City Lounge: Berlin (Book One, Chapter Eleven: Colored Smoke)

Chapter Eleven: Colored Smoke:

By evening, Sebastian took the lead. The three of us ended up in Kreuzberg. Sebastian held out his arms in the air.

“Welcome to my neighborhood,” he said.

“Yay,” Stephanie said, clapping her hands. I looked around and whistled. I had only heard of Kreuzberg from books and that song by Bloc Party. I hadn’t had the motivation to come down to this part of Berlin before today.

“What shall we do first?” Stephanie asked. “Guide us, oh great leader!” Her bowing made Sebastian rub the back of his head and laugh uncomfortably.

“Stop it,” I whispered to my friend.

“I know a place,” he said. “Follow me.”

We ended up at this building made of dark blue glass. The lighting from inside made my eyes hurt. I tilted my head at the sigh flashing above.

“What is this place?” I asked.

“Smoke lounge,” Sebastian said. I turned to him with big eyes.

“You’re joking, right?” I asked.

“No,” he said. I turned back to the dark-colored building towering over us. The inside looked so smoky. A look of an unease came over my face.

“But I don’t smoke,” I said.

“Aw, that’s okay!” Stephanie shouted as she slapped me on the back. “We can just go in and take a look.”

“Ow,” I said softly. She and Sebastian grabbed me by the arms and dragged me into the building. The bell in the door frame rang over my head. My friends let go of me as the door swung closed. I had to narrow my eyes through the smoke. Sebastian walked up to the front desk. The clerk lifted his head and his fat face came to life.

“Sebastian!” he shouted. “How have you been?”

“I’ve been good,” he said. “Busy with work, but I managed to make it here today.”

“Nice,” the man behind the front desk said. He peeked behind Stefan as spotted us. I tried to hide behind Stephanie.

“Who are the lovely ladies?” the man behind the front desk asked.

“Friends I met today,” Sebastian said. “Do you have my usual table open?”

“Let me check.” The man behind the counter got on his computer and started typing. He perked up and turned his attention back to Sebastian.

“Your table is free,” he said. Sebastian made his payment turned walked back over to us.

“Come with me,” he said. That beautiful man took us by the hands and led us out of the lobby. There weren’t many people around this evening. Somehow, that seemed to make things seem a little bit better. Stephanie smiled as she walked like she was at home. I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, and I don’t smoke. The content looks on my friends’ faces didn’t help put me at ease. We came over to a table near the window.

“I come here when I want to be alone after work,” Sebastian said.

“Sweet place,” Stephanie said. I sat looking down at my hands. My loud friend patted me on the back.

“Come on, Em!” she said. “Smile!” I tried to force myself to do so. Sebastian went over to the shelf and retrieved three bongs. He handed two to Stephanie and me before lighting up his own.

“Oh no, I don’t smoke,” I said in a quiet voice.

“That’s fine,” Sebastian said. “It’s only water grass anyway.”

“Are you serious?” Stephanie asked.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Weed is illegal here because of self-harm,” I said. “But they are trying to legalize it for medical use.”

“Bummer,” she said.

“How is pot use in your country?” Sebastian asked.

“It’s legal for medic use,” Stephanie said. “But not legal to sell.”

“Ah,” Sebastian said.

“Do you think pot should be legal?”

“I think so.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Why should people have to spend lengthy prison sentences for marijuana?” Sebastian asked. His voice and words made my head spin through the smoke.

“But it could lead to harder drugs,” I said.

“Not always true,” Stephanie said. “I had a roommate in college who smoked pot every day, but she had high marks and stayed at the top of her classes.”

“They should legalize pot and tax it,” Sebastian said. My wild friend lit up and took a smoke.

“That sounds great,” she said. I looked down at my untouched my bong. I had never had the need to smoke pot. I had been taught that it was bad. But lately, I have learned about the positive side of marijuana. My eyes shifted around the mostly empty lounge. Low trip hop music floated through the air. Sebastian and Stephanie smoked their bongs while chatting. Once again, I felt out of place. In high school, the girls in our group talked around hair, make-up, boys, and other girly things. I would just sit there and stay quiet. I never really had interesting stories or things that would match their likes.

It was then I noticed two pairs of eyes staring at me.

“What?” I asked.

“What do you think?” Sebastian asked.

“About what?” I asked.

“Marijuana, Kreuzberg, and me.”

My eyes widened as I whistled. “Uh… well… I don’t really think much about pot because I don’t use it. Kreuzberg is still kind of new to me. And…”

“And Sebastian?” Stephanie asked.

“Well…” I said.

“You’re blushing,” she said. I lowered my head as my face turned bright red. A hand patted me on the head. I lifted my eyes to see that beautiful man smiling at me. Why must he do this to me?

“We have all night to get the answers that we need,” he said. “Just sit and enjoy the moment. I still have so much to show you around Kreuzberg.”

“Do I have to smoke this bong?” I asked.

“If you want to,” Sebastian said. I shoved the bong forward. He shrugged his shoulders and pulled it over to his side.

“More for me, I suppose,” he said. I tried to smoke, but was too distracted by the smoke floating around us. I just now noticed that it didn’t have a smell. Maybe it won’t be so bad in here. I could just sit here and look pretty, I guess.

It still feels weird to be in this place and I don’t smoke.

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