Heinrich Böll: Views of a Clown (1963)

I also asked her to explain to me exactly what they had done to her in the hospital, she said it had been a „woman thing“, „harmless, but shy“. The word woman thing flö&foreign;t frightens me. It sounds mysterious to me in a böse way, because I am completely ignorant in these things. I had already been with Marie for three years when I first heard about this „woman thing“. I knew how women have children, of course, but I didn't know anything about the details. …. The second person who told me about it was Karl Emonds, my schoolmate, who was always fiddling with his horrible tables of fertility.


In the afternoon, when the vice squad came, I was glad that Marie was gone, although the fact that she was gone was embarrassing for me. … „You must understand that“, said the officer, „we have to do certain spot checks when transients have abortive – she hüstelte – diseases.“ „I understand everything“, I said – I had not read anything about abortive in the dictionary.

Getämpft the petulance in the voices, never persönlich; sie riß nur manchmal aus der gleichmäßigen Kurve aus und kratzte Zacken in den Nachbarschaftshimmel, immer aus nichtlichen, nie aus den wahren Anlässen: when a saucer broke clinking, a rolling ball bent flowers … - the voices become shrill, which must not become shrill because of cheating, adultery, abortion.

Später my mother even wrote that she had „disowned me“. It can be distasteful to the point of idiocy, because she quoted the expression from a novel by Schnitzler called ‚Herz im Zwiespalt‘. In this novel, a girl is „disowned“ by her parents because she refuses to give birth to a child conceived for her by a „noble but weak artist“, I believe, an actor.