My German tale continues in short chapters as I am still writing this story, and I don’t want you to reach the end before I do. I remember 1982 very well, I was 25 years old, enjoying disco music and loving Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire, Luther Vandross. Sadly Michael Jackson and Luther Vandross are no longer with us, but in 1982, they were larger than life. Enjoy then next chapter.
I was tempted to order another beer and bratwurst, but I could do without the extra calories. It just tasted so delicious; it was hard not to over indulge. I paid for my food and drink, put my book away and headed back to the park. I thought it would be the easiest way home would be to retrace my steps. I wanted to stay away from the main drag as I felt sticky from sun tan oil, had a little buzz from the beers, and really didn’t feel like mingling with the locals. It was approaching six o clock as I walked through the park, and being July, it was still light, but the trees cast longer shadows than before. I must remember this spot as it was a little haven in the middle of the city. I headed across to the gate I had first used. The park was still empty and very quiet, wait, what was that? I stood still and listened, it sounded like someone was crying. I looked around, but couldn’t see anyone at all. I carried on walking, and got as far as the gate, but before I opened it, I heard the noise again. I stood perfectly still, yes someone was sobbing quietly. At first I thought it was a child, but a child usually cried much louder. I looked around trying to locate where the sobbing was coming from. It seemed to be coming from a small group of weeping willow trees.
I walked in that direction, but saw no one. I continued to walk through the hanging branches, which opened onto a little paved area, with a small bubbling fountain and a sweet-smelling rose garden. There was a little bench by the fountain and sitting on the bench was a girl with her head in her hands, sobbing softly. I knew she would be German or Italian as there were not many English-speaking people in this area. I felt like I was invading her privacy, but she sounded so upset and looked so alone that I felt I had to do something to help.
I must have approached too quietly because I scared her. I tried out my German again and softly said “Guten Tag Fräulein, was ist los?” I startled her and she jumped, startling me and making me scream. I was always pretty highly strung. We just stood there looking at each other. Her eyes were pretty red and her face very pale. She wasn’t very old, maybe a couple of years younger than me, in her early twenties I thought. Neither of us said anything, until I laughed. It was a nervous laugh because I didn’t know what to say to her. She spoke first, quickly and at length, but in German, I had no idea what she was saying and just stood looking at her, feeling pretty helpless and stupid. She stopped speaking too and just looked at me. “Ich spreken nur eine bisien Deutsche” I told her. I hoped I was saying I spoke very little German, but I wasn’t so sure.
The tears started rolling down her cheeks again and she sat back down on the bench.