The taxi arrived bang on 10.50am, in typical German fashion.
I placed my suitcase in the boot and sat myself in the back seats. This part of Cologne was somewhat insignificant architecturally, the suburban streets comparable to the Bearsden bungalows of Glasgow.
Being in Germany, let me off the hook of asking the driver if he was keeping busy.
The driver spoke to me though.
Scotland I informed him
He had been there.
He had not seen any monster, he informed me.
I recognized the street to the left was where I had been yesterday, to the EL-DE Haus – a museum documenting Gestapo’s actions. The building had been used as prison cells and torture rooms for forced laborers and political enemies. The captured fear on the black and white displayed photographs of gypsy children, lingered with me all weekend.
You have family?
Just one son?
Lewis is nineteen and your boy?
I was lost for words as we passed the magnificent Cologne Cathedral, and thought of the
goosestepping Nazi hordes that had marched outside there.
I am so sorry to hear that.
He was nineteen too.
Was he ill.
No he was out, they reckon he was drunk, a tram nudged him.
I am so sorry.
It was on the eleventh of the eleventh.
The eleventh of the eleventh?
Yes, eleventh of the eleventh, two weeks this day.
Christmas trumpets blared out from the Christmas markets.
I miss him.
I can’t imagine.
The memorial to the twenty thousand Jews had one holly wreath lying lopsided against the plinth.
What terminal was it sir?
Before he took my suitcase from the boot, I hugged him.