Michaela Merz

Fighting melancholia

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On Saturday morning, my youngest one (6 years old) came crawling into my bed. He had just woken up and was sad. Terribly sad. His best friend had moved to Germany. Maybe he will never see her again. He was in no mood for getting up and grieved for the loss.

I understood his sorrow well. How often do we lose something that we became fond of, how often do we have to break with something that is valuable or irreplaceable to us. But now it did not help to philosophise or to indulge in sorrow but practical solutions were needed to fight the beginning melancholia. I think that one should fight it by “doing something”. But my suggestion to go by bike to the bakery and buy croissants and to have breakfast in the park was not met by much enthusiasm.

I got my way anyway. After quickly brushing teeth, we speeded with our bikes through the forest and the physical exhaustion of the climb made my youngest one forget his sorrow. We then bought croissants and butter and went to the park. It was still very early in the morning and nobody was to be seen. Only the sweet sound of a saxophone accompanied our breakfast in the park. First we thought that the music came from a radio but after a time we realised that someone was practicing early in the morning in the park.

We ate silently and listened to the wonderful play. The saxophonist played and played and it was so wonderful that it seemed like dream. Who was it? Who played so filled with longing and passion? We started to look for the saxophonist. But it was more difficult than we had thought. The instrument could be heard clearly but there was no way to it. We climbed through the bushes up to the civil defence site and there, hidden in the shrubbery and not to be seen from anywhere, played a small man with such passion that one’s heart flowed over. When he saw us he walked further into the shrubbery and clearly signalled to us that he does not want to be found. We continued listening for a while and then took our bikes and went home.

The sorrow was gone, a wonderful feeling of what we had seen remained, a little secret. Every Saturday morning, my son and I look at each other and agree on whether we go to the park to listen to the saxophonist. But since then he did not appear a second time.

Perhaps it was a dream after all, which we had dreamed together.

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