On Halloween we had three trick-or-treaters, which means the holiday is becoming wildly popular here in Germany! (After all, that’s three more trick-or-treaters than we’ve had other years.)
I was curious about when Halloween was introduced to German culture so I looked it up and, according to Der Spiegel, celebrations began in 1991 (reason being, Carnival was canceled due to the Gulf War.) So. it’s only taken about twenty-five years for things to get rolling in our Heidelberg suburb.
Nevertheless, Todd and I were well prepared with three jumbo-sized bags of American candy bought from the commissary on base. After all, you never can be too prepared.
When the trick-or-treaters arrived I opened up, mixing bowl filled of goodies in hand, and the kids dutifully chanted, “Suesses, sonst gibt’s Saures!” which roughly translates to, “Give me something sweet, or else you’ll get something sour!”
A man was waiting for me behind a tree.
I didn’t know this, yet, as I unlocked my bike after watching a World Cup game on a big screen outdoors at Marstallhof with friends back in 2006. I had no idea what was coming as I rode along the Neckar River and followed the curve of the bike path over to Bergheimerstrasse. It was reaching 9 p.m. and it was June, so there was still some daylight refusing the hug of encroaching nighttime.
I remember that I rode fast, and even stood up on my pedals as I crossed over a bridge—like a child—so that I could rise above my handlebars and face the wind head-on. I looked to the left, over at the distant hills, and then below the bridge where the train tracks were. I saw fluorescent lights, the clean platform, a few ICE trains like long white bullets resting on the track.
There’s so many bike rides that I forget. Even now, I ride my bike home to and from work every day and often get so lost in thought that I barely remember the journey from point A to point B.
But, I’ll never forget this particular ride.