"Greta," he sighs, "sit the hell down and let's talk."
"Lalalala I don't want to hear what you have to say!"
"Well, you have to."
"I don't have to do anything."
I drove away from the scene of the carnage. A marriage in shambles, and I knew it, but wasn't quite ready to hear it yet. I wanted it to be on my terms, my ending, my chapter closing.
I drove for hours around the city. I stopped at a pub and went in to drown my sorrows. The beer was warm and flat and the people one dimensional and salty.
Clusters of people in two's and three's dotted the bar, all backs tunred insular, blocking out any unwanted attention. Perfect for me.
A man sat down next to me.
"I'm not who you're looking for." He peered at the empty glass in front of me.
"No, you're not." I nodded at the barkeep for another foamy head.
"Well, but I'm here, and I saved this seat for you." His sad, drooping eyes flickered towards the seat that I'd been sitting in for hours.
The bartender looked at me sympathetically. "Heinz is a regular. That's his seat."
I shrugged. I didn't care. I would never set foot in this place again with its stale drinks and hard edged customers.
Heinz, or whatever his name was, I wasn't really listening, told the bartender to put my drink on his bill. I protested, but meekly. Again - I wouldn't be back here to so who cares if some stranger wanted to make a nice gesture.
He tried to make conversation. I ignored him or answered in grunts. If he was still peeved about his chair he was going to have to get over it. It would be there tomorrow, as I'm sure he would be, but I would not, just a ghost of the night.
We sat there for hours. I have no idea what he even was going on about but he talked endlessly. He had a real need.
The night was waning. I had changed my beer to Spezi (mostly orange soda with a dash of beer).
Heinz got up to go. Did he work? Was his life really in here saying the same things over and over to the bartender who pretended to care? For how many things really can two people say to each other?
I thought about my marriage. We had run out of things to say to each other (other than arguing) a long time ago.
I got up to leave. Heinz offered to walk me out. I shrugged. Always better to have a man around this late at night. The bartender thanked me and told me to come back. yeah right.
I walked to my car, my little black Opel. Heinz leaned against the door. "Listen, I know that you're not waiting for me." I shrugged, got in, and unlocked the passenger side door."
Heinz and I drove around the city for hours more. Talking, about absolutely nothing. I thought about having sex with him. Random sex with an absolute bar-stranger. Just once in my life. I'd never done it. But I looked at his sad droopy eyes and knew that it wasn't right for him, nor me. I thought maybe I'd just kiss him at least, to show my gratitude, and to feel another man's lips on mine - something that I'd not felt for years. He would be very handsome in a rugged outdoorsey kind of way if the years of boozing hadn't ruddied his face and caused his skin to sag from its frame. I did nothing.
The sun started to come up. I asked where I could take him. He looked at me with his face that I had come to know so well, or at least its profile, in the past many hours.
"It doesn't matter. Here is fine." He points at the corner.
"Here? do you live around here?"
He shrugs. "It doesn't matter. I know you're not waiting on me."
I let him off by the S-Bahn station, which is starting to fill up with the morning commute crowd.
He gets out but keeps his hand on the door for a moment as if reluctant to let go.
I smiled at him. "For what?"
"For waiting on me." He winked and closed the door, turned his back and shuffled towards the entrance down to the trains. I never saw him again; I don't remember even where that pub was located. And I won't go looking for it, for I don't want to ruin the magic of always at least thinking there is at least one person out there, waiting on me.