It’s one of those situations in which one’s observations say more about the observer than the one being observed.
And although it appears near the end of the story, after readers have become acquainted with both characters, it reinforces a remark made earlier about Uncle Theo: “Nothing of Uncle Theo’s is quite the truth or entirely a lie.”
The story isn’t about any of this. And, yet, it is. At the end, when Hilde says “I’ve forgotten why I wanted to mention this”, I thought “mention what?” and reread a few lines and then reread the rest of the story.
Uncle Theo asked Hilde to consider whether the pair of them could send some money to Hilde’s father (Uncle Theo’s brother) and this irks her. She is annoyed by having to work on Christmas Eve and by having six loud East German refugees in the next apartment and by the remnants of wartime which she passes on her way to work in the Civic Tourist and Travel Bureau. It is hard to be Hilde.
What was it about again? All of these things and none of them. “It is probably best not to try to remember.”