"This salad is...how do you say...ah, delie-shous?"
Astrid asked in her cute German accent. I laughed.
"It's pronounced del-li-cious in English." I
corrected. She nodded. "Ja, ja now I remember." I
smiled, and picked at the salad with the silver fork.
Astrid's English was improving over my lessons with
her, but she still often mis-pronounced words. Her
most common error was saying 'diccifult' (pronounced
di-kee-fult) instead of 'difficult'. For some reason
or another, she just couldn't say 'difficult'! But it
made me smile, and she didn't seem to mind.
Astrid and I were dining in the tiled kitchen, at a
small glass table that evening round 12. I had
prepared a garden-ly type salad with exotic spices and
herbs. Cooking was my specialty. The culinary arts had
facinated me ever since I dated Pierre, a French
cuisine chef. He used to cook Astrid and I the best
meals we'd ever tasted in our lives. All sorts of
dishes we didn't even know existed. We'd start the
meal with soup, I prefered split pea. He sometimes
treated us with French Onion. Then, he would serve the
appetizers which consisted of scallions, sauteed
mushrooms, and finger foods. We made our way to the
main meal, which could vary from prime rib steak to
warm spaghetti and bread sticks. After the main meal,
we had desert and maybe thats what I missed most about
Pierre. He served us the most delectable chocolate
mousse, or tirimouse made from scratch. Once Pierre
and I broke up, Astrid and I decided we would take a
cooking class at night. We studied many things, and
learned more than we planned on knowing. Though
cooking troubled Astrid. She found herself failing in
many of her attempts. Our very first quiz was to crack
an egg, and let the slimy, viscocious yolk and egg
white drip into the bowl, keeping intact. It was quite
simple, really. Just a flick of the wrist, and quick
movement made the egg breaking successful. But Astrid
could not get the hang of it. She went through many
batches of eggs, trying to get one right but failing
miserably. Eventually, she dropped out of the class
from frusteration of failure. I tried convincing her
to come back, but she would tell me, "The Lord put me
on this earth to take photographs, not to crack eggs!"
Sure, I quit the class too, in time. I couldn't afford
the monthly bills and it was becoming time-consuming.
Hamburg nights were not to be taken forgranted.
But I did leave the culinary school with a better
appreciation for fine foods, and wonderous cooking
abillities. In our home, I did the cooking. Astrid
care of the laundry, and helped out with washing
dishes. We ran a pleasant household, clean and tidy.
Astrid and I shared a room with two twin beds. There
was a guestroom, a living room, and a bathroom. Then,
we had a porch outback with the smallest backyard
where Astrid grew her posies. There was a pull-down
stairwell that led to the attic, which was my art
studio. It wasn't much of what one should consider a
'studio'. Moreover, a dark lot wide in space with tons
of paintings propped up against walls, blank canvasses
stacked in random columns, an easle, paints and
materials, media scattered about the paint stained
floor and a window. It was my heaven, my getaway,
my...studio. Perhaps the messiest of all the rooms,
but the most cozy to me.
We finished our evening lunch, and Astrid cleared the
table. "The lads will be coming round 3. Shall we
prepare for their arrival?" she asked. I put the stack
of plates in the sink. "Yes, yes. I have to set my
hair, and get dressed, do my make-up, and shave. How
long do you propose that will take?" Astrid bit her
lip and pondered. "Zwei stunden," she estimated [two
hours]. I looked ay my watch. "Then I better get
I stepped out of the hot, steaming shower and ran my
fingers through my long, slink wet hair. It hung
heavily, assimilated with water. I shook it out with
my fingers, and it sputtered drips of water over the
bathroom floor. The mirror was fogged by the hot
water, and I rubbed away the condensation with a
towel. Drying myself off, I heard Astrid knock on the
door. "Can I come in?" she asked. "Ja, come in." I
called back. She opened the door, and began checking
herself out in the mirror. She messed with her short
blonde hair, combing it various ways in deciding what
looked best. I wrapped my hair in a towel and rolled
it upon the top of my head. "What should I wear?" I
asked Astrid. She was still fiddling with her hair.
"Does it look better like this?" she interrupted,
combing her hair to one side. I shook my head and
grabbed the comb, brushing her short locks foward. "It
looks better like this." I pointed to the mirror, and
she studied the bob, carefully. She burst into smile.
"I like it!"
I pulled open the closet door and rummaged for
something to wear. "Casual, right?" I called to
Astrid. "Yes. Wear the off-the-shoulders blouse. You
know, the fur one. Its casual, and expensive looking."
I smiled as I found the black frock. It was made from
real fur, I wasn't sure what kind, and very soft. With
tight black pants, stilleto heels, and my hair put up,
I would be as casually chic as Audrey Hepburn. I
pulled the top off the hanger and slipped it over my
head. As I was dressing, I heard Astrid say, "Should I
invite Klaus?" Her voice was steady, yet quiet as if
she questioned asking at all. "I don't know. Do you
want to?" I asked her. She was silent. She came to the
walk-in closet door entry, and leaned against it to
face me. "I'm not sure. I want to get to know these
lads, and I don't know if I want Klaus here." she
explained. I pulled on some leather pants, and said,
"Why not?" She shrugged. "It may be awkward."
Struggling to pull up the tight leather pants over my
still damp legs, I grunted, "Well...then...keep the
boys to just us for today." Astrid sighed. "Trixi, why
am I feeling this way? I'm not ashamed of Klaus, am I?
I love him. I just want to be alone with these guys,
"I know what you mean. They are great guys. Especially
that Stuart. He's a real looker, isn't he?"
Astrid blushed at my comment. "Yes." She said very
quietly. "But I am interested in getting to know him
on a more personal level. You know, understand what
he's like and his artwork...jus platonically I guess."
I raised my eyebrows, impressed. "Very good. Big word,
for a small German bird." She laughed. "I looked it up
in the little english dictionary you gave me. Did I
say it right?" I nodded. "Yes, you said it correctly."
She smiled at her accomplishment.
I walked into the bathroom again, and found a pair of
heart shaped earings with diamonds in them. They were
quaint - an airloom from my great grandmum. I put them
in carefully as Astrid followed me in. Scanning her in
the mirror, I checked out her out-fit. A black
quarter-length sleeve blouse, loose and frilly hanging
over tight ankle length pants. Her eyeliner was thick
and heavy, making her pale blue eyes stand out in
contrast. Her lips were painted pale, and gently pink.
Her cheeks dusted with the tiniest hint of pink. She
was beautiful. In a way, I was happy for this beauty.
Then that other evil side of me, the envious
bitter-jealous part, wondered why I wasn't that
beautiful. I would have to out-do her. I would have to
stand out. I snatched a dark lip-stick, a DARK
lipstick shade, crimson and coated my lips. I put on
coat after coat, puckering and blotting, rubbing my
lips together. Afterwards, I dipped into the eyeliner,
applying it carefully to my upper lid. Astrid had
outlined her whole eye; I just did the top. I didn't
want to mimic her but rather, stand opposite. Next, I
powdered my face and chest, then sprayed myself in a
heap of rose fragrance, delicate yet strong. Doing my
hair was easy, and it looked elegant. I was ready.
Walking out of the bathroom, I saw Astrid sitting on
her twin bed, legs crossed, reading a book. She looked
up to see me, probably trying to acknowledge where the
heavy smell was coming from. She looked over my
hard-work at beauty and perfection and smiled. "Look
like your going on a date!" she exclaimed. I flushed,
and reminded, "Na-ah. I'm only hosting good
friends...aquaintences tonight. Remember, no dating
for me." Astrid tilted her head, saying, "Trix, are
you really sure you don't want to start dating again?"
She was honest, sincere, and concerned. I nodded. "I
just can't, Astrid. I just need some more time to...be
alone. I want to feel ready when I date again. And I'd
rather make friends with these guys than date one of
them. They'd only break my heart."
Astrid nodded, sympathetically. "Okay, Trixi. Whatever
you think is best, I will agree with you." I smiled
and hugged her. I looked at my watch. 3:15. "What time
is it?" Astrid asked. "ein Viertel nachher drei," I
answered, meaning 'a quarter after three'. She jumped
off the bedspread and cried, "They'll be here, any
minute! Come. We must await their arrival." We sat,
impatiently in the small livingroom. It was the
'social' room of the flat - where we had the guests
relax and chat. There was a long ugly sofa against the
wall, and two reclining chairs that Astrid's parents
gave her when she moved out. We also had a coffee
table in the center, and a phonograph to play music.
Also, there was a piano squeezed in. We were saving up
to buy a black and white television set, and getting
very close to having enough. Usually when we wanted to
watch tv, we went down to Klaus's place. He had a nice
set, across from a soft couch. Thats where the
majority of our tv watching came from. Not until we
could afford a set of our own.
The carpeting was mustard yellow in the livingroom,
but it was comfortable to walk around on bare-foot.
The walls had an interesting wall-paper pattern going
down in columns. Astrid and I always talked about
painting a mural on one of the walls, just to stand
out. But we were either procrastinating, or just
fantisizing of doing it - never really getting to it.
Suddenly, the telephone buzzed. I grabbed the
reciever, thinking it must be them. "Hallo?" I
"Hallo Trixi, gutenabend [good evening]. Dieses ist
Klaus [This is Klaus]." the voice said. Astrid perked
up. "Who is it?" she whispered, hugging a couch pillow
to her chest. "It's Klaus." I whispered, my hand over
the mouth piece. Klaus continued, "Ich benenne
informierte Sie mich gelangte einen Einflu des
Musikverlegerfreundes von mir... in den Beachtungen an
das Band. Sicher erinnern sich Sie an ihn?" I nodded.
"Yes I remeber him," I replied. Astrid was biting her
lip. "What did he say?" she asked. I covered the mouth
piece, and said, "Klaus says he got a hold of that
music publishing fellow for the lads." Astrid mouthed
'oh' and nodded. Klaus proceeded, "Ich uberzeugte ihn,
horen bis eins der Erscheinen des jungen Mannes beim
Kaiserkeller zu haben einmal folgende Woche. Er wird
ihren Ton horen und entscheiden, wenn sie die Klage
genug zum Speichern eines Albums oder mindestens Sein
sein konnten Unterstutzungsvocals." My face lit up.
"Thats wonderful!" I exclaimed, in excitement. Astrid
jumped up from the couch. "What? What?! What did he
say? Tell me!" She was jumping up and down. "Just a
minute, Klaus." I said.
"Klaus says he convinced the publishing fellow to have
a listen to one of the lad's shows at the Kaiserkeller
sometime next week. He is going to hear their sound
and decide if they might be suit enough to record an
album or at least be back-up vocals! Isn't this
exciting?" I explained. Astrid's jaw dropped. "Its
phenomanal! Oh, I can't wait to tell the boys!" She
giggled happily. "Wow, Klaus. Do you really think
he'll let them record?" I wondered. Klaus said it was
a possibility, and he [the publishing associate] was
always looking for a new, original sound, something
the group had. He went on to describe that the chap
would come in anonymously on an unexpected date the
following week to have a viewing of the boys. If he
liked what he saw, it could be big for the Silver
Beetles. A new artist named Tony Sheridan was looking
for back-up vocals to record a new single called 'My
Bonnie'. And the boys may be well suited for that
I thanked Klaus for informing us, and told him I would
admonish the boys they were being viewed by a
professional soon. Klaus and I exchanged farewells,
and I hung up. "Astrid, this is big! This is BIG!
Its..." Suddenly, I noticed she wasn't there. I looked
around for her, and found her at the door, greeting
four handsome lads.
I came to the enterance, and greeted them as well.
"Hello lads, come in, come in." They walked in and,
Astrid led them into the living room. John, George,
and Stuart sat on the ugly sofa. Astrid took one of
the reclining chairs. That left Paul and I one chair.
We exchanged glances and I said, "Go ahead. I'll sit
on the floor." Paul arched his brows and shook his
head. "No, no. Surely, its your home. You take the
chair, I'll sit on the floor." I began to say it was
alright and I didn't mind, but he insisted and then
planted himself on the carpet. We all sat comfortably
and I looked them all over. "Isn't there another one
of you?" Astrid asked for both of us.
"Ah, yeah. Pete's out on a date. He's seeing this
knock-out bird, a stripper who works at the club. Her
name is...uh, Delilah, I think." Paul said.
"We just call her Tits." John confirmed. Astrid and I
burst into giggles. I recalled the woman. She was
surely shapely, curved in all the right places.
Delilah was a temptress to the guys on stage, but a
sweetheart to men off-stage. I didn't see her and Pete
ever going anywhere in whatever relationship they had
going on. But then again, I wasn't going to tell the
boys that. They'd know soon enough when Pete was
bauling over the split of a lost stripper.
"She's been seeing him for two weeks. Good girl."
George commented. Astrid and I exchanged looks. "Wow,
a new record." Astrid murmured. "How's that?" Paul
asked. "She said the bird's a tramp, fool!" John
grunted. Paul smiled. "Ah, I see." I stood up from the
chair and said, "Can I offer you lads a cup of tea?"
The boys all muttered their yesses and thank yous as I
excused myself to the kitchen. Stuart followed me in,
and said, "I'll help you start the kettle." I smiled,
sweetly. "Thank you." He opened a cabinet in search of
the kettle, and I pulled it out for him. "You look
really pretty today." Stuart said quietly. I looked up
immediantly at him. His eyes were fixed down on
filling the kettle with water, avoiding my glance in
shyness. I looked to my hands, smiling at the manicure
and replied, "Thank you. Your very polite."
"Polite? Nah, I'm not polite. Its a true statement -
not an opinion. You look beautiful. Absolute fact." he
added. I flushed, and squealed, "Aww, thats too sweet
of you. Its always nice when a guy acknowledges a
woman's efforts at beautifying herself. We just spend
hours getting ready, and some guys don't even notice,
or say anything." Stuart looked cross. "They don't?
Well you have to understand, if I guy doesn't tell
you, you look beautiful, he DOES think to himself
'Man, she looks really gorgeous'. Some don't work up
the gaul to give compliments. They just think it
silently to themselves, you see."
"Really? Is that true?" I asked, curiously. "Oh, of
corse! We men don't always say what we feel or think."
"Well women don't either." I piped up. Stuart leaned
against the kitched counter. "Well then, nows your
chance." he said. I shrugged. "Chance for what?"
"To tell me what your thinking or what you feel."
I paused. No man had ever said that to me before. I
wasn't sure how to approach the matter. I searched for
words but nothing came. Maybe it was best I just say
whatever I honestly felt. So I parted my lips and
spoke what was in my mind. "I want to kiss you."