18th December 2020
Part Four. Berlin. Summer 1994
Lorelei rested her head in her hands, elbows on the café table, and slowly shook her head, lightly brushing away some strands of her wavy brown hair that had fallen over her almond-shaped, chestnut-coloured eyes.
“It’s not working with Robert. I have to leave, I have to leave !”
Silke, without finishing her mouthful of roll, agreed,
“Yes, we’ve been saying this for ages. Why are you still with him ?”
“But it’s such a nice flat,” added Gabi, between delicate spoonfuls of yoghurt and muesli.
“So she moves to the east. We have nice flats here, too.”
Gabi didn’t answer Monika. She may enjoy partying in the east, but there was no way she would ever live there.
“I know a guy who may let me stay with him.”
“Yeah, I bet I can guess the rent,” said Silke, making her meaning clear by using a banana as visual aid. The others laughed, though only Monika found it truly funny. Gabi was worried that other people may see (they did; the level of conversation dropped noticeably).
“No, he’s gay.”
“Oh, yes, listen,” began Silke, “when it comes to that, men don’t care how they get it. Man, woman, appliance “
United chorus of disapproval. Silke stood her ground,
“When I worked at that doctor’s reception, you couldn’t believe how many men came in with bits of vacuum cleaner hanging off their dicks.”
Gabi tried sshhh-ing her, but Monika’s laugh drowned it. Lorelei was wondering how the conversation had taken such a turn, then remembered that Silke was there.
Monika returned the tangent subject back to the main topic.
“I know a secret.”
The girls immediately quietened down, and leant forward. Monika waited, building tension, a little trick she had inadvertently picked up from Chris.
“What do you think of Richard ?”
“Chris’ friend ?” asked Silke.
“Seemed nice. I couldn’t say much to him. I tried, but I just forgot all my English,” explained Gabi. “He was speaking to Lori, a lot. He was funny, no ?”
“Yeah,” admitted Lorelei, sensing all eyes on her, and feeling herself blush, “he’s nice. Interesting. I couldn’t understand everything. He listened to me, as well”
“Marry him !” demanded Silke.
“I thought you didn’t believe in marriage ?” from Gabi.
“I don’t, not for me,” Silke laughed back, “but when does Robert ever listen to her ? Just, ‘Where is my wurst ? Where is my big, fat, juicy wurst … “
“Silke !” Gabi remonstrated, but knowing that she was only encouraging her. Monika tried again.
“Because I think he likes you.”
“He’s nice. Very friendly.”
“Ah, shit, woman, wake up, he wants to fuck you.”
Monika didn’t deny Silke’s assertion, though tried to tone it down,
“I think he is interested in you.”
“But she has a boyfriend,” objected Gabi, genuinely shocked.
“Yes, and ? One that doesn’t screw her. What use is that ? That’s what vibrators are for. Don’t leave stinky socks around, or fart-up the bed, either.”
“You would like a vibrator that makes farting noises ?” asked Monika, making alternate buzzing and farting noises.
Even Silke found that too much, and threw her napkin at Monika, who was too busy laughing to defend herself.
Lorelei was feeling a little uncomfortable and was hoping the conversation would veer off into another direction, but Gabi asked,
“And, Lori … do you like Richard ?”
Silence over the table.
“Yes. I like him … but not like that.”
“Now, Andreas screws me whenever I want it, which is always. He doesn’t do much else.”
“Still no job ?” inquired Monika about Silke’s special friend.
“Ah, man, he has some stupid ideas about selling old records at the Sunday market. Records. Nobody plays records anymore. He makes ten, twenty Marks and thinks he’s a big business man. I’d dump him if he wasn’t such a great fuck.”
“And what is with you and Sebastian ?” asked Monika to Gabi. She responded by shaking her head and making a gesture of hopelessness.
“It’s comfortable. Safe. It’s just not going anywhere.”
“So it’s going down the toilet ! What’s it like with an Englishman, Moni ? What do they say ? A stiff upper dick ?”
“Ach ! It’s going well. It’s good Richard is here, gives me a break. When they are together, I can’t keep up. Just talk, talk, talk. Can’t even tell who’s talking. They sound the same, blah, blah, blah. I’m not sure they ever get to a point. They use the same words and expressions. Just as my English gets good, they start all American slang and bullshit.”
“And the other thing ?” asked Gabi. Monika finished her coffee and sighed.
“Yes. Still a problem. An issue. He doesn’t understand. Just because he’s not in her flat, it’s her friend’s, but she keeps all her shit there. She’ll have to get them sometime.” For the first time, there was silence. Monika always got upset speaking about Ute and the flat.
Lorelei tried helping,
“But he loves you. That is obvious. You are lucky.”
“Yes, I know, but … ah, I go there and I can feel her. Smell her. I just … don’t like it.”
“So ? Move to Prenzlauer Berg or let him move in with you.”
“No !,” responded Silke to Gabi’s suggestion, “she’s got to have her freedom, somewhere to go after they fight. Make him move to Kreutzberg.”
“I’m looking out for places. So if you hear of anything … “
“Yeah, sure. And you, Gabi ? Found a love-shack ?”
“What about Richard ?”
“Well … don’t know. Won’t be able to speak to him.”
“Believe me, that is a bonus, not a problem. OK, it’s your birthday soon. We’ll buy you a giant dildo,” promised Silke.
“That farts and says, ‘where’s my beer ?’” added Monika
They all laughed and continued their lunch, except Lorelei, who rested her head in her hands and stared at the table, lost in thought.