Visiting Cathedrals with Christine

With Christine you could forget about visiting cathedrals. While examining the altar triptychs he tried to keep an eye on her—but it happened all the time. A bottom plate was loose, or a quarry stone had budged, and Christine was gone without a trace. With her long fingernails, which were as strong as her interest in history, she checked every seam, every joint, always discovering a way. Then he would hide himself in the confession booth (where she actually belonged) and call her quietly on the cell phone. When she picked up the acoustics would tell him whether she had again discovered a forgotten spiral staircase or crypt, or was climbing about high in the tower. Actually, he was quite certain that she wasn’t disturbing anything. But all the same, hours later when they left, he looked back to make sure the cathedral facades stood intact. That in southern Germany one cathedral tower stood a meter taller than its twin could not be blamed on Christine. It had happened before her time. Come evening he helped her wash the centuries of dust from her hair. On those occasions when she had discovered a crypt— for her the ultimate find—he asked no questions concerning dead bishops. He gave her more of the blanket. Then, once she had fallen asleep, he carefully took her temperature.

translated by Eldon (Craig) Reishus, whose work appears in 2.4 and 50/50

Rupprecht Mayer was born near Salzburg. After some 20 years living and working in Taiwan, Beijing, and Shanghai, he resettled in SE Bavaria. He translates Chinese literature and writes short prose. English versions appeared in AGNI Online, Radius and 30 other print and online literary journals. www.chinablaetter.info/rupprechtmayer/

You can see more of his work in 3.4