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Programmer, Writer, Whatever Else

Not Simple Anymore

Oskar stood for hours, slowly moving forward, only a couple steps at a time. He finally reached the desk where a teller greeted him. After some talk, Oskar pulled the cash from his bag. He stared at the money, that brought him and his family the luxuries they have enjoyed. Reaching his hand out, he gave each note to the bank. He didn't need it anymore, nobody did. Oskar watched as the teller across the desk counted totalled each Mark in the stack and counted his new money in its own bundle. After only a few minutes, he was given his new notes. He bit his tongue, refusing to protest out loud. Oskar thanked the worker and walked back past the line, now longer than the one he waited in.

He drove to the shops that lined the street on either side, parking beside the sidewalk. He pulled out the keys and sat in his car. The square Trabant was his for only a few years, but it was proudly his. Oskar stepped out onto the crowded pavement, peering down at the stores that held the goods he needed. It was rare to see this amount of people here, but something told Oskar it wouldn't be unique anymore.

Entering a store, he slowly skimmed over the selections. He remembered going there for books before, but everything was changed. Oskar was surrounded with shelves full of food. Each product had different kinds. He had heard about it, seen it on the television, but seeing it himself was something else entirely. The first thing on his list was flour. He passed shelves full of cans, full of bottles, and finally full of bags. He could not force himself to grab a bag. There were so many, so different. They were sorted by names, by amounts, some by color. He could simply get the biggest, but there were several variations of the size alone.

Oskar stood in the aisle for minutes, frozen, staring. Stepping forward, he finally had one. He never chose, he simply took. He quickly made his way to the cashier and paid for the flour. The car trunk slammed shut with the new flour inside. Oskar walked to the next shop for the day, simple appliances. He simply needed a new coffee machine for home. Inside the store, he was greeted with the sight of more names. He slowly examined each one in detail. They all had their own differences, some small, some only appearance. How could he pick one, how could anyone decide off such little changes. He stood in place, stunned for too long. He was passed by other shoppers time and time again, some he even recognized from seconds earlier.

Oskar was defeated, he exited the store with nothing in his hands. Waking back to the car, he peered into each store. He found many folks standing outside, deciding just as he had. After 29 years, after his whole life he lived, everything was changing before him.

The roads on his way home were filled. More shops he passed were full of their own customers, the streets were constantly begin crossed. The only other time Oskar had seen Leipzig so busy was last year during the protest. The roaring of cars and conversations of others were drowning out the radio before he turned it up. The news that was told to him was the same as it had been. People were moving to the west in a constant flow. The wall was down for 8 months by now, and people have had more than enough time to get what they needed and say their goodbyes.

His drive reminded him of the new world he would live in. Advertisements littered the view off the streets, flyers here handed out for whatever the giver had to sell. In a weird way, not all things were completely different. Oskar drove his car past hordes of people drinking the same drink, just as they would last year. All he wanted now was to get home, he would speak to his family about what they wanted. What kind of coffee machine they wanted, what kinds of foods from the store they wanted to try. And whether or not they wanted to stay.

It would take Oskar time to get used to even the new style of browsing. A few months later, many of the programs on the television that he grew up with were no more. Sure, there were plenty from the west that he has watched. But all the news, the state programs, would disappear. It was no longer as simple as it was.