"Zwei scotches, bitte." Astrid said to the bar-tender. I slipped atop a crooked stool, and crossed my legs in front of me. Astrid sat on the stool next to me, at the bar with her boyfriend, Klaus to her side. It was another Saturday night in Hamburg, Germany spent at the local the Kaiserkeller pub. The pub was dense with smoke, and filled with German brutes, black sailors, and nightly women, the kind that wore pastey red lip-stick with white powdered face and chest. The Kaiserkeller translated to English meant, emporer's cellars, which we all laughed at the irony of such a majestic name to such a sleezy night club. Strippers took the shift for the late nights, and singers opened from the waking hours of dawn. The pub had all types who came - we knew the common ones. There was Bruno, the manager of the club. He spoke seldom English, in short choppy phrases. Then there was Gertrude, a naive, innocent British girl from Wales who came in search of a singing career and ended up here. She sang peppy songs, that entertained the men. Though I always reckoned it wasn't her singing that made them smile but her happy-go-lucky expressions and flambouyant dresses. We liked Gertrude, even within her youthfulness. She seemed to bring a little sunshine with her self-written songs. Mind you, she was in a totally different lingo then Astrid, Klaus and myself. Our kind was called 'Exis' - short for existenialists. It was more of the art crowd, the poetic souls, the aesthetic ones. We generally wore all-black which was a favourite of ours: black pants or clam-diggers, a tight black top, and black heels. I often wore my dark hair in a pony-tail, while Astrid had a short, blonde bob. Klaus had his hair fall over his face, long bangs and a shag in the back-side. Astrid cut his hair, and mine for that matter.
Olaf and Sven came to the Kaiserkeller a lot, as well. These men were artists, who shared a flat next door to Astrid and mine. Olaf was bigger-built, and very interesting to know. Sven was more quiet, shy, and ultimately attractive. We'd known these men for ages, and shared many interests with them. Last of the commoners were Jurgen and his girlfriend, Veronika - a full figured, beautiful blonde. Jurgen was a good friend, a photographer like Astrid. He and Veronika were out of town at the time, visiting Italy. That left the pub commoners down to Astrid, Klaus, and I.
The bar-tender brought us two Scotches, as Astrid had ordered. Astrid held her glass to mine and said, "Beifall" meaning 'cheers'. We sipped our drinks when Klaus began to speak. "Ladies, there are some extroadinary lads I'd like for you to meet sometime. They are a new group from Liverpool, just lovely. And so beautiful, are they. I spoke with them after one of their shows. They call themselves - ah, die Silver Beetles? I think it is this." Astrid tilted her head in interest. "What kind of music do they play?"
"It is the new sound. Rock n' roll, I believe. Its just facinating. You would really like it, I'm sure." He answered. "They play many hours of the day. Maybe even tonight, if I'm not mistaken."
I sat upright with formal posture on my stool. It was rather a habit my mother had started back when I was a teenager. I never grew a flaunting chest like many of the girls, and it seemed to dismay my mother. She would often correct my posture and say, "My, my, Trixi. You should sit up straight like a lady. If you don't have any bossom by now, you must obtain extra edicate to presume being lady-like." I loathed her critisism at the time, but my chest never filled out as it should have. It left me like one straight stick with no curves at all. In the deepest pits of my heart, there was a confidential gratitude for her persisting of my sitting properly.
"How many lads are in the group?" I asked, in curiosity. Klaus tossed the hair from his eyes. "Sechs. There are six of them." Astrid and I exchanged glances, and she raised her eyebrows. "We would be delighted to meet them." Astrid chimed in. She giggled cutely, which made me smile. Nothing tickled the ear more than hearing one of Astrid's innocent giggles. Klaus said, "I shall ask Bruno at once, when the lads will be performing. If you'll excuse me, ladies." I nodded at his dismissal, murmuring, "Go ahead."
"It will be nice to meet a Brit again. Six chaps, Astrid! And beautiful ones at that. Klaus has impecable taste - you know that. Then again, maybe I shouldn't rush into it. I haven't dated in..." I paused. Astrid bit her lip. "Weeks?" she suggested. I nodded. "Its been sort of difficult for me after Gustav and I...you know. Ever since we split, I just haven't wanted to see anyone else." Astrid put her hand on mine. "I understand, Trixi. Maybe its best you wait on dating again. You don't want to have your heart broken like THAT again." I looked down at my hands, remembering the anguish proceeding the bitter end of a sweet relationship. Gustav had been my last steady for a long three months. We'd met at the Kaiserkeller, when he and his band were in town on tour. I was deeply in love with him. I remembered every dimple on his cheeks, every twinkle in his eye, and every song he'd ever serenaded to me. He had a low, soft voice when he sang that made my body shiver. We spent the entire night talking with one another - from philosophy to music to France, where he was from. In the early morning of the next day, we said good-bye and he kissed me. I knew from then on that I loved him. Sure, we dated soon after. Those three months were pure bliss. He would take me to the theater, where we would watch French films. I knew little French but he would whisper what was happening in my hear. Gustav made me feel like such a lady. He'd sing to me, whether we were together alone or over the phone. And I could still remember him singing "Sweet Sue" over the phone, late at night. Gustav would call me his Sweet Sue. But then, it happened. The break-up. A dreadful occurence I forced myself to forget, but never could. The memory was carved in my heart and would never fade away...
"Andere schottisch?" the bar-tender asked. I shook my head back to reality and replied, "Yes, I'll have another scotch, please." Astrid had her elbows leaned back on the bar counter with her legs swaying. She was smiling in Klaus's direction. "We've been lovers since the day we were born." She told me. This was something Astrid was so proud to say, and she said it often. It was true. I'd lived through many failing relationships, and in all that time, Astrid and Klaus were always together. I called them two German lovebirds. They couldn't live without eachother. One time when Astrid was away, Klaus and I were at home watching the new black and white television set I'd saved up for and he said something I'd never forget. He looked me in the eyes, and said, "Trixi, if I didn't have Astrid, I would loose my sanity. She is my other half, and without her...I'd kill myself." I was astonished at his claim and his need for her. No man of mine had ever said that, moreover even thought that. But Klaus did, and he meant it. It wasn't an obsession or infatuation; it was love.
I knew Astrid would never take Klaus forgranted either. She hadn't looked at another man...EVER. Her faithfulness to Klaus was unbreakable, and her love, unconditional. Sometimes I wondered why they never married. Perhaps, Astrid was waiting for Klaus to propose, but he never had. It didn't really matter whether they were married or not. They were still strongly attached and strongly in love. I envied that bond.
"The band is performing tonight. Bruno says they begin their shift at 2 in the morning." Klaus informed. He glanced at his watch. "That is in a couple hours. Do you two want to stay that long?" I turned to Astrid for her opinion. She gave me the same questioning look. "Bar-tender, we're gonna need another 4 scotches, please!"