“So, Jacinta,” says my German friend Sandy, eyeing me suggestively.
“What?” I ask.
“Do you really make all your quotes up? For your blog?”
I grimace. Then I say: “Well, yeah, a little bit. I kind of have to because everyone I know is really boring and unoriginal and unintelligent and stuff.”
Sandy just grins at me. She doesn’t bat an eyelid.
“Will you put me in your blog one day?” she asks.
“Okay,” I say.
“But don’t make the quotes up!”
“Okay,” I say.
“And don’t call me a cunt or anything,” she adds.
“Okay,” I say. We sit there in a peaceful silence for a bit. After a few moments, I say: “So, can you try and say something interesting then?”
“I dunno, maybe your father was in the Stasi. Was your father in the Stasi? That would make for a great blog, if your father was in the Stasi.”
“Erm no,” she says apologetically. “I actually really don’t think he was in the Stasi to be honest.”
“Oh, well,” I say, only slightly disappointed. I remember when I first came to Berlin, I just thought everyone I met had either been in the Stasi themselves or else their parents had been and they’d, like, kept secret files on them and written down notes whenever they came home from school with a Spiderman comic or something. But I don’t think that anymore. Not really. Well, not much.
“Abortion!” I say. “Let’s talk about abortion. How many abortions have you had?”
Sandy laughs. “Oh, Jacinta,” she says, disapprovingly.
“Come on,” I say. “I’ll change your name, anyway.”
“I’m not sure I want to be in your blog, after all,” Sandy says.
I sigh. “Okay, listen – and can I quote you on this? Do you believe that all men who are anti-abortion should have their penises chopped off? Is that what you think?”
Sandy looks at me blankly. “Yes?” she says.
“Good,” I say.
“I mean, I guess so,” she says.
“I’ve got a male friend who’s anti-abortion,” I say. “I mean, kind of a friend. I mean, he’s an acquaintance, really. And he’s all anti-abortion. Well, he claims to be. And sometimes I just look at him and I think I should take all my clothes off, you know, and kneel naked on the floor before him, you know, like in porn, and look into his eyes and ask him: ‘Do you wish I’d died when I was pregnant? Do you wish I’d committed suicide? Is that what you wish had happened?’ And then he’d say no and I’d say: ‘Oh, you’re not really anti-abortion, then, are you!’ and we could, you know, really be friends, like true friends, you know, people who don’t secretly wish the other one was dead.”
“Yeah,” says Sandy. “But he’d probably say yes, wouldn’t he?”
I sigh again. “Yes, he probably would.”
“I mean, it’s not like they don’t know,” Sandy says. “I don’t wanna be all feminist about it, but it’s not like the anti-abortion people don’t know… don’t know about all the girls who died before we had legal abortions, all those scullery maids who died in the bath with knitting needles up their vaginas. It’s not like they don’t know. They know. They don’t give a shit.”
“I mean, he’s not anti-abortion-anti-abortion,” I say, quickly. “It’s not like he spends his Saturdays outside clinics with a load of pickled embryos in a jar. He just thinks he has the right to say to you: ‘Oh, I’m anti-abortion. I wish you were dead. I wish you’d done yourself in, when you were a teenager. That’s what I wish had happened to you, what I genuinely wish had happened. Such a shame it didn’t. More’s the pity. I wish you had died. I wish you were dead. I wish you were dead, because you have a vagina and I don’t, you deserve to die.'”
I stop talking, because I realize I’ve gotten carried away again. My boyfriend has a rule for me: after the third glass of wine I’m not allowed to talk about rape, abortion or Thilo Sarrazin.
But Sandy isn’t really properly listening, anyway. She grins at me and says: “Jacinta, if you do write a blog about me, and you do make all the quotes up, will you correct my English and make them more interesting and everything?”
I grin back at her.
“Of course I will,” I say softly. “That’s the whole bloody point.”