Yes, I am bad feeling

In one minute, in early fall, Virginia’s and my world came crashing down.  Her dad told her that his request for extension here at Stadt had been denied – they were moving to Italy in one month.  Thirty days; a twelfth of a year; Seven hundred and twenty hours; forty-three thousand and two hundred minutes and she would be gone.  Oh, great god Eros, why have you done this to us?

I was again faced with telling a loved one goodbye.  This time it was she that was leaving.  We spent every waking, non-school moment in each other’s company.  Her friends tried to console her, as mine did for me.  We were happy for any given moment together, but always had the shadow of parting hanging over us.  We clung to each other as never before.  She even tried to talk me into making love to her without protection.  We convinced ourselves from the very edge of the bed that something like that was never a good idea.  It would cause our parents grief and maybe even drive a wedge between the two of us.  She tearfully agreed after a bit; realizing it was selfish, and admitted that the wisdom of a far older person (me, who was only six months older than her) was a good thing.

We tried to have fun in the four weeks left, but there are only 24 hours a day and you have to attend school and sleep.  Sometimes we managed to sleep together by telling our parents we were at a friend’s house but as I look back I doubt very much they believed us.  They would just look somber and say something like “have fun” or, in my dad’s case “bon chance”.  He knew right off I wasn’t over at Billy-Bob-John’s house because he gave me a bigger box of condoms.

Virginia’s mom was not fooled either.  She couldn’t have failed to notice the bloom in her daughter’s cheeks, the change in her demeanor to even more outgoing and conversational.  She had to know Virginia and I were sleeping together ever since the Paris trip.  What worried me the most was what if her dad also knew?  Would he run over me with a D-8?

On our previous town wanderings, Virginia and I had found a great little seven-room inn in downtown Stadt that made us feel like honored guests every time I called to book a room.  Since school had again started, we could only stay there on a weekend, but that still gave us four weekends and we made the most of them.  We would call for the room around nine in the evening on Friday and show up about five the next day after spending the time poking around Stadt.

By now, I was fluent enough in German to be able to carry on full conversations.  I had suddenly found myself thinking in German.  This was a trait that Mr. Espana told me that would come once you completely immersed yourself in a language.  Virginia wasn’t quite a good as me, but could listen and understand conversation pretty well.  She just couldn’t speak without an accent.  We told the inn owners we were secretly married but I don’t think they believed us.  It didn’t matter because Herta and Otto treated us as their ‘kinder’ (children).

We would quietly go up to our room where we would undress each other and slip under the huge down-filled comforters thrown over the bed.  As the days marched onward, we would catch each other with tears in our eyes and try our best to keep from dwelling on Der Tag, as we called it.  Our lovemaking sessions began to take on a sense of urgency that neither one of us could quench.  One night we didn’t make love at all but simply held to each other tightly as we waited for dawn and once it broke, made love just once in the beam of sunlight from an open window curtain.  Since she was on top, the golden glow highlighted her entire body.  The light fuzz down her spine appeared to stand up and cheer as we climaxed together.

But, even completely wonderful things are sometimes forced to end.  We said our final farewells at the same train station that had started us on our spiritual and sexual journey.  All movie clichés aside, we pledged to love each other forever through an open window as the train moved off.  There wasn’t a dry eye anywhere near us that day.  Even my stoic dad had to turn away and remove a cinder.

I contacted Herta and Otto once more and told them that Virginia had moved away to Italy.  They were concerned enough to invite me down for dinner one Saturday evening.  This turned into a tradition where at least twice a month I would tell my folks I was going downtown for dinner and head to the inn.  After a few weeks, a very pretty girl named Danni appeared for dinner.  She spoke not a word of English but explained that she was going to take the language next period in school.  I offered to help.  She turned out to be Otto’s niece and that she wasn’t dating right now according to him.

I know he meant well, and I wouldn’t have hurt either his or Herta’s feelings, so I asked her to go out with me.  She and I began a light relationship that consisted mostly of visiting various museums around the area and watching sporting events like soccer.  I didn’t have the same sort of feelings for her as I did Virginia so I didn’t really feel like I was being untrue.

I was still corresponding with Virginia, but lately the letters were coming more infrequently.  They also had less and less endearing prose and more simple chatter.  I felt that I was losing her.  One day, about three months after Virginia left, I received my farewell letter.  She had met a young airman that was older than she and had fallen in love with him.  I suppose I should have felt sadness, but I think I really saw it coming.  Teens are nothing if they aren’t resilient.  I like to think I bounced back nicely, but I bet I didn’t fool anyone very much.

The next time I saw Danni she detected my morose attitude and said “you are bad feeling, yes?”  It was the first English she had ever spoken to me and she blushed as she said it.  I didn’t have the heart to correct her but just confirmed, “Yes, I am bad feeling”.  She came over to me, wrapped her arms around me and held on while I snuffled into the hollow of her neck.  In a minute or so I kissed her on the cheek and told her I was okay.  We wandered hand in hand out into the garden at the back of the inn in silence.

The next time I kissed her, it was on her lips, and she kissed back.

T.O.M.

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