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Cold Kindness (Chapters 9,10 and 11; Nightmares)
9 At times Adam revenged upon her nervousness, her shyness, her phobia. He blamed her for not resolving her internal issues, her nightmares; in consequence, causing him frustration, which he silently created doubt about for a long term relationship with Carmen, or better said, it was in its developing stages. She had seen a psychologist a few times, but always left more frustrated than cured. He had suggested she gain some more social skills, but her moods seemed to dominate her too often to do so, and she’d have to fight them instead, and that in itself kept her at a distance of trying to make any social obligations, lest they try to put her away if she had a breakdown. And he interpreted her nightmares for her, but that didn’t get rid of them.
Adam would have married her by now had he not discovered her illness, or as he had heard a doctor say: ‘disorder;’ if it truly was a sickness, whatever it was–, as he had seen it: her vulnerable child like clumsy behavior; her switching moods in the middle of having a cup of coffee. It all was coming to finality, or somehow a resolve for Adam at least; save for the fact, he still loved her.
The problem that seemed to get to Adam was that she never knew herself when her next emotional swing would create an outburst, or what would trigger it. Adam got to thinking maybe he triggered her, why not, it happened enough times when he was around her. Was he the cure or the curse, he didn’t know. So, needless to say, he was guarded when he was around her and more so now than six months ago. And how would it be six months down the road he asked himself [?] At this point, it was a rhetorical question at best. As a result, the subject of marriage was put off, not even mentioned, if not laugh at for even thinking it. On the other hand, in his eyes, going forward with the relationship, or even withdrawing from it, were equally hard for him. When Carmen was not pale in lack of sleep, she had a strange perverse beauty, and he liked it. In addition, he’d think more than not, about her great proportioned body; and if anything was keeping him connected to her it was in part that. And the thought emerged, was he just an emotional asset for her? He didn’t know one way or the other, and therefore, he let it go at that; without the clutter of marriage. It was although coming the end, where he did not feel like going over to her house, lest he find a lioness there, waiting to devour him.
[Day-dreaming] Carmen was now daydreaming looking out the window at the little Tower Park across the street with staring eyes, dark-pitted blue eyes, diamond-blue staring eyes, eyes that could swallow or consume any and everything in its path it seemed. Eyes that ventured back to the first days they had met: in particular, the third date they were on. He was at his office at the Babenhausen compound, at the PX. She was waiting in his office. He said goodbye to the help, and locked the door. There was a backdoor to the building, she’d figured they’d use that and go out for a bite to eat and a few drinks after he locked up. She liked him, especially his humorous ways when he was free of stress; in any case, she found him at a guesthouse in Dieburg, the only American brave enough to go into one in that city, for the city still had a harsh memory of the past war, World War II that is; it was still hot in their blood what the Americans had done with their bombing and shooting of the city–. She had stopped by for a quick drink of wine, and then was on her way home. That was the first meeting. The second one was in the park, he met her there and they talked, talked and talked one morning, almost about everything in the world–or so it seemed to her–as they walked around the reserved park. This day was the third day they had got together. It was then, then she did something undisclosed. And I shall tell you now, now and forever, and thereafter we shall push it under the rug, for lack of information:
A Fatal Call
Carmen had gone to the doctors in secret, the third doctor was one she seemed more convinced in. She was concerned about her condition, her dreams, her lack of sleep, sleep that was robbing her from life, from dreams at times, and producing some kind of mental and physical desecration to her whole created being. What was it, she asked herself, genetic, psychological, physical, a depression state? She was at times anxious, depressed, and there seemed to be a gulf between her developing insomnia that was becoming more noticeable, and her mind which was becoming less crisp; her body functions deteriorating. Dying of sleeplessness, on one hand, and plagued by nightmares on the other–which one would destroy her first she asked herself?
She had dreams, or you could call them nightmares, regarding her brain having small holes in it or so it felt; like a science fiction script, or movie. A fatal insomnia is what was being created in the past several months. She had seen this sometimes in the cow pastures, the cows going mad; thus, she could identify with them she told the doctor, the third doctor Hans Brandt. He knew very little of her disease, or disorder he claimed, but had seen it in sanitariums, so he said, yet it didn’t seem to him to be a mental disorder, but rather a genetic transmission (a protean war inside her brain, a genetic mutation in the genes). He could only tell her that the few cases that he knew of, involving such a sleeping disorder, seemed to be fatal, when at its end, was not long lived. Hence, so he told her, “If we could alter the genes, take an herb or something, prayer…something…anything, it would slow the process down, but science knew very little in his field.”
Dark as it was in the main grocery store area [of the PX], he turned the light off now in the backroom, only a small light from the both rooms were on, which gave shades of light laced in gray to each other’s frame. He clung to her like a man in heat, pulled her up to his body tight, “Listen, turn the light off and lock the door.” She didn’t know why he couldn’t do it himself, but she turned around and locked the door, walked over to the bathroom and turned the light off there as well. There was a reflection from the outside light on the pole, producing just enough glows to see each other, enough of each other to get turned on; then she walked over to his desk. It was faint, the lighting. Adam then threw his coat off and onto the floor, next to his desk. “Be quiet,” he said, as if someone was around.
“All right,” said Carmen, a little spooked, but liking the intrigue.
They both hesitated, standing, she smiled, “It’s all right,” he said, she remained silent.
“Are you just going to stand there, or are we going to do it,” she said. She brushed back her hair with her fingers–as if to press every hair in place, murmured vaguely, her blouse was slightly opened, and he could see her breasts bare, no bra, “Oh yes, you are…large.” She then kissed him with all her passion, as she bent down to lay on the jacket on the floor, softly and coldly, as they both went into each others arms, as if melting into a cocoon.
Sometimes she thought, as she pulled herself away from her daydreaming mode, she thought her anger got out of control, so much so, she didn’t quite notice she’d press her lips tightly together, so tightly together to where the blood had gone out of them. If only she could control her anxiety, cast discretion to the wind, like Adam. She did in the beginning of their relationship–even though it was a ting hard, but it was getting worse, her infirmity, or whatever it was inside of her. ‘Yes, yes,’ she murmured to her silent self, ‘Caution of the beast, I need more rest, more sleep.’ But it was easier said than done. If only Adam knew how bad it was, she’d tell herself. Oh she tried to tell him, several times matter-of-fact, and he’d listen for hours on end. But it was getting old for him, and for her it was getting worse–: old and worse, old and worse…frustration for both. And the doctor’s medication had so many side-effects it was hard for her to work and keep a clear mind, and was it the right medication in the first place [?] I mean, no one really could diagnose her.
She had told him about her nightmares, in particularly one, and her ongoing lack of sleep, that was her number one distress; it haunted her: the SS-Men–1944, the fire in the coffin, the soldiers standing by her, and her father in the coffin; it was burning…burning, the coffin was burning…and her and her mother was looking deep…deep into the tower like coffin beside her, the shape of her nightmare was in that coffin. The soldiers, the three SS-Men were close by, ready it seemed to throw her in it, inside the burning coffin, but she’d always wakeup in time, and at times she didn’t need to wakeup, she woke up. It is fair to say, her sleeping became more of a disorder, in recent days, than when she had first met Adam.
He was her mediation in a way, yet she was his enjoyment, his sex object, sex machine. And somehow, it was most difficult for either one to walk away from the other…hard to walk away and stay away. It was like being ripped apart every time if they stayed away for a number of days. And the longer they kept the romance going, bad or good, the harder it was to separate, and the more ripping it seemed took place, thus, avoidance needed to be regimented he figured.
They both seemed stupidly tied to one another you could say; sex does have its meshing, and produces its cravings, like cigarettes and alcohol, and it was doing its job well on both of them. If they went out without one another, but rather with friends, out alone that is, they’d talk to the others, their friends, about each other: kind of co-dependency episode [s] Hence, it was hard to figure out who was who in this sense, each was losing their identity for the other’s; or so it would seem to an onlooker, and Carmen was more of Adam, than Adam was of Carmen in that sense. That is to say, she was more melted into his persona, than the other way around
–and both did their own evaluating during these end months, these months that started in the spring of 1960; they looked at the dependency they had on one another, but they didn’t call it dependency–when one’s too close to the forest you call it everything but dependency (or enslavement, or addiction). In the long run of events, in essence, they just couldn’t resolve differences; it would seem such things could be worked out, perhaps in a different light, but they were like two people looking at a saddle and blanket when they should had been looking at the horse; in spirit, they were looking at the situation, not the problem. But that is always, or nearly always, the case, in such destructive and tumbling relationships. And we must remember, Carmen’s dilemma.
Again Carmen found herself sitting in a wooden chair, at the kitchen table, looking out the window at the tower–yes, the same window, and the same tower: the Dieburg Tower, smoking one cigarette after the other. It was Monday morning and she had to go to work, but could she [?] She was not well; she had waked up late last night, done something unusually, and could not get back to sleep, and slept dimly in the first place, if at all. She lit another cigarette, it seemed to put her in more of a control mode, yet as she looked at the ashtray, the other one was still lit: she put it out in the glass ashtray, rubbed it as if it was a rag and she was polishing the house silver. She could see her face in the tower; it was in her nightmare the night before. Her father’s memory, his ghost was in that tower, she was sure of it now. It was his unofficial coffin; the one the SS-Men, the soldiers never gave him. The cigarette started to burn her fingers; she quickly put it out, and then lit another one, and wrote another deathly poem:
Upon a stone
My name will lie
Tomorrow, if I shall die.
If granted, yet
Earth or devil
They both wait to slay
Like Assassins… .
the kitchen was warm, Adam would come, meet her in the park, maybe even want to go to bed with her, sometimes he did, and then lately, lately he never did showed up half the time. ‘I can’t blame him, my unpredictable behavior is enough to drive me crazy myself, and I suppose him also.’ But she was hoping, if she could only put herself back together. It was a long night, and the last few hours she had not slept well. She leaned back against the wall, the chair on its two legs; her legs crossed tight, her hair untidy, then she started to recall the evening:
“Hello to you rain,” she said walking in the wind at 2:00 AM, buckets of water pouring out of the sky, hitting the walls of the tower giving it shadows as the bushes and trees around it manifested the shadows against the thick solid door of the tower, as she walked across the street with only a robe on, a blanket over her head, a crowbar in her hands, she had taken out of the car beforehand; she stuck the crowbar in the lock, and cracked it open, then she pushed the heavy door open.
She touched the walls of the tower as if they were holy, standing now in the first few feet of the entrance of the tower, it was round, with a spiral, or coiled stairway leading to its top, in which she’d find a big room with a thick wooden floor once she climbed to its level. There must have been a hundred steps to the entrance of the upper chamber room.
Once in the room, she saw a chandelier, cast-iron, with a chain for a rope. At the end of the rope was the chandelier with candle holders in it, four or five. The wax was old, as she shinned her flashlight onto them.
“Are you cold?” she asked someone, as if someone was in the tower with her; her shoulders were shivering, so she put on the sweater she brought along. ‘Don’t be silly,’ the tower whispered back, or something in the tower whispered back to her. Everything had an echo in the tower she noticed. She looked about, was she in a trance, a dream, the beginnings of a nightmare, no, she was in the tower, she had walked up the stairway, she was like a swimmer who swam the English Channel now, tired, she sat down in the middle of the empty room, the flashlight placed upward on its back, so it shinned toward the tower’s chandelier and beyond [toward the ceiling]. The tower room was like a mausoleum to her. Her finger tips in the darkness, exploring with her eyes the tomb, like a ghost might do; she stood up, walking all around the circular chamber room, touching its walls
–“Are you crazy?” said a voice. “Is that what you’re annoyed about?” She had a sensation, explosion in her head, it wasn’t the first time. “You were rather sweet before,” was now a twist to the voices’ statement. She was holding her head, had a hand full of hair in her grips, and her grip got tighter and tighter. “What is it my sweet child?” the voice said. (A pigeon distracted her for a moment; it was circling the inner part of the steeple top; she lightened up on the pull of her hair.)
“Nothing,” replied Carmen.
“But my precious, it is not true,” remarked the voice. A storm outside the tower was booming with thunder, it made the pigeon move to the cross-beam above her, and then on over to the window, in case it felt it needed to escape.
“I know, I’m supposed to feel such things, you can’t because you’re dead!” Carmen thought about what she said, paused, looked about, was starting to feel foolish. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, why do I feel such pain–?” She wiped her face, lifted her head, and wiped the tears from her eyes with her forearm. “I’ve been beastly to so many people. I have made them all unhappy. I wish I were dead like you papa!” She moved about now bewildered, walking in circles, bobbing her head to the right and left. She felt embraced, and held her arms in and around herself tight, looking about in this small thick-bodied, stonewalled room. She clung to herself as if she had wings, and murmured remorse and love. “How are we ever going to meet again?”
“Don’t worry, we’ll fix it up later, when you’re feeling better,” said the voice
she didn’t want to leave the tower, actually at the sudden thought that dawn would soon be breaking, she had to rush down the multitude of stairs so the day watchman would not find her there; in consequence, she found herself saying to the massive structure, “I shall miss you. I’ll think about you. I promise I’ll be thinking about you…” then hitting the bottom step of the stairway, opening the door, the wind and rain rattling the iron clasps holding the door in place, she ran back to her apartment.
“S-shee,” she whispered looking out the window, affectionately without thinking, she stroked her dark glossy hair–“I slept two great hours without a thought of those SS-Men, those soldiers.” She said this looking at the tower; she felt her father’s presence in the tower now. She had been back from the tower for a while; it was going on 8:00 AM.
At the end of her bed was a chest of drawers, on top, she kept her cream jars and brushes, all in disarray. With the drawers slightly opened, her cloths were jammed in them as not to be able to shut them; this was something rather new for her in that she was not normally so untidy. As the months had come and gone, several of them since she knew Adam, she had become more so, more untidy; even stockings lay without their mate, here and there.
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