It was hot, so hot, that the air in the streets started to blur, as if it was about to start to burn, as if you could light a match with it if you just found the right spot, so hot, that the people who were captured in those glowing houses slowly were overwhelmed by the heat, this heat that was besieging them day and night, this heat that didn't even care about their efforts to fight it with rattling ventilators or rusting window blinds, this heat that even had the power to melt the asphalt, to take away its strength and bring little glittering streams upon its surface which looked like tears, just as if the road itself would be weeping, tears of pain or tears of despair. Or maybe tears of hopelessness, in this part of town there were enough reasons for all kind of tears, more than enough reasons, whole wagons of more than enough reasons, this was the fabric that seemed to form these streets, as if someone had poured tears into the foundations of the houses, as if someone had mixed them into the colours that had been used to paint the walls, these walls that looked grey even if you painted them in the brightest white, as if they would be growing old in the night, returning to their original state, which in this case wasn't bright and shining but dimmed and dirty, grey and dull, without any reflection of better days, days that at least had started with a ray of hope. They never had better days in this part of town, this part of town wasn't declining, it always had been down, since the first house was built, since the first child was born, since the very moment they cut down the wild flowers that had been growing here, burned down the trees, drained the little lake, leveled the little hill and buried everything under this grey dull fabric. 

It had changed the people, too, it had left traces in their lives, on their skins, in their eyes, in their thoughts, you could see it in the way they walked, in the lines on their faces, in the words they used, all brittle and rough, breaking into pieces, they weren't even able to remember the soft touch of the morning dew any more, too far away from it, too long ago since they saw it the last time. And where should the glittering dewdrops have settled down anyway, there was no space for them in this world, no room to move, no place to rest, not a single green spot, only cold cubicles made of concrete and mortar and metal, an endless mosaic of hardness, different combinations, the same cruel pattern. Once every single year some brave buds rose to break the asphalt, they raised their tiny arms, tried to entice the dewdrops with their small green flags, but usually they only made it to the third or the fourth leaf before the street took their breath away, sucked the hope out of their roots, gushed them with the bitter acid of the daily grind and crushed their dreams of a heroic victory. And so they died silently at the edge of the sidewalk, without anyone taking notice, they faded to dust, were carried away by the falling wind, just to be let down again and finally turn into another particle of that grey fabric. This fabric without name, this fabric you can't get hold of, this fabric you can't get rid of either, this fabric that seems to connect with the first thing it hits, glass or stone, brick or bone, connections that seem to be completely irrelevant at first, without any effect, without any impression. 

You don't even notice them, even if it happens right before your eyes, you don't even waste a slice of thought on them, but then it happens again, and again, and again, just as unnoticed, nearly as irrelevant, but together with the first particle they make two, then three, they start to bond, they turn into an invisible grey net, moving around, causing consequences, encircling you like a cocoon, like a coat. They protect you from the sharp edges, they keep you away from the sharp edges, they attach you to the base of the street, they keep you there, in this quarter, in this grey world that moulds with you, each day an inch more, just like you mold with it, until the day your longing to get away ceases to exist, until the day you think of the shining signs at the horizon as illusions, reflections of hot air, not real, not there, not of your world, as far away as the plateaus of the highlands, as the land of dreams, as the stars in the sky, or rather what is left of the stars above, which isn't much, here in these streets you only get a cheap reprint of the real night sky, some yellow points next to a weak leaf of moon, the Milky Way swallowed by the black holes of the mega city a long time ago, together with Orion and the moons of Venus. The only thing left up there are some forgotten spots of light, just as if the real stars had left this place for good when the big bulldozers had arrived back then, as if they had followed the water fairies and the yellow butterflies to greener pastures, leaving nothing but their shades, but unlike the water fairies and the yellow butterflies the stars never had that choice, they couldn't move, they couldn't run away, they had to stay there and look down, twelve hours per day, which is just too much sometimes, even for stars. Sometimes they can't stand it any more, that's when they draw down the big blanket of smog to hide behind it, to forget about the world below for a little while and get high on coloured stardust instead, while the skies stay grey and cold. Those are the days when you look up to the roofs of the houses again and again, searching for a strip of blue, for a slice of sky, for anything that makes sure that heaven is still there, that no weirdo has asphalted the clouds, has finally turned the atmosphere into another construction site, leaving you caught in here forever, trapped between a rock and a hard place, between grey and grey, between bricked walls and barbed wire. 

Those are the days when you better are double careful, cause you aren't the only one who can feel this invisible tension in the air, and maybe it's this tension that gets the air blurring, and not the heat, this tension that just seems to wait for a spark to set it off, to detonate, to raise some hell, not caring about damage or consequences, not giving a damn about anything or anybody, not bothering if it hits the right or the wrong ones, who wants to wait for that irrelevant answer anyway. Those are the days when you better become invisible, when you better become a shade in the background of the picture, far away from the heat of the action, a face in the crowd, a fly on the wall, a cat in the night. And maybe it is exactly this heat that wakes the cat in some people, lets them feel danger one breath earlier, lets them grasp situations one step faster, lets them survive, cause that is what really matters during those days, these small seconds, these raised hairs in the right moment, telling you that it's time to go, time to disappear, right now, right here, even so nothing has changed, even so the world still looks like it did the last three thousand eight hundred twenty seven moments ago, so why go. But the survivors had learned to listen to their raised hairs, and when they feel them, they don't hesitate a second, they leave their cigarette in the ash tray, stand up casually and leave the scene, turn around the next corner, turn into the next street, into darkness, without looking back, without taking the time to stop and see if they were right. Curiosity killed the cat, in this part of town it only takes one time to learn that lesson, to burn these four words in the back of your brain, curiosity killed the cat, and it's true that cats have seven lives, but you better keep those lives for the days when you don't have the choice. 

Please realize this piece was 
contributed by a German


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