The Gold Necklace
Early one morning on my way to school I found the gold necklace. I noticed the light of the first sun rays on the spot it was buried in was different. Something attracted me magically to it as if guided by an invisible hand. A few meters away from the spot there was a little stream of waste water coming from the neighboring houses, splitting the road into two. Whenever, the waste water was flowing, I knew it was a lucky day. Nobody was supposed to know about the stream and its message. But one day one of the schoolboys surprised me by saying: This little dirty water stream makes my day when it is flowing. I couldn’t understand how another boy could get the same message. It was no more a secret sent only to me. The little water stream was often still and smelt terrible.

Nobody would have thought there was a necklace buried deep in the ground. But I felt it. I knew I needed to go deeper to it. I had nothing to dig the ground with except my pencils. I took out a long one and started digging. Those who passed by thought I had lost something and that I was afraid of going back home before finding it. We were usually afraid of telling our parents when we lost something. They reacted as if they would never forgive us or my father would sarcastically say: Ok, here it is, go and lose it again. Everybody started laughing but I did as if I didn’t notice them. I went on digging until the pencil hit against something hard. No, it was not a stone, it was my gold necklace. There it was, a pale yellow gold piece of round metal with its chain as if it had been buried for ages. I took it out, held it in my hands and rubbed it against my trousers and shirt. I could detect two big letters on it. They were engraved in what looked like an old script but I could clearly see an L and an S. I didn’t know what they meant but I thought of asking somebody something one day.

From that moment on, it was my constant companion or better part of me, hidden under my shirt and jacket so that nobody could see it. It clung to my neck softly as if saying: You have finally found me. One day I decided to show it to my mother. When she saw it and I told her how and where I found it, she said: it must be something special, sent only to you. You should never lose it. Now, there was no reason for me to hide it. The gold chain on my neck underlined the paleness in my face. My father saw it and was uneasy about it. He said: What’s that you are wearing? Let me see. I showed it to him. He ordered: Take it off immediately. I refused and said: No, it is mine and I want to keep it. With a sudden pull he tore it off my neck. I felt pain and it left a red mark on my neck. I begged and cried: Please, give me back my necklace but he refused.

He took my necklace and I felt naked. I knew he wouldn’t throw it away but I was afraid he would sell it or give it to somebody. I was desperate, lost my energy and appetite and my mother noticed how I lost weight. One day she came to me secretly and handed it to me. She said: I found it hidden in an old vase. You should wear it now under your clothes so that your father can’t see it. My energy and appetite returned and I went playing again. The necklace was now with me day and night, week and month and our bond was becoming stronger and stronger. I knew I would be lost without it.

I used to go for a swim in a river about 10 Km away from our city in the afternoons. A car drove past me and I saw a man driving and looking strangely at me as if he was about to stop. The water was icy and I enjoyed diving. I swam in my black and white swim suit and my necklace came to the fore. When I came out of water, a big boy from my school attacked me, tore the necklace off my neck and ran away. I ran after him but he was faster. In my agitation I hit a lamp pole and my nose began bleeding. I went down and was left alone lying on the asphalt road until a car stopped. I recognized the driver who now came out and put me in his car.

He asked me who I was and what happened to me. I told him my story. A short distance from the city he stopped. He said there was a problem with his engine, opened the car doors, placed one hand on my flies and told me to press the gas pedal. He kept holding my flies tightly, squeezing me and telling me to continue pressing the gas pedal. I struggled wildly until I was finally able to free myself. I ran away as fast as I could with my shirt torn and my trousers stained.

It was not my habit to tell my parents what happened but I went to the headmaster the following day and told him about my gold necklace. He immediately called the culprit and ordered him to give it back. Unfortunately my necklace was now different. It was scratched and a piece was broken. “It doesn’t matter” I thought after all my necklace was back. Now I decided to hide it for good. The necklace and I were inseparable for many years until it crumbled. I picked up the pieces carefully and put them in my pocket.

Bremen, 13 April 2008