Slices by Dorothee Lang

It was one of the first things she did after they opened the wall. That’s at least what she told me years later, more than 1000 miles from Berlin, over a meal that started with Carpaccio and ended with Tiramisu.

Back then, in those new, open days of November 1989, she took the bus to Alexanderplatz. From there, she went to the checkpoint that marked the border of her world for decades. Now the passage to the other side of the city was open.

She walked down the once familiar streets of Berlin, walked down Kurfürstendamm, walked through Tiergarten, walked along the street of the 17th June. And finally, walked into a butcher’s shop. Stood there, and gazed at the different kind of sausages.

“And they really are all for sale?” she inquired.

“Ja sicher,” the man behind the counter said, “Yes sure”.

She still couldn’t believe it. She asked for ten slices, each from a different sausage, and explained that she was from the other side.

The man behind the counter cut and wrapped up the slices, and added some salami for free. “From Italy,” he said.

She thanked him, carefully placed the bundle in her bag, and walked back. At Alexanderplatz, she sat down on a bench. Her feet hurt, but she didn’t care. She opened the bundle, and savoured the slices, slowly, one after the other. She made it as far as the fourth before she broke down in tears.

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9 Comments

Filed under Dorothee Lang

9 responses to “Slices by Dorothee Lang

  1. i now browsed my photo archive, and found a picture that gives an idea of the places – i put it up in my blog, here the short link: http://bit.ly/aJ1ggb

  2. Al McDermid

    This is just so evocative, so maybe great details:
    “And they really are all for sale?” she inquired.
    “Ja sicher,” the man behind the counter said, “Yes sure”. And having him add the salami, but saying only, ‘From Italy’. I almost cried too, such a perfect ending.

    I lived in Germany for a few months and the cold cuts (along with the cheese and the bread) are among my fondest memories. I don’t remember eating anything else!

  3. I remember when the wall came down in Germany. I could very much imagine this exact scene happening. This is about so much more than a meal.

    Great work.

  4. Matt Potter

    Which butcher shop? Is it still there? I loved the way this story reminded me that, despite 20 years, you do not have to scratch that far in Berlin to find the old divided city …

  5. thanks for your comments. this actually is based on a true story, i guess it shines through.

  6. I read this first on fictionaut and it had the same strong impact on second reading here. It’s a deeply human piece and tragic. I, too, remember when the wall came down. I was in Rome and turned on the TV and saw the footage. I felt as if I had entered another time zone

  7. Just read your story on fn this morning, and here it is again, with all the power of the once stolid wall. I was in a deli in Brookline when the wall tumbled down; we all cried. peace…

  8. really like this. i wasn’t around when the wall fell and emotionally unavailable because of a bereavement. this brings it all back – well done.

  9. Pingback: Wk #11 – Red Meat « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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