Chapter 22 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part III

A Good Friend’s Advice

 The Klopp Story (Book 1) Continued

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Starnberg – Photo Credit: starberg24.de

Gauke and I were dining at the Gasthof zur Post, a small inn not far from the beautiful Starnberg Lake. We savored the tender pork roast served with the traditional dumplings and salad. It was midweek and hardly any tourists ventured out from the big cities to see the lake country in the dead of winter. So we had the cozy dining area all to ourselves in the ideal ambience, where the refreshing Bavarian beer and conversation make a great pair to enhance friendship and companionship. We had decided to accept the captain’s advice and make the best of our remaining time in Bavaria. I was still reeling under the effect of the double whammy of a lost opportunity for advancement in the army and the specter of unrequited love. But the fine food and drink started to ease the tension and made me at least for the moment forget both the headaches and heartaches of the past three weeks. My friend started talking about his sweetheart in a town near Frankfurt, with whom he got together almost every other weekend. The previous summer they had gone on a bicycle tour out from the searing city of concrete and steel. Following the picturesque River Main they found an idyllic spot at one of its tributaries, where they pitched their tent. They had a most wonderful time at the campfire gazing at the stars, listening to the nearby murmuring brook, then huddled together, as the chill of the cloudless night made them seek each other’s warmth. Hearing Gauke so passionately describe his summer weekend with his girlfriend, I almost choked. There was my friend and comrade sitting across from me with a romantic spirit just like me although with one painful difference. What he had so vividly portrayed that I could almost sense their happiness, he had experienced in the real, tangible world in perfect harmony of body and soul. In my dream-like fantasies I had visions of similar experiences. But they were mere figments of my imagination coupled with the hope that somehow or someway, if I waited long enough, they would as if by the stroke of a magic wand become reality.

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Bavarian Pub – Photo Credit: lukullum.de

Gauke not knowing the feelings he had stirred up within me kept on talking. “Now, Peter, do you know what the sweetest moment is when I come home on the weekends?” He was so eager to tell that he did not wait for me to answer. “When the train arrives at my hometown just a few minutes before midnight and I step off the train, I see at the end of that long empty platform behind the iron gate my girlfriend with her long black hair fluttering in the night breeze.”

I wanted to shout at him, ‘Stop it! You are torturing me with your romantic talk!’ Instead I quickly grabbed the stein of beer and gulped down the cool liquid in a desperate effort to quell my emotions. As if Gauke had read my mind, he briefly interrupted his ardent story telling and ordered two more mugs of beer. Then perhaps sensing my embarrassment and uneasiness over all this romantic talk he quickly added in conclusion that he was invited to meet her parents this coming weekend and being only an ordinary soldier he was quite a bit nervous about it. I was thankful to Gauke about his tactfulness. For his talk reminded me of everything I had done wrong in my relationship with Biene and it confirmed what Dieter Krug had already stated on our scenic bike tour up the Moselle valley. To capture the affection of a heart and to desire to be loved, the two need to be together to feel each other’s presence and to experience each other through the five senses. This can never happen in and through letters. Remove the sight of your love walking with you on a shady trail on a warm summer day, remove her cheerful laughter, pleasant voice, her songs, remove her touch, a walk with her arm in arm, remove the sweet taste of her kiss, remove the fragrance of her hair and skin, and you will have blocked the gateway to each other’s soul, doomed to wither and die. We had been drinking our beer in silence, when Gauke indicated that now it was my turn to talk. After a long pause I told him that I had nothing to say.

“I noticed that you were writing a novel about her. And you want to tell me that you have nothing to say?” he rebuked and teased me in a jokingly disarming manner. Then he began to extract bit by bit like an experienced lawyer the details of my relationship with Biene and in doing so put them like little pieces in a mosaic clearly before me. He was surprised to hear that I had met her only once; he was even more surprised to hear that I loved her on the basis of mere letters; and he was most surprised to hear that she was engaged to a young man in Holland. He shook his head in utter disbelief. He ordered another beer for us. The he spoke kindly and softly no longer like a lawyer. With his balding head and the concerned looks on his face he actually looked more like a counselor.

“Peter, I urge you. Let go of her. The love you feel for her has no foundation. The love you think she feels for you is not based on reality but comes out of the make-believe world of sentimental novels or movies. Let go of her. You are heading for disaster. A girl who is engaged to marry another cannot possibly love you. And if she does, she is as crazy as you are, and she too will be heading for disaster. As a friend I give you my advice, let go of her, Peter.”

We sat for a while and silently finished our beer. Gauke was sensitive and kind. He did not speak another word. On the way back to the barracks I thanked him for his friendship and told him I would take his advice very seriously. I slept well that night as if a great burden had been taken off my chest. How could I have suffered so much about something that did not exist? With such rhetorical musings I drifted off to sleep.

9 comments

  1. Bun Karyudo · October 1, 2016

    His advice was certainly kindly meant and on paper it sounds very sensible. I strongly suspect you didn’t take it, though. 🙂

    Like

    • Peter Klopp · October 2, 2016

      Thank you, Bun! To any rational individual my relationship seemed insane at the time. Love and insanity at times appear to be close relatives.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bun Karyudo · October 2, 2016

        Luckily, I know the story is heading toward a happy ending. I’m just not sure how it gets there. I guess I’ll have to wait and see. 🙂

        Like

  2. jeannettepaterakis · October 2, 2016

    Luckily you didn’t listen to your friend. When I see the photos of your wife,I see a person who is so good and joyful. She is like the sun,she is shining. Many greetings .

    Like

    • Peter Klopp · October 2, 2016

      Thank you kindly for your comment, Jeanette! Yes, any good friend would have given the same advice. It was truly a miracle that Biene and I came together in the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. taphian · October 2, 2016

    Das Leben geht manchmal merkwürdige Wege, Peter. Deine Geschichte ist wieder mal sehr interessant. Viele Grüße aus Hamburg, Mitza

    Like

    • Peter Klopp · October 2, 2016

      Ich danke dir, liebe Mitza, für dein Interesse für unsere Lebensgeschichte.
      Ich versuchte vergebens einen Kommentar bei deinem Blog zu schreiben. So hänge ich ihn hier zur Einsicht an.
      Good to hear that you had a marvelous time, Mitza! It must have given you a big emotional lift to escape from the often dreary and rainy northern city of Hamburg. I join the others in expressing my hope to see photos of your wonderful time in Greece very soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • taphian · October 3, 2016

        Thank you, Peter, for your kind words to welcome me home in Hamburg. I must admit that we have a wonderful “Altweibersommer” here, sunny and not too cold (17 degrees C), but the Mediterranean climate is much softer and warmer and the sea is still warm enough to swim. I have to process now nearly 1000 photos. That’s a lot of work, but I like it. Have a nice day, regards Mitza

        Like

  4. girlandworld · October 4, 2016

    Nice

    Like

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