Grandmother’s Knives (2/2)

Schubkarre in einem Garten

Gekürzte Version

My grandmother took the Lord literally. She made the earth her own. At least a piece of it, her garden. In my memories, she’s busy in her worldly Eden, knife in hand. Knives were her thing. They didn’t look like much with their cheap plastic handles and their scratched edges. But their razor-sharp edges were legendary.

As a child, I helped her in the garden. There was always something to do. Mostly fighting pests. Today we are after slugs. I point them out to her. When she picks up the first one—curled up like it is expecting great pain—I make the mistake of watching her. She puts them on the concrete path that dissected her garden and draws a kitchen knife out of her apron, the orange one she loves best. A gash later, the slug’s inserts spill out, all yellow and gooey.

“What have you done?”, I ask wide-eyed.

Finally, she was as callous with her own life as she had been with the slugs’. A knife slashed open her wrists. It took me a while to understand. She wasn’t heartless. Doing what she felt necessary, with a sharp knife and a forceful stroke, was an act of mercy. She wanted to make sure death came fast—for the slugs, and for her. Due to the circumstances of her death, my grandmother didn’t receive a requiem mass. I wonder if the Lord took her in nevertheless. I wonder if her wrists looked like the bisected slug. I never wonder about the knife. Its blade was sharp and its handle orange.

Anmerkung

Dieser Text ist das Ergebnis einer Schreibübung: Eine kurze Geschichte (2/2) und Teil der Artikelreihe “Stil verbessern (3/4)”.

Es war nicht einfach, meinen Text um die Hälfte zu kürzen. Ich denke aber, das Ergebnis war die Mühe wert – und ich habe bei der Übung viel übers Verdichten von Texten gelernt. Irgendwie gefällt mir die Kurzversion tatsächlich besser als das Original. Vielleicht hast du es selbst gemerkt: Je mehr Arbeit du in das Schreiben der ersten Version gesteckt hast, umso schwieriger war die Aufgabe des Kürzens. Welche der beiden Versionen gefällt dir besser?

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