A ruse or, a rose?
|“I am happy that you shared.” Then he lent her an observation about the story, “The German mother take two concepts, string them with one evil idea.”
“An evil idea? Really?” It was something this girl never considered. “But, I didn’t do anything wrong.” She protested.
“No, you did not. You conduct with truth.” Then he clarified, “Misinform, propaganda, is form of evil.” He drew on another puff from within deep contemplation, blew it out, then, he added, “Another picture forms me on this. It is virgin sacrifice.”
“You mean the point was for me to lose my virginity, yeah I get that.” The girl stated bitterly.
“Ah, but, there is more.” Speaking slowly he went on, “I hear and see this Frau Nickel you paint. She was one in wanting of one of those guys.” He nodded once as if to confirm his current thought with himself, “You were bait.”
“Bait?” She gasped in the shock of the sudden awareness.
“Yes, she had awareness of the happening to you. Her sexual greed, make you necessary sacrifice. Frantic call to German mother was act. She create it upon thought of this being consequence for you.”
“Ok, I think I’m going to be pissed.” The girl said tartly.
When she moved her hand, as if to shove something unpleasant out of the way, she spilled her coffee. The boy smoothly put down his cigarette then, reached for some napkins. Slowly he closed in on the spill, then, in one swipe the table was clean.
“Naïve not crime when greed rapes you.” He said, as he looked up at her from the eye that held the damp napkin under his hand.
“That is kind of what happened isn’t it?” She affirmed. The subtleties in his voice that accompanied his magnified point made her gain clarity about what she had been through. “It was about greed. I never thought of that until now. Now that you just mentioned it.”
“Survival has not awareness of trickery and betrayal. So, too, it unaware is of emotional implication.” The boy stated as he barely moved his eyes to the side of the girl’s shoulder and slightly blew some smoke.
“Thanks,” She sighed in a breath of relief, as if a sword had been removed from the spot where it hung over her head. “This is the first time in almost a year that I haven’t felt guilty about this.” She tilted her head sideways to see if she could draw out that which she had just located within him. “Funny, but you don’t sound like you’re about my age.” Moving her eyes as if she was looking for something underneath his jacket, she said, “You sound like…I don’t know, some swami, wiseman, or something.”
“An action of people make my mind, little picture. Emotion attach not to picture,” He made his method a little less cryptic and less enigmatic for her. “See intention, then find clarity.”
“I want you to know, I usually don’t complain, sorry to bend your ear.” She looked into her lap as if ashamed of her rude behavior.
“My ear is flexible.” He confirmed this by reaching up and bending it a little.
“Thanks.” She looked up and her eyes smiled at him.
“How is it called, in America? No problem?” He asked, as he took another puff then put the cigarette out exactly parallel to the first one in the ashtray.
“Yeah, it is.” She thought a moment. Then, she further reflected. But, it was a problem, wasn’t it. Even when you worked hard to communicate an understanding it could sometimes work against you. It was because for what ever reason, the one you had tried to communicate with, had created an image of you based on a emotional reaction they’d had in regard to something you said or did. A reaction, that was engendered, in part, by whatever emotion that they were experiencing at the time. In the opinion that they had formed of you in that moment, you suddenly filled into a completed painting for them. But, because they did not choose to take the time to recognize the nuances of colors that had yet to be daubed into the canvas, they would never fully see that, what they considered to be a completed painting, was really nothing more than an unfinished sketch. A sketch, that, they had satisfied themselves in the idea of that is was indeed a complete painting. Because, what had mattered to them was that they believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that the sketch that they were looking at, was indeed a finished painting. It was, because, they had come to believe that it possessed all the color that it needed or ever would need.
Once again the sway in the progressing train enveloped the girl. As the grooved steel wheels surged farther along the rails, she felt clicking and clacking within her spine. Feeling as if she were rocking inside of a gyroscope, reflected window light had once again made itself irresistible. She turned her eyes. Overexposed star trails returned to her sight. They undulated briefly, then, were absorbed by the night.
“You don’t realize how many small villages there really are until you see them through night vision,” She commented.
“Yes,” He agreed reflectively. Seeing that the counter girl was slow to respond with more coffee, already on his feet, the boy offered, “You like if I get you another coffee?”
The girl smiled up at him warmly, “Yes, please, thank you.”
While he was getting it she sat there quietly and, took a moment to shake off the feeling she’d just had. Suddenly something she’d been thinking pushed the other away from her thoughts. Without making hardly a sound when he returned, the boy placed a fresh cup of coffee in front of the girl, then a fresh hot tea in front of where he was sitting.
The girl looked up at him and announced, “I have been sitting here wondering why are you dressed like G.I. Joe?”
As he took his seat, he returned with equal curiosity, “Why you dress like German flag?”
“I asked first,” She said, as she quickly returned a volley with her pointing finger.
“Well...next year I want to be soldier,” He said with a hard gleam in his eye.
The girl sat forward in her seat. Her reaction was one of dramatic shock, “Why? You want to go to war and get shot at? Do you have a death wish or something?”
“Is about honor,” He announced with some bravado. He withdrew another cigarette from the pack and lit it then finished with, “Honor is about care. It is protect from danger. A soldier honors people he protects.” He stepped into his idealized military philosophy.
“But...you seem all against controlled thinking,” She prompted and nodded a supplicating hand at him. “Don’t you understand that being a soldier is probably about the most controlled situation you’ll find. I mean you have to answer to a commander and all that. Yeah, that’s a real escape from being controlled,” She rolled her eyes as if he was making a crazy choice. “And, then, it’s, oh, by the way, step right on up to the line and volunteer to be cannon fodder?”
“To die to protect rights is necessary consequence,” He stated matter of fact. Then, he confirmed an idea as stroked his cigarette toward her. “In situation with that guy you are familiar? Strategy, make personal freedom save.”
“Well....I guess you have a point,” She considered for a moment. Then, with renewed conviction, she stated, “But, I just think war is wrong and it’s an evil that gets too many people hurt.”
“Do you know benevolent nature without first to know evil nature?” He introduced the subject about the philosophy of reason within motivation.
“I don’t know, but the thought of that sounds....scary,” She said, as if a sudden draft that wasn’t there had chosen to blow across the back of her neck anyway.
“There is need to experience fear, to find survival in it,” He emphasized intently to make sure that she would continue to consider the idea. Then he lightened his voice a bit and shifted in his chair. “I answer your question,” He raised his fresh tea to his lips and took a small sip and said, “Now, why German flag?”
“I didn’t know that I even looked like that until you pointed it out,” She admitted. Then, she looked down at what she was wearing as if it was the first time she’d seen it that day. It was as if, she was supposed to remember what had made her want to put it on.
“Black jeans, gold shirt, red sweater, nah?” He arched his eyebrows like, ‘you do the math’. “Why hide so loud, Amerika?”
“Loud?” The girl thought, then said, “Maybe, I don’t want to look like the ugly American.” She sighed and shook her head. “But, the ugly American was, loud, weren’t they.” She admitted further in her thoughts. As, she did she began to think it strange to even consider remembering why she chose to wear that outfit. Then, there was an even a funnier feeling that if she did remember, it would be to discover that the outfit had selected her. Then she continued her thought, “But, what good does that do? I mean it didn’t take you two seconds to figure out that I was nothing but an American.”
“It was the suitcase, not you. Your German actually is quite good,” He complimented her freely.
“Thank you, I still struggle with it, but it’s nice to know that I can at least communicate in it.”
“You actually communicate quite well,” He allowed his lips to draw up a bit higher, hinting that a genuine grin might actually be lurking underneath.
“I wish my German was as accomplished as your English.”
“Is required in school,” He said, looking up into the corner of his eyes with some disapproval. “We learn English at early age,” But, then he rationalized, “We are small country is easier to use language world negotiate in.”
“You use a flexible language to communicate in with the world, to keep it from devouring you,” She began, almost as if in automation. As if officially reporting on something. “Belgium bites at your heels, because they are really just a northern province of France. And, we all know that France just wants everyone to be French because it’s the only way there is to be. And, once France has Belgium it will send them to do their dirty work. Kind of like a beaten stepchild who turns to take a job from a fly by night, jack of all trades, stepfather,” Her eyes were turned as if she were reading it from a teleprompter that was not there. It was something she just seemed to suddenly have an understanding of. But, she did not know how. Other than what she had been exposed to in school, she had never paid attention to the political climate of the world, much less just one country in it. “Then France can have all the wealth of the Netherlands in their back yard, or, is it their side yard. Because we all know Amsterdam is where the crucial supply of diamonds are. The financial houses of Europe are in the Netherlands.... It’s like what was said about India, you know, about it being the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. The Netherlands are kind of like that, aren’t they?” She didn’t wait for his answer as she added, “Only what empire gets it as a jewel I don’t know. I’m not that up on stuff, really.” Then as if to prove how she arrived at her understanding of what she’d reported she said, “Like you I make pictures of what I see.”
The boy studied her carefully in that moment, and, then, beyond it, and into the source of what she was saying. Then, he stated calmly and fluidly, “We have nothing for France. Diamonds are in Antwerp. Dutch crown is probable jewel.”
Further elaboration entered into the girl’s voice as she reported her further observations, “Maybe you don’t think you have something someone wants. But, the Netherlands looks like the soccer field for the world and I’ve seen enough soccer while I was in Germany to know what I’m talking about. You have The Hague don’t you? Isn’t that the sound booth at the soccer game?”
“Picture you make amuse me,” He said, as he narrowed his eyes a bit, to concentrate further on her. The girl was becoming even more intriguing.
“But, pictures are all just names of what we really think, is, right?” She asked as she widened her eyes and shook her head slightly.” And, what’s in a name anyway, I guess.”
As he looked at her while she was talking, the picture came to him and he answered with, “A roos,” as he inserted it into the conversation.
“A ruse?” The girl paused a minute to think about the meaning of the boy’s sudden insight. Then she added to it, “Well, I guess sometimes it is.”
He considered what she thought she heard, then said, “No, no, um, roos...flower,” He held his hand in front of his lips as if to focus on it would lead him to a clearer explanation.
Drifting double ‘O’s’ joined together into a loop within the girl’s mind, and, she asked him, “Are you saying, a rose?”
“Yes, yes, rose. In Dutch is, roos,” He nodded twice at her quick comprehension.
“Roos?” She asked. As she listened to the sound of the word, she felt her lips push into it. “Roos,” Then, as she confirmed it, she tested the taste of a deception turned sweet within her mouth.
“Yes, roos...rose,” A sleepy romantic pride entered his voice.
“....by any other name would not smell as sweet,” She added as another image flitted in her thoughts.
“Flower could be name,” He introduced. He had decided that he wanted her to see the picture with him.
“I suppose,” She agreed carefully. “A flower could be a name, a name, a flower, I suppose. A rose is a flower.” How well she knew that.
“Not all flowers have fragrance of rose,” He announced as he tilted his head slightly to the side, only one of his eyes making the point.
“No, actually they don’t,” She smiled musingly. “So what’s with the rose?”
“Well...kind of you look like one.”
“Trust me, I don’t even,” The girl protested bluntly, pushing her open palms in front of her. “There is nothing fine or dewy about me. I don’t have any features that could be considered bud like even.”
“What sits in the eye of beholder, matters,” He said, then he boldly shed light on an interesting perspective of what he was implying. “You have strength of stem and thorns to call out when need. Your head is proud like rose who seek light. Not always is rose silk petals and satin bows.”
“Well, I am not a rose, take my word for it,” But, then a touch of playfulness entered into the wryness of the comment. “I’m not anymore a rose than you are a Hans.”