Germany, Post World War II
Alfred Müller sat on his porch motionless. Motionless, but not dead. He was an old man, staring lifelessly into the night sky. He seemed at peace. Alfred had a problem. It was not a common dilemma, but was something else. He constantly remembered. Again and again painful memories erupted from his brain. Memories of the war, memories of his family. The memories were invincible forces, triggered by random events that could occur at any time. Maybe it was the fact that he had survived the war and his son hadn’t that haunted him. His son had been recruited at age fourteen by Nazis with Iron Crosses gleaming on their lapels, grasping equally gleaming weapons almost as big as themselves. For a reason unknown, a mist always covered parts of his memories. As crickets rang the alarm to announce it was night, a cool breeze blew over the small town.
Alfred rose to the sound of laughter and footsteps. He silently peered out of his window. His son stood outside. Not an adolescent as Alfred had last seen him but a young man! Tears fell like rain from Müller’s eyes. He quickly descended from the stairs and looked outside. His son, his dear son…was gone. A snowflake in the sun. A few minutes passed and Alfred returned to his home. “Why?” he asked quietly to himself in his mother tongue of German. He poured himself a cold cup of tea and slammed his fist on the table. “Why?!” he repeated, this time more loudly. “My son was there!” he said, tears now flowing freely down his wrinkled cheeks. Müller again went through his door and outside. He sat on his chair and held his cup to his lips with frail, trembling hands. As a man walked by Alfred asked him, “My son,” he stopped to clear his throat, “Rudolfo. Have you seen…him?”
“Rudolfo? I…Uh… Shouldn’t you know? Rudolfo…has been gone for years.” the man responded slowly. Alfred looked at the man with blood hound eyes and responded meekly, “No. I do not know. Not any more.” Looking slightly sad for Alfred, the man walked away slowly, humming a quiet tune.
Thunder shook the ground and rain tested the roof’s strength. Alfred was haunted by another memory. He couldn’t hold them back, the memories of the planes. The memories of bombs cascading from the sky erupted into Müller’s brain. Alfred shut the blinds and blew out the candle on the table. “Rudolfo! Come!” he yelled. “Come! The bombs!” Confused, Alfred fell to his knees on the scratched wooden floor. He couldn’t stop the memories; they came flooding in. He couldn’t stop the sound of planes overhead and the sound of bombs destroying innocent lives. “Rudolfo!” he screamed.
Alfred woke to the sound of light rain tapping on his roof. He unclenched his hand and staggered outside. For no reason, his heart rate doubled, then stopped. He stumbled into his chair. Alfred Müller sat on his porch motionless. Motionless. He stared lifelessly into the morning clouds. He seemed at peace. Birds rang the alarm to announce it was morning.
Alfred Müller had found his solution.