That Mädchen in München

Photo - Karlsplatz Stachus, Munich. Model: Monica Morton 

It was a simpler time. Interpersonally. And, surely, geopolitically. Many young Americans would think nothing to just pick up and go. Anywhere. The world was ours. No worries. No plans. Plans? Things would sort themselves nicely when we got there. Ah, youth!

So, true to my national character, I skipped heading off to college after middle school. Instead, a rail pass trip in Europe. How long a stay? We'll see. Then, the world was an open book. Only my own first few pages had been turned. 

I'm remembering her now. In Alte München. It was a late sunny morning and I was wandering about, aimless and free. Looking for adventure? Not really; as such. But, heck, a young man, fancy free ... adventure would find me.

And then, there she was. In Karlsplatz Stachus. Could've been a fashion model at that fountain, a statue of some water nymph come to life. Like young men will do — and, just like that, as they will do — I fell in love. Maybe not with her. But, the idea of her. Alas, try to make that distinction when you're young and your chemistry is fully stocked. I know it's an overused expression; but, love is blind. Well, now in a more mature time in my life ... it can be [blind]; but, not necessarily.

Like Americans are reputed the world over, I took the plunge. Not in the fountain, silly. But, I might as well have. Wait and see.

Her name was Claire. So romantic. All springtime and fragrant flowers. Soft as a mountain breeze. And, as fresh. I won't reveal her surname, out of respect for her privacy. This is, if I hadn't mentioned it, a true story. As true as any story can be, that is. Whether, in fact, it is true; I'm not saying it is, or that it isn't. 

Besides, her family name was so archly Teutonic, to mention it even for sake of completeness would shatter the romantic spell she clearly had cast on me. You know, multi-syllabic, with lots of hard vowels and points of emphasis and guttural pronunciations. Let's just say ... Claire. "Von" something. So you should know this was one class act. Class was in her bloodline. As if I should have to say. Just look at her! That get up!

It's not that she was trying to cast a spell. But, there she was. There I was. Kismet.

So, to bring the story along for you ... I casually walked up and then, without a pause, I sidled next her on the lip of that fountain. Like two young bashful kids we were. She knew I was interested. She might be too. But, girls in those simpler times didn't let on. How you then can say that it was "simpler", that's too complicated to figure. Just say she wasn't showing her hand. Ah, the mysterious feminine charm. It's built in to them. Thankfully. She wasn't playing a game. Just being proper. Despite what her own chemistry might be brewing. Women seem to have a good portion more control in matters l'amour toujours.

I came out with the basic classic opening gambit. "Good morning, are you from around here?" "Yes," she said. But, in her native tongue: "Yawohl." Oh, the romance of the German language. So matter of fact. Then she said something that changed the mood, and furthered the romantic possibilities. "Du bist der mann meiner träume!" Before I could thumb through my German-English translation guide, she scooped me up without a warning, and we went off together tethered like two lovers. Looking back, it's hard to know if what she said was for real, or just sarcastic irony. 

Never mind. There I was, arm in arm, with the most beautiful girl in Munich. In the world, for all I knew. We were in a world of our own making. Like lovers all over, and all times.

But, wait! Lovers? Young men have rich fantasy lives, you know. But, girls in Europe don't necessarily have the same signals as those I knew back home. All's I knew for sure was that we were walking together, arm in arm. But, in a very real connected way. Unspoken. Comfortable.

It can be a special thing when a man and a woman don't share the same language. You have to rely on instinct. Gestures say a lot. Holding my arm so closely and softly as she did, that said all I wanted to know. We belonged together. Maybe not forever, but for now. Now! Potent with possibility. Mystery. 

After a while, just walking together as we did, having become so comfortable with one another, she spotted a café. Konditorei as they say thereabouts. Bakeshop in the front. You select something to nibble, get a strong cup of Coffee; then, go with your tray to the crowded back space to find a table. Never mind the crowd. And the din of conversations, and forks, and cups and saucers. We, as I said, were in our own world.

We sat there, enjoying our treats. Me looking deeply into her beautiful dark eyes. She, letting me take her in, wordlessly. As you can tell, I was in love. After who knows how long, she stood up. Gesturing for me to stay seated. She bestowed the softest kiss on my cheek. And, with a finger raised as if to signal, "wait just a moment", she walked away. I waited for her to return. She didn't.

I never saw her again. I think s
he must've been an angel. For real. It was miraculous, really. For an eternity it seemed, I was so full of her, and my feelings for her ... and then she was gone. The realization brought me back to the moment. Snapped. Untethered from the past. Sitting there with my feelings and thoughts, the sounds and sights surrounding me. Nothing else but the present moment. Transcendent.

As you might suspect, she took up a place in my heart. Did I fall for her? I think so. I visit her in that private "stachus" in my heart. Hoping she is well. Loving, And, loved. 

Auf wiedersehen, mein liebchen. You are a song in my heart.

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