A father doesn't give up : The
story of a used man
doesn't give up : The story of a used man
by Karin Jäckel
(German, 2001, Rowohlt, 318 pp., pb., ISBN 3 499 60692 5;
DM 19.90; German title: Ein Vater gibt nicht auf : Die Geschichte eines gebrauchten
A friend with whom George spoke about that agreed with him.
Children who yearn excessively for a person, that is, too long and too painfully hoped for
him in waiting, they protect their soul instinctively, by asserting that they don't really
need the one for whom they in truth incessantly yearn. They put on an act, for
others and for themselves. They will not grow into real adults. Uschi's mom
was right when she praised her strong daughter and said that without a man in their lives
they were a thousand times better off than before, that they could finally do what what
they wanted and could therefore be much happier.
Later, as an adolescent who had to critically examine her mother and her own
life and come to terms with it all, Uschi gained the conviction that the mother
would never have become so pitifully dependent if she would not have had a man; yes, that
even she herself would have been far more fortunate if right from the start she would not
have had a father.
A father that is never present will never disappoint.
But way in the back in the most hidden corner of her soul there still
remained the yearning for one, a father who protected and provided and brought an end to
the worries and took over responsibility; someone who took the sad little girl that
trembled still in the soul of the maturing girl growing into a woman consolingly into his
arms and said: "Come on, let me do that. I'm here. There's no longer any
need to be afraid."
George came to the depressing realization that his mental sword would hardly
be sufficient to part the Gordian knot in Uschi's personality. The
contradictions of her nature were revealed before him. He comprehended that she
wanted to exercize her right to self-determination and also to be independent from any
man, but that at the same time she had the driving desire to be attended to by one.
He now also understood why she wanted a child as an alibi for her desire to end her toil
at a job and career but wanted at the same time that he should always be there for the
child, so that she would be able to fully enjoy her freedom as a mother; why she dreamed
of a man and father who would give her the guaranty that he would be responsible 'round
never leave, never vanish and never abandon her and her child.
Still, how was he to come to terms with that?
Friends with whom he deliberated about that hedged their bets. "You
still know each other too little. Once she sees how you are and comes to understand
that you'll never leave her, she'll come around and trust in you. She is
young. Don't forget, George, you have a gigantic advantage over her as far as life
experiences go. She could be your daughter. How far along were you, when you
were her age?"
He could do something with that question. It was true. At 30, he
was a wild one with a thousand funny ideas in his head. If one looked at it the
right way, then Uschi's being a control-freak could well be something like her funny
"Pull yourself together, guy!" he told himself and tried to manage
a grin. "Either you love her with her flaws, or you let her go. Which do
When every two days post cards or letters from her arrived, he knew it,
exactly. With each word with which she told him exactingly how her days were going
and let him thereby participate, his yearning for her fell over George like a pack of
The longer the separation, the stronger grew the wings of his hope that the
separation would do them good and dissolve their relationship crisis. And his
re-unification with Uschi proved him right. She loved him. He loved her.
In happy concord they went to the public registry, handed in the documents that had been
demanded for the marriage, and asked that the banns be posted.
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Posted 2002 02 10
2002 02 14 (added link to next instalment of the story of George and Uschi)