Chapter 4: AN AUTUMN: ONCE UPON TIME
Lessingstraße, Düsseldorf, Deutschland. Autumn, December 11th 2015.
Anggia woke up in lateness at that day. She awoke, not because the sun of Germany rose completely highly. But, because the Germany man who had glassy pellucid deep sky blue eyes pulled her blanket and threw it away on the floor.
“Get up, Lazy Girl! You slept unintentionally in my sofa last night. I was forced to crouch in the cold kitchen a whole night because of that.” Christopher Schlösser’s voice was still flat when he was uttering it. As if Anggia really made a Cold War between both of them.
“By the name of God, Christ, this is still dawn!” Anggia put again the blanket to cover her body until her neck.
Christopher moved a little bit from his position, reaching the remote control out that was placed on the dark blue carpet and pressing the button of opening the curtain of the window in the front of them. That opened window didn’t show the scenery of sunrise that rose up unbearable. But, the end of autumn brought precisely an unnormal cold weather. The brownish leaves appeared browner and browner. Bringing the temperature to descend and drop.
“See! It’s still dawn,” Anggia stated offhandedly. She knew completely that the sunlight of Germany hadn’t appeared shinyly and sparklingly like in Indonesia. At least, not as shiny as and not as long as in Indonesia. Moreover, at the end of autumn like that. The sunlight in Indonesia almost shined twelve hours in dry or rainy season. Just vanishing a moment when rain cats and dogs had happened.
Ignoring Anggia’s protest, Christopher took precisely a warm overcoat and a triangle hat for Anggia before pulling her from the blanket. At the moment his movement was so rude and harsh.
“Com’on, get up, Lazy Girl! Or you would regret in the rest of your life to not see the beauty of autumn of Germany,” Christopher crammed the bright orange knitted triangle hat—to Anggia’s head—upper her hairs that looked so tangle. At the moment, Anggia realized that the triangle hat was Germany’s hat style. Not like in the majority of countries in the world that had circular and round hats.
Christopher hung the warm overcoat in Anggia’s shoulder after pulling her from the sofa. When Christopher was pulling her at the door’s direction, Anggia saw a mini-picnic basket that was made by rattan had been prepared near the doorstep. Heaven knew when Christopher prepared that. Even, buying the knitted hat that still looked so new and slick.
“I haven’t taken a bath yet, Christ,” protested Anggia. “At least, give me fifteen minutes to get ready!”
Christopher didn’t answer Anggia’s complaint. Just handing a bar of whiskey flavoured Laderach chocolate.
Anggia understood so much the meaning. It was as a substitute of mouthwash and breath freshener. After several times knowing Christopher, Anggia knew well what kind of aroma that came Christopher’s mouth out every morning. A mint aroma from a kind of German chocolate. How wonderful the aroma of chocolate of that country was!
“I also need a soap for my skin, Christ.”
Christopher’s mouth just curled into a grin while giving the picnic basket to Anggia. Completely feeling tickled. “Don’t say anything much more! It’s better if you just lock the door!”
Anggia grimaced distemperedly. But, finally, she obeyed Christopher’s order that forced her a half. Completely disturbing her from the comfort of sleeping.
Seeing that Anggia respected his request, as usual, Christopher pulled Anggia to get closer at his embrace and ran his hand through Anggia’s hairs passionately which at the moment covered by a hat. “No one reminded you to not take a bath frequently in Germany? Or you would return to Indonesia with very dry and wrinkled skin.”
Christopher wasn’t just kidding by his words. Even, when he released his embrace at Anggia’s body and took a racing bike that he placed under the stairs. “Com’on, let’s go! You should choose the place. Japanische Garten. Königsallee. Rheinstraße—”
“Are you sure?” Anggia grimaced. Completely loathing. A natural repulsion looked so clearly in her face. A feeling that made her both shoulders revolt really remove her drowsiness until one hundred percents. As if a gallon of ice was splased on her head.
“Why not? I could take you to go around Düsseldorf by this bike. Or would you prefer to Munich?” When uttering the last sentence, Christopher joked completely. But, Anggia felt reluctant more and more because of that matter.
“Hey, what happen? Feeling embarrassed to go around with me?” Christopher squinted his eyes for catching the shades of crimson color that appeared in Anggia’s pale face. “Or if you feel unwell—”
Anggia looked at the picnic basket in her hand. Although, she didn’t know what the contents were, but Christopher had favored to prepare it for both of them. By considering that matter, Anggia stepped forward and put her buttocks in the handlebar of Christopher’s Rose Psycho Path 6 racing bike.
Christopher threw the sheepish smile. Feeling to win Anggia’s heart before Anggia stated sharply, “Lessingstraße. Ok?”
Lessingstraße park was so wide until several kilometers far away. There were footpaths for cyclists and pedestrians that divided the left and right side of the park. Grasses that had been cut neatly and artistically became hedges of the footpaths. Some plants of Liliaceae and Araucariaceae families were let to grow up lushly and luxuriantly around a greeny pond. Several swings, seesaws, and another kids outdoor playthings laid two hundred meters in the front of the pond. While, as far as eyes could see, it appeared dozens of trees from Moraceae and Magnoliaceae were planted in the regular distance.
“Are you sure, you don’t want to see Japanische Garten?” Christopher looked completely doubtful with Anggia’s choice.
Anggia stole a glance to a bike that she rode with Christopher with full of repulsion. “Sure,” she whispered slightingly. Almost as low as the sound of wind blew between white banyan trees that almost withered completely. In the same time, a soft voice disturbed them.
“Schl! Ist das dein neues Fahrrad?—Schl! Is this your new bike?” a girl stated, feeling amazed fully. The sparkles of her eyes appeared clearly. That matter made Anggia’s stomach felt so painful and was getting sick. Anggia felt to loathe completely.
“Ja, natürlich!—Yeah, of course!” uttered Christopher while slowing down the speed of the bike. “But, it seemed to me that my girl didn’t like my bike.” Christopher ran his hand again through Anggia’s hairs. Making her tangled hairs become tangled more and more. And the knitted hat became disheveled and creased.
The girl who addressed Christopher looked to make such a clicking noise by her tongue. Completely looking to dislike for seeing Christopher’s movement on Anggia’s head. Until she went by in a hurry from that place without saying good bye.
“What a pretty girl!” groused Anggia unconciousnessly. Looking completely so envy. “Her skin looks so healty and shiny. The pigment of her hairs is also so beautiful.”
“Who did you mean?” Christopher stopped the bike near a magnolia tree that had the biggest trunk in the corner of park that was farthest from the location of his apartment.
The corner of that side was so empty and free from another visitors. It could be understood, the majority of visitors of the park would choose to gather near the pond or the play ground they passed before.
Anggia didn’t answer. Just stepping down from the bike and looking at the direction behind Christopher’s back. To the direction of sepia-haired German girl. The skin looked so brown and healty in the dressing of short-sleeved blouse and fresh terra-cotta hot-pants. Looking to not be disturbed at all with the autumn temperature at the moment.
Anggia glanced the warm overcoat she wore with full of vexation and exasperation.
Christopher smiled meaningfully to Anggia. Staring at her while putting his bike against a tree near them. “It’s Sra. Sara. Our college friend. She is so skillful of playing violin, speaking Russian, and reading French poems.”
Anggia felt uncomfortable in the place where she standed. Waiting for Chritopher arrived near her and took over the picnic basket. There was a puplish orange colored thin folding rug that was put on the top of the basket.
Christopher spreaded the rug while continuing his utterance. “But, for us, Germany men, Katl is prettier.”
“And I prefer your taciturn and stolid character,” muttered Anggia sartiscally. But, the irritation and the dissatisfaction that started from the living room of Christopher’s apartment increased her messo soprano voice until several octaves.
Christopher gazed at her intensely, completely feeling so curious. He really didn’t understand what was existing in that Asian girl’s mind. Is it the drop of the end of autumn weather that made Anggia upset frequently? Or was I a bit thick in teasing Anggia?
Christopher continued to think hard while taking two slices of very big Indonesian—with a filling of fried noodles—omelets and handing both of them to Anggia. While, he himself just took a slice of meaty small bread. Too small to take by a person, like Anggia. Indonesians also had taken a heavy meal in breakfast. Not just in lunch or dinner.
After that, he gave a bottle of milch—milk—and orangensaft—orange juice made in Germany—to Anggia. Christopher himself just gulped a bottle of sprudelwasser—soda water—down without saying anything.
“I have some Germany songs sang by Ramms Ein, Christ. Do you wanna listen to them? These songs have been so popular in the German learners in Indonesia.”
Christopher just threw his slight smile and nodded to respond it. Anggia herself just turned on an IPod and played her favourite song, Ich Will—I Want, that had a rhythm of trash heavy metal.
Anggia took the very big omelets with a little bit of bites and gulped the liquid milk until a half of the bottle when Christopher was taking some Indonesian patties and was handing it to Anggia.
“Hmmm… Christ, it’s so yummy! It’s just like patties made by Mom.” Anggia spoke indistinctly while tasting the slice of fifth patty. Christopher just smiled faintly in his position. Gazing completely at Anggia’s direction. Heaven knew why seeing the way of Anggia took a meal was so interesting for him.
“Christ, look at that!” Anggia pulled Christopher’s hand to sit down near her. “That color of leaves, what color is that?” pointed Anggia to one’s direction of white banyan trees that completely changed the color of its original leaves.
Christopher sat down near Anggia. Leaning his body to the tree trunk. So close. Seeing to one’s direction as the Anggia’s forefinger was pointing. “A russet one.”
“A reddish brown, isn’t? So beautiful. Düsseldorf is so full of that color.”
After that, they were just silent during minutes. Christopher also didn’t try to break the silence. He had just nodded to respond Anggia’s question tag.
“This is your favourite song, isn’t it, Christ?” said Anggia abruptly when the music became slower and in rythym of mellancolic pop. When the song was changing to become “Mutter—Mother”.
Christopher who was gulping some drops of medium sprudelwasser down suddenly choked terrificly. There was no one who knew that secret. The memory song with his lovely mother. Neither were his father, Karina, or Florens. But, at the moment Anggia just grinned to him while humming the song a load. Completely she didn’t realize the aura of shock that appeared in Christopher’s eyes.
That voice was too far from perfect. Discordant, toneless, and almost flat. But, there was a new sensation in Christopher’s feeling—for hearing that—which he couldn’t understand. The adrenaline increased his rates of blood circulation. Remembering his promise to not get married with any girls, except a girl who really knew him and his mother. And thinking about that, Christopher’s body trembled. He wasn’t a rich German man who could pass through easily national borders for realizing and achieving all of desires.
“Oh my God, Christ, you look so pale and trembling!” Anggia stopped her discordant song and took her wool sweater off with a guilty feeling and put it around Christopher’s shoulder. She pulled firmly Christopher at her embrace. “Let’s go home before you would fall sick, Christ!”
Christopher felt so sick indeed. But, it wasn’t the illness like what Anggia meant. There were too much pain and sickness in the bottom of his heart. It was just like his heart was cutting into pieces by a dagger.
Christopher shook his head firmly. “I’m Ok. I promised by myself to spend time until twilight with you.”
Anggia looked to understand so much and pulled Christopher tighter and tighter at her embrace with both hands. Anggia didn’t feel uncomfortable for that matter. Because, she thought that Christopher just considered her as a sister or a good friend.
Meanwhile, the aroma of falling leaves became terrific more and more. Blowing the chill weather in the whole Anggia’s body to become chiller and chiller. She blamed herself for her adrenaline that increased a lot. Making the rates of blood circulation unnormally. Too fast and fast. The feeling didn’t want to compromise by her last logic to her parents to not be interested in a European man.
“Astaga, begini rupanya kelakuan kalian di belakangku. Budaya apa ini? Jerman atau Indonesia?—God! It’s just like that your both attitudes behind me? What culture is that? German or Indonesian one?” A light golden blondie-haired German man that had a measurement of height of six feet three inches suddenly arrived there to disturb their comforts. Speaking Indonesian natively while grabbing a slice of patty that was placed near him that just remained a few of slices.
Anggia who was reading a German romance novel which contained very hard dictions frowned deeply behind her minus glasses. Seeming completely to dislike the scene that was happening in the front of her.
Christopher who was lying comfortably on Anggia’s lap woke from his doze. Feeling so shocked completely. But, he didn’t try to move from his position.
Before Christopher opened his mouth, Anggia had wawled sharply. “Tak ada yang menyuruhmu memakan pastel itu, Flo!—There is no one ordered you to take the patty, Flo!” Anggia had known that Florens Micek didn’t like at all that kind of call. But, Anggia also don’t like with the way of that man appeared suddenly in the front of her and took the patty without asking any permission.
Christopher had made the patties just for her. Besides they were just like standart patties, there were also patties with the contents of mushrooms and shredded meats that had been boiled and fried. Anggia wouldn’t be ashamed to choke Florens’ neck if that man would take the cheese flavored patties. Since in the beginning of time she took her meal, Anggia hadn’t found them yet. And she was so sure that Christopher wouldn’t forget her favourite ones. It was just like he hadn’t forgot to add any cheeses to the omelet for Anggia.
“Tenang saja, aku bisa membuatkanmu seratus pastel yang serupa! Resep ini dariku. Aku yang mengajarkan Schl bodoh ini membuat pastel ala Indonesia—Just calm and be patient! I could make one hundred similar patties for you. This is my recipe. I had taught this stupid Schl to make Indonesian patties.”
Anggia was so shocked to know that Florens was speaking Indonesian so natively. Considering that Florens had spoken haltingly in their first meeting. If it wasn’t because Anggia was too cross, she would compliment that man because of that matter.
“Tahu apa kau soal Christ? Aku yang hidup bersamanya, bukan kamu—What do you know about Christ? I’m living and staying with him, not you.” The way of Anggia to talk to Florens, as if Florens was a gay and she was competing with him to attract Christopher’s heart.
“Was spricht ihr?—Actually what are you both talking about?” asked Christopher, completely not understanding. His ears were buzzing since the beginning of conversation for hearing that his name had mentioned repeatly in a foreign language.
Christopher moved from his position of lying for a dizziness he was feeling, because of his inability of Indonesian. Taking her picnic basket closer. “You are certainly very hungry, Ia,” he stated while glancing at his watch that showed half past one post-meridian. “You should wake me up before.” He continued because of knowing well that Indonesians had taken lunch at that time.
Florens sat down finally in the front of them without asking permission and feeling ashamed. Seeming to not feel guilty to disturb Christopher and Anggia’s comfort of spending time together.
When Christopher was so busy to open the rest of contents of the picnic basket, Florens was just saying in high spirits and cheerfully “Guten Tag!” and “Halo!” to some pedestrians and cyclists that were passing through that place.
“Enough, Flo! Just continue it after I would leave this place. I leaved Indonesia to look for a comfort. And I got a lot of dizziness more and more after arriving here.” exclaimed Anggia fed uply and crossly. She completely had been shocked to know German culture that love so much to address the other persons, even if they were strangers. It was just like the habit in her country and very contradictory with her character.
Not apologizing because of that disturbance, Florens laughed a lot precisely. “You are just like Schl in several matters. You both considered Germany as never never land. Is it possible if you both brother-sister that have been separated since born?”
“Flo!!!” Anggia shouted a lot histerically to state her objections. By the name of anything, she didn’t want that Florens’ utterance would be a prayer for her and Christopher. “Say sorry!”
Florens just laughed sarcastically. “What for? I don’t feel guilty at all to implement my culture as long as I could, as a good German. You should be ashamed, so far to come to German, but you don’t know anything about Germany!” Florens stole a glance to white rice in a heating box completed with Indonesian sautéed kale, cheese flavored mushrooms, and slices of mangoes. Indonesians had loved so much to eat white rice with mangoes or watermelons.
Christopher captured Florens’ gaze in the heating box that Christopher was holding. “My fault. I spoiled Ia with any kind of things and matters she likes and loves.”
Christopher handed a frikadelle—a German meaty patty—to Florens before Anggia grab Christopher’s wrist roughly.
“No. Before he says sorry.”
Christopher who didn’t understand at all with the point of the discussion just was taken by a surprise completely to Anggia’s grip that as tight as the eagle was grabbing its food.
Meanwhile, Florens just giggled while taking a slice of frikadelle from Christopher’s hand. “Oke. Kalian bukan kakak adik. Kau punya penggemar berat, Schl!—Ok. You aren’t brother-sister. You have a mad fan, Schl!” stated Florens in Indonesian.
Christopher who was feeding the white rice to Anggia’s mouth stopped his hand’s movement in the air. Seeing Florens to wait for his translation. But, there was no signs that Florens would do it. While, Anggia who was chewing her first food choked terrificly until her face blushed.
“Just ask her!” exclaimed Florens while reaching Anggia’s IPod impoliticly. Playing it in “Ich Will” song. “My favourite one,” stated Florens by himself. No one asked him about that.
Christopher didn’t say anything. Just continuing to feed Anggia with the very rigid movement. As if the cold war happened between three of them.
Anggia also didn’t comment. Although, she had a similar taste of music with Florens.
“Try it a little bit, Christ!” Anggia took over a spoon in Christopher’s hand and switched to feed him.
“Uhhh!!! You both made me sick!” Florens got up from his seat position while taking a can of Paulanee beer in the picnic basket and gulped the contents down fast. “Ayo, kalau mau jalan denganku! Aku bawa BMW sport Hybrid 8—Com’on, if you want to go around with me! I rode a Hybrid 8 BMW sport car.”
Christopher was returning the heating box and dirty dishes made by glasses into the basket and threw it until broken. Although, Christopher didn’t understand at all what Florens said in Indonesian, but signals in Christopher’s mind and heart felt something dangerous when the word “BMW” had been mentioned. He just realized that Anggia felt reluctant, not because she hadn’t loved to go around with him. But, just because he hadn’t riding a car.
“God! Christ, you are bloody!” Anggia reached Christopher’s fingers by her grip and sucked the blood with a traditional way before Anggia realized that Florens was waiting for her answer. “I’m so sorry. Maybe next time.”
“Just go, Ia! I’ll be fine,” said Christopher in low frequency, like losing his whole effort.
But, once more, Anggia shook her head firmly. “No. We went outside together. We should went home together. It’s a kind of responsibility that my parents taught to me.”
Florens just shrugged his shoulder and went by. “Just call me if you change your mind! All of persons in this district knew so much my cellphone number,” exclaimed Florens arrogantly before disappearing behind the rows of trees in the park.
Meanwhile, Anggia just bandaged Christopher’s wound with her scarf. “I would clean your hand and smear it with betadine after arriving at home” promised Anggia. After that, she cleaned the rug up with picking the empty bottle of sprudelwasser, the empty plastics of patty wraps, and the empty paper of frikadelle wraps up and walked through the nearest trash cans’ direction.
Trash cans of Indonesian public areas had been separated become blue and yellow colors. The blue one for wet trashes and the yellow one for dry trashes. In Germany, they were separated become eight cans. Anggia had been so confused and stupefied in the front of trash cans with the strange labels before Christopher helped her.
“This is restmüll for general wastes. Then, these are for organic wastes, plastic ones, paper ones, can ones, bottle ones, cloth ones, and battery ones. In some other districts, there is no separation between paper and plastic wastes.”
Anggia was stock-still to understand fully and assimilate the new informations until Christopher took over her task. The empty bottle of sprudelwasser in the trash can for bottle wastes, the empty plastics of patty wraps in the trash can for plastic ones, and the empty papers of frikadelle wraps in the trash can for paper ones.
“God! How could I adapt with all of these new ones, Christ?”
“Just calm and be patient! I’m here, ready to be your entire life guide and teacher.” Christopher winked his eyes to Anggia. That winking made constantly Anggia’s heart beated rapidly with the new strange sensation of pulse beat. Her heart-moving. The sensation that made her to not can breath well. Completely choking. Her body was like to can stand up well anymore. She staggered and tottered until Christopher held up her hands firmly. “Be carefull, Ia!”
“Do you mind to get me a ride?” asked Christopher seriously for remembering that his hand was so bloody and was bandaged by Anggia’s scarf.
“Ah, understood! We’ll take a walk, Ok?”
Christopher didn’t understand at all. Anggia rejected, not because she didn’t like to get a ride for a man. There was no taboo like that in Indonesia. Indonesian girls could get a ride for any men and on the contrary. Anggia just really couldn’t ride a bicycle. But, Anggia just let the silence accompany them all along the walking to go home.
When they were arriving in the outside of the park, Christopher muttered softly, “Trust me, Ia, someday you would miss a German autumn of spending with me, like one day I would miss you so much.” Christopher stated lightly and flatly when said that. Until Anggia thought that she was just imagining it.
“Eh? Just forget it!”