11 June 2015, Thursday – We stare at the telephone

My restlessness drives me out of bed in the night as it so often does. I cry a great deal. Under a starry sky I linger on the balcony and consider whether to involve the media. Our situation would definitely be worth a headline for a certain tabloid. In the end I banish the thought as I don´t need the additional stress.
In the morning we try to distract ourselves by visiting the zoo. Kiwara Kopje, the newly opened outdoor enclosure for rhinoceroses, cheetahs and monkeys, fascinates us.
We get an email from Melanie in Paris who feels she´s been left in the lurch. It beggars belief that the local Germanwings representatives are unable to tell her how to proceed. She´s been advised to call the Care Center from Paris – the same one I´ve been in constant contact with. She´s been trying to get through since yesterday evening. So much for our distraction. We drive home.
I speak to Germanwings on the phone and my anger echoes through the room. “Why can´t Jens´s girlfriend get the flight information to Marseille? Why aren´t they telling her anything in Paris? When can she accompany Jens´s casket from Marseille to Leipzig?“
Contrary to my expectations the employee makes a competent impression. Her kindness takes away my aggressiveness. She also thinks this is not right and promises to have the situation changed. As far as the transfer is concerned, she´ll look into it and ring us back.
Again we stare at the telephone. When would it ring? In half an hour? Two or three hours? Maybe not at all? We´ve got used to quite a bit.
Meanwhile, Melanie is at the French prosecutor´s informational meeting. She writes later that there isn´t much news. Those family members who had the strength could listen to the black box recording. The last ten minutes were played and explained. It was hard for her but also good.
The telephone rings and I flinch. What will the caller say?
It´s the competent employee from the Care Center. There are two options for the return of Jens´s remains to Leipzig. The first: The casket would be flown from Marseille to the Leipzig-Halle airport via Frankfurt. Melanie would have to spend an additional night in Frankfurt. The hitch is that this would not be possible before next Tuesday at the earliest and most likely later.
The second option: Next Monday Melanie could fly from Marseille to Berlin, where the funeral home we are working with would meet Jens and bring him to Leipzig.
Berlin! The thought goes through my head that at least it´s finally concrete information. But why not directly to Leipzig? We never get a logical explanation.
I ask if we can meet Jens´s casket privately in a separate room at the airport and she says hesitantly, “This is difficult.“
“Why? It was also possible at the Düsseldorf airport!“ I yell.
“We´ll do what we can. Unfortunately, that is not possible,“ she stammers.
We don´t find out why.
It´s best if we decide today.
We deliberate and choose Berlin. Jens will then arrive on 15 June at Tegel. It´s the only quick solution as we cannot and do not want to wait any longer.
We spend the evening drinking. “Better than psychotropic drugs,“ I think. Although we try to calm our nerves with huge gulps we stay relatively sober.

© Brigitte Voß / Translation: Ellen Rosenbaum


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