Strange to walk in the fog (short story)

Brigitte Neumann

Knut Feddersen lived alone. In this way he was able to lead a well-ordered life according to his own ideas. He always got up at half past six in the morning and went to bed at half past eleven in the evening. Between getting up and going to bed, hardly anything unplanned happened. This Thursday in November also went as usual.

As he walked through the lobby to the exit at half past six in the late afternoon, he kindly called out to the porter: "That's correct. Goodbye, goodbye."

The doorman looked puzzled. They looked at each other. The doorman laughed. Knut Feddersen cut back.

"Yes, sir. On time as usual, Mr. Feddersen. Goodbye,"said the doorman. This brief conversation took place every day. Usually, however, he did not speak to the porter, but the porter addressed him.

Knut was confused, didn't answer anything and moved on quickly. He left the building through the portal door.

"How embarrassing!" he muttered and shook his head. He shivered. The wet-cold fog had not dissipated since the morning. He hung as a white windrow in the twilight. Knut accelerated his steps and rushed to the bus stop.

"Three minutes!" Every evening he waited three minutes until the departure of the 60s bus. Some passengers were already standing there. Two women were talking about diets, one man was reading a newspaper and the loudspeakers of an adolescent's mp3 player were humming basses. The others just stood there and looked at themselves or at the floor.

"Everything again as usual," he thought and took a deep breath. The bus arrived on time. He recognized Willy Otremba from a distance at the wheel. Before he became a bus driver, he had worked for his boss as a courier. Knut Feddersen was the first to join.

"Foggy evening tonight," he said.

Otremba returned "Should even rain".

We've had a lot of rain lately,"he replied.

"You got that right."

Knut Feddersen continued nicely nodding and sat down on his regular place. He talked to the bus driver about the weather every evening. "As usual," came to mind. Usually, he now pulls the newspaper out of his pocket. Today, he left them in the box and looked out the window. Darkness and fog blocked his view. Instead, his face reflected slightly distorted in the disc. Next week, he'd be celebrating his 40th birthday. Or would he remain true to his principles again?

"Do I really always do everything the same?" This question made him uncomfortable. She sat down and didn't let herself be shaken off when he got off at the usual stop. She accompanied him on the familiar path along Goethestrasse, turned left into Nord-Allee and left again into Lindenstrasse until he reached his home, house number 22. She didn't even leave him when he was alone in his apartment. He couldn't hang it with his coat on the hook, drown it in hot tea and rinse it down with the dishwater. She snapped into each of his usual handles. He didn't even turn on the TV in the first place, but started to walk around in the apartment, from the sofa to the window, from there into the narrow hallway, the small kitchen, the cool bedroom and then back to the living room window.

The fog had become even denser. Matt and ghostly as in the distance, the light shone from the windows of the surrounding apartments. In some of them it was already dark.

Knut stopped for a long time and stared into the fog wall. Later than usual he went to the bathroom, took a shower, brushed his teeth, put on his pyjamas and went to bed. He couldn't sleep. Cloudy thoughts emerged like ghosts from the fog outside. His birthday came back to him. At some point he fell asleep and woke up like every morning, three minutes before the alarm clock rang.

Outside it was still dark when he left the house at the same time as every day. The fog had cleared. It was raining. The city seemed dreary to him, the people he met were no longer as inaccessible as yesterday.