Last Saturday, I took some visiting friends to the Grunewald forest. After enjoying a lakeside picnic, we made our way up Teufelsberg hill, where we were rewarded with a magnificent view of the city.
I decided to call Frau B from the top of the hill. I wanted to describe the view but I was also keen to share some good news. My friends had got engaged the day before. Knowing what a fan Frau B is of romance and weddings, I knew she’d be happy to hear.
She answered after a couple of rings, indicating that she was in bed, rather than in her chair.
“How are you, Katechen?” she asked.
“Good,” I said, about to launch into a description of the view and my friends’ upcoming nuptials. “How are you?”
“I’ve been in hospital,” she said.
My stomach lurched. Frau B hates hospitals. She will go to significant lengths to conceal ailments in order to avoid going.
“I broke my leg,” she said.
“Oh no! When?”
“Last Thursday. In the corridor. I lost grip of my Zimmerframe and slipped. But I yelled and one of the carers came straight away.”
I arranged to come around the next day.
When I arrived I found Frau B in her usual spot by the window. She was in her nightie, resting her leg on a stool.
She looked as radiant as ever.
“Hello, Katechen” she said. “Are you alone?”
“LSB will be here in a while. He’s getting you your strawberries.”
“Ach! How nice.”
I asked Frau B about her hospital experience.
“I was on a trolley for two hours!” she said. “There was a man who got seen before me just because his wife made a fuss.
“When I did get seen, the first thing they did was an XRay. The doctor told me it was a clean break. Since I have a hole in my other foot, I asked him whether he could arrange a wheelchair for me.Do you know what he said?”
Frau B was looking pleased.
He said: ‘Not a hope! You’re still doing so well. If I stick you in a wheelchair now, you’ll never get out! You’re going to walk again. Bit by bit.”
“He’s right,” I said. “You’re only 96! Much too young for a wheelchair.”
Frau B laughed.
There was a knock on the door and LSB popped his head in.
“Andrew!” she said.
“Hallo!” said LSB, placing a punnet of strawberries on the table.
We filled Frau B in on our friends’ engagement.
“Everyone’s getting married except you two!” she said.
We explained our mutual lack of excitement at the prospect of rings, dresses and event planning.
But I did make one big promise.
“If we do get married,” I said. “You can be my bridesmaid.”
Sending warm wishes to Frau B for a speedy recovery. I hope she’s up walking again soon!
Aw, thank you! Am popping by tonight so will definitely pass on your good wishes!
I share you and LSB’s lack of excitement at the prospect of rings and such. But Frau Bienkowski as bridesmaid is an image worth sacrificing for. Maybe you could have a faux wedding by someone like the entertainment preacher in my neighborhood who specialized in gay weddings on cruise ships and in his home chapel before gay marriage was legal. (The one I attended was certainly not “rings, dresses and event planning” – more like a comedy of errors, but great fun.) Then again, I don’t suppose Frau Bienkowski would stand for that.
Hey Dedalus Lex – nice to hear from you. I couldn’t agree more! The image of Frau B as my bridesmaid makes me very happy indeed – it’s one of the best reasons I can think of to get married 🙂 The wedding you attended sounds delightfully entertaining!
What a sweet promise to a very remarkable lady!