The Page

A tale of intimacy and loss

Month: May, 2014

In Köpenick

DSC_0221Thoughtful, she relives the few hours she spent with Sarah in Köpenick. She wanted to show her friend, perhaps soon her Mistress, her birth town, the place where she grew up, learned to love. It had been an enchanted day, in the old part of town, near the castle of the Great Elector.

Sarah had listened, attentive, to Melissa’s story, her childhood memories, asking questions, not pressing, but clear questions that an experienced and confident woman would ask from a younger disciple. Melissa feels like Sarah’s disciple. She has never felt like this with anyone else. She’s in love with Julian, and in awe with his wife. She would not change anything.

She loved the way Sarah took her hand and kissed her, in the park, near the statue of the children with the tortoise. She felt safe, not a little aroused, but safe, as if in the care of a goddess. Sarah wanted to know what she liked at school, how good she was at sport,  about her first love. Melissa had already decided she would not keep anything secret for her: she spoke, freely, abandoned, looking at Sarah with her great blue eyes, already in devotion.

They took the tram on the way back, and went straight to Sarah’s house. Julian was out at a photographic exhibition. Sarah took Melissa to bed, and made tender and exquisite love to her, slowly asserting her possession of her. Melissa surrendered herself, overwhelmed, charmed, soon exhausted. The room was full of Sarah’s and Julian’s clothes, books and pictures.

Now she’s thinking back to the day, the delights and the fear. The fear was there, in her belly, that Sarah, and hence her husband, would tire of her, would leave her stranded, used, forgettable. But now she knows that won’t happen. She’s unsure of the source of her confidence, but she knows there is a link, a secret bridge, between the life of the couple, and her own.

What the bridge is, how ancient it is, and how real it is, she does not know, cannot know. In her presence, she’s aware of Sarah’s power, her ability to seduce, to conquer. When she’s alone with Julian, she feels her friend’s calmness and aptitude for peace, but also his wish for solitude. She desires him, but would not try anything that may displease him. With Sarah, she wants to be taken, perhaps beaten, she wants to submit, humiliate herself. She aspires to becoming Sarah’s servant, and maybe confident.

 Melissa is at a turning point. She has never been short of men, admiring and annoying. But this is different. Sarah has taken her, showed her how deep love could be, in ways that are already changing her. Her destiny is linked to them, they occupy her dreams. She wants to read Julian’s novel, the one Sarah mentions when they were walking in the park, and Melissa was still a little shaken and aroused by Sarah’s kiss.

This evening she’s meeting them, at their place in Eylauerstraße. She will make herself as elegant and seductive as she knows. She is making a cake, as her mother showed her.


The benevolent wife

Gleis-DreieckSarah is listening to her husband in their studio in Eylauerstraße. Julian is talking of his discoveries, the turkish market on Maybachufer, the secret corners of the park, the Serbian barber, his new gym. It has been two months since Sarah’s last visit: her business has taken her almost everywhere in Europe, except here, in Berlin. Now she’s taking a break.

The morning sun invades their lounge. Soft jazz floats through the cool air: far away street noises can be heard, soft and unobtrusive. Julian’s now talking about his new friend: the ‘golden girl’. He’s unsure about what it means, new fantasy – or something deeper. Melissa has been true to her word: she’s discrete, and has respected his privacy, as far as he can tell. Once a week they go running, or for a swim in the nearby pool.

Sarah’s unworried, and rather pleased her husband has found a new friend. What she’s not telling Julian is that she knows all about the ‘new’ Melissa. On a previous visit she surprised the girl taking pictures of their balcony, and she challenged her. They too talked, and got friendly, and have since communicated, all the time Julian and Melissa have been seeing each other. Wiser and more experienced, Sarah understood the young woman’s crush on her husband. She advised her caution, and explained what to do, or not. Melissa quickly proved herself a listening and obedient pupil.

Sarah and Julian decide to go for a walk, and they cross the park toward the Yorckstraße. When they reach the Ostpark playground they stop at the little café. “Are you interested in her?” asks Sarah, as she and Julian watch the young children playing in the nearby field.

“I don’t really know,” replies her husband, “I am not interested in her sexually, however cute she is, but I am probably intrigued, by her own interest, which I cannot explain.” Sarah thinks that such things need no explanation: the girl’s infatuation, if it is what it is, may disappear just as quickly. What she really meant to ask, and decided not to, at least for now, was: “Does she remind you of the other girl?” They smile at the children’s games, look up at the new city landscape being raised from the ruins around them.

“Do you know where she comes from?” she asks Julian after a pause. Julian does not know, but thinks she’s local, though not from the city, probably some small place nearby. Sarah knows: Melissa’s accent is from Köpenick, to the south-east of the city.

They continue their walk, cross Julian’s beloved Landwehr canal, and soon reach the Potsdamer Platz. For a moment they enjoy the crowd of strangers, visitors of many tongues and colours, and the low traffic hum of the city centre. They talk art and the music scene in the city. Julian wants to take Sarah to a small modern art gallery, hidden in a deep bunker, north of the Mitte. Sarah says she will be here for a week, perhaps longer: they have time. Julian smiles, kisses his wife, for long seconds, standing. Now she wants to reassert her ownership, her dominance. They go home, this time taking the U-Bahn. The City soon surrounds them in her calm embrace.

Later Sarah says, during one of those instants of delight when she knows for certain nothing has changed in her husband’s devotion to her: “Why don’t you invite your new friend for drinks, sometime while I am here?”

A singular passion

Watch tower in TreptowShe finally admits it: she’s attracted to him, the quiet walker, sometime runner, she meets here and then, as if their paths had to cross. One morning, as she runs past the old guard tower, she notices him near one of the wooden benches, as he is changing into his running gear. She hides behind a tree, to better observe him; she now looks at his body, the sparse but vigorous frame, his supple and determined moves.

He does not see her, and starts running toward the park, at a regular and tranquil pace. She follows, at a safe distance, and when he accelerates a little, she adjusts her own steps, her eyes firmly fixed on his shoulders.

She’s the faster runner, and soon she’s level with him, slows down to his pace, turns to him, wave. He smiles, says hello. That smile… she thinks. She offers to run with him for a while. He accepts with a small gesture, as if to say “why not?” She tells him she knows where he lives, and that she does not think he is from the City. He says she’s right, he’s only one of the City’s many adopted sons. She says his name: he’s surprised, she can sense, but does not ask her how she knows.

She tells him she’s been stalking him, peacefully, without bad intentions, ever since they met along the canal, several weeks back. She knows where he lives, his apartment, his name on the door. She’s been studying his habits, where he goes in the evening, the Italian restaurant in Kreuzberg, his favourite bar, where he shops, where he parks his bike.

He’s silent for a while, as they run, in steps, deep in thoughts, on their own. Finally he says: “if you know so much about me, then you may know also how much your name means to me.” She does not know, but she guessed there was, somewhere, sometime, in their separate lives, a reason for them to meet here, in this City.

She senses his inner strength, his resistance to seduction, perhaps his unwillingness to sacrifice his inner peace. Now she wants him, badly. But she knows better than rushing him. She says: “Please forgive and accept me, I won’t annoy you, or invade your privacy anymore, I am asking merely to be the girl you take with you from time to time, like this. I will not try to be the other Melissa.”

For several minutes he says nothing. She’s worried he’s about to chase her away. What he says then touches her deeply, and she feels triumphant.

“I am an old man, so I fail to understand your interest in me… You should know that I have in me more than memories: I am haunted. But I know also that you are not the other Melissa.  But, if you wish, you may be that girl, my guide, shall we say, in the city of Faust.”

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