A Life Well Lived
by Jim Cook
Chapter Five : Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)
Sitting in the bar car, with beer in hand, the countryside flew bye. Noticing that my favorite bartender was not working, my eyes wandered checking out who else was on board. There were a couple of guys that looked interesting, but; most were older. Unlike the other bartender this guy, much older and seemingly straight, kept ogling the couple of women across from him.
Not yet ready to eat my lunch, packed with love by Jorge. I wandered through the cars, seeing if I could catch anyone’s eye. Passing through the dinning car; my eye caught sight of a good looking blond waiter. Looks like Jorge’s “Lunch” will be dinner, instead.
I appeared to be one of the last lunch diners, so I took my time eating. By the last of my Wienerschnitzel and wine, the waiter had time to chat a little. Heinz, having found out his name, gave me the name of a couple of clubs in Berlin. He also had a recommendation for a not too pricey gay hotel, only a block and a half from one of the clubs.
I hoped he might be available for a personal tour; unfortunately he wasn’t off for two more days. We’d talked for the best part of an hour, when Heinz excused himself needing to get the tables set for dinner. The slip of paper Heinz had written the hotel and club information on, I noticed, also had his phone number on the back. Never having asked, we just assumed that other was gay. Although by looking at Heinz you would never have suspected.
Back in my seat, I decided to take a well needed rest. I must have napped for awhile; two hours had passed when I awoke. Being an express train, we will make very few stops between Amsterdam and Berlin. We are a few hours out of Berlin, so I opened my “Lunch”, now dinner, and the wine. The cheese and bread tasted sooo….. Good. The wine, (LIEB-FRAU-MILCH) a great white wine, brought out the best of the flavor from the cheeses.
My lunch box held enough to feed a small army. When I first opened up my box of goodies, I felt a bit self conscious bringing food on board. Back in the states it’s really not done very much. However, after seeing some of my fellow passengers, open up different containers of food, I guessed it was common practice here in Europe.
The sandwiches, fruit, and what looked like cookies, would have to wait. From my window, the sky glowed orange and purple. The sunset, with the deep green of the fields, seemed as picture perfect as any travel log I’d ever seen.
Lost in the moment, I barely noticed as the lights flickered on above me. So too, the windows of the farm houses we passed came to life. Suddenly the train began to slow, seeing the conductor coming through the car, I wondered what was happening. He glanced from side to side as he hurried through. Sensing the confusion on my face, he stopped long enough to say “Rand…. Rand Kreuzend”; speaking in English, recognizing me as a foreigner, Border, Border crossing.
Border, what border, we were already in Germany. Then remembering East and West Germany were split, I realized I was about to enter the communist D D R, (Deutche Democratic Republic). Don’t forget this is nineteen sixty four. The wall and check-point Charlie, were up and going strong.
As the train came to a stop, I caught sight of uniformed guards toting guns, machine guns, walking a long the outside of the train. We were not in a real station, but; I could see barbed wire fencing over ten feet tall on both sides of the train. They checked all the car doors on each side. It looked as if they were affixing some sort of a seal to each of the doors. Or, maybe just making sure the doors were locked. It was hard to tell.
Grabbing my camera, and aiming out the clear glass, I clicked off a couple of pictures. An older woman across from me looked up, and gently shook her head as if to say “don’t”, so I put the camera away.
With a slight jolt, we began moving forward very slowly. Passing through yet another set of high barbed wire gates; the train began picking up speed. As we moved off into the evening twilight, leaving the armed guards behind, I tried to catch my breath.
With my heart racing just a bit, I sat back in my over stuffed seat, pondering what I had just witnessed. East German soldiers carrying loaded weapons, glaring in the windows, as we moved passed. All the D D R flags and banners lit by flood lights, I was impressed, nervous, but; impressed.
Deciding to go up to the dinning car and talk with Heinz, wondering if he could shed some light on what I just experienced. I left resolved to get some answers if I could. Damn, Heinz was no where to be found. The dinning car, except for a lone couple drinking wine at a table near the front of the car, was deserted.
Turning to leave, “Moment….Bitte” (moment, please) came from behind me. There stood Heinz, apron and hat gone, looking himself good enough to eat.
“I…mmm… I wondered if you were free to talk for a few minutes. All those soldiers, the guns, doesn’t it scare you a little?”
With a slight chuckle, “You get used to it, the more trips you make through the “Zone”, Heinz stated with a broad grin. We sat alone at a table at the opposite end of the car, from the other couple.
Heinz told me that he had family living in the East Zone, and is allowed to visit them once a year. He and his father live and work in the west, in order to send money to his sister and mother; wages are five times that of the east. “And……gay clubs are Verboten”, (forbidden) Heinz leaned in close, to whisper. “Unlike here in the west where clubs are legal”. “There are some, just a couple, in East Berlin, but are kept Very, Very….secret”, Heinz continued whispering.
“My father and I live together in a two bedroom flat in Berlin, is pretty expensive for us”, Heinz scowled. “But, everything in Berlin is expensive; to live there costs us much money” rubbing his thumb and fingers together, to emphasize his point.
“Does your dad work for the railroad as well?” I was curious to know.
“Ja….yes, he’s a director for the Deutsches Bundtes Bahnn, in the Berlin office, Heinz replied with obvious pride.
“Oh Jim, Be ready….all this with the East German guards, will happen again as we cross into West Berlin”, Heinz stated with mock sternness.
“Well at least this time I’ll know what to expect”, I chuckled.
“Would you like me to go and get us a couple of beers, looks like maybe you could use one?” getting up and patting my shoulder, he asked.
Gazing out the window I didn’t notice Heinz’s return, until I caught his reflection in the glass. Setting down two bottles of Amstel beer, he handed me a D B B monogrammed beer glass. “Ah, First class”, I kidded him.
“Always” he smiled, taking his seat. The couple at the far end of the car, having finished, made their way passed us into the next car. My cute waiter jumped up, excusing himself, to clean up the table the couple just left.
Watching Heinz scurrying to set the table up I had to admit, he is a hunky guy and quite good looking. Too bad he still had two more days to work, damn! After finishing up, he disappeared through the kitchen door. Moments later, touting a tray with open face sandwiches (all European sandwiches are open face), and another couple of bottles of Amstel. Heinz swaggered back to table, balancing the tray palm up and shoulder high, showing off his skills as a waiter.
“Beer and sandwiches, for two”, Heinz announced, pleased with himself. “Well…., I didn’t really make these…, they were left over after closing the kitchen”, he sheepishly added.
The more I looked over this German with his short cropped blond hair and green eyes, now without his apron and cap, his well built body was obvious. His tightly packed bulge, made it obvious he’s well hung. I was going to make it a point to try and get to know this hunky guy better, a lot…better. After all two days isn’t all that long.
Even the way Heinz nibbled his sandwich and sipped the beer, had a sexiness about it.
“Heinz, how long will you have off, be free, after you finish this trip schedule?” I asked.
“Warum, Why…….liebling (why, my lovely).” his teasing question with an impish grin, made me smile.
“Well I, I was hoping maybe….. We could get together” I asked feeling strange, as if asking for a first date.
“I wondered, if you liked me”, he answered squeezing my knee. “Very much, would I like “Seeing” you”, Heinz chuckled, waggling his eye brows.
“I will have five days free, then I work ten days and have a whole week free, that’s all of my trips for this month” Heinz stated, before asking, “How long are you staying in Berlin Jim?”
“Well that might depend, on just how much….I enjoy Berlin”, I replied with a wink.
“Then I’ll just make sure you have a REALLY…good time”, Heinz added, his arm around my neck.
“Heinz….” A voice called from the kitchen. Getting up, Heinz motioned for me to stay, as he walked toward the galley.
With a sip of beer, I finished my sandwich. A couple of swallows more, my beer too was empty. Returning the dead soldier to the table, I glimpsed Heinz returning, looking none too happy. “Verdammt (damn it), Damn it…I must go and close out the inventory, we are only a couple of hours from Berlin”, Heinz said somberly.
“Jim, when we arrive in Berlin, wait on the platform for me. I’ll guide you to the hotel I mentioned, it’s near by”. He whispered.
While clearing the table, Heinz told me he has three hours, during which the train is cleaned and restocked for the return to Amsterdam. He must be back on board one hour before departure. With a hint of irony in his voice he said, if he were the head of the dining car he would have to stay on board the whole time, but; being a lowly waiter he had two hours free.
By the time I had returned to my seat, leaving Heinz to complete his inventory, I felt exhausted and excited at the same time. Taking a deep breath, I leaned back and closed my eyes.
The slight jolt as we came to a stop brought me back to reality, putting an end to my colorful dream of Heinz. Watching the beams of the many flashlights outside the windows, the now familiar D D R banners and flags told me where we were.
The feeling of being watched made me turn to the window, only to come face to face with a machine gun wielding East German soldier. Swallowing the lump in my throat, shock apparent on my face, he smiled, as he strolled off back into the darkness. Only with the movement of the train was I able to reclaim my composure.
On this occasion passing through the high barbed gates, seemed reassuring. With the realization it wasn’t going to be necessary to change my underwear. I chuckled inwardly, as I poured the last of the wine into my glass. Thank you Jorge, I thought taking a sip.
Crossing into West Berlin, continuing at a moderately slow rate of speed, we switched from track to track winding our way into the terminal. After arriving, I gathered together my belongings. Deciding on keeping the rest of my “Lunch” to snack on later in the hotel, I made my way out and onto the platform.
The high domed, and brightly lit, terminal gave a “grand open air” impression.
Glimpsing Heinz, waving from the open doorway of the kitchen car, I raised my hand in acknowledgment. Sooner than I had expected the concourse was deserted, except for wagons loaded with supplies lined up by the kitchen car’s door.
Attempting to light a cigarette, I dropped my lighter when a hand on my shoulder caught me off guard. Laughing Heinz stooped, retrieving my lighter, “Come, my nervous friend”. Flipping the unlit cigarette at Heinz, I too chuckled. Helping me with my luggage, Heinz led the way through the station.
“Would you like a taxi, or we can walk, the hotel is just two blocks from here?” Heinz questioned me.
“Two blocks….hummm….lets walk, I responded. Hefting my suitcase, I followed Heinz up the street.
Rounding the last corner, we ended in front of a nice, but; modest looking hotel.
Once inside it became obvious, this indeed was a “Gay” hotel, the clerk seemed a real Queen, friendly, helpful, even amusing, but; a Queen. Heinz spoke to the clerk, in German, inquiring about a room for at least three days. Understanding some, but; not all of the conversation, I managed to glean… “My American friend, ????…….room…???? four days….????…HANDS OFF…?” on hearing the “Hands Off” I grinned and chuckled out loud.
On hearing me laugh, they both turned, realizing I understood, and laughed as well. “I take good care of him”, the clerk added, in fairly good English. Key in hand we stepped into the small elevator. Before the doors closed, “Fruhstuck (breakfast)…morgen (morning), six bis (until) nine…..” the clerk’s voice trailed after us.
During the trip to the second floor, quick as it was, Heinz reminded me, “In the morning, breakfast is between six and nine, it’s included with the room”. Stepping from the lift, my room # 16 was directly in front of us.
“If we hurry I’ll have time to show you where the club is, the one I told you about. Then I must return to my work”. Heinz added, as I opened the door. The room was nicely furnished, and clean.
We sat and talked for awhile. Still having a little left in the bottle of Scotch, we had a quick drink, before it was time to leave.
Back downstairs, we made our way past the desk, toward the door.
“Aufwiedersehen (until we see each other again,** incorrectly spoken by most foreigners, as meaning “Good-bye”)” the clerk added with a wave.
Heinz was correct about the clubs proximity to the hotel. Turned out it was only up the street and around the corner. Music could be heard even before we reached the door. Standing by the door, three guys came up the street and after saying, “Guten Abend” (good evening), ducked inside.
“Well, I’ll leave you here,…if…you like” Heinz’s voice sadly trailed off.
Looking at my watch I noted it was a quarter to ten, leaving Heinz only fifteen minutes before he needed to be back.
“Let me walk back with you, Maybe… we can grab a quick cup of coffee before you need to be on board?”, I volunteered, putting my arm around his waist.
“Oh Yes,… please”, Heinz replied, almost giddy. After giving me a peck on the cheek, with his arm around my waist, we turned toward the station.
The open displays of affection here in Europe, while still bothering me some what, I found refreshing. The fact even straight men would be arm in arm, not to mention the women holding hands. Shows that over here, people were comfortable with their own sexuality. And being “Gay” is not looked down upon, as it is in the US.
Carrying our coffees, we made our way back over to track # 22. The kitchen car’s door now closed, the once loaded trolley wagons were gone. It did appear some of the cleaning crew were still on board though.
Having offered Heinz a cigarette, we smoked in silence. Neither of us wanting to break the spell, sipped our coffee quietly, knowing our time together was drawing to a close. “Will you be here, when I return?” Heinz asked.
The pleading in his eyes would only allow me to answer, “Yes Heinz, I’ll be waiting,….And you can be planning what we’ll be doing with your days off.”
“I already have…” Heinz said with a devilish grin. On this happier note, Heinz gave me yet another peck on the cheek, before heading for the open door. Turning in the doorway, Heinz waved, saying “Aufwiedersehen, Jim”.
Having just met Heinz a short while ago, I was a little confused as to why I felt so sad at this departure. I remained on the platform long enough to smoke another cigarette, before making my way back to the hotel.
Just outside the hotel door, still unable to shake off the gloominess I felt. I changed direction, walking up the street toward the club instead.
A couple of drinks later, along with the up beat music. My dark mood began to dissipate.
In spite of this being only Wednesday night, the club seemed rather crowded. At the bar, to my left, I over heard English being spoken. Glancing up I caught sight of two guys in the mirror, about four stools down, they looked to be in their mid twenties.
Picking up my drink, and some courage, I wandered over to the guys. “Hello guys…couldn’t help but notice you speak English. Private conversation, or may I join you”?
Turning both guys smiled, “Hi mate, no problem, pull up a stool.” The redhead spoke up. Scooting apart a little they made room.
“My name’s Jim, and thank you.
“Kind of difficult…ain’t it, when you don’t speak German”, chimed in the dark haired guy.
“I’ve been here just over three weeks, and I am picking it up little by little. I did take a course in school too, which helps”, I offered.
Holding up my glass to get the bartenders attention, I asked if I could buy them a drink. “You bet mate, thanks”, the redhead grinned. When the bartender came over, the dark haired guy ordered two scotch and waters; I piped up, ordering another bourbon and seven-up.
“You guys from England, you seem to have an English accent” I inquired.
“Ah… nah mate, we’re from down-under, Australia, Sydney to be exact”, proudly stated the redhead. “The name’s Mathew but they call me Mattie, and this here is Stan”, the redhead added, tipping his glass toward the dark haired guy next to him.
“You guys here on vacation?” I asked Stan.
“Yeah, the end of it really, we fly out tomorrow.” Mattie answered instead.
“How about you, here on vacation?” Stan managed to ask.
“Yes, planning on at least three months, I hope” answering with some optimism. “You guys together or just friends?” I inquired.
“We’re together, ….six years, this month,… that’s the reason for the trip” Mattie said, giving Stan a squeeze. The arrival of our drinks landed us a bowl of popcorn and fresh napkins for the glasses.
During the course of the evening I learned their trip had included stays in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and Berlin. Now after five and a half weeks, their second “Honeymoon” was coming to an end. This last stop over of the trip was to visit the “Wall”. Too afraid one or both might be detained, because; they were gay, they decided crossing into East Berlin was too risky.
Checking the time, my loneliness returned, Realizing Heinz’s train would be pulling out in fifteen minutes.
Suddenly I knew what I had to try and do, get back to the terminal and see him, or at least his trains departure.
“Are you guys going to be here for awhile, at least twenty minutes”, I hurriedly questioned Stan and Mattie?
“Definitely mate, we just arrived minutes before meeting you…why?” Mattie questioned.
“Something I need to do, and I’ll be gone about fifteen or twenty minutes, that ok?”
“Sure…mate, Stan said puzzled.
“Ok thanks, I’ll be right back”. That being said, I was off my barstool, making my way to the door.
Once outside, I broke into a dead run. There’s time, there has to be time, I kept repeating to my self as I ran.
Track # 22, the shiny sleek T E E is there. Thank you, thank you, I repeated to myself as I made my way toward the dining car.
Only a couple stragglers were still boarding further down the track. Reaching the dining car, I walked along side looking in the large windows. Heinz, Heinz……no Heinz, the car is empty.
He must be in the kitchen, oh…damn, he’ll never know I was here. Then, coming into the car carrying a tray filled with silver vases, flowers in each, was… Heinz.
With a sigh of relief, I moved to the closest window. Placing a vase of flowers on each table, Heinz worked with his back to me. Turning to place a vase on the table directly in front of me, he froze. Slowly….the biggest grin I’d ever seen, appeared on Heinz’s face.
As if to deliberately cut our reunion short, the T E E began to move. Putting his palm to the window, I matched his with mine.
As my hand slid from the moving window, I was almost certain I could see a single tear on his cheek. Hoping he was able to see, I continued waving. Moving away from the vacant concourse, I lit a cigarette.
Stopping on occasion to window gaze, I felt less melancholy than I had as I rejoined Stan and Mattie. “Sorry guys if I was gone too long”, I apologized. “I had to see a friend off, he works for the railroad in the dining car”, I added, taking a swallow from my glass.
“A friend, just a friend?” Stan asked with a sly smile.
“Well…..I just met him, only a few hours ago, but; I really do like him”.
“Good for you mate”, Mattie said, with a pat on my shoulder.
I bought another round of drinks, talked with Mattie and Stan for maybe an hour, before bidding them a safe trip home and calling it a night.
On the walk back to the hotel I thought of Heinz, wondering what he might be doing. Thinking maybe the next couple of days were not going to be all that easy after all.
Up in my room I hung up my clothes, jumped into bed, and fell asleep as my head hit the pillow.
Having forgotten to close the drapes before going to bed, the morning sun came streaming in to dance in my eyes.
“BING, DING, DONG”-“BING, DING, DONG”, the tones approached, then faded down the hallway. My watch read seven am, must be the breakfast chimes. Huh….just like on a train, I chuckled, thinking of Heinz.
Waiting for my hair to dry, after shaving and showering, I unpacked some of the clothes that needed to be hung in the closet. Dressed, I left my room looking for breakfast.
As the elevator door opened, I noticed there was a different guy behind the desk. Approaching the clerk, he looked up and smiling said, “Gutten morgen Herr Cook (good morning Mr. cook)”. I wondered how he knew who I was, but; only asked about breakfast. After learning it was up on the first floor, I thanked the clerk, heading back to the lift.
Having never been on the first floor, it took a little looking before I found the breakfast room. Entering the room, I noticed how cheerful the decor seemed. Soft green table cloths matched the curtains. Flowers of various colors, in crystal vases, were on each table. Of the seven or so tables, two were occupied.
Selecting a table in the corner enabled me to view my fellow patrons unobserved. No sooner was I seated, than in the door came the clerk from last night. Going over to the other tables, he stopped briefly by each; he then made his way to mine.
“Ah, Herr Cook, gutten morgen(good morning)” he said, almost fluttering about as he spoke. Yes, my impression of last night was right ‘Queen’ or at least a princess.
Quickly, before he had a chance to read my thoughts, I ask about breakfast.
“Ah yes, Herr Cook, we have sausage, eggs, toast and coffee, or if you like better, orange juice” he proudly stated.
“Yes, that looks and smells great” I said, gesturing toward one of the occupied tables, “And coffee please, Bitte(please)” I added for his benefit.
Moments later he placed a cup of coffee down in front of me. The coffee not only smelled good but; tasted great.
Manfried (man-freed) or Manny as he asked to be called, returned shortly with my sausage and eggs. Finishing off with another cup of coffee and a cigarette, I felt very satisfied. “Hat es gut geschmeckt…Did it taste good?” Manny asked.
“Yes, it was very good, thank you”. “Danke”…es hat gut geschmeckt” showing Manny I could speak, at least a little German. Manny seemed flattered that I spoke German to him, giving me a grin and a pat on the shoulder before leaving.
Letting my breakfast settle, I lingered over my coffee while smoking another cigarette. Lost in thought, trying to formulate an itinerary for the day. I suddenly became aware of the fact I was the only one left in the room. Picking up my cigarettes and lighter I decided to go for a stroll.
Outside the morning air was warm, with a gentle breeze. Even though it’s was still early, the stores appeared to be doing a brisk business. People moved about everywhere. Having taken a bearing on my location, I ventured out down the street.
Passing the club, which looked so different in the daylight, I continued my constitutional. Having the time, I wandered over a large part of the city, making note of the main streets.
By sheer luck, I ended up in front of the American Express building. This being a good chance to check and see if I had any mail, and too cash in some of my traveler’s checks, I went inside. Banking took place on the main floor, but; the mail room was up a flight of stairs. Disappointed I had no mail, I returned downstairs.
The average American thinks of American Express only in terms of “Travelers checks”, and in the states that’s mostly true. In Europe though, American Express is a large banking concern, with branches in most cities. And as a convenience to travelers most branches have a “Mail” room, where tourists can have their mail sent to them as they travel abroad.
Standing in line for a teller, I decided to cash in two hundred dollars. The exchange rate being 3.99.9 DM (Deutsche Mark) for one dollar. A lot of places, shops, stores and restaurants give a four to one exchange rate. Keeping it simple to figure out. Leaving with just a couple pennies short of eight hundred marks, I thought this should be enough to last me awhile.
As it was now after one, I began thinking about lunch. Smelling something good coming from up the street, I followed my nose. MMmmm….. I found myself in front of a small food shop. Very narrow, with a service window on the street, and a very limited four table sit down area inside.
Going inside, the smells made my mouth water. I ordered a “Bratwurst” (grilled sausage) and “Pommes frites” (French fries) and a glass of good German beer. I took my time enjoying every bite; even ordering a second Bratwurst. Personally, I think I could live off Bratwurst and German beer. My whole lunch costing fewer than three dollars, had left me feeling really satisfied….. Very full, but; satisfied.
With a small burp, under my breath, I left and resumed my tour of the city on foot. Kufurstendam strasse (referred to by locals as Ku-dam, I later found out) with its Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kirche (Wilhelm Memorial Church), a bombed out church and a new very modern one, were filled with tourists. I took a few pictures, before going to look for a place to acquire a map.
I stopped in a small shop and bought myself a city map. Lucky for me, the map also had an over lay of the Berlin Ubahn (subway system).
It took a bit of doing, but; I managed to get back to my hotel, none the worst for wear. Not realizing just how bushed I was, until; back in my room I lay down and closed my eyes.
Waking up in a darkened room I looked at my watch, eight thirty, damn. I must have really fallen asleep. Heading for the bathroom to shave and shower again, I decided to soak in a hot tub first. Feeling refreshed, I finished dressing, ready for a night on the town.
Downstairs in the lobby Manny introduced me to the other desk clerk, his other half, Helmut. Seems they own the hotel together, sharing in all the ups and downs. They hire the cleaning done, but; Manny does the cooking and makes breakfast for the guests in the mornings. They have been together over fifteen years. Wishfully thinking, I hope that I’m that fortunate.
Manny asking where the “Gay Bar” guide was, forced Helmut to do a bit of searching under the desk. Finding the small book he handed it to Manny, who copied down a short list of addresses. Sliding the list across the counter to me, Manny told me, that though the club around the corner was a fun club, there are some that are better. He added, that the last two names on the list were a couple of very good bathhouses. They highly recommended and suggested I try them, if I was into that.
Not wanting to get off by myself and get lost, at night, just yet. I thought I would walk back up to the club around the corner. Thanking them both, I slipped the list in my pocket and made my way out the door.
Being a Thursday evening, I worried the place would be packed. Fortunately, being early I found a comfortable spot at the end of the bar. I had a pretty good view of the room and of the people coming in the front door. Glancing at the two empty stools, occupied last night by Stan and Mattie, I wondered how they were fairing.
After my great lunch this afternoon, and remembering the really good German beer, I ordered myself a beer. And with the first sip, I was happy with my choice. You can’t beat the taste of German beer. An alcohol content of eight to thirteen percent, varying with the beer, can make a person tipsy very easily.
By my second beer, the club was beginning to fill. The bartender remembering me from last night struck up a conversation with me. And would return between customers, when he could.
Having laid the list on the bar, I asked the bartender his opinion of the places on the list, including the two bathhouses. He informed me that there are three, not two bathhouses. With a sheepish grin, admitting quietly there is a couple of dance clubs that he likes better. “Shh h, just between us”, he chided.
Slipping the piece of paper back into my pocket, deciding I’d hang on to it, maybe Heinz and I would check them out. Guys were everywhere, even the dance floor left little room to maneuver.
From my vantage point I had an unobstructed view of the many handsome guys as they paraded by. Being partial to the German look, light brown or blond with blue or green eyes. I was like a kid in a candy store.
The strangest feeling that I might be cheating on Heinz, came over me almost every time I spotted a cute guy that I thought I would like to get to know. All theses strange feelings, even though Heinz and I have never even kissed. Excepting the two pecks on the cheek he gave me. So how in the world could I be cheating?
I was becoming very confused about all these different feelings. Being eighteen has its advantages, but; also comes with all the emotional immaturity, that only time and life’s lessons will teach you. I had to admit though, I was infatuated. Only a day and a half to wait.
“You look a little down, have this on me”, smiling the bartender set a shot glass down.
“What is it?” I asked, taking a sniff.
“Jagermeister, will put hair on your chest”, he smiled.
Pulling my partially unbuttoned shirt a side a bit more, revealing my already hairy chest, we both laughed.
Sipping slowly, I really enjoyed what I tasted. The bartender’s friendly gesture took my mind off Heinz, and lifted my spirits. I even accepted a few offers to dance. As the evening progressed, I enjoyed the dancing and even a few of the conversations I had with some of the guys. Feeling a bit uplifted, I remained at the club until two am.
Walking through the lobby, I said good night to Manny, as I headed up to my room. Not forgetting to close my drapes this time, I hung my clothes and slipped into bed.
With the room darkened, I slept in later than yesterday. Waking to the now familiar, “Bing, Ding, Dong” I checked the time, damn a quarter to nine, must be the last call for breakfast.
I swung into high gear and in less than ten minutes, I was out the door heading to the first floor’s breakfast room.
“Ah…Ha, Herr Cook, just in the last minute”, Manny scolded, shaking his finger at me. But; all was soon forgiven, as Manny fluttered about me like a mother hen looking after her brood.
Breakfast over and on my second cup of coffee, Manny joined me at the table. Offering Manny a cigarette, he asked if I had tried one of the other clubs.
“Not yet, I’m waiting for my friend Heinz to return from his trip.
“Oh, he’s returning soon, the young man with you when you checked in …yes?” Manny asked puzzled.
“Yes, he works on the T E E, he’ll be back tomorrow night. Then he’s off for five days”.
“I see, he is very handsome, lucky you” Manny sighed.
“He lives here in Berlin; I’m waiting for him to get back. Sometimes it’s been a bit hard”.
“Gut…good, as it should be, you and the young man” Manny said, getting up and picking up my dishes. As he left for the kitchen, I headed back to my room to bathe, not having had time earlier.
Friday, tomorrow’s Saturday, and tomorrow evening Heinz will be back. I soaked in the warm water smiling.
Daydreaming, I was lost in my own thoughts. Snapping out of them only because the water began to cool. Scrambling out of the cold water, I dried myself and jumped back into bed to warm up. Curled up and cozy, before I knew it, I drifted off.
It was one thirty when I awakened. With the day half shot, I still could make it to the American Express office though if I hurried. I knew I should have mail by now. Between the Tram and Ubahn I got within a block.
Going upstairs, I had not one, but; two letters waiting for me. One from a close friend of mine Bennie, the other from my folks. Opening the one from my folk’s first, I was pleasantly surprised to find a check inside. The short note said they thought I could use this, and explained they would be leaving for a medical convention in Palm Springs. They would be gone for ten days, warning me not to call, as they would not be there. Downstairs I cashed the check, putting it into traveler’s checks.
On the streetcar ride back, I read Bennie’s letter. He wished he were in Europe with me. He was however; expecting to come over the last part of July, would I meet him? This being only the last week of May, I had plenty of time to decide where we could meet.
Arriving back at the hotel, I noticed Helmut behind the desk. “Know a good place for dinner, not too expensive?” I asked, smiling at Helmut.
“Hmmm, let me think about it, maybe Manny knows of a good place. He is the food expert in the family”.
“Ok, I’ll be in my room, thank you Helmut”, I waved, as I stepped into the elevator.
No sooner in my room, than the phone rang. “Yes, hello” I said, picking up the receiver.
“Herr Cook, this is Manny”
“I have some names of restaurants, that I think are good places, and not expensive” Manny spoke on the other end.
“Ok I’ll be down in awhile and pick it up, thank you”
“I leave it here with Helmut, Ok… Goodbye” he said, as I hung up the receiver.
I stretched out on the bed, and reread my letters.
Taking my traveler checks and passport I locked them in my smaller briefcase/suitcase. Slipped on my 501’s and a light blue-Grey shirt, always leaving the top five buttons undone. Combed my hair, made a quick check in the mirror, figured I was passable and headed downstairs.
Finding both Helmut and Manny behind the desk, “Hi, guys….” I smiled walking toward the counter. Taking the list from Helmut, Manny held it out to me.
“If you are going to the club up around the corner, the top one is just about three doors up passed the club, The HoffBrau Haus” Manny smiled.
“Thank you guys”, I nodded. “Sounds good to me, and yes, I am going to the club later”. “What’s good on the menu, anything special?”
“I like the Jagerschnitzel, so does Helmut. But sometimes he orders the Bavarian Sauerbraten” Manny offered.
“And a tall glass of beer” Helmut added.
“Oh Ja, a tall glass of beer” I winked. “Am I dressed alright, for the restaurant?” holding my arms out in a questioning manner.
“Oh… Ja, You look good, …enough to eat” Manny sighed. Helmut gave Manny a quick elbow jab. I smiled and they laughed.
Walking out the door I could hear Helmut giving Manny an ear full, as it was in German I wasn’t able to catch most of it.
The Jagerschnitzel tasted fantastic, so were the red cabbage and sort of warm potato salad. Even with the two glasses of beer, the price of the meal I thought was very reasonable.
The restaurant it self was very nicely furnished, like an alpine chalet. The richly carved wooden booths, dimmed lighting and candles on the tables gave off a warm glow. I’m thinking, I’ll bring Heinz here. With its romantic ambiance, bet he’ll love it.
Time in the club went by slowly, even though the place was full of handsome guys. I danced with a few of those that asked, but; my heart didn’t seem to be in it. Conversation with the bartender, even dragged on pointlessly. Although it was still early, I trudged on back to the hotel and went to bed.
Today (Saturday)…Well tonight, really, Heinz returns. What the hell is going on with me? Why does he seem to mean Sooo…much to me? Damn, damn, am I getting hooked on him? We have never even had sex, yet anyway.
It’s only ten am, I’m already nervous, like he’ll be here any minute. How am I going to kill a whole day? I know, I’ll go out and tour the city a bit more. Maybe I’ll go to that big department store I went by the other day, Ka De We; Manny said it is the biggest department store in Europe. With my trusty city map in hand, I headed out.
I spotted the large sign two blocks away, Ka-De-We (ca-dee-vee). Manny must be right, the store is huge. There are so many floors complete with different restaurants, food of all types.
The deli section, with cheeses and sliced meats of all kinds, took up the best part of a whole floor. Clothes, shoes, kitchen ware, furniture and electronics. I’m sure if you could think of it, this store would have it. I had been wandering about for almost three hours, before I realized it.
I managed though to purchase a pair of German slacks for young men, shoes to match, plus a short sleeve European style shirt. Hopefully I might not look like a tourist, in my new German duds. As I already had the blond hair, well dishwater blond and blue eyes.
Returning to the hotel with my newly acquired treasures, I couldn’t wait to model them for Helmut and Manny.
Stepping from the elevator only Helmut could see me, as Manny was facing the window.
Without saying a word, Helmut nudged Manny gently with his elbow. Manny turned and look up. “Mein Gott” whispered Manny, “Sie schauen wirklich gut an(you really look good). “I mean you really looking good” he added, in English.
“Now if you don’t speak, everyone will think you’re German” Helmut chimed in, chuckling.
“Really”, I grinned.
“Very much so”, Manny nodded.
“Great…. I’ll wear this when I meet Heinz tonight, Oh Damn, maybe he won’t recognize me” I laughed.
All through dinner I kept checking my watch, still four hours to go. Would ten thirty never arrive? Thinking to kill time, I stopped by the ‘Club’. Noticing my clock watching, the bartender came over and asked if something was wrong?
“No, No, just waiting until my friend’s train arrives, he works on the T E E, and he’s due back tonight at ten thirty” I replied.
“By any chance do you mean Heinz Schieffer? He’s the only one I know that works on a T E E, that comes in here anyway?”
“Yes, he’s due in later. I can hardly wait to see him again” I added, showing my impatience. I regaled Luke, the bartender, whose name I found out last night. With my tale of meeting Heinz aboard the T E E, on my way here to Berlin. And how after being together only a couple of hours. He had to leave, to work the rest of the trip. Now, I anxiously awaited his return.
At last… ten after ten, time to make my way to the station. Would he be there, is his train on time? This and more raced through my head, as I made my way? Ten twenty-five….. The arrival board still lists the track as # 22. Having time to linger at the board, I noticed the odd times for arrivals as well as departures, such as 10:32pm, in Heinz’s case. Why not make it 10:30pm keeping the times even? Even some of the departures, like 10:48 for the train from Paris. Why not 10:45 or 10:50 pm, but; I have noticed that what ever the time, their trains leave and arrive on the dot. With only, very few exceptions. Leave it to the Germans to make it work.
As if to confirm my conclusions, the T E E came gliding in at exactly 10:32, almost noiselessly. Knowing I had to wait until all the passengers had disembarked. I lit a cigarette, trying to be patient. Leaning against the clock post watching the last of the passengers. I was taken by surprise when an arm slipped around my neck and I received a moist kiss on the cheek. Turning I gazed into the sparkling eyes, I had missed.
The grin on Heinz’s face was ear to ear. “Du hast auf Mich gewartet, You waited for me…” Heinz almost jumping up and down shouted.
This time it was my turn to have misty eyes. Slipping my arms around him I squeezed him in a mighty bear hug.
“Oh, I missed you, Heinz”. I softly spoke. Shocking the hell out of me, Heinz gave me a quick peck on the lips….ON THE LIPS, In Public, Damn. As he pulled back I saw his eyes were a little misty too.
“Ich habe dich, zu viel verpasst (I have missed you, so much),…I missed you, so much, Jim”. A little embarrassed, I quickly looked around to see if anyone saw the kiss. With a smile and a chuckle Heinz said, “Oh Jim, you worry too much, here it’s alright…people do it all the time”.
“Come to my hotel tonight. We can get you to your place tomorrow, Heinz please?” I asked, my eyes begging.
“Yes, yes after the last two days apart from you, I need you near me” Heinz added, grabbing his bag with one hand and me with the other.
All the way back to the hotel, I felt as if I were dancing on air.
Entering the lobby, Helmut looked up saying “Ah….Herr Cook, I see you have found your friend”?
“We were worried he wouldn’t recognize you in your new clothes, you looking so German…” Manny chimed in (tongue in cheek), with a giggle.
“What, you bought new clothes…?” Heinz asked, stepping back a bit.
Holding my arms up I did a half turn, then blushed, realizing what I’d just done.
Scooping me up in his arms lifted me off the floor and spun us both around, saying “Meine kleine deutsche, du…..My little German you…..” Heinz quipped. All of us broke up laughing.
“I would know YOU….anywhere” Heinz winked, lightly smacking me on the butt.
“Ok, Ok, upstairs with that stuff”, Manny chided.
Heinz picked up his bag, and we headed towards the elevator.
“Haben sie spass…..Have fun…” Helmut called after us.
I no sooner had opened my room door, than Heinz dropped his bag and took my breath away with deep tongue kiss. This was the first REAL kiss we’ve ever shared.
As my toes curled, I returned his kiss. We tongue wrestled a few minutes, before coming up for air.
Taking him by the hand, I led Heinz over to the bed. As I sat down, I pulled him down next to me. This time I kissed him… Passionately.
Pushing me back on the bed, Heinz began to kiss and nibble my neck. Moving his right hand to my chest, his finger manipulated my nipple through my shirt. While his left worked its way to the inside of my thigh, gently moving his fingers in small circles.
My breathing came in short gasps; I could feel my body trembling slightly.
“Wait, slowly, slowly…”I begged, trying to sit up and catch my breath. “Easy, fella, easy”, I added, sliding my hand across his chest, as he lay looking up smiling.
“Time out, how about a cigarette?” I asked, offering him one.
Rising, Heinz went over to his bag on the floor and fished out a bottle.
“How about a brandy” he asked, coming out of the bathroom carrying two glasses. Offering one to me, he sat back down. Moving the ashtray over to the bed. I placed it between us, resting my cigarette in it before taking a sip of the brandy. My eyes wandered over Heinz’s body, ending with his beautiful blue-green eyes.
“You, like?” Heinz smiled.
Being caught admiring him, I turned a couple of shades of red. Placing my hand on his leg, and slowly moving up. I answered “Oh, Yes.”
Leaning in close Heinz’s tongue sensuously circled my lips, tasting the brandy that lingered there. If I were made of chocolate, I would have melted.
Slowly, seductively, Heinz’s fingers moved over my chest lingering on my nipples.
“Ahhhh…” a low moan, almost inaudible, escaped me. Imperceptibly, at first, my body began to writhe under his touch.
As my hand moved onto his family jewels. Heinz’s tongue gently entered my ear, along with his warm breath. Heinz is as, I thought, very well endowed. Even through the fabric his size was astonishing. I consider my self rather well hung, having eight and a quarter inches, but; Heinz’s bulge, when reveled, I’m sure will put me to shame.
Easing Heinz over onto his back. My mouth covered his, as my hands explored his firm chest. Undoing the buttons on his shirt one by one, I slipped my hand inside. His nipples were standing hard and firm. The short gasps escaping his lips, as my tongue flicked his nipple, told me he was at my mercy.
My hands holding his arms above his head. Allowed me to tongue bathe Heinz’s smooth hairless chest, paying special attention to his hard nipples. Working my way down his treasure trail to the waistband of his briefs. I released one arm, enabling me to lower the zipper and undo the button on his slacks.
Once freed his bulge twitched and expanded even more. I nibbled at the huge hunk of meat through the fabric of his blue bikini briefs. The wet spot at the end of his cock continued to dampen an ever widening area in his bikinis. Lowering the waistband and wedging it under his rather heavy balls, his cock sprang to attention.
Before I could catch myself, I gasp “Oh…Damn….” I was right. His well over nine plus inches, so fat my fingers wouldn’t close around it, out did mine. Any foreskin, was gone, stretched taught. His ivory tower stood tall, leaking precum. The flow spreading down and over those magnificent balls of his.
As I ever so slowly lowered my mouth over the head of his cock, I savored his taste. The undulating of his hips was accompanied by moans of pleasure. Pressure from his palm on the back of my neck, caused his cock to lodge in the back of my throat. Even though he was embedded deep in my throat, I was still unable to take all of him.
I felt as though a fist were down my throat. As I surfaced for air, Heinz drew me up onto his chest, and covered my lips with his.
“Oh Jim, this is better than I thought, or hoped it would be”, Heinz whispered between kisses. “I’m so glad we had wait” Heinz sighed.
Sitting up next to each other. I gently slipped his shirt down off his shoulders, as he removed his arms from the sleeves. Naked from the waist up, his skin seemed aglow. He was even more handsome than I remembered, and better built than I could have imagined.
After disrobing each other in a very sensuous way, one piece of clothing at a time. We fell naked onto the bed, rapped in each others arms.
Even though I was sure Heinz must be exhausted, having just finished his shift aboard the TEE, you would never have known it. We wrestled and played with each other until the wee hours of the morning. Finally falling asleep spooned against one another. With him snuggled up to me and his gentle nibbling on my neck, I drifted off contented.
Failing once again to remember to close the thick drapes, all too early, sunlight spread across the bed warming our sleeping bodies. Having reversed our positions sometime during the night I awoke cuddled to Heinz’s sexy backside.
Softly kissing the back of Heinz’s neck, not intending to awaken him. I reminisced about our passion filled night. Lost in thought, Heinz’s gentle stirrings went unnoticed until he slipped his fingers around my erect penis.
“Guten morgen, meine liebe” (good morning my love) Heinz whispered.
“Go back to sleep, Heinz, it’s too early for you to get up” I whispered back, kissing his neck. Untangling myself from him, I got out of bed and drew the drapes. Then quietly, I returned to cuddle.
“Thank you, liebe” He said. As he gently nestled his cute bare butt against my manhood, he slipped back into the Land of Nod.
The breakfast chimes went unheard, as we slept peacefully. Hearing a siren outside the window, I slowly and carefully withdrew my arm from under Heinz’s head and looked at my watch. Oh Damn, it’s two forty five in the afternoon. Getting up quietly I made my way to the bathroom for a healthy pee. Drained but satisfied, I stepped into the shower.
Even though I really felt like singing, after last night. I tried my best to keep the noise to a minimum. Eyes closed as I shampooed, I was taken by surprise as two hands found my soapy nipples. Startled I dropped the bottle of shampoo, good thing it’s in a plastic bottle.
“Why didn’t you wake me, I wanted to shower with you” Heinz playfully pouted.
Eyes still closed, due to the soap. I felt my way to… and grabbed Heinz’s balls giving a gentle squeeze.
“Oooo…Ouch” he laughed, wiggling his hips. As the warm spray rinsed the soap off, I opened m eyes to see Heinz’s cock standing at attention.
“Good morning Big Boy” I said, giving his cock a couple of strokes. Taking turns lathering each other, we washed and played.
After dressing Heinz offered me a cigarette as we sat on the bed. “Maybe I shouldn’t say this, Heinz, but; I missed you”. I know that we just met, and you were only gone two days. Although, it seemed sooo much longer”. I said, then added, “And yet I feel as though I’ve known you already for a long time”.
With the end of my “True Confession”, I grabbed a glass from last night still containing some cognac, and took a sip.
“No Please, Jim, I’ve wanted to tell you same thing. I just didn’t know what to say or how to say it. Without turning you off, or…scaring you”, Heinz blushed.
Leaning over I pushed him back on the bed, our lips meeting in a very sensual kiss.
“Ok guy, time to get you home” I sighed.
“Will you be gone long, please say no” I begged.
“Ah, no you don’t, you are coming with…no excuses” Heinz scowled, as if he thought I were trying to get out of going with him.
Really, I was just making sure he wanted me to tag along, and not just being polite. As if to emphasize his point, he grabbed my hand pulling me up from the bed, towing me toward the door.
“Ok, ok, I’m coming” I laughed, as he opened the door, pulling me along.
Downstairs standing behind the front desk, both Manny and Helmut had what I can only describe as ‘Shit Eating Grins’ spread across their faces. “Guten Tag” (Good day) they chimed together.
Chuckling I turned to Heinz who was beet red.
Seeing this, the ‘Twin Queens’ broke up giggling. Heinz of course was not amused. He said a few choice German words to them, which I didn’t understand. Causing both Manny and Helmut to halt the giggling and straighten up.
Witnessing all this I broke out laughing. As I continued laughing, Heinz gave a broad grin and began to laugh too. We were soon joined by Helmut and Manny.
“Yes, we had a very, very, good time last night” I stated, causing even more laughter.
“OK, enough guys” I chuckled, grabbing Heinz by the arm, tugging him toward the door.
“Wiedersehen” (See you again) Helmut and Manny chorused.
Outside on the street Heinz said, “We’ll go over to the train station and get taxi to my place. It’s across town, to far to walk”.
Thinking to myself, I watched Heinz walking up the street carrying his bag. In a few short days he’ll be getting ready to go off again. Feeling a little sorry for myself, I was brought back to reality by Heinz yelling, “Come on slow poke, and catch up”.
Scooting up beside him, I slipped my arm around his waist. Smiling he mouthed a quick kiss, asking “What were you thinking, Jim, you seem kind of down?”
“Oh, nothing just…well…you’re going to be leaving again” I sighed.
“Hey, I still have some time off, and when I get back the next time I’ll have a lot of time free. Won’t be so bad Jim, but; ….I’m glad you’ll miss me”, he smiled, attempting to cheer me up.
Giving him a slight squeeze, I smiled back. Deciding to make the best of the time we had.
Sitting in the taxi’s back seat I watched the city go by from the window. My hand on the seat, I felt his hand slide over and cover mine.
“What are we going to do tonight?” turning to him, I asked.
“Well…Hmmm, what would you like to do, Jim? After all this is your first time in Berlin” he questioned, patting my hand.
Quietly thinking a moment it came to me, yeah, “I want to take you out to dinner, the place I have in mind is nice, and romantic. I hope you haven’t been there before. Well, even if you have, I enjoyed it, and it seemed very romantic to me”.
“Oh, where is it, what’s the name of it?” Heinz pried.
“I think I’ll surprise you, but; you’ve probably been there, after all you live here in Berlin” I determined.
Before Heinz could question me further the cab pulled to the curb and stopped.
The building, at least on the outside, looked new. It appeared to have quiet a few floors. A set of double glass doors were flanked on both sides by slot mailboxes, complete with access buzzers. Taking out his keys about to open the door. A short stout Grey haired lady, coming out, opened the door and spoke to Heinz in German. Giving the lady a hug and a kiss on the cheek, Heinz continued the brief conversation as he held open the door for me. Waving goodbye to her, “Aufwiedersehen”, he called after her.
“That’s Frau Meier; she lives across the hall from me and my dad. She kind of watches the place while we’re not there.
Stepping from the elevator on the fifth floor, Heinz led the way down the corridor to his apartment. Once inside my jaw dropped, seeing the spaciousness of the handsomely furnished living room. If I had to pick a style I would say ‘Danish Modern’. Glass topped tables, chrome floor lamps, oriental rugs of different sizes scattered around the room.
“Oh Wow, Heinz, this place looks fantastic.
Blushing a little, but; grinning ear to ear, “You like it Jim?” He beamed.
“Very, very, cool Heinz, this place is great. After this, (waving my arm around) I Can’t wait to see your room.”
Crossing the living room, I caught sight of the kitchen and dining area off to the left. Down a short hallway was the bathroom, next to it Heinz opened the door to his room. Although much smaller, the room was just as nicely done. Danish modern styled, yet warm and inviting. Soft pastel yellows with brown and beige’s mixed throughout the room. Chrome accents finished things off.
Tossing his bag on the bed, he turned and gave me peck on the lips, asking “Well, this is my sanctuary. What do you think?”
“Trade you my hotel room, but; you’ll owe me for the breakfasts” I jokingly offered.
“How long have you and your dad had this apartment? Everything seems so new.” I asked, admiring his room.
“A little over a year ago, we moved here. Leaving behind a very small one bedroom apartment. I was really happy to get out of that place, I had to sleep on the couch.” His smile fading to a frown.
“Your dad, is he around or is he out of town?” I questioned.
“Nah… he’s gone till the end of next week, I’m almost sure. Let me check” Heinz said getting up.
Returning from the room across the hall… “He’s gone, suitcases too, I’m pretty sure until Saturday after next”.
Heinz continued giving me the grand tour ending up in the kitchen. “Can I get you something to eat or maybe a cold drink?” Heinz asked, playing the good host.
“No, no thanks, Hmmm well, maybe a beer would taste good, have any?”
“Let me check, should be…here?” “Ah, yes, a whole case” with that Heinz grabbed a couple, setting them on the table. Going to the cupboard, he returned with two beer glasses.
After opening a bottle, he poured us each some. “Prost” he added, clinking our glasses together.
“Heinz, I don’t like asking, but; I need to. Will you stay with me at the hotel? I know you haven’t been home in awhile. It’s Ok if you don’t want to. It’s, it’s just that I don’t want to be away from you, that’s all.” I pleaded, trying to show him my best puppy-dog eyes.
“You could stay here, with me”, he questioned.
“All my stuff is at the hotel, damn it.” trying to offer my best excuse for staying at the hotel. Although I wouldn’t really mind staying here at his great place.
“But; all my things are here,” he whined, chuckling. His attempt at whining, broke us both up laughing.
“Ah, but; your bag is already packed”, I offered.
“Ok, Ok, I give up” Heinz playfully pouted.
“And besides I’m taking you to dinner, and the restaurant is near my hotel”, I retorted.
“Alright, just let me repack my bag with clean clothes. And I’ll call us a taxi”, he kissed my cheek, heading for his bedroom.
While watching his firm cute butt move away from me, I finished my beer.
Wearing fresh clothes, and looking very handsome I might add. Plus having repacked his bag, Heinz called a taxi. Gathering his gear, we took our time going downstairs to wait for the cab.
Darkness was descending as we reached the hotel. After a quick trip upstairs to change my clothes and drop off Heinz’s bag, we were on our way to dinner.
Trying to throw him off the track, in case he knew the restaurant I was headed for. I walked him the opposite way around the block, instead of going straight up the street to the HoffBrau Haus.
As we walked I could tell Heinz was totally confused as to our destination. Thinking little mean thoughts, I pondered the idea of even going up and around another block, before heading to the restaurant. Thinking it would put him way, way off our true destination. Nah, that would be just a little bit too mean I thought to myself. Chuckling, I decided against doing it.
“What’s so funny, what are you thinking about, Jim?” he asked, looking puzzled.
“Oh nothing really, just wondering if I’ve thrown you off track as to where I’m taking you?” I snickered.
“I’d say yes, I’m at a loss as to where you’re taking me” Heinz said, coming up and slipping his arm around my waist.
Up and around the next corner found us standing in front of the HoffBrau Haus.
“Heinz, Please tell me you haven’t been here before?” I begged.
“Well now, I…I’d like to say that Jim, but…” his eyes teasing me. “No, I haven’t been here, But; I’ve wanted to come here, does that count?” he laughingly chided me.
“You little shit,” I laughed, while trying to grab and tickle him.
Quickly pulling open the door and dashing inside, he stayed just out of reach.
As luck would have it, the same table I had before was available. So I asked to be seated there.
Once we were seated. Heinz reached under the table, giving my knee a gentle squeeze. Saying, “Very, very nice Jim. You’re right, it’s romantic.”
“I think so too, that’s why I so much wanted to bring you here”, I whispered across to Heinz.
Instead of ordering my usual beer. Though I love German beer, I asked Heinz to order a nice wine. He ordered a light white wine he said would go great with our meal.
Having really enjoyed the dish I had before, I ordered the Jagerschnitzel. Heinz had Sauerbratten, with a side of Kartoffelsalat (German Potato salad). Taking our time we both enjoyed the meal. Two hours later we were finishing with a cognac and coffee. With the cognac and very pleasant conversation, plus a little hand holding under the table, we tried thinking of what to do later.
Way too full to even consider going dancing, yet. We decided to go for a nice walk, in the warm evening air. Our stroll ended up on Ku-Damm strasse. Stopping at an outdoor Café we had an ice cream and an espresso. We sat watching the street full of people, wandering to and fro.
We even saw a lot of same sex couples holding hands, gay? We could only guess, being as straight same sex couples here hold hands as well and think nothing of it. With another cigarette, we finished our coffee and continued to wander Berlin by night.
As our evening walk took me further and further from any landmarks I recognized. I had to admit I was lost. Good thing Heinz knew Berlin like the back of his hand, for both our sakes. Thirty minutes and quite a few blocks later Heinz stopped in front of a rather inconspicuous doorway.
Not knowing what was up, I was taken by surprise when he opened the door and pulled me inside. Even before my eyes became accustomed to the dim surroundings, the music told me we must be in some sort of a club.
“Where are we, what club is this?” I quizzed.
Slipping his arm in mine, “Come” he whispered, leading me toward the music. The end of darkened hall opened into a small, but; cozy lounge with a curved bar at the other end of the room.
The club was without a dance floor, only a lone juke box in the corner played softly. Even as subdued as this place was, I found it warm and relaxing.
“What’s the name of this place? I like it”, I asked, walking toward the bar, with Heinz in tow.
“Chez Mann, I know it’s kind of small, but; intimate, I think”. A smiling Heinz quipped.
A slightly older woman, maybe late forties. With shoulder length blond hair came toward us, arms out stretched. “Heinz, Heinz, Liebschen” the woman yelled, as she hugged Heinz.
“Ah, Nina, Du bist meine Liebschen”, (You are my lover one) Heinz spoke, returning the warm embrace.
“Nina, this is my friend Jim”, Heinz said turning to me.
“Jim, sprechen sie Deutsch?” (Do you speak German?) Nina asked, extending her hand.
“Nur einige, aber ich lerne” (Only some, but I’m learning) I replied in German.
“Heinz, your friend speaks very good German, did you teach him?” Nina asked, putting her arm around Heinz.
“Well I have tried, but; we seem to spend most of our time learning French…..” Laughing Heinz, wiggled his tongue at me. Nina chuckled and I blushed, as Heinz slipped an arm around Nina and me, herding us toward the bar.
After the bartender placed our two beers in font of us, and before Heinz could retrieve his money. Nina nodded to the barman, and he withdrew with out accepting any money.
“Enjoy, enjoy boy’s” Nina said, patting us on the shoulder, as she left to greet another incoming patron.
“Danke (thanks), Nina” we replied, almost in unison.
“She seems very nice, Heinz” I said, nodding in Nina’s direction.
“Nina is like a second mother to me” Heinz said, squeezing my knee. “She’s like a mother hen, and I’m one of her favorite chicks” he added.
The time seemed to pass quickly, too quickly. Before we knew it, the bartender was calling last call.
“Rufen sie mich ein taxi, bitte(Call me a taxi, please)” Heinz asked the bartender.
Unable to let it pass, “Du, bist ein Taxi…..(You’re… a Taxi)” I smirked, tapping Heinz on the chest with my finger.
Looking into the eyes of utter bewilderment, I was sure my attempt at humor had gone over Heinz’s head. Ah, but then at last moment, a gleam in his eye along with a grin, told me he had picked up on my little joke.
“Don’t forget to put money in my meter, when we get home” he snickered, with a gentle smack on my ass.
We did not have to wait very long before a taxi pulled up, just in front of the door. As Heinz held the door open, I slipped inside.
Even at this late hour, you could see people still milling about on the streets.
After I flipped on the lights in his apartment, Heinz went around closing the drapes. As I bounced down on the couch, Heinz began removing his clothes.
In the end he had convinced me spend the night at his place. Propping myself up with a throw pillow, I watched as he performed a slow sensual strip. I indulged my ever hardening penis, by gently sliding my hand over it through my pants.
Bending over to remove his slacks, one leg at a time, he made sure to wiggle his cute firm bottom in my direction.
Quickly before he turned, I withdrew a five mark bill from my pocket and stuffed it into the back of his underwear. “Is that enough money for your meter?” I teased. Wiggling that cute ass, he turned his head and grinned. Pulling the bill out, he curled his lips into a pout. “Only five marks, not more” he whined.
Moving fast I pulled down his briefs, and smacked his taught behind. “Ouch…” he yelped, flopping back down on the couch. He finished removing his clothes, tossing them on the floor. On his back, spread eagle he smiled a devilish grin. Rubbing his thumb and fingers against each other rapidly, “Ich bin teuer, viel mehr als funf markierungen (I am expensive, much more than five marks)”, he stated wiggling his eye brows.
Tossing my whole wallet at him, I worked my way up between his out stretched legs. Holding up my wallet, and jiggling it in the air, “Besser (better)…” he snickered, giggling.
Reaching his cock, I sensually slipped my lips over the head, and slowly went down until my nose was buried in his pubic hair. With a mouth full of cock, I chomped down….hard, but not too hard. “Ow…Ow Frei, frei… kostet kein geld… (Free, free…costs no money)” Heinz yelling, grabbed my head. We both broke up in a fit of laughter.
I kissed my way up his torso, giving each nipple a soft tongue bath. With a low moan, we ground our lips together. My tongue slipped easily into Heinz’s willing mouth, as his hand found my stiff dick.
Taking my cue I fondled his wet and leaking meat. The palm of my hand, coated with precum, circled the head of his cock. His squirming and groaning, told me he was enjoying my ministrations.
Switching around, we fell into a perfect sixty-nine. There was a concert of sucking noises. With my finger, I gently probed Heinz’s tightly closed pucker. The more I fingered, the more relaxed he became. Slowly, little by little I introduced my finger to Heinz. With the insertion of the last knuckle, I hit his love button. After only a couple of strokes of the prostate, Heinz shook, moaned, and filled my hungry mouth with his nectar.
Sliding his cock into my throat, he continued pumping cum down my gullet. Feeling his manhood expand as each surge of cum shot from his cock, I accompanied each with a low moan.
Lost in the throws of his climax, I realized I had forgotten to breathe. Coming up off his cock, his last couple squirts fill my mouth to over flowing. Being able to breathe, I was also able to taste. Savoring his salty-sweet fluid, I released my own onto Heinz’s waiting tongue.
Holding him firmly, I rabbit fucked his mouth as my cum flowed from me into him. Slurping from the tip of my dick, Heinz drank all I offered. His relentless sucking on the head of my cock drove me wild.
Settling slowly back down to earth, we both regretted having climaxed so quickly. Our intention, well at least mine, was to take our time before getting our nut off. A bit disappointed that we were not going to fuck, at least not just now. We cuddled up and kissed a little, before letting sleep over take us.
The days came and went, all too fast. We spent all of our time together, just enjoying each other.
Each of us, always afraid to bring up the subject of his fast approaching departure. Until that last morning together, finally arrived.
“Wake up….come on cutie…wake up, and have some coffee” I spoke softly, kissing his ear. I had already decided to be as up beat as possible. In less than four hours Heinz would be aboard his T E E, speeding his way toward Paris.
Although neither of us brought up the subject of his upcoming trip. None the less it had loomed in my mind, as our time together grew shorter. We spent our days sightseeing and the nights, Ah…the nights, (I chuckled to myself) in bed having unbridled sex.
My dick was even sore, that malady has never happened before. I guess there are some things that even a strapping eighteen year old can’t help. I had worked it raw.
My body trying to tell me to take a break, or at the very least slow down some, made me think that our separation may not be such an adverse thing after all. Although, …damn I’ll miss him.
“Morgen, liebling (morning darling)” Heinz whispered, his groggy eyes slowly opening. Even first thing in the morning, he was still very handsome. His blond hair askew, even needing a shave, in no way diminished his good looks.
“Hey handsome” I smiled. “Want some coffee” offering him a cup. With a sleepy smile, he accepted the coffee. Propping himself up on his elbow, he took a sip. I was thankful now that I knew how to operate his coffeemaker.
This morning, while waiting for the coffee to finish. I wandered about his apartment. He and his father’s place was not only very nicely done, but; also had an air of modern masculinity about it. Chrome, glass, and burnished bronze all coordinated, helped emphasize the manliness of the décor.
Having only spent a couple of nights here, I was sorry now that I hadn’t let Heinz talk me into staying here the whole time, back when he first tried. Dumb ass me, I really missed out. And now he was leaving.
“Want to share a shower?” he asked, gently pinching my nipple, adding “Then I’ll whip together a little fruhstuck (breakfast), Ok?” Leaning up he licked the nipple he had been toying with. How could I refuse such an offer?
Although feeling refreshed and awake from the shower, we sat in silence as we ate. Maybe a better description would be, we sat quietly using our forks to push food around on our plates. Neither he nor I were really hungry, knowing that at two this afternoon we would be parted.
I knew that sometime between now and two this afternoon, he would ask the one question. The one we had both been avoiding. What about “Us”, what’s going to happen, or not happen, as far as we’re concerned? I knew from the occasional soft smiled glances we exchanged, what worried his mind, our minds.
This is where he lives, day to day. Berlin is where he works and plays. Unlike Heinz, my time here is limited, all to limited. At some point in time I will return home, to California. For what was to be simply good time in Europe, suddenly things had become very involved and complicated.
Yes, I do have strong feelings for Heinz. More or stronger than I had for Hans, in Frankfurt? Even if I do, where…where is all this headed? gawd…what have I gotten myself into? I’m not here to set up housekeeping, I’m on vacation. I’m here to see Europe.
“You know…I’ll be gone quite awhile, this time” he said, snapping me back to the here and now. Adding, “Well…ten days, anyway”.
Almost afraid to look in his eyes, I kept my gaze fixed on my plate. The silence was deafening. I know I needed to say something, anything, but what? Do I say what I knew he wanted to hear. Or tell him what I must, what we both knew to be the truth.
Care for him, maybe even love him, I did. However, I’m here to see Europe, and see it I will. Even though it may be with a heavy heart, for awhile.
As yet unable to say anything, I lifted his chin and softly kissed his lips.
Gazing into his eyes, “You know I care…maybe even love you, and if you were able to come with me….maybe then…maybe we…”
He cut me off before I could finish. “No…no, you must go…travel, see…and do…maybe then…?” he paused.
With a longing, maybe even hope, he met my gaze, continuing “I knew, you knew…this time would come…, Just say…you won’t forget me” he sighed, eyes red, and damp.
“I…I promise… (I’ll see you again)…” I started to say, but; he placed his fingers to my lips, and hushed me.
“Shh…No don’t …don’t make a promise….a promise you might not be able to keep” he said quietly. A faint week smile crossed his face, before he averted his eyes.
A sad stillness permeated the room. We finished picking at our food, not a word being spoken.
After what seemed like an eternity, Heinz rose from the table. Smiling, he picked up our plates, and moved toward the sink.
Pausing he turned back to me, asking, “Would you mind cleaning these up, while I go and start packing? You will remember me, won’t you?” a single tear, slipped down his cheek.
With a slight smile, I nodded slowly in the affirmative.
Even with a few attempts being made at humor, the morning passed in relative silence. When I finished cleaning up the kitchen, I moved into the living room and sat on the couch. Picking up a magazine to peruse through, I waited for Heinz to return from his bedroom after completing his packing.
Taking note of the time, it was ten after one. There is less than an hour before he must be on board. Sure that he must have over looked the time, I walked to his partially closed bedroom door. I slowly pushed the door open, revealing what appeared to be an already packed suitcase sitting on the bed.
As the door swung fully open, I glimpsed Heinz calmly sitting, gazing from an open window. Crossing the room, I placed my hand lightly on his shoulder.
He tilted his head, resting his cheek on my hand. Taking a slow deep breath, he looked up.
“I guess it’s getting to be that time, huh ?” making a frail attempt at a grin.
Deciding the best way to have a bit more time together, we left earlier than necessary. Affording us time to sit and say our farewells over coffee in the terminal.
Although the T E E to Paris didn’t leave until three fifteen, Heinz needed to be aboard an hour before the trains departure. After two coffees and a few cigarettes, we made our way over to his trains platform, track # nine.
The T E E looked so majestic, long, clean and sleek. Off white, almost a cream color, with a red strip running the entire length of the train gave it a classic appearance. Needing a minute to go on board and stow his luggage away, I was left standing once again under the clock. Maybe a different clock on a different post, but; none the less a clock, I had to chuckle.
Watching him emerge from the train, he looked so handsome in his uniform. That blond hair peeking out from under his hat, with those blue green eyes, only added to his rugged good looks. The sadness his face had carried the last few hours seemed too have lessened. Yes, keeping busy would be the best thing for him. A shame I had nothing to occupy my time, at least for awhile.
“Are you still going on to Rome, then?” he asked, forcing a bit of a smile.
“Couldn’t get you to go to Paris instead, could I? (He chuckled)” “No…no, wouldn’t work, I’m only there a few hours.
Verdammt (Damn)…Jim, I’m going to miss you” he said, pulling me into a firm hug.
“Heinz, this is not forever. I’ll be back, we’ll meet again…” I tried explaining.
“I know…, I know, I believe…. I need… to believe you will come back to Berlin.” He whispered in my ear, before breaking the embrace.
Stepping back, he retrieved an envelope from his jacket pocket. “Here Jim,” he said, “Read this please,….but later, after I’m gone”. He added, placing the sealed letter in my hand. And for the first time in hours he smiled, really smiled.
“I’m glad to see you smile, you’re much better looking when you do.” I tried teasing.
“Well, it’s time to go back on board, I need to set up and get ready for dinner, before we pull out.” Heinz stated, with a wink. Taking my hands in his, he kissed my cheek, giving my hands a gentle squeeze. Then he turned, and was gone.
From the open dinning car doorway, he waved. I returned the wave, before turning to leave.
Knowing it would be an hour before the T E E left. I debated whether to stay and see him pull out, or just leave him to his work and go back to the hotel.
Deep down I knew there was never a question, I would wait, I couldn’t leave.
With his letter in hand, I decided to have another cup of coffee. Maybe even read his letter.
Although the little café area in the station appeared almost full, I managed to find a small table off by itself. A young Italian looking guy took my order, then left me alone with my letter. Even though Heinz asked me to wait to read it, until he had departed. My mental struggle ended with me unsealing the envelope.
Mein liebling Jim (My Darling Jim),
You told me; you thought ‘Maybe’, you loved me. Well you see, I Know…. Ich liebe Dich (I Love You). I think I knew when I saw you waiting for me on the platform when I returned. Oh I know it’s only been a few days that we have shared, but; never in my life have I felt this way about anyone….
“Kaffee, mein Herr (coffee, Sir)” the waiter said, placing the cup down.
“Bitte (Please)” I replied, Handing him a five Mark piece. “Gut, Danke (Good, Thanks)” letting him know to keep the change. After stirring in a little sugar, and taking a sip, the letter continued.
……Oh, I will not say that there have not been other guys in my life, but; NEVER… did one of them make me feel, or even come close, to the way I feel about you. I realize this all sounds crazy, it even seems crazy to me, Jim. Last night after you were asleep, I woke up. Why, I don’t know. After watching you sleep for awhile, I came to realize that tomorrow we would be parted. For just how long, I do not know, I can only hope. I decided to put down on paper, what my heart feels. Jim, I need for you to know, I do love you. I don’t mean to weigh you down with all this. That’s why I’ll wait to give this to you until I am leaving. I have now only half a soul, I gave the other half to you.
Please don’t forget me, I Love You….Heinz
I sat quietly lost in the note, reading it over several times. My moist eyes, made checking my watch difficult. Three o’clock straight up. Taking a last swig of my coffee, I headed back for track nine. With less than a ten minute stroll, I arrived with minutes to spare.
Nearing the dinning car, I could see Heinz moving about inside. This time instead of placing vases of flowers on the tables, it appeared he was setting a fancily folded napkin on each plate. His back to me, he was engaged in a conversation. With what might be his supervisor, I of course didn’t know for sure. It seemed like an hour, but; in reality only minutes, before their little chat ended and the person left.
Stepping up to a window near Heinz, I tapped lightly with my finger. Damn, he can’t hear it. Then using my knuckle, I rap a bit harder. Looking in the direction the sound my knuckles were making on the glass, he flashed me a wide grin. He motioned for me to move down to the still partially open service door of the dining car.
Peering up into the opening, Heinz moved into view.
“My heart thanks you, Jim, for waiting” he said, leaning down to me.
“I’m very happy to be able to see you again in these last minutes” he added, coming so close I could feel his breath. It was as if I willed it to happen, I leaned in. He quickly glanced around, before giving me a hurried peck on the lips.
As if on cue, the god of trains having been appeased by a single kiss, the T E E began moving.
Standing up, Heinz mouthed the words “Ich liebe Dich (I Love You)” before pulling his head back from the doorway. Down the track I glimpsed a hand waving, before the service door slid closed.
I found myself waving long after the track was empty.
I stopped only when I remembered my still moving hand in the air. That hand still clutching the letter from Heinz.
In quiet solace, feeling I’d lost my best friend, I made my way out of the station.
Walking back to the hotel, my mind replayed the events of the last few days.
By the time I entered the lobby, I came to the only conclusion I could. Nothing could’ve been done to change things.
My Rail pass having already been stamped, would expire in a little over two months. These passes are only available outside of Europe, like in the US, and are only for tourists. I could ill afford to pay my living expenses and buy train tickets to travel.
The question was really very simple, was I going to fulfill my dream of touring Europe, or not. He and I both knew and understood the answer.
Feeling lucky, because; the hotel lobby was deserted, I went up to my room. I wasn’t in the mood to engage in any conversations. Especially where Manny or Helmut were concerned, at least not right now.
Although only a little before four, I felt exhausted. Stretching out on the bed, I closed my eyes, hoping to descend into the darkness of asleep.
I awoke in a pitch black room, no idea of the time. Rolling over I turned on the bedside lamp. It was eight thirty five, and if I wanted dinner I needed to get a move on. Taking off my clothes, which I had fallen asleep in, I jumped in the bath.
Having taken less than an hour to bathe and change, I headed out even though my hair was still a little damp.
Down stairs I cornered Manny long enough to get him to ring up a Taxi.
Waking from my ‘Nap’, I decided to give the restaurant Jorge had recommended a try. I didn’t feel like visiting any of the places Heinz and I had been to. Fearing my mood would become melancholy.
The huge bright red neon letters took up the whole front of the building, CHINA HAUS. The restaurant appeared very up scale.
After paying the Taxi, I slipped the little paper that Jorge had giving me in Amsterdam, with Andy’s address and phone number on it back in my wallet.
Before opening the front door, I noticed that they served until ten. I had been worried that I might have been too late for dinner.
“Gutten Abend, mein Herr (Good Evening, sir)” a Chinese man looking to be in his early thirties stated smiling.
“Yes, Good evening, I hope it’s not too late for dinner” I asked, returning his smile.
“No…not at all, we don’t stop serving until ten, would you care for dinner then?” he replied in perfect English, and I mean British-English, which took me by surprise.
“Yes, thank you, I would.” I told him, following him to a small table off to one side. Pulling out my chair, he handed me a menu after I was seated.
“I’ll give you a few minutes then. If you have any questions, I’ll be more than happy to explain anything on the menu you don’t understand” he said, before leaving.
For an older guy, he looked pretty good. The menu was good sized, and when opened almost filled the top of the table.
I must have used up all my ‘Pondering Time’, for I noticed the guy had come up and was looking over my shoulder.
“I guess I’ll have the number #2 dinner. I said, handing back the menu.
“Ah, the Duck, one of my favorites, and it’s especially good tonight I think” he said, apparently approving of my choice. Quite the salesman, I chuckled to myself, watching him disappear through the kitchen doors.
Was this guy Andy, the owner, or just the head waiter? After what Jorge told me about Andy, I could see where this could possibly be him.
It was just a little before ten, only two other tables were occupied. This fairly good size restaurant, with its many tables was almost deserted.
As I put out my cigarette, he reappeared carrying a tray. Holding the tray with one hand he flipped out the legs of a tray stand, placing the tray on it. The tray was filled with a variety of great smelling dishes.
“Oh, wow…all of this for one person” I asked a bit bewildered, as he began filling the table with enough food for an army, albeit a small one.
He began serving the cornucopia of fantastic aromas. The European style of serving, where one holds a large spoon and a fork together all in a single hand, reminded me a little of using chop sticks. It all had to do with dexterity.
“Bon Appetit” the guy smiled, before turning to leave.
Before I had even eaten half of what was on my plate, I became aware I was the only patron left in the restaurant. Glancing over my shoulder, I caught sight of my waiter sitting at a table by the kitchen door smoking a cigarette. I’m sure he was waiting for me to finish and leave. As all the others had done, so he could close up.
Even though I was able to eat less than a third of what was presented, I considered declining taking any of the leftovers back to the hotel, as I really had no way of storing it. My only option was if I planned on eating it straight away when I got back to the hotel. But; as I was way to full now to even considering eating again, I decided to pass on taking any back.
Lighting a cigarette after I finished, I had barely taken two puffs before he was once standing beside me. “Will that be all sir, or would you care for coffee?” he offered, beginning to remove some of the plates.
“Do you know ‘Andy’, I believe he’s the owner, or so I was told?” I inquired, of the now puzzled waiter.
“Yes I do, I’m Andy” he stated, asking “Should I know you?”
“No…no, I think we have a mutual friend though. Jorge, Jorge Vandermeer, he tends bar at the D.O.K. in Amsterdam” I smiled, looking for some reaction.
“Jorge, yes…yes Jorge, how is that old horny devil anyway?” he almost snickered.
“I met him in the D.O.K. He and a friend took it upon themselves to give me the grand tour of the city, including the bathhouse of course” I almost blushed, because by mentioning the bathhouses, I had given away my sexual preference.
“Ah…the bathhouse, though we do have a few here in Berlin, I however much prefer Amsterdam’s” Andy explained with a light squeeze of my knee, and a bit of a grin.
“So…you’re gay then, I would never have thought…huh…I’ll be” he stated, before adding “Well you know that I’m…Andy, and your name is…?”
“Oh I’m sorry Andy, it’s Jim…Jim Cook” I replied sheepishly, offering my hand.
“Well Jim, why don’t I lock up…then I’ll pour us a drink; you can tell me what that scoundrel Jorge has been up to. Do you have time to stay around awhile, or would I be holding you up? If not, I really would like to hear what…or whom… Jorge… has been doing” he chuckled, as we finished shaking hands.
“Sure Andy, sounds fine, I have nothing I planned tonight” I agreed, wondering if that was all he had in mind. Andy turned off the main bank of lights, before locking the front doors.
After removing the cash drawer from the register and taking it into his office, located off the kitchen. He returned carrying three bottles of different liquors.
It was then I realized I hadn’t paid for my dinner. Retrieving a fifty Mark bill, I laid it down on the table as he approached. Unloading his arms of the bottles he was carrying, I tried explaining that I had forgotten to pay my check. Actually he had never given me my bill.
“No need to worry, there wasn’t going to be a charge, when I found Jorge had sent you. Besides any friend of Jorge’s gets dinner on the house” Andy chuckled.
“What would you care for?” he asked, holding up a couple of the bottles. I noticed one was Brandy and the other Johnny Walker scotch. The remaining bottle looked to be Vodka of some kind.
“A little Johnny sounds fine” I said.
“Soda, a little water, or straight?” he offered.
“Some water and ice would be great” I replied.
“Ah yes, you Americans and your ‘Ice’” he chided, getting up and heading to the kitchen, returning shortly with a pitcher and an ice bucket.
Unlike Americans, Europeans use little or no ice in their drinks. Even beer is not kept cold, just very cool.
While we sat drinking, I told Andy how I’d met Jorge and of our times at the “Tubs.”
Andy explained how when he was just a small boy his parents left Hong Kong, and moved to London, where he was brought up. It still seemed so odd to hear someone of Chinese descent, speaking British-English.
Three hours had passed before either of us noticed. After inviting me to lunch there tomorrow, we called it a night.
I went back to the hotel, way too tired to even consider stopping off at the bar.
The events of last night, like meeting Andy and talking about Jorge, had taken my mind off Heinz.
Only after awakening in this big empty bed, did I begin missing him again. Over breakfast Manny and I discussed Heinz and how his leaving was affecting me. When I mentioned the China Haus and Andy, Manny told me he and Helmut have gone there many times to eat.
Walking into the China Haus, I was immediately met by a smiling Andy. “Jim, glad to see you again, thought I might have scared you off last night” he spoke a bit chagrined.
“Why don’t you sit over there” he added, pointing to the same table near the kitchen doors that we occupied last night.
“I have my hands full right now, my dishwasher didn’t show. I going crazy trying to find someone to fill in” Andy’s serious tone told me he really needed help.
“Hey Andy, let me fill in…Damn, I can wash dishes… just show me how you guys do it…I’d be happy too help” I spoke as sincerely as I could, hoping Andy would take me up on my offer. Having something to do would defiantly keep me from wondering about Heinz, and that was to my liking.
Narrowing his eye brows, in thought, “Jim, are you sure about this, I mean really sure? If you’re sure you’re willing…it would really be a blessing, a great blessing…that I won’t forget” Andy stated, with a curious gaze, trying to figure out if I was serious.
“Yeah Andy, if you can use me, I would like to lend a hand. Come on…show me what to do” I said, pulling him by the arm toward the kitchen.
Well needless to say my “Wish” (chuckle, chuckle) was granted. Scraping, rinsing, and loading the machine took no time at all to master. By nine forty-five, we were done, I was thankful it was a slow night.
As it turned out, the guy that did the dish washing was really quite ill. He would be home for a week, at least. Making a long story, short…I ‘Filled’ in for the week, as Andy had still not heard exactly when the guy would return.
Andy paid me a hundred Marks a day ($25.00, remember this is 1964), I’m sure he paid me more than the other guy would have earned.
After the first couple of days of me being too exhausted to accept. I acquiesced, giving into Andy’s nightly invitation to take me out on the town.
After a quick shower and a change of clothes back at the hotel, we were off. Of course Andy absolutely refused to allow me to pay for a single thing. From then on we managed to go out almost every night.
Six days later, unbeknown to me, when I arrived for work the dishwasher had returned.
“I rang up the hotel, but you had already left” Andy apologized, with a sheepish smile.
“Please don’t worry about it, Andy. I’ve enjoyed this, well as much as one enjoys work.” I snickered.
“I’m just a few days late leaving for Rome. All is well that ends well, though” I added.
I had told Andy about Heinz, and my itinerary to see Europe.
Andy and I had become friends, good friends,but; just friends.
“Well come sit down, the least I can do is give you a grand lunch. The best in the house” he gestured toward our usual table.
After seating me he slipped into the kitchen. In a few minutes he returned with a chilled bottle of white wine. Uncorking it he poured me a glass.
This afternoon the restaurant was fairly busy, with very few empty tables.
A small group of young people, maybe late teens or early twenties, came in and were seated at the table next to mine.
During their meal, I couldn’t help but hear that some were Americans, three sounded like they were English. Because they sounded like tourists, at least to me, I summoned up the courage to speak to them.
“Excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude…, you’re Americans right” I hesitatingly inquired, while scanning their faces for a response. I truly did not want to interrupt their meal, but my curiosity made me ask.
One of the guys spoke up “We are, and they’re English” he said, pointing first to his side of the table, then to the three across from him. “Where are you from?” he asked.
“I’m from Los Angles, well…Palos Verdes actually.” I answered.
“Really…great, I’m from the San Fernando Valley, we’re almost neighbors” he grinned. One of the girls chimed in that she was from San Francisco. The third American, a guy, was from Florida.
Introductions were made all around. The English kids were from different parts of England. Some of the English towns I hadn’t heard of, except London of course.
“You all traveling together, how long have you been over here….Where are you going after Berlin?” I grilled the poor guy. Only because it was so nice to meet and talk to other Americans, the first ones I’d run across.
“You wouldn’t be headed in direction of Rome, possibly?” I hurriedly added, even before the guy could answer the first question.
“Yes…, about a year, for me…, and Lausanne Switzerland”. He laughingly answered, holding up a finger for each answer. This brought a chuckle from his table, and caused me to blush a bit.
“Sorry guys, just that you’re the first Americans I’ve met since I’ve been over here” I offered, my face color returning to normal.
“We’re with ‘Holiday On Ice’, we close here in Berlin tonight. Then we’re moving on to Lausanne Switzerland” said the other American guy, who hadn’t said anything yet.
“Holiday On Ice, is that like ‘Ice Capades’?” I asked, having never before heard of Holiday on Ice. This question caused the table to bristle a bit, almost like I’d insulted someone.
“He hasn’t heard of Holiday on Ice, because it’s not out on the west coast yet” spoke up, the guy from the San Fernando Valley. “It’s only on the east coast now” he added.
“Ice Capades, has two shows traveling around just in the US. Holiday on Ice has eight shows all around the world. That’s why I left Ice Capades to work for ‘Holiday’ ” the girl from San Francisco added a little snippily.
George, the guy from the San Fernando Valley, asked if I’d like to see the last show tonight, as they would all be leaving in the morning.
“Would it be alright if I bring Andy, he’s the owner of restaurant?” I inquired, pointing to Andy standing by the register.
“Of course, we’ll leave some tickets at the will call window. You can pick them up when you get to the arena” George smiled happily. The rest of the table nodded in agreement.
Feedback is the only payment our authors get!
Please take a moment to email the author if you enjoyed the story.