Wasn’t really feeling the German today… which is both a good and bad thing. Because it means I might be getting lazy, but I did really enjoy writing another English story that was actually happy. No sadness and no crying, just… actual happy endings. It was a strangely cathartic experience : )
Description: How a world can change because of one woman?
My desk is made of books. Large ones, ones that are older than the earth itself; and small ones, ones so small that you barely notice. A word written on a piece of paper. There, see. The sticky note with the word “Call Bo tomorrow to plan”. A few water bottles and a dictionary. And because we are exceptionally lucky, there’s a tea pot sitting innocently on the side.
I’m glad for the last one at least, because I feel as though it’s been years since I’ve had anything resembling a good pot of tea. There’s some loose leaf lying around here in a drawer, so I make myself a cup of tea. Strong Irish. I get to watch as the hot water steams gently and tendrils of copper colored tea find their way in the water. Delicious.
I’ve poured myself a cup now. And it tastes like heaven. Hot tea that runs down my throat and causes me to shiver in delight as I open up one of the many books. No, it’s not the sticky note. It’s a book I’ve been wanting to read for as long as I can remember, if I can remember it at all.
But then there’s a knock at the door.
A loud one. Bang.Bang. Honestly, I think to myself, you’d think that the neighbors knew who I was long enough to at least be pleasant. But I do place my tea down, and walk to answer the door.
Ah. Yes, this would explain it.
Because it is, in fact, not my neighbors at the door. It’s someone else. A young woman. She looks drenched, I do realize that it is raining outside, thank you very much. And I am, above many other things, a good host. So I gather up a warm blanket, and pour her also a cup of my delicious tea.
She doesn’t say anything, not really. But she gives me grateful looks, almost like I’ve saved her from the storm of the century. And to be actually honest, the rain isn’t even that bad.
“Danke schön” she says quickly, her voice light and breathy,
Oh, well that’s just no good, I thought. German of all things. Between all the languages in the world, she just has to speak German. I do have a German dictionary on my desk, though. I can talk to her, somehow. Making the shushing gesture at her, I quickly run upstairs and come back down with the book.
Before she can open her mouth again, I am leafing through the pages quickly to find what it is I want to say to ‘Thank you’.
“Hallo” I finally answer, “Bitte”
She favors me with a small smile, and I give her one back. Riveted, I wait for her to say more, ready to translate on a whim. After all, if saying ‘hello’ and ‘you’re welcome’ was so easy, how could anything be more difficult.
“So, können sie keine Deutsch aber er will keine Englisch auch sprechen” she seemed to muse to herself, “Dann wie sollen wir sprechen”
It takes me a while that time. I look around in the book, hold it normally, hold it upside down and bring it closer and farther away from my face to see if I can find what she said. But after a few minutes of searching and acting the role of detective, I give up. Never been the most perceptive one, or the most hard-working.
“You’ve got me” I say laughing a bit, “My German is nonexistent”
“I knew that already” she answered in a lilted accent, letting a small chuckle escape her, “You didn’t give me the chance to speak any English back”
I laughed delightedly, finding the ability to communicate strangely comforting.
“You found the tea alright then?” I ask, “And you don’t need anything else to be kept warm?”
“I’m quite alright” she assured me, “Thank you though, I do appreciate your kindness”
That ignites a small fire in my chest. I feel appreciated. A small smile splits my face, before we begin to talk about everything and nothing. I tell her about my life, my desk and my books and she reciprocates with knowledge of her life, and about books. I find myself smiling more than usual, laughing like there is no tomorrow, and it feels really good. Almost like someone lifted me up out of darkness.
Soon it is dark though and I look at the clock with a slight worry.
“It is 9 at night, are you sure you don’t want to start heading back?” I ask,
“I’d prefer to stay, if you don’t mind” she shyly said,
I simply take her hand and lead her to the spare bedroom, assuring her that it was no problem and that I was happy to have a companion. The house was far too empty on its own.
She didn’t leave the next morning, or the day after. And after five years now, she is still here. We aren’t married, I don’t think we need to be. But she makes me breakfast every day and I sit with her and talk about things that you wouldn’t believe and places that don’t exist and books that haven’t been written yet.
My desk doesn’t look like it did all those years ago. Sure, there are books and sticky notes, but something is intrinsically different. It is not a lonely desk as it was. The books aren’t sitting there alone, there are notepads shoved between them, like stepping stones as she slowly read through my books. Sticky notes aren’t just for me, there are there for both of us and the wall behind the desk is painted with a mirage that she just made one day. I didn’t question it.
The dictionary is still there, but it’s in our bags and in the kitchen more often than not. Water bottles are shared. And I was told that I was hogging the tea pot so it’s in the sitting room now, as it should be.
I’m no longer confined to my room. I have become more than a desk. The person who changed my life came to me during a storm and now my desk is just a desk, my life moves around the world, and I couldn’t be happier.