City Lounge: Berlin (Book One, Chapter Five: Two Girls in a Park)

Chapter Five: Two Girls in a Park:

We ended up in Körnerpark. Stephanie looked around, nodding.

“Impressive,” she said.

“I know, right?” I said. A little bit earlier, we picked up lunch at a local deli. I decided that we should go with something simple.

“Are you still a vegetarian?” I asked.

“No,” Stephanie said. I turned with big eyes.

“No?” I asked. “Since when?”

“Senior year of university,” she said. The sun shined on her frizzy ponytail. I have never noticed how good Stephanie looks in the natural light. Her skin seemed to drink up the sun in gulps. I thought about what I should get her.

“How well can you handle meet?” I asked.

“I can take it in small portions,” Stephanie said.

“I have an idea,” I said. At the deli, we picked up meat, cheeses, condiments, bread, paper plates, plastic utenils, and juice. (Okay, I got juice and Stephanie had to get beer.)

“You don’t drink?” she asked.

“No,” I said.

“Why is that?”

“I just don’t.”

Stephanie shrugged as we headed into the checkout line. Right now, I sat down on the grass and laid back. My friend stood over me, nodding.

“You really like it here, don’t you?” she asked.

“Uh-huh,” I said. “I saw pictures of this park in a book when I was a child. This was one of the places I had to visit when I first arrived in Berlin.” I patted a spot next to me. Stephanie sat down.

“Look around you,” I said. “I get to enjoy this beauty every day after work.”

“Hey Em,” she said. “I have been meaning to ask you something.”

“Yeah?” I asked.

“Why do you like Germany so much?”

I stretched my arms above my head. “My grandfather.”

“He’s from Germany?”

“Berlin to be exact.” I lay back on the grass. “I didn’t get to meet him because he died before I was born. Grandma only spoke fondly of him. I felt that I would become closer to my grandfather.”

Stephanie smiled as she tilted her head. “That is really sweet.”

“Mmm.” I looked up at the thick clouds in the sky. They keep calling for rain today. Maybe I should’ve brought my umbrella. It should be fine. Not like Stephanie’s planning to drag me around the city all day, right?

“Stephanie, why did you come to Germany?” I asked.

“To start an acting trope,” she said.

“But why in Germany?”

“Felt like it.”

“Did you know I was here when you came to Germany?”

“No. I found out you were here after I called your mum. I tried to call your mobile, but I wasn’t sure I had the right number.”

“Hum.” The more I thought about, the more it felt strange. What were the odds of Stephanie tracking me down in Berlin of all places? I never believed in the concept of fate or destiny. (My grandmother never thought about such things. She lived on pragmatism, not idealism. It comes with being full-blooded German, I guess.)

“Hey, check him out,” Stephanie said.

“Hm?” I asked as I sat up. There was a man taking pictures across the fence. His hair and his clothes were all black. I didn’t get a good look at his face as he lowered his camera in between pictures. I turned back to Stephanie.

“What about him?” I asked.

“Think he’s taking our pictures?” she asked.

“Nah, he could be taking pictures of the park,” I said, shrugged. She broke into a sexy pose with her legs crossed and her arms up. The man across the street started taking more pictures. I looked between the two for about a minute as Stephanie broke into more poses. She started blowing kisses at the man and his camera. I tilted my head as I gave my friend a strange look. He’s enjoying this, isn’t he? Stephanie nudged me in the side.

“Join in,” she whispered.

“Huh?” I asked.

“Pose for the camera.”

“Why?”

“Just do it.”

“But…”

“Just pose!”

I looked down into my lap. This just seems more random than Stephanie showing up out of the blue. I have never seen this guy before and I doubt that my friend has seen him before either. I didn’t have a good feeling about this. But still…

I don’t think my sexy poses were as good as Stephanie’s. She had acting experience and natural lighting on her side. I probably looked like I had an itch on my back and I needed to pee. I can’t believe I am doing this. Stephanie nudged me in the side again.

“Go over and talk to him,” she whispered. I whipped around, wide-eyed.

“What?!” I cried.

“Go on,” she said. “He looks like he’s more interested in you.”

“How can you even tell?”

Stephanie shrugged. “It’s a hunch. Just go over and talk the mate!”

“But what do I say to him?”

“I don’t know. ‘Hi’ or something like that. Just go over and talk to him.”

“But what if he’s not into me? Why can’t you talk to him?”

“Only one way to find out.” Stephanie pushed me on the back. “Go on! Go!”

“Okay, okay,” I said. “Jesus!” I stood up and walked over to the man with the camera. He hadn’t put it down, but he wasn’t taking anymore pictures either. I paused and looked over my shoulder. Stephanie watched me, grinning. She flashed a thumbs-up. I rolled my eyes and sighed. Might as well get this over with, I thought. I didn’t think it was a short distance from my original spot and where the man with the camera stood. He lowered his camera when I got close either. His deep blue eyes made me gulp.

“H-H-Hi,” I said in German.

“‘Ello,” he said. His voice sounded rather gentle, not like the stereotyped yelling that Americans loved to tack onto the Germans. (They don’t all yell or sound scary, by the way. Take it from somebody who’s lived in Berlin for three years.) Okay, I saw hi to the guy. But what, Stephanie?

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