Just around the corner, actually22 June 2010 permalink
When I passed the corner, and our eyes met, I was hit with the force of recognition. But, as it tends to happen in these cases, the conscious realization of what had happened only came to me a couple of streets later. When I returned fifteen minutes later, he had left his table, and was smoking outside. I approached him, and it was immediately understood that we both knew the connection.
“I’m sorry, I don’t remember your name. I usually remember students by their face.” “No worries. I barely remember half of my teachers. But somehow you stuck. Maybe because the last time I met you was at my final exam, and you were watching the world cup while I was presenting.” “Isn’t it wonderful? Now it’s the world cup again, and here we are. And last time the fascists won the elections, and this time the nationalists.” “I admire you chose the worst place in the world to be a French teacher. Why did you never leave?” “You don’t quit a government job. And, besides, I consider myself a writer, not a teacher. Where did you end up?” “In unemployment. I usually work as a game programmer. I’ve lived in Berlin the last 2 years.” “Seriously? Ahh, I love Berlin. I’ve been there at least 5 times the last years, always in winter.” “That’s exactly why I left. They’re horrible!” “My father fought on the fascist side, on the Eastern Front. He was severely shell shocked during the Battle of Smolensk. I never knew the person he was before, and I like to wander the cold streets so I can feel close to him in his last hours of sanity.” “Did you ever manage to get published?” “Not yet.” I left him there, with his little table overflowing with books and a month’s supply of rolling tobacco. He still wrote in bars, every day between 9 pm and 2 am. He’ll be there any time I want to talk French or World War 2. And he’ll be there whenever I need to pull a stereotypical poete maudit character out of a hat.
This is part three in the series “Random Encounters I try to pass off as fiction”. Part one. Part two.Part one. Part two. This is part three in the series “Random Encounters I try to pass off as fiction”. Part one. Part two.Part one. Part two.