I would try again.

by Amy Turn Sharp


At the Heidelberg Castle in Heidelberg, Germany there is a huge wooden door that guards the castle entrance.  It was once the only way in or out during wartime and hanging on the iron wicket gate is a big iron ring that was used as a door knocker. The legend surrounding it is that the castle belongs to whoever is able to bite through the iron ring. They say loads of people have tried and only broke off their teeth. They say a witch came to the castle one day and stayed all day gnawing and biting the ring. They call it the "witches ring" nowadays because it has a big crack and obvious dent in it. I saw it. Something made the imprint. I fingered it and then posed prissy for a photograph with my big mouth wrapping around the iron. I smiled with my eyes out towards my future self.

We had tripped giggles all day long through the city. It was humid enough to curl hair and the beer tasted much colder than I had ever known beer to taste. Even colder than water. We made friends with everyone who was a man and the world spun so fast and we talked nonsensical mumbo jumbo to much older people who knew we were not fully expressed beings yet. Not even close. We were living like a Cliff Note through love and sex and philosophy and all the things that you claw towards when young. We were on the verge of all the things we would wrap into funny stories and take out of our handbags for the rest of our lives. We were about to make our narratives. We had arms like shovels. We had high hunger.

And mostly later it is all blurry but I know that someone held me while I cried and cried on the cobblestone street. They just kept telling me it would be alright. As you do. You tell people what they want to hear. What they need to hear. She just kept telling me that I could not go back and try to bite that ring again. She said it was too late and I looked up at her through my Sammy Hagar hair and cried and cried.