Oh boy, was she pretty. Mid length hair, neither short nor long. Colour somewhere between blond or brown and super shiny, just like her personality. And she possessed one of those smiles that melt the ice cream on the cone in your hand… and then you.
Your writer doesn’t remember where he met her but he does remember she lived in a village called Mettmann. The place is off to the east of the city of Dusseldorf, which is in the west of Germany, about half way up, roughly midway between London and Berlin. Anyway, Mettmann is beyond the hill and past the woods of Grafenberg, not far, from Neanderthal, which was not named after early man but vice verse.
Anyway, she had looked at me with those wonderful curious eyes and there came that instant connection, a feeling of belonging. She was younger than I was, a cutie. We both wanted to meet again. We didn’t exchange phone numbers (no mobiles then) but arranged for me to collect her at the bus stop in the village at four thirty. I spoke little German, she only a few words of English, far too shy for the rest.
But meeting again was not meant to be. Why not? When someone in this area of Germany means three thirty, they say half before four (halb vier). A Brit, however, understands in the words half four a different time, namely four thirty or half past four. I was an hour late, she was not at the bus stop. Today she is hopefully happy and healthy.
In cross-cultural meetings, time can be more than the position of the hands of a clock. Check both time and language; a crucial amount of time can separate destinies.