Ever tried homeschooling your patience

Sleepless

I'm running through the forest. I gave my jacket to Lara. It's cold, but I'm faster without it. At some point Lara just started walking. It was a long time before I caught up with them. Longer than I thought Then suddenly she stopped, panting, hands on hips. "I can not anymore. You're the jogger, ”she gasped. "Run!"

It was ten minutes ago, or maybe twenty. No idea. Lara takes a different path through the forest. I hear her calling from somewhere behind me. "Felix! Theo! ”Her voice drives me. I increase the pace again. “Theo,” I call. "Felix". The echo wafts through the rows of pine trees to my right. As I run, I notice that the trees are completely symmetrical to each other. They shoot past me, but the picture doesn't change. I feel like a giant wheel and my head is spinning. One moment think of the vanishing point perspective in art class and the next, think of those crazy stairs in that Hitchcock movie. Escape and Hitchcock. There are wolves here, Sascha had said that evening. Four packs. Four packs in this godforsaken area in Brandenburg, south of Berlin, where two boys have disappeared without a trace. I keep running.

We are visiting Lara and Sascha. You went out into the country a few years ago and built here in Brandenburg. So far, the weekend has been perfectly harmonious. Our daughters Frieda and Elsa play great together, our sons Theo and Felix are best friends. Still, although they haven't seen each other in over a year. They have known each other since daycare and are inseparable, play soccer, swap player cards, climb a tree house, hammer a wall and enjoy every second of their being together. Hopefully still now.

After breakfast we went on a hike. That was an hour ago. Felix and Theo took the lead straight away. We soon stopped seeing them, which annoyed my wife and me. We had agreed with Theo that he would always have to see us, even if he ran up. Lara reassures us: “Felix knows the way. They are waiting for us at the crossroads. "

When we arrive there is no one waiting there. Instead, an old, faded motorhome starts moving. It drives slowly down the street, away from us. The windows are dirty and dark, I didn't see the driver. Right now I have to think of “Breaking Bad”. In the US series, the two main characters had converted a similar mobile home into their drug laboratory. I look over at my wife. Apparently she thinks something similar. "Hmm, funny. Maybe they both went the other way around to the football field, ”says Sascha. "You keep running, I'll go back again."

In the front Lara speaks to a family with a boy. She calls: “Sascha, stop! You saw the two boys. They walked that way. They'll be waiting for us at the lake. ”The general relief is great. Only my wife remains tense. "I already run ahead, it doesn't leave me alone."

Lara and I stroll after. "Oh, I think the boys just talk all the time and have forgotten each other," she says. “Felix wants to impress Theo. He wants to show his friend how well he knows his stuff. They stand right by the water and say: 'Where are you, you lame ducks?' ”At that moment my wife comes running back. Nobody is on the water.

I run through the forest in Brandenburg, which is teeming with wolves. There is a motorway very close by. In one direction it goes to Potsdam, in the other to Poland. The mobile home could be over the mountains with the boys, it shoots through my head.

The path forks. I have no idea where to go and call Lara who is somewhere behind me. “Do you see a bar?” She asks, out of breath. “What?” “Is there a board that is fastened horizontally to two trees?” I turn around in all directions. “No, not a bar,” I say. "Then you have to keep running." I do.

The forest is alien to me. The pines scurry past me, a labyrinth of dark brown stakes on barren ground full of dead needles. I keep calling the boys' names and listening. Where does the forest carry the echo? My lungs are on fire. It's a little uphill. It is exhausting. I don't wear jogging shoes. I see myself walking through this forest and think: The boys are not here.

At some point I stand breathless in front of a fence. Behind it is a hill. So old garbage dump, on which lawn now grows, with low chimneys for the gas. There are many of the hills in Brandenburg. The kids never ran that far, I think. Two mountain bikers are racing towards me. "Have you seen two boys?" I call out to them. “No!” They answer as if from one mouth and dash past me. Somewhere close by I can hear the rustling of the motorway.

My phone is ringing. Lara. The boys called Sascha, they are at home. She sounds breathless and empty and not a bit relieved. The two didn't feel like the hike and just decided to run away. "Okay, see you soon", we end the conversation. I'm relieved and pissed off. The sweat runs down my body from under my clothes.

Now I have to orient myself. My mobile data shows an E. E for Edge. On the edge - that's how I feel in this Brandenburg pine forest. I can forget Google Maps. So I have to find my way myself. I stay south. Nobody is on the way. The phone rings again. My wife. She is on her way home with Sascha. It doesn't sound relieved, but it is. I know you. And she's completely done. I say that I'm on my way, but that I have to find my way first. We hang up.

In the forest a sign tells me that I am walking properly. Two and a half kilometers to the town center. If Theo were standing in front of me now, I would tape him one. What kind of idiots are the two of them, screwing up our day, I think and trudge on. Do they actually know what worries we were? The trees are gradually thinning. I step out of the forest and walk along a field. To my left is a lonely courtyard that must have looked the same forty years ago.

The memory that suddenly comes up in me is around 35 years old. At that time I ran away with two friends. Shortly before that we had seen “Stand by me - The Secret of a Summer” in the cinema. The movie blew us away and was probably what triggered our breakout. We left the school bus and set off. Just like that, without thinking too much, without a goal. We just wanted to go. At some point we ran across train tracks like the boys in “Stand by me”. But things were much less dramatic than in the Rob Reiner film. The engine driver sounded the horn once and we were off the tracks.

At some point my mother picked us up after she had driven to school several times. If I remember correctly, there wasn't much trouble, although she must have been pissed off. But she always had a big heart for freedom lovers. Now I think of Bruce Springsteen and “Born to Run” and realize that I don't have headphones with me. Then I just hum.

At some point I will reach Sascha's and Lara's house. Felix and Theo heard a lot from their mothers. You sit remorsefully in Felix's room and don't show up. I decide to leave it at that and talk to Theo about the matter later.

All children, boys and girls, have this urge to discover something new on their own and maybe even break out. That should be clear to us parents. We are not going to prevent this and we should not suppress it either. Instead, we should give them a framework in which they can move freely. It is important that you do not go out all by yourself. This frame is currently about one square kilometer: from the school, past the ice cream parlor to the river and on the other side to the playground behind the sports fields. It gets bigger and bigger the older you get.

While I was writing this post, a message popped up on the social networks: The police were looking for a ten-year-old boy in my old home. In the evening he was home again. I can very well imagine how the parents felt during the search and what was going on in their heads. After all, our Theo was out with his best friend.

Tags: fear, parenting worries, friends, friendship, kidnapping, stand by me, search, towers, disappearing, running away, wolves