Frequency: All (berlin)

ALL (berlin)

all we have is time

Maggie wonders what it had been like for the East Germans who somehow made their way over the Berlin Wall, not knowing if they would get shot in the attempt, not knowing much about the world they would find on the other side. She wonders about the boat people at sea, and the aborigines on walkabout. That aimless journey away from the known, toward the darkness or the light.

all we need is water

When Charlie lived in Philadelphia and Helen lived in New York, they were just as likely to meet for a weekend in Paris or Rome or Berlin as they were to meet in New Jersey. Sometimes Charlie could tie it in with a meeting with the exporters he worked with in Sicily. The ocean crossing and the added expense lent the hotel room assignation some extra allure, an exoticism that they both enjoyed.

all went away from him

They never recovered the body, and that as much as anything else destroyed the both of them. The uncertainty of how precisely the boy perished, how he disappeared from their lives. That bobbing thing could have been a dolphin or a boy. There were so many unanswered questions, and their marital bed was as divided as Berlin during the Cold War.

all must know where to go

Maggie made a list of places she had never been to she might like to go: Machu Picchu, Everest, Madagascar, Berlin. And things she might like to do that she had never done: hang-gliding, scuba diving, macramé. Finally she assembled a list of things she had done in her life and enjoyed enough to do again while she still had time. While her high school boyfriend was no longer available, she could still go horseback riding.

all my air went out from me

After Charlie was married and at the height of the turmoil in their affair, Helen once wrote that she was living in her own private Berlin, and she was waiting for his airlift to come. They were both prone to that type of rhetoric, for a time.

all must part

At his mother’s deathbed, Kent reflects that one of his greatest regrets is that he didn’t have enough money to support her properly while she could still enjoy life. Sure, he got her into one of the best convalescent homes in California once she started to go, but all through the nineties she lived in an apartment complex in LA that reminded of him of nothing so much as one of those East Berlin tenements they built during the Soviet era. He hated visiting her all that time. It shamed him that his own mother was living there.

all must go home again

The same moon is full tonight in Austin, San Francisco, Malibu, New Jersey, Paris, and Berlin, and while it is true that it is the same moon, and all of our characters find a moment to look at it this night, it is not true that they see the same moon. To Anna, the moon is blood red and threatening, while Kent sees a pie in the sky, and Charlie sees a woman’s face, while Roger contemplates putting an enormous neon sign there as an ironic gesture, and it reminds Maggie of a long-ago summer night, while it makes Helen think of a blues song, and Howard thinks about the asteroids that have pocked its naked surface. For some reason the moon makes Dave think about sex, and wonder why he and Jenny have never made it on a beach.

all turn away

In addition to the fact that it is so difficult to gather reliable information there, Howard opines, people just don’t want to know how many civilian casualties there have been in Iraq. We just don’t want to know about that. That’s how it goes with war. The victors alone are allowed to grieve their dead. How often do you think about Dresden, or the fire-bombing of Berlin? The bombing of London, sure, the horror of Auschwitz, of course, but who grieved for Berlin? Someone points out that it’s in poor taste to compare the United States’ war on terror to the Nazi genocide, a just war with a crime against humanity. Howard shuts up and orders another pilsener.

all play the same way

A shuttered window frame in Tuscany, an ornate door frame in Berlin, a view of ant-like traffic from a Chicago skyscraper, the smell of freshly-ironed sheets in a Paris hotel. Helen remembers certain still-life moments of a long affair.

all ask why and find no answer

Roger would like to construct something for the present moment like the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, something massive that reflects the deep and persistent fear, the emptiness he feels all around him in the middle of the American mind.

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