Chapter 6: FIRST WINTER
Düsseldorf, Deutschland. Winter, December 15th 2015.
“Hallo!—Hello! Could I sit here?”
Anggia who was taking any variety of German cooking food in the cafeteria of Kuntstakademie Düsseldorf had a measurement of room of ten multiplied twenty meters that seemed so simple in the design of interior just nodded indifferently. She took a plateful of rindergulasch that became a popular food in that cafeteria completed by a plateful of white rice that were put over a white marble table. Based on the dictionary, the meaning of the cooking food was a veal goulash. However, the veal goulash made by her mother in Indonesia was still so far more delicious than the goulash.
“I’m Sasch. Sascha. From the department of photography.” A person with a shrill tenor voice beside Anggia hadn’t surrendered yet by Anggia’s indefference.
“Eh?” Anggia who was pinching a slice of kohlroulade—a meaty rolled cabbage—stopped suddenly her movement. She gazed intensely the body figure of someone in left side of her, in order to not misunderstanding.
Corn straight long hair of someone who sat in the pretty long marble ottoman had the style of male stylish. The porpoise upright collared warm T-shirt that the person wore was also in the male stylish. Even, the style of speckled reddish thin rectangle face. The speckles were too clear and a lot. Although, for the German people.
“Name of Sascha in Germany, one hundred percents for men. I’m also one hundred percents a man,” he grinned for the sake of Anggia’s shock.
Anggia moved fully her lips until making a spherical shape to hear the man’s comments. Feeling shocked completly to find a fact that what had existed on her mind could be read easily by a stranger. It was the second time indeed Anggia misunderstood about the gender of German names after Florens.
“What did you say a few minutes ago? Hallo?” asked Anggia, looking so stupid, as if she just snapped out of her reverie. “But, I’m just an Asian girl. And we haven’t known each other yet. Usually German would address any Asian with ‘Guten Tag’, although they knew each other.”
The skinny man who had a height of six feet five inches didn’t answer. Just moving away for the sake of taking his orders at a long table with full of storefront glasses that provided any kind of junk food, snacks, and beverage storage devices that was set neatly in a row in the end of tables. Two cups of black coffee with cream. He handed one cup to Anggia before saying, “Now we are getting acquainted. Two scoops of coffee, one tablespoon of sugar, full level sprudelwasser, and cream. And I’m not a racist. For me, Asians and Germans are same.”
“No. No. thanks. I can’t drink any coffee.”
The man wore a cylinder glasses seemed to understand. “Let me buy something for you! Wein—wine—perhaps? Eis—ice cream?” he said while adjusting his oversized glasses slightly. Looking around at the room, gazing the bone painted walls, as if he was looking for something or someone before lighting a cigarette.
The canteen area in that part was allowed to smoke. There was no air conditioning or the banners of prohibiting to smoke there. As the substitution, Spanish styled large windows and entrances without flaps faced directly to the garden. Thus, free air could be changed easily.
Non-smoking area was on the inside. Behind of the barriers that separated by a dark glasses and potted plants soaring up highly per table. The sides were commonly used by teenagers who were busy to date with their each couples.
Anggia gazed the man intensely to look for a seriousness in the blackish brown eyes. “Are you sure? Seriously?”
The man who had long narrow nose and wide thin lips nodded.
“Okay. Hühnerfrikassee—chicken cooked with the white sauce—then.”
The man had gotten up from the seat before Anggia added, “With a plateful of white rice. And some slices of frikadelle and currywurst.”
“Ia!” It was Christopher Schlösser’s voice. Out of nowhere, he arrived suddenly there. Standing up awkwardly behind Anggia’s seat. He felt to dislike with the way of Anggia to ask any food to his German friend. “You don’t eat your packed lunch was made by me?”
“By the name of God, Christ! I had to walk from the gateway to the classroom! You have left me so far like that. So, I’m starving now. The packed lunch you prepared for me and two boxes of apfelkuchen made by Muttie were over before ten o’clock in the morning.”
In the same time, Sascha returned while bringing Anggia’s orders.
“Do you want to taste it, Christ?” Anggia offered before remembering something, “Ah, Guten Appetit!” She exclaimed in amusement. She hadn’t used to say it yet before eating anything in the front of Germans. In fact, she told herself and took it by herself.
Christopher didn’t answer. His jaw hardened because of dislike.
As if she didn’t see the change of Christopher’s expression, Anggia began to chatter cheerfully. “Do you know, Christ? The apfelkuchen was made by Mutti....” Anggia didn’t continue her statement. Instead, she showed her both thumbs up highly in the air. “It was the best. In this cafeteria there’s nothing as delicious as Muttie’s. Muttie has made me the apfelkuchen with extra cheeses in one of package and mushrooms in the other package. I wouldn’t be so surprised if in the rest of package it contained the apfelkuchen with both extra cheeses and mushrooms as well.” Anggia ended her statement by devouring rice with hühnerfrikassee in front of her.
“Mutti? Do you call your mother with ‘Mutti’? Perhaps only Schl, students here who still uses the term. We, the Germans, have left frills of the name of persons.”
“Not my mother. Christ’s mother,” said Anggia proudly. Her pride could be read clearly. Thus, Sascha wanted to open his mouth again to ask something.
However, Christopher’s voice interrupted the statement very impatiently. “What is your business with Anggia Selestina, Sasch? Don’t tell me that you want to make her as a model of your next projects!”
“Not for a photography exhibition in the end of the year. But, for the end of winter.” Sascha pleaded. But, it wasn’t important for Christopher. Because, whether Sascha would do it in the end of the year or next year, it would look the same in Christopher’s eyes.
“Her Asian face is very exotic. Very interesting,” added Sascha. Glints in his eyes were very real to sink in the brown-rimmed cylinder big glasses.
Christopher gripped unconsciously the back of Anggia’s knit orange sweater tightly. That matter made Anggia choke completely, almost couldn’t breath. First, because of the grip. Second, because the point of their conversation.
“Oh, I almost forgot! I and my friends would cycle and hold a petty party this afternoon to welcome the beginning of winter. You would join, Slst?” said Sascha while adjusting the white striped chocolate knit scarf. Somehow, the way of the scarf arounded in his neck felt to disturb Anggia so much. Reminding her to a nerd in her school in the past who had tried hard to look fashionable, but had been failed.
Anggia glared at Sascha. However, she didn’t protest the call. Not after the man bought her some food. And apparently, some Germans were more familiar with some of the consonants in a row rather than vice versa.
“I don’t....” Anggia looked desperately toward Christopher. However, the man didn’t seem to want to say anything, in order to straighten out the situation. Anggia couldn’t say that she couldn’t cycle in the front of tens of the German’s eyes. Who knew, one of them was Karina and Sara. “I can’t go without Christ.”
Both Sascha and Christopher looked to gaze strangely because of Anggia’s last statement. Too strange until Sara who was passing while carrying a large glass of joghurt—yogurt—nudged Anggia’s right shoulder. Spilling the drink over Anggia’s sweater.
“Scheiße!” That aspersion was said by Christopher.
Anggia flushed a lot to withstand the anger and almost cried. She didn’t bring any clothes substitution and just wore that sweater without any coating underneath. Meanwhile, Christopher didn’t bring the car to the place. And Anggia had no more power to alternate to tandem bike with Christopher.
Karina who sat behind the farthest table of the cafeteria—that approached the counter and the exit—threw her long laugh, clearly insulting. Her roaring laugh wasn’t really pleasant to hear. Anggia really understood the meaning. There was only two conclusions. Definitely Karina who had told Sara to do it. Or Sara also put a heart on Christopher and Karina loved so much on her action to make Anggia’s sweater become dirty.
Anggia was absolutely upset. She wanted to much to hit Sarah and Karina in the front of her view before Christopher grabbed hastily her arm. “Come with me, Meine schöne Frau! Just change your sweater with my sweater!” He accompanied Anggia to go toward the ladies’ room with a very close circle of hand around Anggia’s left shoulder. As if he was afraid that Anggia could run anytime and jumped towards the two girls. He seemed to not care about curiosities and the change of expressions that perhaps looked so clear in Karina and Sara’s eyes and face.
“The German government has chosen you to receive a scholarship of this period, Ia. It wasn’t easy at all. Don’t waste their beliefs! Also my beliefs on you. You know, everything in Germany could be prosecuted. Beware! If you want, just sue them! Give your laundry bills to Sara in the connection with this case! It’s legal in Germany.”
For the first time Christopher explained at length. Extremely too long until Anggia almost choked when she was saying, “But, what all of the explanations for, Christ?”
“For your preparation to meet with Frank, my father. Frank is completely so different with Muttie.”
At that time they arrived in the the front of the light brown painted door of toilet. Some college friends who passed them said “Hallo!” to Christopher and “Guten Tag!” to Anggia. But neither of them answered those greetings.
Christopher was just silent while pulling Anggia to get closer and kissed her hairs after running her hand through it a while. “Don’t be too long time inside! I’ll wait for you here,” he said while taking off and handing his dark blue warm sweater for Anggia.
Anggia first lecture in the beginning of the day was just about the introduction of the German language of the pasca-beginner level. That level passed several levels of Anggia’s German ability. Anggia followed everything easily. Even, the German language lecturer complimented Anggia who looked very smart and talented between all of them.
However, after lunch, she was called by the chairman of the campus. Christopher waited faithfully for her in the outside of the room.
“You haven’t decided yet what major you would prefer to take, Anggia Selestina? Your lecture would begin this season, not next season.” A silverish golden-haired middle-aged authoritative man who was about fifty five years old sat in a very large black swivel chair adjusted his plus glasses while checking intensely a completed form. Anggia’s registration form.
“I understood, Sir. If you don’t mind, allow me to try to determine my choice by entering into all of classrooms per subject....” Anggia didn’t complete her words. Because, at that moment the fat man with a height of about six feet three inches took off his plus glasses and stared fixedly at Anggia’s eyes. Massaging his large aquilne nose as if he was thinking hard about something.
Anggia was agitated while twirling her fingers under the table. A definite habit when she had begun to feel very nervous.
Anggia stole a glance to the surrounding space. An area that had a measurement of six multiplied six was painted with a dull color. Very dull. Not gray or the shades of gray. But, dark black. Very dark. However, the darkness of the color was obscured by a glass-framed photographs of the campus leaders from period to period. The room was filled by archives and thick encyclopedia books in two cupboards behind the window, exactly in the opposite direction of Anggia’s seat. Meanwhile, a black lacquered glass table in the front of her was filled with piles of folders and forms. In addition, the white lilies was set in an amorphous blue vase.
“Your German lecturer reported the results of your study in the class—” The man who had dark blue eyes took a breath a moment before continuing, “All right. Don’t exceed the end of the year! You could start it today. Ten minutes later some class would begin.” The man who wore a formal black suit stood up from the very large chair. He held out his fingers toward Anggia.
Anggia felt uncomfortable. In Indonesia, the dean or rector of any campus wouldn’t bother to stand up for their outstanding students. Moreover, just for the newest student who hadn’t obscured yet the accomplishments.
She greeted the man’s outstretched hand while saying, “Thank you so much, Sir.”
“You are welcome. Good luck!”
Anggia went out of the dull room with mixed feelings. There was no way for her to cancel the application at the college and ask for a scholarship in the other colleges.
Christopher stood up directly from his seat in the brown marble long chair a few meters from the doorstep of the room when he was seeing Anggia. He smiled to greet Anggia without saying anything. Holding Anggia’s hand to move away from the place. However, Anggia knew obvioulsly, Christopher was waiting for her news.
“I was allowed to try all of majors existed here until the end of the year.”
“That’s very good news!” exclaimed Christopher briefly. In the same time, some students flocked to enter into the classrooms.
Anggia frowned. Her thin sophisticated eyebrows moved higher. But, she was so reluctant to say anything to comment on Christopher’s statement.
Christopher himself just smiled sincerely while leading her into a classroom. “Just start it with painting art! There’s no way that you have never drawn in the whole of your life. I have a class in the downstairs room. I’ll meet you in the front garden.”
Christopher waved without looking at Anggia again.
“But, Christ, during the school time I had been often absent in the drawing and painting lessons,” said Anggia softly to herself after Christopher disappeared from her view.
Anggia walked desperately to the classroom that had pointed by Christopher. Near the brown threshold of the class, she saw Karina who was kissing the cheeks of a stranger man had a height of six feet one inch. The man who had square face and reddish skin looked very handsome and healthy. The impression was created by his face wasn’t as cold as Christopher’s.
Karina captured Anggia’s view and smiled cynically, clearly insulting. “I’ll wait for you in the front garden after class, Cyzk,” he said while passing Anggia, passing out of the room without say anything. She nugged intentionally Anggia’s body until Anggia almost bounced toward the rear if only there’s no man who hold tightly to her arm.
“Be careful!” That baritone voice was well-known so much by Anggia’s sense of hearing. The shrilling voice was just like the noise of plate when it was dropped to the floor. Anggia wanted to know how if the man would sing with her. Anggia’s voice was so flat to sing any songs and unpleasant to hear. Certainly it would be more terrible and awful if they would sing together.
“Situasi Jerman tak terlalu kondusif untuk seorang Asia sepertimu—German situation isn’t too conducive to an Asian girl like you.” The man who could speak Indonesian kissed suddenly Anggia’s cheeks while grinning widely without feeling guilty. “I’ll wait for you in the front garden after class. You would join the celebration of welcoming winter, wouldn’t you?”
Anggia was a little bit shock with that kind of kisses. Until she was unable to say anything. However, kissing cheeks by opposite genders wasn’t Indonesian culture and custom. Just a moment after Florens leaved the classroom, Anggia shouted out a loud, “I’ll be with Christ.”
However, the man who wore the red metallic warm sweater didn’t hear Anggia’s exclamation.
“So, how should I call you? C-Y-Z-K?” asked Anggia innocently. “I wonder why the German people passionated so much to call any persons with three hard consonants more in a line. And after I’m fluent to say them, I certainly couldn’t speak my mother tongue well again,” complained Anggia at length. She even was failed to remember the surname of the man—who was walking in a row with her—that contained much more hard consonants in a syllable.
The thin small lips of the man bended because of shaking of laughter. His goldish hairs moved beautifully because wind blew in the air between them. His voice of laugh was very pleasent to hear. But, somehow, Anggia still preferred Christopher’s.
And based on Indonesians’ beliefs, Christopher would have a long life. Because, when Anggia was thinking and daydreaming about him, that man appeared suddenly there. Smiling on his bike under a cherry tree that at the moment were left the dry and infertile branches. The smile made anggia’s heart-moving like before. Snow flakes began to fall in the whole of Christopher’s body. Making him to seem cooler and cuter. And seeing all of them, Anggia’s heart was just like to splinter into shards of wintery ice and cut into pieces. So painful.
“Just call me Ralf! Non-German people used to call me like that. And what you worried about, it isn’t German custom. But the custom of students in this academy. Although, it’s no problem for all of Germans to say it anytime.” he grinned while starting to light a hard cigarette. “Cigarette?” he offered.
“Ninety percent of female smokers in Indonesia are whores.”
Anggia stated flatly when saying it. But, the tone that was several octaves higher than she desired made Ralf shocked. Very shocked. Thus, Ralf said hastily to make the situation become neutral again, “Ah, it’s your boyfriend has been waiting for!”
Ralf himself preceded Anggia a few meters away, walking toward Karina who had been waiting for him under the other cherry tree while folding her arms in the front of chest to withstand cold temperature before Anggia remembered something. “Ralf! Why you should cycle to celebrate it, not with holding a car parade?”
Ralf who didn’t understand completely the point of Anggia’s question stopped fully his step and turned around to face Anggia. His thick sexy eyebrows made a row and a line with the short small nose. His hazel metallic—eyes color could change color to be brown, blue, and green—almond thin almond eyes squinted to look at Anggia intensely. As if that matter could clarify what existed precisely on Anggia’s mind. Ralf’s appearance was the most perfect among Germans Anggia had ever seen. If only Anggia didn’t feel to be disturbed by the effects of the black studs that pinned in his both ears.
“You know, in Indonesia, the car is a measurement of wealth. Instead of cycling, the type of girls like me would feel uncomfortable to date with riding a motorcycle. Moreover, from the type of high class girls or socialites such as Karina and Sara.”
Actually, Anggia lowered her voice when she was saying about it. However, Christopher grounded his teeth for holding cold sense that suddenly dropped to become as icy as snow in Antarctica and storms in Europe. That sensation made her heart was just like colder and colder. He gripped the bicycle wheel firmly until the nails become whiter and whiter to try to ignore the feeling.
“Here, it isn’t like that, Slst. Schl’s father is a rich man. Don’t worry about that! However, Mck has two private houses. One of them is in the elite area and the rest is in border of Danish. You know certainly how expensive the prices of lands in Germany are! Hmmm... it’s Sasch... maybe you have known him.” Ralf pointed towards Sascha who just arrived while carrying two reddish black Cube Reaction GTC SL bicycles. Beside him, there was the other German man who was walking along with him and Sara. “He worked furiously in the photography field to finance his studies. You know, his academic abilities were far beyond the average of students in this academy. Last term he reached summa cum laude. He would be your hardest rival, Slst.”
“And that’s Arm over there. An ordinary teenager like me who has a larger apartment than Schl’s, a private car, and the allowance that more than enough. But, Arm is a type of highly sensitive man. Beware!”
Anggia frowned completely to hear Ralf’s very long explanations. Her eyebrows appeared to move up highly. “A man like you don’t like to make friends through internet?” she uttered strangely when she was remembering suddenly for something. Considering that Christopher was her very humble close person whom she had known through social media. But, Christopher isn’t as humble as Ralf. “You are the German with the longest explanation I’ve ever met.”
Ralf giggled again while smoking occasionally the cigarette. “I don’t wonder why Schl is very welcome to stay with you. You’re a very attractive girl. Of course, I like to be on internet and make friends. But, if you meant to correspondence, no. Katl and Sra are still more attractive than the silent photos.”
Furthermore, they arrived in the front of Christopher. Christopher pulled directly at Anggia’s shoulder to get closer. He touched Anggia’s hairs to clean the snow flakes that was dropping in Anggia’s black hairs. “Feeling cold, Meine schöne Frau?”
“Not at all. If I’m with you, my Lord.” Ralf teased them. Giggling a lot while approaching toward Karina.
Anggia shook her head. However, her face looked so pale. Especially, when Sascha approached her while carrying two racing bikes and handing one of them to Anggia. “I loaned it for you, Slst.”
“You want to go there by car? Perhaps Mck drove a car. We could meet later at....” Christopher misunderstood completely about the meaning of the change of Anggia’s expression.
“Christ, I don’t—” Anggia didn’t continue her statement. Just staring at Christopher’s eyes intensely from the bottom of her heart. Wishing fully that Christopher could read what existed in her eyes.
Christopher kneeled suddenly while holding his bike wheel with one hand. When Sascha was gazing at Anggia one hundred percent. And the others was so busy to chatter.
Christopher broke the chain of his bike very quickly with the other hand. Faster than Anggia’s breath that in the moment became into once per five seconds because of hard frightened. Even, before Sascha and the others turned around to his direction. “Ah, shit! The chain of my bike is loosing. It would take so long time if—”
Sascha looked at Christopher’s and Anggia’s direction alternately. As if he was deciding something. “Ok, you both may use this bike.”
After Christopher had parked his bike in the parking area on campus and prepared on borrowed Cube Reaction GTC SL bicycles, he muttered on Anggia’s ears, “Are you happy, Meine schöne Frau?”
In the whole lifetime there had nobody ever asked Anggia whether she was happy or not about what had happened or would happen. However, Christopher was waiting for her answer seriously. He gazed at Anggia intensely.
Christopher hadn’t had an opportunity yet to breath in the second time when Anggia kissed Christopher’s left cheek with her lips passionately. “Terima kasih banyak, Christku,” she said in Indonesian.
“Ia, the Germans didn’t kiss cheeks to say—”
Anggia ignored completely Christopher’s protest. On the contrary, she embraced tightly Christopher’s body with her both fingers. “Thank you very much, my Christ.”
“We go now?” Sara exclaimed impatiently on a gray metallic racing bike. She made a row with Aram and Florens on Focus Raven Pro bycycles. However, Aram and Florens ones are black. Meanwhile, Ralf just handed a similar stylish bike—with the bike that was loaned by Sascha to Anggia and Christopher—toward Karina. The difference was Karina one was blue metallic.
“Of course,” answered Anggia while kissing Christopher’s cheek again for twice before throwing her buttocks on the bike handlebar. She put a dark blue batic patterened scarf that she was carried in her purse around Christopher’s neck.
“Uuuhhh... you make me sick!” said Karina and Sara, almost in the same time.
“Don’t worry! I also could do it for you,” chirped Ralf nosily while snapping his fingers in Karina’s nose.
However, Christopher who was starting to pedal his bike didn’t pay attention at all to the statement. He reached the love pendant that was putting around Anggia’s neck and opened the lid. There were Christopher’s and his mother’s photographs that were imprinted on it.
Anggia turned her face toward Christopher. Christopher seemed to open his mouth for a moment, but closing it again.
“What’s wrong, Christ?”
Christopher didn’t answer. Just accelerating the race of his bike and leaning his body to get closer towards Anggia.
In the middle of the swift flow of wind blew between them and snowflakes began to wet the strands of her black hairs, Anggia was just like to get a hallucination that Christopher kissed her hairs deeper than before. In that moment, in the crown of her head. There was something in Anggia’s chest that seemed to disappear a half. It was just like Christopher had stolen her heart or thrown it away to the wind.
Meanwhile, the race of the other bikes behind them was trying constantly to chase the race of Christopher’s bike. However, Christopher who was burned by a spirit of ew life pedaled the bike faster and faster. And overtaking increasingly.