There is something in the air (

Stay, you are so beautiful – summer love

Photo: dpa/Annette Riddell

They met again this summer. Coincidentally, in a bistro that neither she nor she usually frequent. They talked to each other, exchanged ideas, drank beer and ended up exchanging phone numbers. Then they went their separate ways again: she rode her silver bike, and began walking to the train station. She didn’t think much at the end of the evening, she felt smiling as she locked the bike on her doorstep, but also tired because she had to go up the stairs. Then a little lonely in her apartment. I fell asleep unintentionally.

On the train to work the next morning, he was thinking of them schoolgirls and posters, and he remembered the images in his mind, and the soft sentences they had spoken at that time, long ago, below. Even the sentences that remained unspoken, especially the sentences, the endless monologues and pathos that disappeared in the unsent letters and unpublished stories, the brackish water. He thinks about his answering machine while in the office staring at the screen, whether it will flash when he gets home, whether he’s called, wondering if he should call or wait a few days.

Strategies: As he was only thinking in terms of strategies at the time, the base with wait times, calling only three days after exchanging the number, nothing more, nothing less. Do not tell everything when meeting, keep secrets. Don’t communicate until the first touch is on her side. Observing the decisions they made superficially, in fact only taking them from her, and reading her eyes, as the saying goes. Looking back, it all seemed ridiculous to him, nervous and suspicious. At home he searches the mail, the answering machine does not blink, no calls, turns on the TV.

It is late, she is lying on her side, her legs bent, on the bed, a simple structure with a simple mattress. The phone rings in the hallway, you think it’s too late to make a call, and an American movie flashes on your small TV set on a wooden chair next to the bed. The series takes place in Italy, in a hut in an unknown location, the images are edited like photographs, of a black-haired man, and a blonde woman. in Poznan. A slowing of perception, interrupted by this sharp resonance, slowly draws her bare legs to the floor, slows down for a moment, gets up, opens the room door, and takes off. It’s his voice you’re listening to now, sitting on the floor after stopping the phone call to find a cigarette, an ashtray beside her, a dead picture on the wall staring at her while listening, talking.

They have talked for a long time and in good health, they make a date for the weekend day, and he realizes that he can no longer concentrate on his book, the words remain meaningless. thinks about sex about her; Because they had never had sex with each other before, although they were often close. Flames dance in front of his nose as he sits on the lawn in the garden and waits for it. A brief and disturbing affair in the midst of their acquaintance, a glimpse of her knee-high stockings in the shower, her red feet in the shower. why not. Leaning on his hands, watching a dog chase a swan in a puddle, it’s hot in the sun, they retreat into the shade.

She chose a summer dress for this first date in the shaded garden that replaces the bombed-out pond, with an artificial pond in the middle. It’s a light dress in muted pink hues, which she last wore as a teen, at school. One thinks of recognizing floral patterns, but flowers are not printed. He finds the dress a little ridiculous, although it fits this summer, it makes sly comments that could make fun of, even his way of making fun of them suggests connection and confidence rather than arrogance. I sat next to him, brought a picnic basket, they opened a bottle of wine, they don’t want to eat anything yet.

The steady look of her brown eyes that protrude with pleasure from her dress, and her narrow, round arms, seen while exchanging about everyday things, while stories of success and failure fade, are a mutual update. And a new beginning of joint actions, a new beginning of conversations with a slightly lighter tone. Sometimes it’s so easy that he finds in a nervous moment wondering how this situation came about and where it is going to lead. They left the wine bottle half full, it’s already too late, they stand next to each other on the edge of the park, they hug each other, first the others will soon follow, feel it, it’s in the air.

The touch still lingered, and their bodies remembered it for a while on the way home, looking warmly in the eyes of passers-by, carrying different feelings with them. It’s too late, the day is coming to a wonderful end, people head to their beds or the company of others in small rooms crowded with alcohol and cigarettes. At night, the phone connects them again, longing for a sound that sounds beautiful and soft. I called, he was surprised. They make a date to go to the cinema, the next day he picks a movie, looks at the ads in the cinemas downtown, walks around the pedestrian zone, it’s lunchtime. Summer is at its peak, the sun is beating on his head, and the heat is stretching his body. Sneakers and soft drinks, he’s sweating in his pants, he can’t wear shorts, it’s a matter of taste. He sweats under the armpits, sweats on his stomach. He thinks briefly of her summer dress, makes him smile, and wonders if he should be ashamed of his jokes about that, looking back, he really liked the dress, it had something fresh and airy about it.

For the evening I decided on something inconspicuous: trousers and a shirt without a print. She comes out of the house, and, in great anticipation, opens her bike and leads her in the direction of the cinema where he is waiting for her. Her hug is tighter now, a greeting that makes both of them vibrate a little, but without cheek kisses, nor hand touches, that would be very friendly. Gestures of this kind are avoided, she believes that there are no false signals, she feels something that looks familiar, his presence, his body next to her at the box office. A body she thought she already knew but never had, she remembers. However, this remembrance doesn’t have the status of a warning, but basically, she’s putting on the straw of a Coca-Cola bottle he bought for her.

In the darkness of the stage, she smiles as he holds her hand, unintentionally half, then tighter, clasping her hands examining subtitled film on the backrest separating the seats. A beer garden after the movie, shy first kiss on the tram she’s riding her bike, holding her left hand and right hand. A second kiss is in front of the entrance to her house, an old student quarter building, with wooden stairs, and small student apartments. He escorted him upstairs, and I felt it, it would be a shame this evening too, in the room where her latest recordings, Sounds of Summer, freshly bought, played vinyl in sun-protected plastic bags. She smiles, swings to the beat, crouches in front of the record player. The nineties are over, and the decade of paranoid love has gone the way of all mortals, he thinks at the edge of her bed, not far from her as she records it for the next record, and utters some sentences of knowledge, intrigue, and knowledge that he appreciates, before slowly running his hand through her hair, massaging the back of her neck, Light and pulsating, she sits next to him, about to tell something blank right now.

Their lips move instead, and the taste of their mouths floods with all thoughts at once, thoughts about their relationship history, and thoughts of their first love. Stripped dress, stripped jeans instead of the thoughts of the men and women they slept with before, idiots, cheaters, only they themselves are missing from their lists, as they realize with a silent smile. You can no longer see it up close, you only see the hatching of the skin, the pores and finally the color of the flesh. Light music drowns out the sounds of air being pushed over the vocal cords, and eventually they begin to work.

Rene Hamann is a writer who lives in Berlin and Vienna. Recent publication: “Usage. Poems” (Elif-Verlag, 2021).

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