A Border Wall 75 by Paul Ainsworth

The East German government erected the Berlin Wall in August 1961.  Early in 1976 East German Border Troops began to erect a new type of Wall in Berlin, the so-called ‘Border Wall 75’. This concrete Wall was 11.81 ft high and painted white.


The Cold War concrete cage tormented his gaze in 1961, and thereafter.  Wolfgang gazed at the Berlin Wall’s texture in that winter of 1961, listened to its colourless void; its labels engulfed his nostrils, and he quantified its divisive physical and psychological arsenal.  The bitter Berlin winter’s whiteness assaulted his body, but his heightened perception abolished the blizzard.  Berlin Wall bricks obstructed his mind; he imagined cement pouring into his ears and hardening the sparkle in his eyes.  The wind eased, sparkling snowflakes fluttered in a gentle breeze and studied the Berlin Wall.  The Cold War distanced itself from the embarrassment of Wolfgang kissing the Berlin Wall that first winter, and ignored his inappropriate attire.


Wolfgang Bauer would never see his Heidi again, unless he took forthright action, unless he advanced on the Berlin Wall, unless he conquered the unyielding dissection he’d kissed in Heidi’s name.  He craved freedom to dwell with his Heidi of more than the sun, the moon, and the Berlin Wall.  Heidi had gone to work one morning in August 1961 as usual, the East German authorities had built a wall deep inside their lives, and they hadn’t seen each other since the Berlin Wall separated their mouths in the summer.


Wolfgang wiped the Wall’s grit from his lips and thought about his Heidi across humanity’s political Cold War divide, thought about their first kiss in the falling snow the previous winter, and humourless political policies crushed his mind.


Another year had passed without his Heidi, another year of waiting, fearing and hoping for any news that might reunite him with his lost lover.  He waited for snowfall, he had to wait until January; he anticipated the annual kiss.  As the year before, he was dressed in the shorts and t-shirt he’d been wearing for their last kiss at their front door that August.  The snow pummelled his t-shirt, the Berlin Wall battered his rigid mind and he kissed a concrete slab in a panic.  The Cold War ignored the solidifying kiss that year and the rigid kiss the following year, but the next Wall-kiss the following winter amused border guards, border guards of concrete lives, to Wolfgang’s mind.  Wolfgang’s desperate t-shirt, lacking in unyielding insulation, tortured his skin and he laughed at the profuse snowfall.  He could invade the world’s political solidity; he could storm the rigid Berlin Wall, he could bribe The Kremlin, or every Berliner could hack through the durable concrete using unyielding pickaxes.


Another despondent spring blossom, another aching summer of high concrete, another autumn of machine gun posts and the onset of another winter kiss.  A border guard barked out an order forbidding the kiss during this winter snowfall, and Wolfgang sunk to his rigid knees when the guard ordered him away, threatening gunfire.


Wolfgang endured another aching spring of concrete blossom, another summer of hot, glistening machine guns and another autumn of morose barbed wire. Winter and snow came to Berlin’s streets once again and Wolfgang, dressed in his immaculately pressed shorts and t-shirt for another ceremonial visit to the Berlin Wall, stared at his mind in the bedroom mirror, thinking Heidi might be feet away across the concrete divide this winter.  The concrete aged his mind, and humourless building blocks solidified a hard, unaccommodating and bleak obstacle.  Wolfgang approached Berlin’s barrier in his imagination and Heidi was sitting on top of it, her face wrapped in strands of barbed wire, smiling at him.  Frustration, aggression, love, panic, bricks, beauty, courtship, politics, flowers, war, desire, landmines, kiss, machine guns, guards, romance, barbed-wire-souls, lovers; concrete and barbed wire floated through the bedroom mirror and engulfed Wolfgang’s sleeping tablets overdose.


Wolfgang opened his painless eyes.  Heidi was hovering above him on the bedroom ceiling, her soft, gentle face, bare breasts, supple eyes and hair overwhelmed his lips.  A paramedic thumped his chest, pain engulfed him, Heidi’s image briefly transformed into concrete, and then evaporated.  Wolfgang spent six days in hospital and concrete thought in that Berlin winter of 1967.


Another textured winter’s snow beckoned.  Wolfgang defied his predicament’s solidity and his missing Heidi to unyielding world politics.  He was in his bedroom staring through the window at the Berlin Wall in the distance through binoculars, angry at the obstacle for almost taking his life and sanity.  He transcended the Berlin Wall concrete, but a machine gun spat flash-fire into his eyes and after a short delay, the sound of its discharge penetrated his ears, destroying his pleasure.  Wolfgang was witnessing a Berliner die in the Cold War trenches.  A woman lay dead in the Berlin Wall’s no-mans-land, and he could see her suitcase and a dead spaniel lying next to her through his binoculars.  A concrete corpse and a concrete canine overwhelmed his frustration and solid apathy.  He rushed from his apartment on urgent business in his rigid no-mans-land imagination.  The guards readied to fire on him, but aimed guns slowly lowered from focused faces as Wolfgang carefully picked up the dead dog and carried it away from the Berlin Wall, leaving the human corpse undisturbed. Words sprayed into his concrete mind – a pathetic rescue for a pathetic wall a pathetic rescue for a pathetic wall.  Wolfgang waited for the snow that hard winter.


The snow fell in February of 1969.  Wolfgang, wearing his ceremonial t-shirt and shorts, approached the Berlin Wall for another white catatonic visit.  He approached the concrete and guns with determination in his solidified heart.  This time he would breach the barrier, this time he would conquer and soften the Berlin Wall, this time he would embrace his beloved Heidi’s suppleness.  A Berlin Wall guard ordered him to stop walking towards no-mans-land.  The guard yelled another order to stop, but Wolfgang soared into no-mans-land.  An East German officer then warned Wolfgang that his life was in danger, but Wolfgang reached the Berlin Wall, and removed a grappling iron and rope from under his t-shirt.  He threw the grappling iron higher than high in his mind up the Berlin Wall.  The grappling iron gripped the top of Berlin’s barrier and Wolfgang began climbing, higher than high in his mind for Heidi.  The East German officer ordered the guard to open fire.  Wolfgang listened to the Berlin Wall soften; he could hear the obstacle howl in pain as he floated over it.  Heidi appeared on a sparrow’s flexing wing, beautiful and contented, as it took flight from the gunfire.  He stared at the softening Berlin Wall with laboured breath and kissed it.  He retrospectively gazed into Heidi’s eyes, the bird in flight touching her personality.  Heidi’s enlarging image left the bird and smiled at him as he was sliding down the Berlin Wall.  The Wall became blurry and pliable in his psyche.  The day Wolfgang met Heidi in a Berlin shoe shop engulfed his wits, as he looked down at his blood dripping onto his shoes.  The last time he’d seen Heidi became short moments ago in his mindset, and he kissed the Berlin Wall’s pliant base.  Heidi gently called his name, overwhelming his supple ears and loosening his vocal chords.  The East German border guards clearly heard him roar the word Heidi.  With his breaths numbered, Wolfgang spat his phlegm and blood onto the yielding Berlin Wall.  The border guards stared in fascination at the Cold War’s spectacle, as Wolfgang’s breathing became shallower.  He placed one bloodied hand on his t-shirt and the other bloodied hand on his shorts, and died.  Wolfgang’s corpse lay undisturbed that day, and snow covered his body.  The heavy snowfall softened the Berlin Wall, high winds and swirling snow toyed with it, and barbed wire turned sparkling soft-white.


On that day in 1969, an East German border guard shot Wolfgang dead when he attempted to cross from West Berlin into East Berlin to find Heidi.  The West Germans buried Wolfgang in a graveyard near the Berlin Wall, where Heidi visited his grave for the first time at the beginning of November 1976, after the East Germans granted her a one-hour visa to enter the west.  She listened to the solid headstone, gazed at her white barrier despair, and gripped the soft November snow covering his grave.  Ugly off-white-wall, despair, communism, lost love, democracy, romance, cold, soldiers, politics, death, life, armies, time, Berlin, bastards, flowers, a plaque; frantic grief poured into her mind.  Solid hatred engulfed her Berlin Wall eyes; rigid bitterness for politics engulfed her nostrils, inflexible revulsion for the villainous white of the Berlin Wall filled her frustration and then she returned her gaze to Wolfgang’s supple grave.  She cried and her warm tears splashed holes into the snow, her reddened eyes drowning in a catatonic ocean of white.  She sank to her knees, wiped away her tears and smiled at the burial plot.  In that winter of 1976, she placed flowers at Wolfgang’s headstone and a plaque next to them that read:

White Walls Eventually Soften.

The End.