Michaela Merz

The last choice

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On Sunday I enjoyed the sunshine in a small café beside the lake. My youngest was playing in the play area close by and I had one of those infrequent moments, when I could just watch the people around me aimlessly.

At the next table two elderly, graceful ladies, one with a small hat. At the next table sat a gentleman reading the Sunday paper, a young couple with fond glances and never ending tiny hungry touches, two young chattering girl friends dressed up as if for a fashion show, with two glasses of prosecco.

I watched and at the same time caught shreds of the conversations. Trivial, friendly, non-committal. Until I was fascinated and caught up in one of the conversations. It was the two old, elegant ladies next to me.

“Erika, I have been to see the Friedhof Fluntern“ said one and threw an assugrin into her coffee.
“You are quite right, it is really beautiful, spacious and right next to the wood,“ she continued, “but it is also next to the ZOO and I heard strange noises there and perhaps it also stinks, depending on where the wind comes from. I didn’t like that at all.“
The other nodded her head understandingly.
“Yes, yes, Edith,“ she said quietly and I had to make a great effort to hear her properly. “The cemetery in Erlenbach is the nicest, bordering on the lake, quiet and with a view over the water,“ she continued.
“Erika, that may be so, but I don’t want to be outside the city,» replied the first.“I have lived my whole life in the city. I’m not going to emigrate at the end. We have already discussed this a few times,“ she said, her voice slightly indignant.
“Edith, I know that you like the private cemetery above Stadelhofen best, but we’ll never manage that,“ said the second lady still very quietly.
“We haven’t even really tried,» answered the first. And she sounded indignant and imploring.
They looked at one another and one touched the other’s hand. Were they sisters? Friends?
Is it possible that they are looking for a suitable last resting place? It didn’t look as if they would soon need one. And is there a private cemetery in Zürich? I had many curious questions and was just about to address the ladies.

But then my youngest came running up to me with a bleeding hand and tears in his eyes and my priorities changed. Life comes first.

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