I ask Lars, how is it going with the waitress, but he is not very talkative about her. He just says abruptly that she is working at nights and that is hard for them to find the time to meet. I have a tiny Schadenfreude about her, followed by an instant sharp, self-punishing regret about it – maybe that waitress could be my best friend if I knew her. Maybe she is a student from another country who is profound and deep and not boring and friendly and at the same time fascinatingly different. Could be that she is someone I always wanted to meet, my soulmate, my imaginary sister (my real sister is a civil servant whose biggest satisfaction in life is to work for the state), my unknown twin. I am dying to ask him, what is she exactly doing apart from serving tables, how did they meet, where exactly does she work, etc. But I sense that he is angry about even mentioning her name. Could be that he has invented her? Sometimes I suspect Lars inventing his many girlfriends, but on the other hand I am inventing people too.
I wake up again in the middle of the night, this time from an sms. I forgot to switch off my cell phone. I thought it could be from Reiner, but it is from someone called Mister Lupus. His name is not Lupus, but this is how I call him. He is someone from another life, another century, even millenium before our era, someone I met when I was living in another country, had another home and another friends. The message says “Dobze”. It is in Polish. Mister Lupus ir not Polish, he has nothing to do with Poland, but it used to be our special greating. I stare at it. It is 4am and knowing mister Lupus he must be in some nightclub at this time. I struggle with the temptation to send him back “Dobze” – it’s like how do you do? – how do you do, it was how we always started to communicate, but I can not remember his face. Neither what did he wear. He used to be alive, now his is a ghost. Almost like everyone else.
I have to go to this francophone event. It is organised by a lady from French Embassy who wrote a book about some historical period in Saarland. I hate history, as I said I hate looking back, so I immediately forget the subject. Our corporation sponsored her book, so me and the girl from Communications, Dana are here.
First there is a short speech and then a seated dinner. I am sitting next to Dana and to the guy from another sponsor organisation. The dinner is nice, food is great and lots of wonderful French red wine. Yet I can not see or feel any of that because I realise that I am in love with Reiner.
I am sitting in the dining room and replaying again and again in my head what happened yesterday. And with every minute it seems more and more beautiful, even divine, our one night stand had turned into a magic ritual, the arcane thunder after which nothing is the same anymore. I remember his very thin body, his face in the dark, some words that he said. The apotheosis of our night is the phrase he said: “My mother is growing lilies”. My mother is growing lilies, I am repeating to myself. My mother is growing lilies. My mother is growing lilies. Somehow this phrase has absorbed all the tenderness, all the silence between us, there is an absolute completeness in it what can happen between a man an a woman. It is the ultimate place where all the boundaries between people are finally gone. I have the feeling that the embassy is going to explode. I can not stay any more minute in the world where his mother is growing lilies, it is so unbearably, even painfully beautiful that I mumble something incomprehensible in French and leave the room.
And so, just having blasphemed about waiters, by the irony of fate I am meeting this guy, the cook and falling in love with him.
I meet him on the street – this is usually how I meet people, when I am not in the plane or in the bar. I am walking back home from a small namesday dinner (in my country we celebrate namesdays, it is the tradition I am so happy to get rid off ), which consisted of me, Amanda and one girl, the trainee who is hanging out with Amanda. They gave me a birthday card with a half naked guy joking that it is “your present”.
So I am walking home from the Irish pub, slightly drunk and here is this guy. He is standing on the street and he asks me “Excuse me, where is the N. street?”
I straighten my back, like in school and recite him the directions. We cross the street together.
You are not going to invite me to your place? He asks. Just like that.
Why not? I say. Let’s go.
Just like that.