A true story, so you know romance authors aren’t just born, we’re “well-lived” too! 🙂
In late Fall 1979, I was living in Germany, having been assigned as a newly “hatched” communications officer to a battalion in Heilbronn, Germany. I’d been there maybe a month, had unpacked and settled into my BOQ, and the week before I’d made the trip to Bremerhaven to pick up my car from the port. It was a metallic midnight-blue Ford Pinto (yes, a Pinto!). Having no friends at that point to hang with, I decided I’d take a drive by myself and explore. I headed to nearby Stuttgart to do some sightseeing and window shopping.
That day, I dressed in a dark maroon button-down blouse, golden corduroy trousers, leather boots and a brown leather trench. With my Farrah Fawcett blonde hair all blown out, I looked good. I’d finished some shopping and was heading back to the car park to head home. As I strode down the sidewalk, this tall, very handsome man dressed in a black turtleneck, a black jacket and trousers, with swarthy skin and black, shaggy hair (I pegged him as Italian or Greek) passed me.
I gave him a nod and kept going. Then out of curiosity, I glanced back. He’d stopped in the sidewalk and was looking back at me. We shared another nod then he walked toward me.
He said something that ended with “English.”
I shook my head. “American.”
I pointed at him, and he said, “Griechisch (Greek).”
We both looked at the coffeeshop to our side. He said something in German (this was before I’d immersed myself in German language classes, so I only knew a few words), but I could tell he was inviting me for a coffee. Again, I nodded.
Inside, I let him order for us. Two coffees with pastries.
For an hour, we had a very stilted conversation but remained all smiles because it was fun.
He asked me something about America.
I assumed he was asking me where I was from in America. “Arkansas. It’s near Texas.”
He grinned, twirled his hand over his head, and said, “Yahoo!”
I laughed and nodded.
When I pointed at him, and asked him where in Greece he was from, he said, “Marathónas.”
I thought for a second then pumped my arms like I was running. “Marathon.”
His eyes perked up, because he realized I knew a bit about his country’s history and the legend of Pheidippides running from the plain of Marathon to Athens to let them know the Greeks had defeated the Persians—the inspiration for the marathon race. (I was a history major. 🙂 )
Anyway, we continued to mime throughout our conversation. When we both rose, we shook hands and he held mine for a long moment and said something.
What? I have no clue, but when we both left the coffeeshop, we headed in opposite directions. And yes, I did look back. But so did he.
Oh, and the picture is not from Stuttgart. The area of the city I was in was more modern-industrial looking, but I like this depiction of Germany because you can find so many beautiful places just like this…