Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 May 2022
The fruit trees bloomed late that year.
For Gitta almost too late. On her wedding day, most of the blossoms were still buds. She had to make do with the cherry trees, and they hurried along to flower on schedule.
But then came a blossoming more lavish than ever — a true legacy of a wedding feast — that's how the garden looked — a belated celebration that did not want to end and still could not get enough of its own abundance, strewing blossoms on the paths wherever people went, and lifting shimmering crowns above their heads.
Frau Lüdecke said something sentimental about it every day, Herr Lüdecke something philosophical. Even Branhardt, despite the increased workload caused by the time-consuming wedding days, seldom went down to the clinic in the morning without making a few rounds through his unnaturally beautiful garden — about which he commented, rather unpoetically, that its glory now tasted cursedly of leftovers after the main meal. He felt that something about this blossoming was lacking — and that was Gitta, with her passionate delight in it, and, simply, Gitta herself.
Balduin often accompanied Branhardt through the garden, walking beside him in taciturn near silence. A better reader of souls could not help but notice that, all the while, Balduin was mentally circling his father as if he were a house, uncertain whether to try entering by the front door or perhaps going around the back instead. Branhardt naively attributed his son's reserve to the beauty of the fruit trees. But one morning, when the blossoms were already starting to go brown and fall in the warm, sunny air, Balduin fired off the following pistol shot of an announcement:
“It would be good to travel south. The farther the better. Best of all, perhaps, as far as Egypt.”
“Just Egypt?!” Branhardt asked, laughing. He didn't seem very surprised “I’d like to follow Gitta to Venice, too. And Egypt? Didn't she say she’d like to go to the desert on her honeymoon and see Arabs dancing in their white robes? You know, we all still feel some of the elation from the festivities — I do, too! But that feeling flies away from us like the blossoms of a tree when its time is up.”
- Anneliese's House , pp. 97 - 108Publisher: Boydell & BrewerPrint publication year: 2021