Sunday, October 12, 2014
The Lady from Augsburg (Part II of II Parts; 1970, to: ‘To the Countryside of Augsburg’)
Ms Steward had quick judgment, an unerring taste for it, and was possessed of need of steel control, never letting go, seldom if ever anyhow. I’d find out in due time she never left her table of thought without first planning. She had only a need to look at the calendar, and prescribe a treatment for the modification in her schedule, to transform her day into something indescribably different—and in this case of today, for me, quite dumfounded; for today quite the opposite. —but in all-in-all, strangely, she had that Jewish sheer genius, and that German fortitude, and I doubt at the time that in the future anything would change my judgment of her. She is stately in her attitude of mind, generous, sensible, sensitive, and has a large amount of vitality for her condition: her maturity was beyond mine. Sometimes she seemed all of forty, at twenty-six, and at other times in her romantic moods, or way: nearly sixteen, especially when she was aroused. In a word, she is highly normal, serious, and healthy looking, but not really all that healthy, thinning with that illness of hers, but surely a natural woman of her species in every other way. And yes, feminine, with nearly a hair out of place. Always well groomed. Furthermore, she wore mostly dresses, there was a lure to that, an asset to her adequate neck, slim legs, and waist. She had done long glances at me, and appeared to enjoy my firm-shouldered body. Slim, trim she was the model type, nearly as tall as myself, perhaps two inches shorter, with the mellowest-voice, one of all, in the German-Jewish race.
One thing I had noticed, and I must not forget, she was selective of her man-interest (in me, and another certain German fellow—if you please, a very rich German merely a sugar-daddy, I assumed at the time).
At rare moments she talked about him, that other fellow, when I met him one afternoon, she gazed at him with a so-so altitude of anxiety in her eyes, and left with me. With him her face a transported white, with me eyelids fluttering, all the way down to her lips moving silently. He must had been in his mid-thirties. He seemed habitual disciplined to want to have met me, I thought at the time; when we left the guesthouse, in Augsburg, where I had met him this one afternoon after work, about 4:00 P.M., him being well-groomed, suite and all, a Mercedes sitting in the parking lot, that I knew was his, because Chris once in a while drove it—the color to her face, and voice slowly turned to my face. It was as if time and space had stood still as if having reached the speed of light. And she just had returned to earth.
For the reader, I am now experiencing our whole nine-month relationship, put into a nutshell; not to include the first two dates, I shall express them perhaps shortly. Incidentally, for this narrative, I do realize I am speaking in the present as well as past at the same time, that being: the first and the third person to be exact, and even at times in a reporting description, forgive me for breaking the old worn-out literature rules, it seems to fit, and it bothers me to undo it.
Had I profiled myself back then, back in 1970, I would say I had a primitive nature to me, perhaps innocent or naïve being a Midwestern boy, and that Chris` sugar-daddy, perhaps was married, and still I feel safe in predicting, I was the weaker link in her life’s chain. Especially in this love circle of hers. Even though I may have called him: ‘the poor devil’ mentally she was being fulfilled from both sides, as if having a coin with two heads on it; although, he would make out at the end as I would get orders to relocate to participate in the Vietnam War in Asia, and thereafter, get a Dear John letter from Chris. But I felt it was forthcoming, so it was no big surprise, when it did come.
Yet, she nor I carried any resentment for one another, in this strange relationship. And thinking about it now, I must have looked in my Military Security Uniform, a young hoodlum; or so I felt. And still I must add, I with an outrageously swollen temper. But our meeting was handled in a peaceful way, at his request to Chris, and her request to me. That is to say, he didn’t deny her, dating me, but wanted to scan me for some reason, I suppose to see what she saw in me, could he?
Even today, some forty-four-years later, I find myself a tinge snarling at the man, more than usual, although he was handsome, polite to me, both of us about the same weight, and height, and myself being well trained in the art of Karate, held no fear of him. He asked me questions, my replies were given in monosyllables, and my face set in superlative sourness; not so much for me allowing the love circle, but because I seemed to have been pressured into meet him, or better yet, persuaded into meeting him. I really didn’t want to, I knew I had to hold my temper back, and I didn’t want to show that side of me unless necessary. In other words, I didn’t want to regret, what I might do. It wasn’t jealously or even envy, I don’t know what it is, men often don’t know, perhaps it was that he was stepping on my foot, kind of, if you know what I mean, and I can’t explain it any differently.
She had told me before I met him “Don’t be a grouch.”
To me this was a phenomenon, to which I claim no experience; or on the lunatic side of life, I mean to say: when you do something stupid like this, no one can figure out who’s the fool? Me or him! I mean to say, we both look the fool. It took me a few hours thereafter our meeting, before I could regain my composure, became my old self was still trying to figure out the reasoning behind this. I suppose I take pride in which hurts me most in is the knowledge that he was not guilty of being a blunderbuss, but well mannered, he was no slob, but curious, offering me a seat and a beer; to which I refused both. I do wonder what he thought though.
I guess I looked to him, as Chris would remark: a handsome enough young soldered, well built, but a little standoffish.
Now being an old man of sixty-seven, I think back and figured he figured: he’ll never know. And the reason being, he was the interested person, and they usually will not say anything; and I doubt Chris knew, even if she thought she knew, other than having rumors and guesses. But being a man, this I do know: he had received a fearful blow on the head—figuratively speaking, if not his pride, and this prodigious lump on the head, and from this he was little dazed over me, and feeling somewhat like an old sea-relic, was in awe of what she saw in me, he was suffering from a concussion of the brain, and all this aroused his curiosity. And instead of retreating, he came out softly, noiselessly, to see if he was going to receive any injury from this new invented love circle of Chris’ whom according to her friends she had less than two years to live from her illness. And once she told me she wanted to live to the fullest, and I was part of her jam-packed life.
A second thought on this, and I look to the three of us, to look at this capacity for a mystery: myself and the sugar-daddy, both fair-skinned, blue-eyed, the German, under the American mastering and commanding authority at the time, and in a wider perspective: to the ends of our type on the earth. Although the German, had a lordly history? It was taken away from them twice by Americans. And though America may be doomed to pass, in 1970 it was only twenty-five years after WWII, it didn’t look like it. Germans did not necessary like us GI’s in that we were occupying their country, taking home a lot of German brides. We had disciplined them to obedience. This all could be depicted in miniature, for him at the time. I suppose he could see this in my eyes. And surely he was thinking: was he or I, the lesser type for Chris to build her future on—although she had not a long future to look at, and is perhaps why I got that Dear John letter; and if I enjoyed anything, it was that I was not the enslaved individual, in an enclosed country; although being drafted, did seem like a bit of slavery.
Note: A short story, by its author; non-fiction, that took place in 1970. No: 1025