My wife and I arrived in Berlin one year ago.
The apartment we found is quite nice: it’s approximately twice the size of our previous flat in Paris, but it’s also cheaper. Plus, we have a balcony opening on to a quiet garden behind the building. Compared to Paris, it’s an urban paradise.
I work at home all day long, while my wife has to leave the house to go to the office. So most of the time I’m alone.
Sometimes, when I get bored, I rise from my chair to go on the balcony. As I said before, we have a really nice view on the garden where there are two schools: a kindergarten and a high school. Children are laughing and screaming all day here, and the buildings surrounding the garden are full of life.
But even if it can’t be noticed at day, you can feel it at night.
At night, this place becomes silent.
A mighty heaviness can be felt in the air. Something dark, like a bad memory.
Children must be asleep while their parents watch the end of a silly show on TV. Windows are closed and from outside, interiors look like black patches of blackness in the dark. All lights are off. The frozen garden seems to be sleeping too. But I know it’s not.
At night, this garden makes me shiver.
How such a nice place becomes so scary at night, I don’t know. And not to bother my wife with those weird thoughts, I kept my mouth shut… until a few days ago.
It was on Sunday. My wife and I were chatting on the balcony, under the sun. I was joking about something I can’t remember now, when she suddenly told me to lower my voice.
— What? I asked her.
— He will hear you.
She seemed serious.
— Who will hear me?
She smiled, then looked at the garden.
— The monster who lives in the garden, she answered before bursting into laughter.
That was a joke, of course, and I didn’t tell her about my fears.
But now, I have the sneaking feeling that she may have felt something here too.
Something that couldn’t be told in a serious way.
Something she had to joke about.