When we went back into the common room, we found that two American couples had arrived. I bent over to whisper into Virginia's ear. "Let's see if we can get away with speaking nothing but German and see if they can tell."
Virginia looked up at me and smiled. "That's a terrible thing to do." But her eyes twinkled. "Okay, let's do it."
So, bantering between ourselves in German, we entered the room proper. I nodded to the four of them sitting around a table and they nodded back. "Guten Abend." I said, smiling. They responded, nodding their hello.
"Verbringen Sie die Nacht?" Asked Virginia, wanting to know if they were spending the night here.
They looked at each other and one of the men spoke, slowly. "Ja. Wir Sind hier für das, um, Wochenende." Confirming they were here for the weekend.
I answered. "Ah. Sie Sind Amerikaner?" I ventured. "I speak English.” I said, grinning like a proud student.
"Oh, wonderful. I'm afraid my German is none too good. My name is Bill and this is my wife, Toni. Over there is my good friend Samuel and his wife Bonnie. Would you care to join us for a drink?"
"I would be most happy to." I said in my best German accent, and put my hand on the small of Virginia's back. "I am called Thomas, and this is mine Frau, ah, my wife, Virginia," who nodded her greetings.
When we sat down on the couch I waved at the bartender, who came over after a moment. I fired off a drink order for Virginia and I, then asked if anyone else needed a refill. Both Bill and Samuel held up their nearly empty beer glasses. “Und noch zwei Bier für die Herren auch." I added.
Denis, the bartender, hid his smile well and replied, "Definitive, mien Herr. So fort, mien Herr!" Bowing repeatedly as he backed away. Rats, he was wise to us.
The four Americans looked a bit bemused at Denis's apparent deference and turned back to me as I smiled broadly at them. I looked at Virginia, who nodded back. "I'm afraid we've been having a bit of fun," I said in my normal voice. Denis, the fink bartender, just gave it away. Virginia and I live on the base and just come down here once in a while to get away from it all. No offense intended."
Samuel was the first to recover. He began to chuckle and was soon joined by the other three. "Well, you sure had us going there, Thomas; or, can we call you Tom?"
"Tom will do. Sorry about that. Every once in a while, she and I do crazy stuff like that. Our parents think we're nuts."
“I can see why,” Samuel chortled. “You’re very good at it. Are you actually in the military?” He asked.
“No, not at all. I work at the PIO office, public affairs, as a writer and photographer. My wife and I live in my father’s quarters on base; or, we will until he gets transferred. We’re actually still in high school as seniors this year.”
“Really! I never would have guessed.” Said Toni. “I would have taken you as young German university students; and certainly not Americans.”
“Thank you,” said Virginia. “Do you come down here often?” She asked Bonnie.
“No. This is our first time downtown actually. We’ve only arrived from the States a week ago. Bill and Toni were our sponsors and now we’re repaying them for all their help.”
“That’s one thing the government got right – sponsors. Ours was a great help when we first got here. We were ready to move into our quarters the day we arrived.”
“Really? We had to stay in the VOQ for a week until ours was ready. Where do you live?”
“Forty-nine, C, 1. It’s the left half of my dad’s quarters. When we got married the base housing office allowed us to move into it as dependents.”
“Pretty slick.” Said Bill. “Where’s your dad work?”
“He’s commander of the weather wing on base.”
“Don’t know him,” said Samuel. “But we get briefed by his office before every flight we make. He and I are fighter pilots with the Wing.” Indicating Bill with his thumb.
“That’s something I could really get into. I’d love to fly but probably won’t get much of a chance. I have weak eyesight.”
“That’s definitely a killer, although I’ve seen cargo pilots with glasses.”
“Nah, I’d rather fly around with my hair on fire than plod along.”
“I can imagine.” Samuel said soberly. “You want another round?”
I looked at Virginia, who shook her head slightly. “No, I guess we’ve had our fill for tonight. About time for us to head upstairs to our room.”
“You have a room here?”
Virginia answered. “We’ve been coming here for almost a year whenever we get the chance. Tonight’s our one-year anniversary of being together. Franz and Angelina are friends of ours and they let us use one of the rooms that aren’t being taken for the evening. If they fill up, we pay them for it.”
“A nice arrangement, to be sure. Very nice meeting you.”
All of us stood and shook hand around. I nodded to Denis, the fink, and twirled my finger over their table. He nodded and set up another round.
“Enjoy,” I said as the two of us left the room.
“Maybe we’ll see you in the morning,” said Virginia. “Then we can all get a nice breakfast around the corner.”
“Sounds good to me,” said Bill. “See you around eight?”
I nodded and we left.
It turned out to be a wonderful evening. The room was slightly overheated as so many German hotel rooms were, and we slept under just one fluffy down coverlet. Even though it was the middle of October, the night was only cool, not very cold at all. A big harvest moon shown through the partially open curtains of our window, lighting up our bed.
For some reason, neither one of us wanted to make love. We were content to just lie back in each other’s arms and watch the slow progress of the moonbeams across the floor, keeping talk to a minimum. Finally, conversation slowed, then stopped, and we fell asleep.
© Copyright 2017 Tom Oldman. All rights reserved.
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