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A sad, lovesick German
I stand in front of the Cologne Cathedral and watch the Catholic tourists huddle up in groups and take pictures. I take a handful of peanut flips from the bag on my lap and eat it. I’m only out of the house because Claudia demanded that I go out with her and her friends. If I had it my way, I wouldn’t be sitting on this cement block in the court in front of the Cathedral eating peanut flips and watching tourist, I would be sitting at home, watching Dr. Psycho.
It’s a good 75 degrees today, but I wore my hoodie today anyway. Claudia calls for me, so I lean backward with my head tipped back to see her standing behind me. “Claude! We are going to leave without you. We are going to the Reichard Café to get lunch. I’m hungry for wiener schnitzel.”
I stare at her for a moment. I hate going to Reichard and Claudia knows that. I haven’t gone there since Kris broke up with me. Kris is still a waitress there. Last thing I knew, she worked on Mondays. I don’t want to go in, but I don’t want to sit here like a weird person eating peanut flips until they get back. I guess I have to go in, then. I could go for an orange Fanta right now, anyways. I’m going to make Claudia pay for it, though.
I stand up and follow Claudia and her friends. I’m twenty years old and all I can do is give my little sister and her friends rides so they can go hang out with each other. I have only one friend, he moved here from America, but then he moved to Linz. I never have time to ride a whole four hundred and fifty seven miles to go see him. His name is Matt.
I fold up my bag of peanut flips and put it in my hoodie pocket. The café is right across the street. People are seated at tables outside the building, enjoying their schnitzel and beer. Claudia and her friends run across the street. I take my time moving. I feel like I just woke up. Claudia woke me up this morning about ten minutes before we left. Maybe that’s why.
I look up as I cross the street. The sky is a real light powder blue. The leaves on the tree hanging over the tables are a bright green, like the bright colors of Japanese animations. It was almost blinding. On days like these, I wish I lived in Canada or something. I hate the summer. It’s too bright and happy.
I follow Claudia into the café. We sit down at a table and wait for a waiter to come around. The girl’s gossip about kids from school and celebrities they love, I stare off into space and try to avoid reality. Reality is harder to avoid then some would think. Some would say, “ignore reality and substitute your own”, but that is not that easy. I have tried many times and end up at the same spot.
Someone taps on my shoulder. I turn around, expecting a waiter.
“Hey, puppe, long time no see.” Someone says as I turned around in a heavy German accent. It’s my ex girl friend. She pulls out her notebook and flips it open. “What could I get you?”
My heart drops. I just wanted to avoid this moment. I don’t want to talk to her. Her long blonde hair is pulled up in a bun, the way it normally was while we were dating, and her light blue eyes were fixed on me. Her white uniform clashes with the black arm warmers she has up and down her arms.
Claudia orders. When all the girls are finished, Kris looks at me again. I can’t say anything. I feel like I might explode. My head is warm and pounds in anger. If I could move my arms, I’d probably pull out my hair and have a handful of black in the palm of hands. I dyed my hair after Kris broke up with me… after she cheated on me.
Kris walked away when she realized I wasn’t going to do or say anything. As she walks away, I yell bad insults to her in my mind. Claudia thinks I still love her. I think I want her to die in a hole. What does Claudia know, anyway? She’s still in high school. This all makes me think of the drama Matt told me they have in America. I think this is better.
I stand; tell Claudia I will be sitting on my little block of cement; and leave. Once I sit down on my block, my phone vibrates. I have a call from Matt.
“Hey, wie geht's? Lange nicht reden. Ich bin in Köln für eine Weile und ich dachte, ich Sie anrufen und sehen, wenn Sie heraus zu hängen und reden eine Weile wollten.” He says once I answer the phone. He said “Hey, how are you? Long time no talk. I’m in Cologne for a while and I thought I could call and see if you want to hang out and talk a while.”
“Hey. Ja, das wäre genial. Ich bin am Kölner Dom jetzt. Wo bist du?” I say, “Hey. Yeah, that would be awesome. I’m at the Cologne Cathedral right now. Where are you?”
“Kölner Dom, gesucht.” He says, “Cologne Cathedral, looking for you.”
I stand and look around. Within seconds, someone jumps on my back and I fall over. I don’t even have to look to know its Matt. Matt told me once that jumping on some is a sign of greeting, love, or friendship in America. He called it a glomp. I think he was lying to me when he told it to me, but I never said anything.
Matt and I have talked about everything that changed since lasted we saw of each other. The whole time Matt lived here, I was dating Kris. Kris cheated on me and we broke up shortly after Matt’s move, but I never got to contact him about it. This is the first time we have talk to each other in about a year, maybe more.
Matt reviled to me this morning about is homosexuality. He said that that is the reason he and his family moved to Germany in the first place. I think Germany promotes gays so much because they feel bad about killing them all off in the Holocaust. This information of Matt’s sexuality didn’t hit until just now.
“Ich liebe sie.” Matt says and walks away.