Every year for as long as I can remember I went and stayed a week or two with my aunt. I could do everything that I wanted when I was with my aunt. I went everywhere with her. We slept in the same bed. She was like a mother to me. And I needed that, my parents were and are useless. My aunt helped me with everything, she was a great help for me.
She wasn't my aunt, but I did not find that out until I was a young woman. However this was no problem, perhaps even helpful, as I got very close to her, as close as you can.
The last time I went to see her, she was a little different, she lived in another house. And she had a new name. But we did what we always did. We hugged each other, I told her what I wanted to do to her that night, she told me what she wanted to do to me that night, she took me to her bedroom and opened the cupboard door.
As usual I undressed and put on some of her clothes, I wanted to look like her, I suppose I wanted to show that I loved her.
Oh, I've got some surprises for you, my dear Emma. There is someone I want you to meet.
Fräulein Braun was a very jolly young woman. She wore the same odd clothes as my aunt, the same as what I was wearing.
Yes, said my aunt, this is Fräulein Braun, and I have another surprise for you. I am Frau Alpert, call me Frau Alpert from now on. And no, before you ask, I didn't change my name, someone else did, and I don't know who it was. I heard the sound of a click.
We went for a long walk and I talked with Fräulein Braun. She was very jolly as I have just told you. She appeared to be very happy, she told jokes and funny stories. It was fun to be with her.
It is true, she said, you have to be happy, it's nice being happy, very nice, very nice indeed.
Are you always so happy?
Oh, yes! I like to be happy, very happy indeed. That is why I am Fräulein Braun, perhaps I have always wanted that. Being Fräulein Braun is so much fun, very happy, very happy indeed.
I couldn't understand this, something went click in my head. You speak as if you are not Fräulein Braun. Who are you really? What is your real name?
Oh, what a naughty word. Don't use it! It makes everyone unhappy.
Well, what is the name on your passport? Is it Fräulein Braun?
Oh, no! Not at all. Shall I tell you?
Oh, yes! And she told me. No, that can't be true. I don't believe it.
If you don't believe me, what do I care. I know who I am. I am not Fräulein Braun, but I like being Fräulein Braun, because it makes me happy. Everyone thinks that I am Fräulein Braun. It makes me happy, very happy indeed.
What does Frau Alpert think? I felt another click in my head. Wrong question.
Oh, she wants to be with you tonight. I don't mind. I am with Frau Alpert most nights, but I don't have to be.
I spent the night with my darling aunt – I was happy.
The next day I had to find out. Who was Fräulein Braun? And there was only one way to find out. I asked her if I could. She said, “Oh yes, if you want to, but please be gentle with me.” I felt another click in my head.
I did and Fräulein Braun turned slowly into a different person. This person was completely different and had a different voice and said, “Oh, you can let go of me now!”
I did and Fräulein Braun reappeared. You are who you said you were yesterday, but why do you look so different now? How long have you been Fräulein Braun?
Oh, about three weeks. Everyone thinks that I am Fräulein Braun, they look at me, but they don't see me, they see Fräulein Braun. I like being Fräulein Braun, it pleases me, very much. Perhaps it makes me happier, I don't know.
Everybody sees you as Fräulein Braun?
Oh, yes, everyone. Only you and Frau Alpert know that I don't look like Fräulein Braun. But you see me, you see Fräulein Braun. Perhaps I am Fräulein Braun.
Where is the real Fräulein Braun?
Don't use that silly word again! It makes me unhappy, and I don't want to be unhappy. I felt another click in my head.
I don't want you to be unhappy. I haven't upset you, have I?
Oh, no! Not at all. I like being close to you.
I sat down next to Fräulein Braun and held her close. After some time she turned to me and whispered something into my ear.
I like you. I want to be close to you. I want to be close to you tonight with Frau Alpert. Frau Alpert wants us to be together. Please tell me that you want to be with me and with Frau Alpert tonight.
She whispered many things into my ear. After a while I realised that she was gently chewing my ear. I think that she was trying to make me happy. Frau Alpert came into the room and sat on the other side of me and chewed my other ear.
I was happy – we were together that night.
The days passed, I was so happy to be with the pair of them – Frau Alpert and Fräulein Braun. We went for long walks together, once we went to the zoo. I spoke to Frau Alpert and Fräulein Braun a lot. We got closer and closer. They were so gentle with me.
However I noticed that Frau Alpert never spoke to Fräulein Braun and Fräulein Braun never to Frau Alpert. I asked Fräulein Braun why.
Oh, that's easy, very easy indeed. I can see inside Frau Alpert's mind, I know what she is thinking, she hides nothing from me, she can't.
Oh, you're just saying that, I don't believe you.
Oh, I can read her mind. Oh, yes! And it is very good so. I can sit all day in her mind and know everything about her. She likes it too. That is why we never talk to one another. I know what she is thinking. She is thinking about you right now, lovely thoughts.
It was the last click, the ratchet had reached its full travel, full lock.
I think that you are worried about something, said Fräulein Braun. I think I know what it is.
Can you read my mind?
Oh, no! I cannot do that, but I know some things. Yes, it is true, Frau Alpert is a bit mad, there is nothing that can done about it. And I'm completely mad. You know that. But that is not the reason that you are worried. She paused and said:
Let me tell you something. You are not one bit mad. You are quite normal. And the funny thing about it is, that you can be happy without being mad. And when I say you, I mean you, you are unusual, you are normal and happy. That is, you can be happy if you want to be.
The last words that Fräulein Braun said to me were: “You will be happy.”