Trip to the Worlds Fair – 1958, Part 2

I slept fitfully that night as I relived our evening and awoke almost as tired as when I went to sleep.  I was the first one out of the tent, followed by my parents.  Shortly after we got the coffee going, Colombe and Arianne came out.  Arianne caught my eye as she smiled and winked once slowly.  Colombe had surely confided in her what happened last night.  I smiled back.  I’m not sure, but I think my mom caught the exchange because there was a thoughtful look on her face.

My parents and the girl’s parents decided to join forces and we had a lot planned today so around nine we got started towards the fairgrounds.  After spending a fortune to park in the lot, we all walked directly to the Atomium.  This was (and still is, decades later) a huge model of an iron crystal magnified something like 160 billion times.  This, it was stated, is where we would meet again in the afternoon.  With that, we split up.

Arianne, Colombe and I wandered around through the various country pavilions until our feet began to hurt.  There was some small ‘bus trains’ with seats on them, but you were supposed to put money into the seat barrier in order to raise it and sit.  Granted that one Belgian Franc wasn’t a lot of money, but to do this every time you wanted to ride really took a lot of change.  We only did this a couple of times until Arianne spotted a open air restaurant with a table open.  We zoomed over to it and aced out another couple by arriving first.  This table, we determined, we would keep all day if necessary.  We would take turns holding it down.

Arianne, who was wearing new shoes, pulled them off and tended to a couple of blisters while she shooed Colombe and I away.  We took the hint and vanished towards the German building.  When I asked one of the attendants where I could get a couple of sodas she asked me where in the Rhineland I was from.  This made me feel really good so I told her I was from Stadt, but that I was American.  I actually had to convince her I spoke English.  My German appeared to be pretty good.

Colombe and I sat down on a bench and sipped our soda in silence.  I have no idea what was running through her mind, but I was again replaying our nighttime episode at the lake.  I glanced sideways at her and was rewarded by a shy smile and a slight reddening under her chin.  She told me she was sorry if I thought she was a bad girl.  I told her that nothing like that came to mind at all.  I said that she was an exceptionally great girl and I was very happy she liked me at all.  She thought a moment and put her arms around me and gave me a big kiss and added “tonight we will go dancing, no?”  I wasn’t much of a dancer but, I told her I was game for that.

The rest of the afternoon we spent wandering again through all the various building, patios, and verandahs of the member countries.  The Spanish pavilion was pretty cool because they had a huge table set up with dioramas of the various areas in Spain and linked them with a very extensive model train.  We watched those trains for half an hour or so.  It turned out that Colombe lived not a quarter mile from the main railroad to Paris so trains were a part of her life.

We rejoined Arianne about an hour later and she took off to tour the grounds herself.  Colombe and I just sat and drank soda and ate ice cream cones.  The two plain hot dogs (we were in the American section) cost the equivalent of eighty-five cents each – a exorbitant amount for the fifties.  I thought of my dad and how he would rant at the prices.

We went through our goodie collection bags and arranged all the free stuff we had gathered at the different pavilions. Most of it was pretty cheap and would probably be broken before I even got them home.  The brochures were nice to read and provided me with all sorts of arcane information to bore my friends with.

Arianne returned and motioned the two of us to our feet pointing to her watch.  It was time to head for the Atomium and ride back to the campground.  It took almost twenty minutes to locate our parents and over an hour to edge our way through the traffic crush back to Loonbeek Straat (I smile every time I say it).  Tired, sore-footed, and dusty we finally parked at the tents.

Before dinner, I affixed a small blue flag with the Atomium on it to our front tent stay in honor of the Worlds Fair.  Once that was done we all pitched in and prepared supper for the seven of us.  Colombe’s mom made a really great pasta casserole and my mom turned up with a Dutch oven version of a simple meat loaf.  After running all day on nothing but an expensive hot dog and soda I was ready for a good meal.  It was all delicious and, surprising my mom, the girls and I volunteered to wash up while the parents got ready for their evening.

About an hour later, they took off in the bus for downtown Brussels for some night life.  This left just the three of us to our own devices.  Arianne decided she would change into a swim suit and go down to the beach for what sun was left.  Colombe and I told her we would just stay here until the dance started in the friendship pavilion.  “Be good” was all she said as she walked away from camp.

Colombe took my hand and pulled me over to one of the folding chairs next to her tent, pushed me down, and sat in the one next to mine.  She had changed from rather tight jeans and a blouse to a pair of flannel pants and a bulky-knit sweater.  She looked very good to me in the lowering sun.  I asked her if she was warm enough to which she replied that she was fine.  Small talk if I ever heard it.  Brussels is only about fifty miles from the English Channel/North Sea and can get quite cool when the sun sets.

Colombe tapped me on the shoulder and motioned back into the tent, telling me that she had something to show me.  Several dozen scenarios flashed through my mind in an instant as I rose up and followed her into the tent.  She went into the right-hand room, pulled me into it, and closed up the flap behind us.  I glanced around and saw two sleeping bags, a very small box used as a dresser and an opened travel bag.  She reached into the travel bag and pulled out a sheer pink chemise topper.

Without a word, she pulled the sweater over her head and put the topper on.  “Do you like?” she asked me.  When I could find my voice, I told her that it was perfect.  She stood and struck a pose like a model.  Her breasts, unfettered in any way, moved provocatively behind the almost transparent material.  It was incredibly sexy to watch.  I sank to my knees to watch the show.  She turned this way and that, all the while smiling at me.  It really lit my fire to watch her; but, we were interrupted.

I heard footsteps outside and a voice that called “Hallo, jemand zu Hause (anyone home)?”  It was Arianne, come back from the beach.  “One moment” called Colombe as she frantically gathered up her clothes and put them on.  She led the way out, holding my hand, and into the sunset to greet Arianne who smiled a bit at my discomfiture.  They were both so matter-of-fact about what had happened that I turned out to be the one who was embarrassed.  I don’t know why though, nothing did happen.

I cleared my throat and began filling up the coffee pot as they both giggled between themselves.  Arianne was no dummy.  She knew what her sister was doing before she arrived.  Good thing she called out though – otherwise it would have been disastrous.

Our parents arrived just as the coffee was ready and we all sat down to tell of our adventures.  Naturally, I didn’t get into all of mine.  Dinner was again fixed for all seven of us.  This time it was simple hamburgers that, and this surprised me, Colombe’s family enjoyed heartily.  They had never eaten one before.  We showed them how to add lettuce, pickles, onions, mustard and ketchup to top them off.  They were pronounced ‘delicious’.

Dancing that night was a lot of fun.  The band knew just about every dance style from waltzes to rock’n’roll and they were really good.  The younger set, like Colombe, Arianne, and I, tended to congregate closer to the bandstand than the adults so when a particular dance got our attention we jumped up and went to the dance floor.  Arianne had found a guy of about twenty and introduced him to us as Gus.  I got the impression he was Belgian because his French was not quite the same as Arianne’s but no matter, we all had fun.

I managed a slow dance with Arianne who molded herself to me as we moved across the floor.  She and I whispered in each other’s ears while we danced.  She told me that she was very happy that Colombe had met me because she was very sad at home after her boyfriend left.  He apparently had enlisted in the army and didn’t tell her.  When he was ordered to training camp he simply left – not telling her until she got a letter in the mail that he wasn’t coming back home.  I thought that was a pretty rotten thing to do to anyone, especially one as pretty as Colombe.

The band closed down around midnight so we all headed back to our camp.  Following a final round of drinks there was much stretching and yawning as we headed into our respective tents for some sleep.  It took me a while to finally drop off.

T.O.M.

 

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