The Sorrows of Young Werther: May 30th.
She's all I want and I've waited for so long (waited and waited).
Yesterday something happened that I could wrap up in metaphors about art and poetry, but that would only lead to a very flowery intro and make you expect something deep where nothing really deep is found. Just like always, I will tell this story badly - and you, as usual, will think I’m being way too invested. But that’s how Wahlheim is, tiny and simple and yet filled with small stories worth telling.
Last evening, a small group had formed outside the house under the lime-trees to drink beer. As the shadows got longer and morphed into darkness, they switched to harder liquors, and their voices doubled in volume and started telling cheap, unfunny jokes. Since I was still pretty sober, I wasn’t exactly a fan of that and lingered behind. A nearby light illuminated the garage of a neighbor, another young farmer, who was assembling some parts for his truck and crouching deep, covered in grease and sweat, working with quiet focus. I liked his looks and approached him, offering him a beer. He took a break and sat down outside with me to chat.
At first we were only talking about superficial stuff, but he started getting drunk more quickly than I did, and began to talk about his supervisor. By the tender way he talked about her you could tell that he’s completely, desperately in love with her.
It seems to be quite a difficult dynamic they have. She’s in her early forties, a single mom, matured and hardened by the bitter divorce from an abusive husband. Obviously he’s yearning for her to see past their professional relationship and to choose him to erase the memory of her first relationship. He cared a lot to get the point across that he wasn't looking for a hook-up or taking advantage of her vulnerability, and that touched me even more than his actual words or the look in his eyes, although no recounting or poetry of any kind could do justice to the simple beauty of his unrequited feelings.
Don’t make fun of me if I say that recalling that hour full of shared secrets has left a deep impression, that this picture of fidelity and tenderness haunts me everywhere - and that my own heart, as though enkindled by the flame, glows and burns within me.
Now I feel the urge to see this woman for myself, but on second thought, I really shouldn’t. Not just because explaining my staring would be very awkward. It is better that I look at her from afar, through the eyes of her lover. I probably wouldn’t see her the same way he does, and why should I destroy that sweet impression?
Curator’s note: This marks the beginning of our first longer break in between newsletters. Werther Rewritten will be back with a bang and a new main character on Thursday, June 16th. That letter is going to be very long. You can choose to leave me some feedback in the comments whether you’d like the letter to be split up in two or three e-mails over the course of a few days, or whether it should be sent as it is. If no or only very little feedback reaches me, I’ll keep doing the latter. You can also tell me in the comments whether you’d like to be notified about longer breaks like today or whether you prefer to be surprised. Until then, thanks for supporting this project, and see you soon!