Prix Laurence - Bettembourg Prix Laurence 2018 - Luxembourg

Prix Laurence 2018

Schusterschitz Marie - The Well

I used to think Santa slid down the chimney at Christmas to bring us presents. I was wrong. I used to think the tooth fairy fluttered away with my baby teeth and left a 1 Euro coin underneath my pillow whenever I got one tooth closer to being a big girl. I was wrong. I used to think my parents would love each other forever and we would all live a happy life. I was wrong. I used to believe nothing bad would ever happen to me. I was wrong.

Ever since I  can remember, I walked along the gravelly path leading from the main road to our house. To my right lay a mossy field, deep green in the spring and summer, drenched with rain in the autumn and winter. To my left there was an old abandoned farm. No one had lived in it for decades and some even told tales of hearing ghoulish screams coming from the decaying rooms inside the white brick walls. The path was rather unspectacular, if you walked along it once, you would have forgotten it by the time you turned the corner.

I was walking home from school, lugging my legs, tired from that day's gym lesson, along in a quest to reach the comfort of my bed. Halfway along the road, I caught a glimpse of grey in the corner of my eye. I dismissed it from my mind, telling myself that it was just a rabbit. A few weeks went by and I had completely forgotten about it, but one day, this time I was almost skipping energetically along the path, I saw it again. There was definitely something in the emerald moss. It looked like a well.

I had never noticed it before, so I stepped up to inspect it more closely. Indeed, it was a tiny well, about the size of a football. Why hadn't I seen it before? It looked old, with moss, very similar to the one I was standing in, clinging to the crumbling grey rocks. The hole in the middle was about the size of my fist and pitch black. No, it was more than pitch black. I don't quite know how to describe it, but it gave me a fright. Moving onwards towards home, I was back to my energetic self when I reached the front door, but I couldn't shake the feeling of uneasiness that had settled over me like an invisible cloak when I had looked down the well. I had never been afraid of the dark, so why did that particular darkness alarm me so much?

As time went by, I saw the well more often. Or at least, I became more aware of it. This might sound crazy, but I could have sworn that it grew every time I laid eyes on it. I didn't notice at first, but when I thought back on how small it had started out, I was struck by how there was now only a thin strip of moss left between its wall and the path. It was like growing up, you only realise how much you have changed over the years when you think back on where you started out.

The well was more on my mind these days. I found it harder to concentrate on school or my social life, because I caught myself thinking about that strange formation of rocks and its creepy hole more often than I would have liked. The more it grew in the field, the more it grew in my mind.

I tried talking to my friends and family about it, but no one knew what I was talking about. It was like I was the only one who was able to see it, feel its presence. Whenever the subject came up, they would divert to a different one or laugh and I say I was having 'one of my moments'. I began to realise that I had to confront this mystery alone, to get to the bottom of it without anyone else there to support me.

The well now reached a good way out onto the path and I had given up on thinking of anything else. It was on my mind all day, all night. I could feel a strange energy vibrate from it, like it was beckoning me to come closer, to look deeper, to lean further over the edge and gaze into the black abyss of nothingness that lay before me. My parents started to get worried, but I brushed them off and told them there was nothing wrong with me. Why would there be anything wrong with me ? They were the ones who couldn't see the giant hole in the middle of our field. My friends started going out without me, not even bothering to call me and ask if I wanted to join them. They had given up on me and, to be perfectly candid, I had given up on them too.

I would wake up in the middle of the night and find myself shivering in my thin pyjamas, standing out in the field, stroking the well's coarse rocks or picking at its soft green moss, I didn't know how I had got there or why I was standing there, but it frightened me. I had no control over my actions or thoughts anymore. It was like an insect had found its way into my brain and was slowly eating away at the rational part, replacing it with inexplicable recklessness. The more this happened though, the less I cared.  I would wake outside and simply trod back home, through the front door, up the stairs and into my bed. It happened almost daily now,  but it started to feel natural, like washing your hands after going to the toilet.

Then, one night, I found myself leaning dangerously close over the edge of the well. The darkness no longer scared me. In fact, I felt welcomed by it, like it was reaching out to embrace me. Before I knew what was happening, I was falling. Falling into the all-consuming darkness. Falling into the unknown. Falling, falling, falling. My arms brushed some twigs and, looking back, I realise these twigs, which were reaching out to me, would have been my salvation. I ignored them, concentrating only on the darkness. I felt safe, protected, understood, like it was my friend, which was something I had not had for quite some time.

After what felt like centuries, I hit the bottom. It was hard and uncomfortable. I would have chuckled and made a joke: rock bottom, eh? But I didn't feel like laughing. I didn't feel like doing anything but sitting there and staring into the vast nothingness that stretched before me. I am still sitting here, staring. You would think my eyes have got used to the darkness by now, but it's still as dark and on that first night. Now and again I feel one of the twigs poke me in the back, but I simply move to a different position so that it can't reach me.

I used to think I would lead a normal life. I used to think I would never be alone. I used to think I was strong. I was wrong. 

ageschéckt den: 16:00 Mon, 2 October 2017 vum: Schusterschitz Marie



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Kënnt am Abrëll 2019 eraus:
D'Anthologie vum Prix Laurence 2018.
Présentatioun: 23. Abrëll, um 18 Auer, an der Librairie Ernster (Stad).

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Kleng Lecture, déi Iech vläicht weiderbréngt:


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Ingeborg Bachmann und Paul Celan
DVA, 2017


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edition suhrkamp, 2018


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Poésie, Gallimard, 2015


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éditions Bruno Doucey, 2018


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Gedichte, Hanser, 2016


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Lyrik, edition suhrkamp, 2018

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Roman, Rowohlt, 2016


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Lyrik, édition g. binsfeld, 2018


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édition g. binsfeld, 2017


-  Autopsie
Roman (op lëtz.), Ultimomondo, 2014

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Poesie, éd. phi, 2013

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Erzählungen, capybarabooks, 2017


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aus der Collectioun smart
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Auteuren 2019


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