growing up I have tried hard to find fulfillment in the catholic faith. I have spent hours on the wooden benches in our neighborhood church, trying to believe what the Pope is teaching. But I could not feel anything. As child I had loved to go to church with the sunlight throwing colorful reflexions through the stained glass windows. I had loved the smell of incense and the chanting of choirs.

My life turns sour at the age of fourteen. All the girls in my class were allowed to go to a nearby dance school on Saturday evenings. But my parents would not let me. According to the law teenagers cannot go out in the evening without their parents. My parents do not realize that they cut me off from the only innocent fun available in Ansbach. This dance school is a respectable institution for high school kids. The alternatives are two commercial discotheques where the men from the surrounding villages are looking for an easy adventure.
As I cannot share their weekend fun the girls in my class keep cutting me off. Nobody invites me to the parties they are giving for their birthdays. I find myself alone; a leaden weight is descending on my life.

My brain finds its own way to deal with the depression. It makes me attack the center of our family life: the dinner table. One day I look in the bathroom mirror and find my body hopelessly fat. 56 kilograms of bodyweight are giving me some curves in the right places. To my disturbed eyes this padding looks disgusting. I decide to loose weight.

Instead of fighting my parents I control my body, or at least, I try to. The counting of calories which I do not allow to enter my body makes me rise above depression. When I am not busy with my home work I entertain myself with studying the calorie content of every single food available. By heart I know how many calories are contained in a scoop of ice cream or a small portion of French fries or – most forbidden of all – chocolate. Counting calories wipes out every other thought.

In the course of a few weeks I loose all body fat. The scales are showing satisfying 49 kilograms. My period has stopped bothering me and I feel a lot lighter. Thanks to calorie counting my life has found new meaning. Besides this I enjoy my effect on the family meals. Nobody finds much pleasure any more eating the elaborate meals my mother is producing. To see a skinny figure picking on some crumbles even disturbs my father’s appetite.

Unfortunately there is no awareness yet about eating disorders. My parents are angry with me for spoiling their pleasure. They cannot understand that there might be a problem with their daughter. “Put some butter on your sandwich”, my mother keeps on telling me. Of course I don’t see anything wrong with myself.

Most disturbing in these days are the weak moments when I am binge eating. Occasionally, about once every month, the control of my mind breaks down. My hands are taken over by the part of me which has escaped the Anorexia Nervosa. During these attacks I feel like a zombie. My hands are stuffing my mouth with everything I keep on denying myself. When my belly has turned into a round ball, normally after a couple of big packages of chips and chocolate chip cookies, I feel sick. As I have not learned yet to vomit by sticking my finger down my throat, I abuse laxative pills. A triple dose makes my belly hurt like hell with cramps but it also makes the roundness go away.

Everything changes with Wolfgang Lipschnitz. He is a member of the graduate class in our high school, four years older than me. We fall in love when I turn sixteen. Now I am allowed to stay out at nights and it seems that he was just waiting for me. For the first time in my life I have a steady boyfriend which improves my reputation. The girls in my class start to accept me again.

For the first time in my life another human being comes close to me. I do my best to bring him under my control with the art of female manipulation which is practiced in my family. There is a silent understanding that male supremacy should not be challenged openly. Women’s liberation and equal rights have not changed the matter of fact that German men want to be the masters in their house. Women in my family do their best to make the masters feel good and whisper their wishes in weak moments into the ears of the almighty.

I follow in these footsteps. During the first weeks I do my best to make the insecure boy feel like a man with the help of unconditional adoration. Whatever Wolfgang does or says he can be sure of my support. This boost to his ego makes us believe that we have found real love. “Marry me”, he tells me on my seventeenth birthday as he is giving me an oversized teddy bear. “Marry me when you have finished school. Then we can study together…” I feel at the top of the world. I am not yet eighteen years old and already a man wants to marry me.

To me it seems only natural to repay this kindness with the offer of my virginity. Of course I do not forget my mother’s horror stories about girls who ruined their lives with an unwanted baby. First the Anti-baby-pill and then…Sex does not belong to the subjects which are discussed in our home, until the day I ask my mother to fix an appointment for me with her gynecologist. She almost drops the plate she is washing in the kitchen sink. “What do you need a gynecologist for?” “I was thinking, now that I am seventeen, I can get a prescription for the pill.”

Instead of saying anything she calls my father into their bedroom. After a while they emerge with thunder in their eyes. I feel like hiding under the table at this moment. “Dear child”, starts my mother. “We know, the German law allows you to take the pill. We know, we cannot force you to obey but we are against it.” “Let it be. In the end, every man wants to marry a virgin”, is my father’s comment. “Look at your brother. He does not have any strange ideas. He is happy watching television at home with us. He is happy reading his books. Why do you have to make so much trouble?”

Something disturbs me but I cannot put my finger on it. I only know I better listen to them. Otherwise I can forget about Wolfgang taking me out every weekend. So my sweetheart has to train himself in patience which he is doing with a brave face. I do not feel disappointed. So far I do not care at all about sex. I am busy counting calories and for the rest I am happy with kissing.

Somehow the sentence that every man wants to marry a virgin keeps on nagging in my brain. A couple of months after the pill discussion, it is May 1980, a revelation hits me: Loosing my virginity for my father and many other men means getting spoiled, as if I am loosing my value, as if I am a peace of meat. This revelation makes me angry, so angry that I fix an appointment with a gynecologist and get myself a half year supply of Anti baby pills. I do not lie to my parents about this. I just say nothing.

During the following weeks I find myself occasionally indulging in all forbidden pleasures without feeling guilty. Slowly I gain five kilograms. Wolfgang is so happy about my change that he is inviting me to spend the summer holidays together in the South of France. He is lucky enough to have a wealthy father who divorced his mother and makes up for this with generous amounts of money.

In Wolfgang’s grey Ford Capri we drive to the Côte d’Azur. Close to Fréjus we find a camping site where we put up our tent. In the first night Wolfgang wants to collect his long awaited prize. But I cannot. The sight of him naked makes me feel nauseous. I cannot stand him, I cannot touch him. I do not understand that in my brain he is connected to small town Bavaria with all the inhibitions. “Please forgive me”, I am begging and the good soul takes a cold shower.

The next morning I wake up feeling like a prisoner. I need some space. Wolfgang is going out to get some coffee. I use this moment to escape to the beach. My mind is blank. I feel like a failure because I cannot give my sweetheart what he wants so much.

In the blue Mediterranean Sea a young man is looking at me. I smile vaguely in his direction. A short while after he is sitting next to me on the beach, introducing himself as Robert de Huis from Amsterdam. He is driving the dark clouds away with some harmless jokes. When he asks me, if I want to see his rented cottage nearby I say yes - immediately.

We take a shower together and land on the blue flowers of his bed sheet. When he discovers that I am still a virgin he wants to stop. “Please go on”, I beg him. “I really want it. Since four weeks I am taking the pill. It is really safe.” So the inevitable happens with an unknown stranger. It hurts a bit, but not too much.

Afterwards I feel liberated, dreaming, astonished that I do not feel spoiled or second hand. “Now I am a woman.” This thought fills my brain until I hear a loud crash in front of the cottage. I look through the window. Wolfgang’s Ford has hit a pine tree ten meters away from the door to the house. He is just climbing out of the car. Water from the cooler is hissing loudly. Blood is oozing from a scratch on his forehead. He is mad with rage: “You slut, you whore, you make me wait like an idiot and then this. I never want to see you again.”

Chapter 4

The Emperor

After the Empress the Emperor arrives with the power of the four directions. He stands for a time of new beginnings. Being ignorant of feelings the Emperor tends to manipulate other human beings.

Germany, Erlangen

July 1981

What does a girl from small town Bavaria know about freedom? In these days freedom means the absence of my parents. One year has passed since the loss of my virginity at the Cote d’Azur and finally I can breathe; finally I can do whatever I want. Being a student of the University of Erlangen I have shifted to a small room with a single bed and a cupboard. It is part of an apartment whose rooms are rented out to different students. I do not mind this humble lodging in the center of town which is dominated by the university and Siemens. I am supposed to study Political Science but I hardly ever set foot in the University building.

Finally nobody is holding me back. Wolfgang disappeared from my life after the scene on the Côte d’Azur. The last year in high school passed quickly. I have finished with respectable grades and I can join any German university. But I do not feel like studying. I enjoy my freedom. Now I spend my nights mostly in smoke filled discotheques.

Sexual promiscuity hits me hard. Ignorant about setting boundaries or limits I land in the beds of plenty of men. I am not craving for sex which seems to me the price to pay for any form of tenderness. I just do not want to be alone. There is no feeling of self-worth which tells me that I am abusing myself in this way. My parents and the Catholic Church have given me no guidelines how to deal with sexuality. I simply cannot say no to the pleadings of men. The result is meaningless sex and plenty of it. Sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with me or if I just do not notice an orgasm.

Analytical thoughts do not enter my brain which resembles a foggy mass. Promiscuity in these days after the sexual revolution seems normal to me; nobody is talking yet about AIDS. There is another problem around which all my world revolves: Weight. The days of starving are over. Overeating occupies me now as much as calorie counting. Almost every week I suffer through an attack. One part of me still leads an independent existence and is ordering my hands to stuff my mouth with all forbidden delicacies: Kilos of ice cream, pizzas and chips, anything with loads of fat building potential, is making the way into my stomach. The self-loathing after these attacks throws me into my own, private hell. My weight is rising to a solid 65 kilograms.

Although I am behaving in a pretty insane way I do not see myself as sick. Without questioning I have taken over the superficial judgments of my parents, especially my father’s. I just see myself as greedy and low in will-power and loathe myself for the weakness of my character. After every binge eating attack I swear: Never again. For a couple of days I manage to stay away from food, and then my hands take over again.

My life changes on a cold day in November, when I meet Horst Rehbein in my favorite discotheque Bookworm, just five minutes by foot from my rented room. The 51 year old is leaning at the bar. Passing by I notice his expensive sport jacket and hand-stitched shoes. He made his money with real estate in the golden years of rebuilding Germany. Now he is mostly leading the life of a playboy. The domination of young girl-friends belongs in his life like the expensive villa with the sauna in the basement where he is meeting his affluent friends, all male of course.

After dancing half an hour I go to the bar to order a drink. Horst is offering me a glass of champagne which I accept. I am making money on a job for students, distributing cigarettes, but I am grateful for every penny I can save. “You are really pretty”, are his first words, balsam for my tormented soul. “Are you a student?” This interest in my person is more than I get from most men these days and makes me see past his balding head and the wrinkles on his face.

Finally he offers to take me home. When I see his silver colored Porsche Turbo I am duly impressed – and he does not even want to get paid for the drinks immediately with sex. As he is delivering me at my door step I do not hesitate to give him my phone number. Back in my room I pack my bag. The next week I am spending in Munich, handing out small parcels of cigarettes to smokers in different shopping malls.

Two days after my return from Munich the phone is ringing in the apartment where I live. It is Horst. One hour later I climb into his Porsche and we are driving off towards the Bavarian Alps. He keeps on asking about my life. During the two hour drive I learn that he is a child of small town Bavaria, too. He spent his teenage years in a boarding school which left him emotionally repressed for the rest of his life.

It is late afternoon when we reach Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Houses with carved wooden railings line the streets. In the newly built center boutiques with designer names show that this town is frequented by people with money, lots of money. For the first time in my life I enter a shop which caters to the rich. Horst sweeps me off my feet by purchasing a pink suit from Claude Montana for me. Next door he pays for matching pink pumps from Sergio Rossi. Nobody has ever spoiled me so generously. I am in heaven, ready for everything.

The day finds its conclusion in a little hotel just outside town. The concierge and waiters treat us with respect; nobody raises an eyebrow about our father-daughter-relationship. The next morning we have coffee in bed. “I was thinking about your future, my dear”, says Horst. “You need direction in your life. It is time for you to decide which profession to choose. You cannot go on with this cigarette job and studying as a cover.” I hang at his lips.

Since years I try to find something which seems worth the effort. But I just do not feel like doing anything. The unemployment office in Ansbach recommended to become an engineer, something towards I feel no inclination at all. Unfortunately I do not have a passion or a special interest. I just want to travel and see the world. Lufthansa did not accept me as a flight attendant due to my spine which curves a little the wrong way.

“You need a profession which allows you a lot of freedom. You are creative, intelligent and you need a proper income”, Horst continues. I am just nodding; anyway he does not expect a comment from my part. “What about journalism? You do not have to sit in an office all day long. You go out, meet people and write stories. That’s how I started. After the war it was really easy. All the newspapers were looking. Now it is more difficult. Most newspapers accept trainees for two years. After this time of studying you are a fully recognized journalist with a diploma. You can study afterwards or just go on.” A new avenue is opening. I picture myself interviewing celebrities in perfect style: elegant, manicured, and clad in expensive gowns.

After the trip to the mountains Horst drops me back at my room. A few days later I take the train to Ansbach. “Finally I know what I want to do with my life. I want to become a journalist”, I inform my parents at the dinner table as we are having coffee and marble cake. “Oh, that is great”, says my mother excited. “Where did this come from?” mumbles my father without expecting an answer. Since I have left my parents’ home they behave completely different toward me. After being too rigid while I was living with them, they have dropped any comments or advice. For them I am responsible for myself now. According to the law I am an adult and they have fulfilled their duty.

My brother Oliver’s behavior proves them right. He is studying medicine in Munich and every weekend he is spending with my parents. Unfortunately he never gives them any trouble. I remain the black sheep, the complicated one, and the one who destroyed everybody’s appetite at the dinner table. My parents are happy that they can finally enjoy each others company without being disturbed by their children. They have entered a second honey moon.

During the following weeks I write to as many newspapers as possible, offering my services. My mother, who is working as a secretary now, is typing all my job applications. I am not bothered too much by the long series of rejections. I am happy distributing cigarettes. So far I have saved 1500 Dollars, a little fortune for me these days.

Only Horst starts to bother me. The first exhilaration has worn off quickly. After some weeks he starts nagging about my weight. “Be careful what you are eating. A bit of baby fat is nice but you are really at the limit.” Repeatedly I have to listen to this which makes me feel terribly bad. Thanks to Horst I avoid other men but the problem with the eating attacks remains. A part of my being is out of control and creating my own private hell. There is no one I can turn to. In this time psychologists are just beginning to become aware of eating-disorders.

One sunny day in January 1982 I receive a letter from the “Oberpfälzer Rundblick”, the daily newspaper of Regensburg, the town of my parents. They invite me to work for a week as a journalist. As I have zero experience, I read a book about writing articles. During my first week as a journalist I write about the winners of lucky draws, a celebration of the fire brigade and the annual meeting of a pigeon club. Obviously I do quite well because the chief editor of the local section, Roland Graf, praises me as a new talent in front of everybody.

At the end of the week, the chief editor of the newspaper calls me into his office. Walter Boenisch sits in his leather armchair like an immortal. The master over 200 journalists and 250 000 daily copies of newspaper is looking at me with slight suspicion. “Let’s make it short”, he says with a dark voice which demands respect. “Your big earrings and narrow jeans are disturbing. We will have to work on your appearance. But Mister Graf is convinced of your talent. So we will hire you as soon as possible in July. My secretary will send you our standard contract.”

Normally aspiring journalists show signs of serious delight at this moment. Not so myself. I have to gulp down feelings of dismay. My freedom has ended. A shadow falls over the Walter Boenisch’s face. I pull myself together and put a smile on my lips. “Thank you very much. I will do my best. It is such a surprise, the first moment I was shocked. Thank you so much. You will not regret hiring me.” Confused I shake his hand and escape.

On the way to the train station tears are rolling down my face. Dirty snow is covering the walkway. My future at the newspaper is looming in the distance. I board the train to Erlangen. As I sit down I see a travel magazine somebody has left there. The cover shows a picture from Sri Lanka: Blue Ocean, a white beach and coconut trees. I remember the money I have saved from my job and an idea rises.

Back in Erlangen I visit the travel agency for students and book the cheapest flight from Frankfurt to Colombo: Aeroflot via Moscow.

Chapter 5

The Hierophant

The Hierophant shows the influence of a society or a group of people. This card expresses the value of knowledge and education. It can refer to religious or mystical teachings.

Sri Lanka, Asia, Indian Ocean

April 1982

Freedom is something we have to desire, we have to take risks for. It does not come automatically by following safe ways in life and traveling is one of the most enjoyable ways of taking risks. The air of the tropic island hits me stepping out of the Tupolew airplane which has brought me to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. My stomach rumbles from the mixture of hot-dog and caviar which was served for lunch. 35 degrees and 95 per cent humidity create the surroundings of a steam bath. The bus which brings the passengers to the terminal seems out of date. The building looks at least 20 years older than the airport in Frankfurt where my voyage started.

Inside the terminal a row of fans is moving the hot air but I keep on sweating. Fortunately my luggage, a solid blue backpack, appears after a few minutes and I am ready to leave the concrete walls of the airport. The customs officer sees my white face and is ready to stamp my passport with the entry visa. Now I am allowed to stay in Sri Lanka for three months, Ceylon as it was called under British rule, no questions asked.

Being a fresher I am unprepared for the welcome I receive outside the guarded doors to the airport. On this day in April 1982 the mass tourism to Sri Lanka is just beginning. The arrival of an airplane with western tourists is still an event, eagerly awaited. All of a sudden I am surrounded by a mob of locals. Everybody tries to attract my attention. “Taxi”, “Hotel”, “Change money”…Voices bounce around my head while bodies touch me everywhere. I hold on to the wallet with my passport and traveler checks which hangs around my neck – a tip from the travel guide which I studied back in Bavaria. Somehow I manage to free myself and escape behind the doors of the airport.

Out of breath I start to watch fellow passengers making their way into the tropical paradise. Business men in suits get picked up by drivers holding signs with their names. A group of middle-aged tourists receive a welcome by a tanned travel guide of western origin. Nobody seems to be alone.

When a group of three young men arrives I lunge forward with the courage of the desperate. “Hello, my name is Sonia, I need some company.” They smile at me. “Ciao, I am Luigi, this is Luca and this is Alessandro. We come from Italy. What is happening with you? Did you loose your friends?” “No, no, I am traveling alone, but I need some help here. Everybody out there is jumping on me, I can’t do anything.” Luigi, a tall man with long, brown hair, is talking to his friends. His Italian sounds a lot faster than English. “We are going to Negombo for the first night, to have a good sleep after the plane. It is just a few kilometers away. We know a cheap hotel there. If you want, you can share a taxi with us.”

Outside the airport doors Luigi takes the first man who shouts “Taxi”. In no time at all we leave the crowd behind and climb into a white car which sports the name “Ambassador”. It looks as though it is straight from the 50’s and it takes some time to accelerate. During the ride I stare out the window, unable to make conversation. Everywhere I see coconut palms, the brilliant green of banana leaves and flowers. Pink Bougainvilleas, white jasmine, orange Hibiscus, flowers are growing everywhere.

In Negombo, a former fishing village, coconut huts and simple houses are interrupted by a number of hotels. Being close to the airport this village has developed rapidly in recent years. It is the beginning of mass tourism to Asian countries. Everybody can now afford a plane ticket, even students like me. Western tourists in all shades from super tan until red are strolling along the narrow streets. Hand painted advertisement boards of hotels and restaurants are lining the street.

Our taxi stops in front of a white concrete block. “Heaven’s retreat” is the name written on a sign on top of the entrance door. It sounds more inviting than the building looks. Luigi knows the man behind the table which serves as the reception. “Hi, how is life?’ “Hello, hello, how are you brother?” A smile hangs on the face of the man with the pot belly which is hidden by a white shirt. Underneath he is wearing a sarong.

In a few minutes we are registered and I can enter the first hotel room which I ever rented. The furniture is as basic as the bathroom. Big black humidity stains spoil the white washed walls. The smell of Naphthalene overpowers everything else. A mosquito net hangs bundled up on top of the double bed. I take a deep breath and pinch my skin to make sure I am not dreaming. I am really here, in Sri Lanka, I have made it.

A short while after I am exploring the surroundings. Behind the wall which surrounds the hotel garden, appear a couple of low huts made from branches and palm leaves. As I am walking towards the beach a brown pig breaks out beneath some bushes and runs over the sandy path. Cows are walking over the beach, an unlimited stretch of white sand. A couple of tourists have laid down their sarongs and are drinking coconuts. A local girl in a brightly orange colored sari is opening the nuts with a machete.

I leave my bath towel and plunge into the water. While I am swimming dolphins appear in my mind. Dolphins are playing with me. The salt water clears the fatigue and the jet lag. I feel absolutely happy and fulfilled. This round feeling lasts even as I leave the water and lay down on the warm sand.

The setting sun turns orange; memories of the last months in Bavaria are rising to the surface. “Child, you really want to fly alone?” was my mother’s fearful first reaction. Of course my parents do not intend to hinder their adult child from moving ahead with this plan. “What do you want in Sri Lanka alone?” asked Horst with acid in his voice. “Did you go crazy? If you want holidays, I’ll take you. I won’t let you go alone.” In this moment, two weeks ago, I had understood that my relationship with Horst is finished. I am fed up with cages, even golden ones. But I had enjoyed the abundance of money, the Porsche and the expensive hotels. On the beach in Sri Lanka small town Bavaria seems to exist on a different planet. Nevertheless I realize one important fact in that moment: I want to become rich, not now, not immediately, but some day not too distant in the future.

The evening passes quickly with the Italians. They are telling stories about their different trips to Asia as we are having dinner in a nearby Chinese Restaurant. They have changed their jeans to sarongs and sleeveless T-shirts which show off their tattoo-covered arms. I am listening full of wonder as they talk about the Himalayas and the lovely handicrafts which are sold in India. “The best beaches are in Sri Lanka”, they all agree. They ask me to join them on their trip to Kandy, a holy town in the hills inside the island. Happily I agree.

After dinner we go back to the hotel. “Would you like to smoke a joint with us?” Luigi is asking. “A joint? What is this? Drugs?” My reaction makes him smile. “Forget about it. You better go to sleep. Tomorrow we start early.” At this point I am so tired that I fall immediately into a deep slumber.

Thanks to my Italian company the trip on the bus to Kandy does not turn into an experience of culture shock; although the space between the seats is so tiny that I have to fold my legs sideways. The bus fills mercilessly with people and all kinds of things. The gangway is stuffed with baskets of live chickens. Helpers are lifting huge boxes onto the roof where they are tied in place with ropes. On the road the bus is shaking and rattling. Potholes seem to bang directly into my spine. I admire my friends who just smile about the ordeal. “How do you manage to stay so calm?” I ask Luigi after two hours. “Oh, we took a bit of Opium, that’s the best medicine for traveling here.”

Opium…my god, I am on the road with drug addicts. So far illegal drugs had not played any part in my life. Of course I had heard about Hashish and Marijuana and all the other things, but in small town Bavaria I never came close to any of this. Nevertheless, Luigi and his friends seem nice enough and I am happy that I do not have to face the chaos alone.

At lunch time we reach Kandy where we rent rooms in a Colonial Villa outside town, surrounded by lush green and close to a river. All together we go for a swim in the green water. For the first time in my life I see elephants in the wild. Young boys are washing them. We spend the evening in the Villa with five meter high ceilings supported by carved Teak wood columns. The Italians keep on smoking joints on the long verandah. When Luigi wants to follow me into my room I manage to keep him out. Fortunately he takes my rejection lightly.

The following day my friends decide to take it easy while I am burning to explore the famous town. So I take a taxi all by myself. According to my travel guide the temple of the tooth is a must for everybody. I drift in amazement through the vast building. The artificial lake in front of the temple makes me wonder about time and space. Who am I? Where am I? What is happening to me?

During the next days I plunge into life without duties. There are no appointments to keep, no work to be done, nothing I have to do – even the eating attacks take a break. Mostly I eat fruit salad made from fresh pineapples, papayas and bananas, delicious.

At the end of my first week in Sri Lanka my skin has turned slightly brown and I decide to see more of the island. The Italians prefer to stay in Kandy where they have found a good source for Ganja. I have learned that this word means Marijuana. So I take a bus to the East Coast alone and I am proud to handle the confusion. As long as I smile the people are nice to me. Arugam Bay is my destination, a meeting point for travelers from all over the world and surfers from Australia.

Luigi has recommended the “Woodstock” for cheap accommodation and good food. The sun is setting as I arrive at this conglomeration of palm huts which are grouped around a big central roof on top of bamboo poles. Woven mats cover the floors. People sit on cushions around low tables. In the kitchen close by I find Sanjay Genaro, the owner of the place. A huge beard is covering the biggest part of his face. Dread locks hang down his back; his muscular body shows no gram of fat. He looks more like a Rastafarian from Jamaica than a Singhalese. “A hut is 20 Rupees a day, breakfast and dinner included. But you have to help in the kitchen.” 20 Rupees, one dollar a day - that is really cheap.

He leads me to a hut which could not be any simpler: A cotton mattress on top of a woven mat and a mosquito net dangling over it. No chair, no cupboard, nothing. I put my backpack on the floor and follow Sanjay to the bath rooms. Palm leaves make the shower walls, toilets are non-existent. “Just take a jug of water and go into the bushes over there. The pigs are coming to clean up when you are finished”, explains Sanjay. The simple life does not frighten me, on the contrary; the lack of all luxury excites me.

All the tourists in Arugam Bay look a lot more colorful than the people in Bavaria. The men are sporting sarongs and the woman sequined skirts and shirts. Everybody is wearing plenty of silver jewelry, many show large tattoos, and they seem to smile constantly. After five minutes walking I reach the beach which takes my breath away: Untouched wilderness wherever I look. High waves break into white foam. I spot some surfers in the water. A few people are lying on the sand, naked.

I throw myself into the water and try to reach the zone behind the breaking point. Due to my lack of experience I underestimate the waves. A big one lifts me up and drags me under water. My hips scrape over the rough sand. I gasp and struggle to get out from the water but the wave pulls me back under. Fortunately I can swim quite well. I get tossed around by a couple of waves before I manage to reach the safety of the beach. Out of breath I fall down on the sand. Under the sunshine I inspect my wounds. Salt water is burning in long scratches along my right hip.

A slim woman is running towards me. “Are you okay?” Without waiting for an answer she is leaning over me and checking the scratches. “Hello, I am Silvia, you are really lucky. The waves here are dangerous.” “Hi, I am Sonia.” Without further ado Silvia helps me up and collects my sarong. “I’m living just behind the first dune. We need to clean your wounds. Come with me.”

On the way to her hut I notice her age. She must be at least forty years old according to the skin of her face. But her body is slim and trim like a teenager’s. ‘I’ve spent five winters in Sri Lanka. I love the weather. During the summer I can make enough money in Munich as a hairdresser to last during the winter months. Arugam Bay is so nice and the people here are so gentle. Nobody bothers me.” We reach her hut which has a big covered Verandah with two wooden chairs and a bed. “Lie down here”, she orders and I gladly follow her command.

With trained hands she cleans my scratches and covers them with plasters. After this she brings lemon tea and a bag. While I am resting on the bed she is making a joint. “Isn’t it dangerous to smoke this stuff?” I dare asking. She laughs. “Dangerous, yes and no, depends what is dangerous for you. I like it better than drinking.” A shadow falls over her face before it clears again. “Why are you asking?” I don’t know what to say. “You’ve never smoked before? Is that it? If you want, try it now. But you don’t have to. I’ll smoke the joint by myself.”

This time I am curious. The smoke is scratching my throat but it tastes nice. I am waiting but nothing happens. From far I can hear the waves crashing on the beach. Suddenly waves are rushing through my body. Silvia puts a tape from Pink Floyd into a small ghetto blaster. The waves are mixing with the music. The music is lifting me into the sky. I am flying through the clouds. I am changing into music; the music is changing into figures and geometric shapes. I am flying to the center of the Universe; I am a fire ball in space.

I wake up with a painful hip and a dry mouth. Silvia

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Added on April 7, 2011
Last Updated on April 7, 2011
Tags: India, romance, Greece, travel, philosophy, spiritual crisis, wealth, becoming rich, dreaming



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