Der Wolf und seine Nichte
Chapter 1: Remembrance (Erinnerung)
She was just a small girl, clinging onto her mother's skirt. She looked up at me with wide, hazel eyes. They were not wide with fear, but with the awe and curiosity only a child could posess. She slowly let lose the grip on her mother and approached me. She played with her fingers and pouted, like she was disappointed that she couldn't remember me. I knelt down and faced her, a smile slowly crept across my lips.
"Remember me? I'm your Uncle Adolf.", I said to her, my voice unusually sweet.
Suddenly, her face brightened and a gasp of realization escaped her lips.
"Uncle Alf!", she cried, wrapping her arms around my neck.
She was so small then, so frail. But she was not frail in spirit, as later years would prove…
Several years had passed before I saw her again. Her father had passed away, and as a consequence she and her mother were to come live with me in Munich. As I opened the door, I had much expected the same young girl. Of course, I knew she had grown, but the fact didn't fully grasp me until I saw her there before me. She was not as I remembered her. Her eyes still dazzled in that childlike way, but the rest of her was very much a woman.
With an innocent smile, she nodded her head towards me, as if asking for permission to enter. As much as it shames me, I know I must've stared, mouth agape. In doing so, I had completely neglected my sister, who stood in the doorway patiently with the bags at her feet.
"Guten Tag.", my sister, Angela, said to me.
I broke my concentration and looked at Angela, who smiled at me as though I could mend her broken dreams. I remember that moment well and will never forget it. That smile, that bright and hopeful smile, said so much. How she expected so much from me! If only she knew then what she does now.
"Uncle Alf?", an angelic voice called.
I turned around and smiled weakly, embarrassed of my behavior. She giggled slightly; my stomach fluttered. I felt like a schoolboy enthralled by his beautiful teacher. My cheeks aflame, I picked up the bags nervously and invited them in.
"My bedroom is upstairs; there is another upstairs and one downstairs.", I explained.
"Geli, why don't you take the one upstairs? You know I can hardly get up and down those things.", Angela said.
"Danke, mother, you know how I love a view.", Geli said sweetly, kissing her mother on the cheek.
I couldn't have been more torn between feelings. One feeling told me I wanted Geli to be upstairs with me, that I wanted her bedroom across from mine. Another told me that it was a bad idea, that things were so good now they could only get worse. I regret that I didn't go with the later.