I went to the academy and met B.P. by accident the first time since New Year’s Eve. I saw, she was a bit embarassed. We hardly did know each other yet, but seemingly she wanted to get me know more, or she had nothing else to do, so we went to the canteen. We were sitting, drinking and talking there, when the swing door did open. I thought, I don’t see right, the woman with the nice smile from last night came in, and she came directly to our table. I wanted to tell B.P. what had happened yesterday, that I did know that woman from seeing, I was excited, she was on the way to me, but I didn’t have time to tell anything, she already kissed B.P. on the lips, saying hello. „She is my best friend, you know?“ said B.P. to me. /Oops!/ Of course no! I could not know, they were friends since seven years. I couldn’t guess how old U.B. was, she had an indefinable ageless baby face, and (as already mentioned) a nice smile, only beneath her eyes she had two strange deep wrinkles. I thought, she certainly must be already over twenty. (Later I learnt, she was sixteen days older than me. We both were born in July, nineteen-sixty-four. Almost twins.)
I took my lunch at the canteen. I didn’t know yet for whom I was waiting for. U.B. came soon, B.P. appeared after a while as well. U.B. left, B.P. stayed with me, we drunk some glass of red wine again, and we went later to an opening from Franz West into the Secession. Leaving the exhibition soon (there was nothing to eat, just chairs everywhere but not for sitting), we met a small group of (still studying) young artists, U.B. was among them. She was a painter, too, and was studying in the same class as B.P.. U.B. kissed me briefly on my lips, seemingly she was happy to see me again. On that evening I was not surprised about anything. We all went out, during that night she was giving me her phone number.
I called U.B. just to say her, that I won’t be available for the next two weeks. (I wanted to lose some pounds and started an acer-sirup cure.) She said if I would change my mind, we could meet again. I promised her, to call her in two weeks.
As I called her again, I already had twenty-four pound less, and felt pretty depressive. She invited me to her apartment for the same evening at seven o’clock. I was on time, as always, but the foreign apartment made me feel cramped. I had the rescuing idea, I took her out for dinner in a china restaurant. There I felt much more relaxed, and looked at her finally in more detail. She had quite short blonde-brunet hair, she had beautiful blue-green eyes, and she had a charming smile. /did I mention?/ She was a bit of a punk, but I liked her style. She told me novels about her skin, the two deep wrinkles were the distinctive sign of neurodermatitis. I didn’t even know, that this illnes does exist. But the food was good, and all in all the evening very pleasant. Her farewell kiss was this time different too. Her lips felt more softly on mine and the kiss lasted for a trace longer. I was very sensitive for such signs and they left me pondering.
I visited B.P. and met there U.B. again. They lived ten minutes apart from each other. I still had something to do, and asked U.B. if she wanted to come with me. I did like her better with every meeting, and she did like me too, I felt that. The more often I saw her, the more I could even imagine, that our encounter could leed to more, but I didn’t want to rush. She didn’t have the time to come with me, anyway. Before I left, I invited both for the next weekend for a lunch. U.B. was out of town for the next few days visiting her parents in Carinthia. I felt the love growing in me, it was not love on the first, but on second view.
B.P. cancelled my invitation, U.B. wasn’t back yet.
I called U.B. early in the morning, she already was in Vienna. She took over the initiative and asked if we could meet, and I felt instinctively, that that could be our first real date, tonight at 9 o’clock. I had a new job and working that day outside of Vienna. I came back feeling drained but just in time and ready for the date. I waited for her nearly an hour downstairs by one of the many escalators in a subway station, but I couldn’t see her, nowhere. After a while I went to the public phones and tried to call her (there were no mobile phones yet), but she wasn’t at home. So I went home, disappointed and downhearted.
That was the vital point. We could have lost each other there. I could have felt offended, /as I was/ and just let it go. But I wanted to know, why she had standed me up, what had happened. I did forget about my hurted proudness, and called her next day. Her voice first sounded disappointed too. She had been there, she had been waiting for me an hour as well, but upstairs. During I called her from the public phone downstairs, she was going home. That’s why we didn’t meet. She asked me for a new chance to repeat the date, but I didn’t react to that, I didn’t commit myself. Late that afternoon I visited B.P. again, Tuesdays were our days. U.B. stopped by unexpected, ten minutes later. When she saw me, she was running into my arms, she kissed me passionately and she didn’t set me free for the next six years.
THE POUGES • DIRTY OLD TOWN