An excerpt from the story I wrote in January about a laughter epidemic, rape, and the media. And the darkness! Oh Berlin, your winters are stuck in my bones.
They said it was the darkest winter since records began. When I heard that, it made sense. I mean, it had to be something. We can’t always be so brittle, so close to cracking. But on those shifty January days, when the light barely nuzzled out of the holes in the sky, it was hard to stay on track. I felt it. And when everything began to unravel, it was hard to feel surprised.
I don’t mean to downplay the causes. It was more than the weather: it was the violence too, of course it was, the horror that this could happen here, of all places. It was him. Still, I can’t help but think that it wasn’t for that thick grey that swaddled everything that winter, things might never have got so out of hand.
When you read reports of it now, they use the word “hysteria”. As in “mass hysteria”; as in “those bitches were crazy”. Women, amirite? But if everyone else’s reactions were crazy, then I guess that means mine was sane. And I want you to know: it wasn’t. I’m not the smart one here. If things were different for me, it was for a whole other reason. And I want to explain, because for all I have to say about the darkness, the weather, I am also afraid. Just because I did not laugh. I want you to know: I was also afraid.