Closure

In front of the house there had been a dead tree. Its bark had long scaled off, leaving it white and bare and raw. A rosebush had fancied it the spot to make its new home and entwined itself around its tall stature—spawning myriads of bright pink blossoms every year, imbuing the air around the house with the scent of summer. There were so many of them that every visitor would get a bouquet of roses, should they want one, and sometimes I would feed one or two flowers to the iguana.

I turn around the corner and reluctantly step onto the street. I used to live here. This is weird. Nothing has changed. The narrow street is lined with the same neatly cut hedges, behind which the deceivingly friendly dwellers of this village lurk. It’s quiet, eerie, just like it had always been, back then. I keep walking towards the house, each step slower than the one before—

…and there it is. A low, wooden fence, and behind it the cowering, red brick stone structure, a lonely, garishly green watering can, and a bench that wasn’t there before. The dead tree must have had to yield to a neatly mowed lawn, and the scent of summer has long since faded away.

[214 words]

(c) 2019 Anett Enzmann

The End of the Line

In a dark corner of my office there is a small box. It’s bright and colorful, but otherwise utterly unremarkable. It emanates a strange odor, reminiscent of the musky, moldy basements where it had been kept over the past twenty years, before my Mom had thought of giving it to me.

In it, there is a pile of yellowing, crumbling paper that smells even older. Pages and pages of text that my 12-year-old self wrote on an old typewriter. Short stories, lyrics, school projects; deep thoughts only a teenager could think. I spent days, weeks, months, pressing down the mechanical keys of that typewriter, seeing letters magically appearing behind the ribbon, words manifesting on page after page, the loud clacking of the keys and the ethereal ping reminding me that I had reached the end of the line.

Ping.

[139 words]

(c) Anett Enzmann 2019

Clarity

“She’s just like you!”

We met Tom and Sally at a small restaurant in Encinitas, California. Tom had picked us up at the airport, but I had yet to meet his wife, son, and sister, who joined us shortly after we had been seated at a large round table. Sally, who had been previously described to me as introverted and awkward, engaged me quite vividly, asking me all kinds of questions about where I was from, what I was doing and the like — the kind of polite scrutiny you would expect upon meeting people for the first time, especially when you’re about to marry their closest friend of thirty years.

After a while I excused myself to go to the restroom — in no small part, to give everyone the opportunity to gossip. My fiancé had been doing this every time we met his friends on this trip: as soon as I left, he would say “So? What do you think? Isn’t she awesome?” I liked that little ritual even though I was slightly embarrassed by the flood of compliments and awe I would receive by proxy when we got home. And this time was no different.

Back in the car, my fiancé told me how Sally — as soon as I was out of earshot — in a moment of clairvoyance had blurted out the one sentence that we keep quoting to each other to this day:

 “She’s just like you!”

To this day we are not sure whether she meant it as a compliment or an insult. But whichever it was, she couldn’t have been more right.

[267 words]

(c) Anett Enzmann 2019

No words

I haven’t written anything in a week. Well, I’ve been working, but my client’s enthusiastic announcement for their new game feature hardly seems significant, considering everything else that’s been going on, now does it?

Usually, I don’t get anxious reading the news. There is nothing I can do about it anyway.* But just looking at the unfathomable footage of the burning Amazon, the events unfolding in the UK, the US, and Germany, reading statements and comments, leaves me stunned, unbelieving, overwhelmed. What has gotten into you people?! When have we, as a species, descended into this kind of madness? Aren’t we supposed to be the smart ones? When have we decided to abandon all reason? And for what? A treacherous illusion of happiness, meaning, fulfillment? So we can live out our days gluttonously, comfortably and in what little comfort we can amass? Just so we can feel good about ourselves  — or rather better than everyone else — we blindly believe those who offer easy solutions for complex problems, not realizing — or worse, accepting — that they are just as mad, just as scared as we are?

Seriously, what’s wrong with us?

Five minutes really isn’t a long time, but this had to be said nonetheless…

*Strictly speaking, that’s not even true. Vote. Sign petitions. Protest. Boycott. Donate.

[217 words]

(c) Anett Enzmann 2019

Anachronism

The living room window overlooks The City. A church looms over narrow cobblestone alleys lined with quaint frame houses. Ivy and roses wind around colorful doorways reminiscent of Tolkien’s Shire. No trees. They didn’t have room for them in the Middle Ages. This part of the town is slowly sinking; you can see the cracks in the walls.

Then: a parking lot. A nightclub. Stores. People on bikes. The occasional horse-drawn carriage chauffeuring flocks of tourists to the sets of the soap opera that is being filmed here. The adjacent street has trees. Workers dutifully cut them into shape every spring. The sound of sports car engines revving. Honking. Busses. Sirens. Someone is smoking under the window.

The church bells are tolling, and a loud ping proclaims that I’ve got mail.

[132 words]

(c) Anett Enzmann 2019

Hornets’ Nest

Hornets. There are about 15 of them, buzzing fussily in and out of the hole in the wall they have recently chosen as their dwelling. Unfazed by the voices and the life behind the crumbling bricks they simply go about their day. Every day.

I was scared of them, at first. A strange, primal fear of one of them unsuspectingly exploring its environment, getting trapped in my room. What is this place? What are all these smells and things? Who are these furry creatures staring at it with their preying eyes? It buzzes around, disoriented, panicking, lashing out.

Poor thing.

I’d better keep my windows closed.

[111 words]

(c) Anett Enzmann 2019