Days after Asha got back. Days after everything else happened, she was looking at the Rhine, vineyards overlooking the river, and the Niederwalddenkmal behind it.
It was winter she thought. The freezing rain, the snow of the vines and the ice floating with the current down on the water.
It was not raining, icing, snowing anymore.
Asha was deep in concentration. She had not called her boyfriend, mother or father. She only had herself.
She could not see the tourist standing about her. Or her tangerine sundress going up and down with the playful wind. A little Italian boy and his olive oil sisters kept sentry on her brown backside. Then, their mother called them to her. Their father looked on, eyeing the wafting wind and her backside, and then called them too. The family went off the monument walls to the vendors below it, and the gondola lifts below them all.
The Italian boy tapped Asha, “Signorina . . . ? Fraulein . . . ?”
“Yee hau,” she said. “Was ist los!”
The boy was shocked. He could do nothing except say, “English? Please.”
“What?! I can speak English. What!” She was upset with the sudden interruption, “Yes! ”
“You dress . . . .” he said trying to conjure out the words before petering out.
She curled her upper lip, “You’re to young for me.”
“No,” he face was red. “You skirt flies. Up. Down. It look so good. Really does. So. . . . Me and sisters gonna eat and can’t protect you.”
“I don’t need protection,” she said tis while slighting rising, putting the dress under herself, “Don’t worry, little boy. You can go!”
He started for the lines of people waiting on the lifts, and his sisters’ hands. Looked back through the crowds. He saw her hands were at her forehead. He made a step to go back but his sisters pulled him into the gondola lift building. He got mesmerized be the interactions of the heavy steal machines going klank-klak on the lines.
He got in on the down hill side with his two sisters. Moments later they were handing above the grapes, and one of the sisters were laughing about something. They all started to laugh.
Her boyfriend was coming in the uphill side. The lift halted. Stopped at the gate. He got up. Walked passed the kitsch vendors to her.
He did not wait. Did not tell her he was there.
Just sat on the bench. The curving, rough waters brought the ferries, going in and out, of the docks. A bird, an eagle dipped into the valley below, then climbed out of site.
He tried to put his hands on her, instead gave a shrill cry, “Kli-kli-kli.” He saw her bags for her trip at her side.
She turned onto his shoulder. She put her head down onto his arms.
He whistled, “Whistle while you work,” smiled, before he put his head on to hers.
She picked herself off his arms and put her index finger to his mouth.
Massive grey clouds came over them. Over the mountains. A great burst of wind came. They both looked up, to the clouds and then over to the glimmer of sun shine left before the torrents began.
He get up and covered her with his colossal body, “Get up. We—”
“Not me,” she coughed. “You.”
“I’m wet already.”
He put his head between her neck and breast to hear her beating heart. She picked his head up and trying to kiss his mouth for the fisrt time in a long time. He kisses her too.
She got herself to her feet. Got herself all types of wet. Asha danced, did a bourrée in the rain with Burt watching and hurrying-up to dance with her. The rain got heavy, heavy. Her tangerine dress was soaked through. His light, wool sweater was soaked. He took it off, revealing his dirty painter staind shirt.
“Your swastika is out,” she said. He almost tripped, “Sorry. Sorry.”
“I woudn’t have such a hard time except that,” he wanted to cover her in his arms again, “. . . now the Nazi’s are coming back. They don’t see a Hindu sun symbol . . . all they see is THEIR symbol in a, as they say, ‘a halfy’ man.”
“It’s all right.”
She thought for a while, “I wanted to dance in the rain with you.”
“Not now,” he said. Then. What happened in Turkey?”
Waiting in the torrent she told him all of it. Even the parts she would not tell her parents. Even the things that she would not tell herself for a long time after.
The rain was over. It was now hailing. They got into the trees.
“Fuck,” he said. “Lets go to the lift station before we get washed off here.”
“Okay,” she said. Asha get ready to run, “We ain’t gonna get in there. Look at all those tourists . . . vendors. What do you wanna do?”
The air was beginning to stablise, “Schatzie, it’s letting up.” Asha watched Burt. His eyes. His mouth. His black, bowl cut hair. She looked him up, down and sideways. “What’s wrong with you”
“Nothing,” she got a sight of the clear skys and ran. Ran at her top speed. He did not run after her.
Ashe was running down the mountain. Across the vineyard. He lost soght of her. He put his sweater on his shoulder and went up, passed the monument. He would walk back to his house on the outskirts of Aulhausen. We would go drink apfelwein and have a wurst with bread. He would, of couse, make some for his parents, if they were there. He would enjoy it as he could not enjoy HER company.
Burt went on hiking through the mountain trails with a worried look in his face.
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