The divide from below

She is sitting in the yellow metro wagon, together with two younger friends. Together they are rumbling through West Berlin. Ten years old, she feels big, grown up, a girl of the world, excited. She is used to traveling through town alone by metro to her piano classes in the other neighborhood. But today is special. She is not alone. She remembers it as it is the first time she travels with the two other children by metro. They feel brave. Instead of taking her normal route they opt for a way North, in a direction of her mother's workplace. It is a long way with many stations to pass until they reach their destination.  People get out and others get in. The children sit on the long bench, holding hands, and watch as people pass by. Some take a seat beside them while others leave space. The three are too fascinated by what they see to actually talk with one another. At one point the metro takes a turn underground. The sound of creaking wagons leaning to one or the other direction when turning slightly to the right or left in the tube-tunnel is unbearably loud. There is an ever lasting smell of burnt rubber sticking in the air. Arriving at a half-lit train station, the train slows down but doesn’t halt. Suddenly lights in the wagons are dimed. The girl slips her hand off the others and stares out of the windows. She sees motionless men in uniforms with guns pointing at the slow moving train. Nobody but two to three gunned men are visible. It is spooky. Why does the train move so slowly and why have the lights been turned down? What if the train stopped here? What if somebody wanted to get out? Is it possible to get out? Why are these people armed? Are they soldiers? What kind of station is this?

These stations appear to be ghost stations. The dim light, the empty platforms and the slow moving metro train, packed with people. It is real and not real at the same time. She doesn’t have words to explain what they are witnessing.  She feels frightened but wouldn’t show her feelings to the other two friends. She is hoping for the two other kids to not take notice.  For a fraction of a second, an idea occurs to her that nobody would know where to look for them if something happened. These underground metro stations seem like a hidden world where people could disappear. They seem like a big void - unknown and undescribed. It is the divide of the city, below ground. So far she has been familiar with the Wall above ground. It has been an unquestioned fact for her. Now she literally feels the divide to be much deeper, creating a world out of place below the surface. Adults just stare blindly.