Sidonie

It is a silent afternoon. Here everything is far away, Prague, Berlin and Vienna are names but no places and at exact twelve a o‘ clock all the shops are closed for two hours, the butcher lowers the blinds, the baker closes the curtains and no more shops than these two are left in the middle of a small village, which goes to sleep for two long hours in the middle of a sunny and dusty day in early summer. For half an hour I sit on a bench, sleepy myself from the long drive and when I get up, the curtains are moving so slowly that I can only guess if it is the wind or the people behind the curtains. Half an hour later I reach Vrchotovy Janovice, the same Janovice, which for Karl Kraus became an arcadian dream. The castle inhabited by his great love, Sidonie Nádherny who drove down to the station to pick her lover up, who arrived three times a week with the night train Vienna-Trieste and wrote the most magnificent love-letters I ever read. And still today, the castle is there, even if the train station does not work even more. And still today, you can walk through the park, look at the tame ducks who follow you, you still can sit at the „Kraus-Table“ where he spent many long summer days looking up, into the tree tops that are all much older than any of us and forgot about Prague, Vienna and Berlin. You can buy ice cream, soda and in the former stables, you can sit and look at the craftsmen of the village, who eat meat, with potatoes and boiling hot red cabbage, while the radio plays czech pop music. At around one a clock, a bus full of very old women and a few old men arrives at the gate, you get a leaflet and follow the guide inside the castle, where maybe Sidonie and Karl slowly waltzed around the floor. But today the castle is a wild mixture full of heroes of the nationalist czech movement, garments and dusty foliage plants. The old women are amazed of the garments, the old men are bored, the leaflet explains the heroism of the czech nationalist movement and I look out of the window, where the garden overlooks the pond, where Sidonie swam early in the morning. Only two small rooms remind of this splendid, autonomous, sexy and very intelligent women, who drove with her car through North Africa, who loved her brother and even more her dogs, who wrote letters to Rilke and fell in love with Karl Kraus. But even in this silent and dusty regions, where the mountains look friendly and the meadows are wide and full of poppy, the war came and with the war came the German invasion, the SS troops threw Sidonie out of the castle, and when the SS was finished with the destruction and the devastation of a whole region, the communist party and the former neighbors of Sidonie came, taking away her belongings,and forbid her even to approach her castle and the park, she once created as her home. Sidonie von Nádherny left and died alone nearby London. But the tour through the castle is already finished, one of the old woman explains to the group that coffee and cake will be prepared nearby and this promise keeps the spirits up and as surprisingly as they arrived, they leave, leaving behind the dusty foliage plants, the faded garments, the nationalist heroes and the nearly forgotten Sidonie von Nádherny, who loved and was loved by Karl Kraus, in a very small village, in a castle surrounded by old trees, a deep pond, with tame ducks and a dog sleeping in the long and sunny hours of a long and sunny early summer day, where the world seemed so far away, where life felt so safe and love meant a promise for an endless, long summer, with a sun never leaving but the sun still today, even if the castle, the pond and the bench made of stone are still there, never came back to Vrchotovy Janovice and never will be as warming as in these days.

3 Gedanken zu “Sidonie

  1. Pingback: As an exception in German: Ein Stöckchen! Ein Stöckchen! | READ ON MY DEAR, READ ON.

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