((A dramatic- romance) (a story that transcends all generations, which all generations can identify with))
“You have to ask yourself this question, some time in your life,” she told her husband in a letter, in rhyme: “For one crowded season of madness in one wonderful life-is it worth growing old without your loving wife?”‘
Part One, Chapter One
“Fine,” Gordon Wes said to his wife, Georgette.
“I hear you have been seeing a few women at the American Hotel, NCO Club again,” she said. “And don’t deny it, more than one person told me they saw you with your hands around a young military nurse.”
“So what about it?” he asked.
“What about it, what you think, I should think about it?” she answered.
“And I heard you’ve been seeing that Command Sergeant Major, that fat, ugly drunken slob.”
“You didn’t see it, nobody saw us that you know of.”
“Where have you been, at the club again?”
“Yes,” he said. “So you guessed right, so you know.”
“Stay away from me you reek of booze,” she remarked. “And yes, I was sitting and talking to a friend.”
“Did you kiss him?” he asked.
“Did he kiss you?” he asked.
“No, he was that young corporal, Chick Evens, the one I told you about, that I met two months ago at the military commissary and he borrowed me his ration card, and I bought you some booze and cigarettes with it, and some other food items.”
“You bitch!” he called her.
“No need to call me names.” She commented.
“Bitch, bitch…you’re a super bitch!”
“Okay,” she remarked. “Let’s just call it quits, I mean really quits, it’s over between us. I’ve been a good and faithful wife, always taking care of you, but somehow since you’ve come to Germany, left our home and friends in Columbus, Ohio, you’ve become a real jerk; if men have menopause, I think you’re into it.”
“No,” he said, “I’m jut tired to be a husband, you’re selfish and conceited and always complaining. Evidently I made you happy up to now.”
“Well, that may have been true, but you no longer make me happy, and it’s been getting worse these last two months.”
“Whose fault is that, your seeing that CSM, and Corporal.”
“Didn’t I ask you for more of your time, but you just don’t give it to me. You can afford to give it to everybody else, the college classes you teach, the nurses you meet and drink with, and the sergeants at the NCO club.”
“To be honest, I’m sick of you, I’m even to the point, and I dislike you.”
“Oh leave that young corporal out of it. You coming home smelling of perfume and having lipstick stains on your ear and neck is too much.”
“I know you’ve kissed that drunken slop of a-whatever kind of sergeant he is.”
“No, I have not, not yet, but had I known what I know now, I might have. All I do at night is waiting, and wait and wait for you. As you drink and visit your bar friends for hours, and stay for hours, tonight Corporal Evens brought me home from the commissary, to insure I did not get hurt.”
“Oh, Evens, is it?”
“Yes and no, it is Evens who is my friend, and Command Sergeant Major, Mulligan whom I’m attracted to.”
“And what’s his first name?”
“Not sure if I can,” she said, and laughed.
“All right,” he commented.
“All right nothing,” she said, adding, “You don’t understand, it is all over as of tonight-period!”
“So be it!”
“You bet it is!”
“Don’t be so theatrical, dear!”
“No, I am not over-the-top, as you fellows say, I am to the point. And I’m not saying it again.”
“So what’s next, what are you going to do?”
“That’s a good question, I’m not sure yet, it’s all happening so suddenly I suppose, perhaps if Alfonzo asks me to marry him, I will.”
“I doubt that!” said Gordon heatedly.
“That’ll be up to me, not you.” She stated, firmly.
“Marry you, I doubt he’d even come close to asking, he just wants to take you to bed, throw you in the sack and then move on.”
“How wrong you are, he’s already asked me!”
“You women have things all set up, long before you break the news.”
Gordon Wes, had run empty, he didn’t have another word to say, actually somewhat lost for words, it was all too much for him to digest-everything he heard, she said, overheated him, his voice now coming from some empty abyss deep down, “To mar-ry hi…m, haw ww!”
“Why not?” She responded, “He loves me, wants to spend time with me, he makes enough money to support me also.”
“Well, for now you’re married to me!”
“You call this a marriage? The love you offer is the greatest sin and burden a man can place upon a wife. The love you have given me recently is a quick explosion into wonderland-a place you have never taken me, nor could and a humorous smile as you walk away conceited with thinking you did a charitable thing.” Then she thought about what she said, Gordon silent, “I shouldn’t have said that, I guess I really do not know what is and is not good love making, you could be great for all I know, I’m just angry, and mad because you call Alfonzo a zero, a drunk and he maybe all those things, but he is loving and kind, something you are not. You should teach ethics, it would do you better.”
“No.” that was all he could say.
“Go be with all your women, I don’t care anymore. Let them think you are wonderful.”
They both looked sad, angry faces, her pretty still, and him, handsome still, both swollen flesh.
“I can see you don’t love me anymore,” commented Georgette.
“It’s over used word for too many things, too many emotions, pretenses, I’m starting to hate, to love.”
“Hell with it,” he said, then punched her in the ribs, and she fell to the floor, she was crying, not out of anger, but pain, real pain, her face, facedown on the floor.
“By god, why did you think you had to do that?”
“It’s been settling deep inside me for a long time, I just had to, needed to you might say.”
Gordon’s wife, Georgette, now, sat silent at the kitchen table, her hands hanging down along her sides; she had been drained, weakened to the point of exhaustion, Gordon Wes, looked at the clock, felt his heart, both ticking away, everything was too quiet, his wife just staring at the wall, not looking at him, or talking to him, then after a long while, her husband said without looking at her, pacing in circles in the living room, “I’m sorry it happened. But perhaps you’re right, it’s really over.”
“It hasn’t always been like this, but for some odd reason, it has ever since we came to Augsburg, Germany; ever since you started teaching these three locations and you and I being separated as often as we have been.”
“Yes, I suppose it has been like that.” Gordon concurred. “I’m really sorry I hit you!”
“Oh, that’s no big thing,” Georgette replied in a very tired and worn-out voice, adding, “I just want to leave as soon as I can, and I’ll need the two big suitcases if you don’t mind, and half of what is in the bank?”
“Listen, stay the night, leave tomorrow sometime.”
“No, I got to do it now, right now, I have a place to go, don’t worry about me, you never do anyhow, anymore!”
“Hell with it, do whatever you want!”
“Gosh Almighty, I wish it had never come to this, I wish you had never hit me, but you did. It’s all unfixable now. And I wish I hadn’t said all I said, but I did, and that also is unfixable.”
“No, nothing is over like that, it started long ago, we are just now reaping the effects.”
“Oh hell with it all, and the hell with you,” said Gordon vehemently. And his wife started to cry.
“Well, let’s just say our goodbyes, no sense in being sour about it all, oh, I know you don’t want it to be over, and I don’t want it to be over, but it is over, no matter what we want or say, it is over, you have your rummy girlfriends, and I have my rummy Command Sergeant Major. Tomorrow, or next week or in a year we’ll say to ourselves: I don’t remember what the reasons were for our separated, but we’ll both know we hurt each other beyond repair. You do understand that don’t you?” She said all that with a tearful voice.
“Yes I suppose I do underhand…and now what?”
“Someday you really will understand.”
“I suppose, now what?”
“I can sleep on the couch tonight,” she said.
“No need to you can have the bed.”
“No, I don’t want the bed, it’s yours!”
“I need to go out and have a drink, I’ll be back in a little while,” he said. And he started to leave.
“Goodbye,” she said in a soft tearful voice…he stopped, heard it, never turned about, and then walked out the door to go to the car, and onto the bar. And he thought about her figure and her face as he walked down to his car, and he thought about her dark eyes and her long black hair and how her breasts were so firm and round for her age, and how he liked making love to her, but perhaps she didn’t enjoy it as much as him, so it would seem after this evening. And as he opened the car door, she was looking out the apartment window at him from the third floor, and her elbows were on the window sill, her chin in her hand, and he pulled out of his parking space, and she started crying again.
Part Two, Chapter Two
The American Hotel
He took his car and drove down the street. It was twilight, and the moon was out, and the buildings were dark against it, he looked out his window at the German made, cobblestone, narrow streets, and lights coming from the buildings, apartments, and the military base nearby, and down a few unpaved alleys, with old brick houses, on each side of the street, an old lady sweeping the dirt away from her doorway, a stone church, and a building with a tower steeple, a sharp cross on the top of it, it was all let up all the roofs and their shadows against the moon’s light. Even a pizzeria (or parlor), one that served beer and pizzas, that was also open he noticed, he had met Chris Steward in there the manager, a twenty-four year old German Jew, he had an eye for her. The main highway between the apartment building the one he lived in and the American Hotel across was busy, he waited at the stop sign, between here and there, the crossed the highway, there were several guesthouses, and one other good restaurant he ate at and drank (one of which also made pizzas) nearby. As he drove down the street, on one side of the street was the Military Base-Reese, it was an old World War Two base for artillery and many buildings to the compound; on the other side of the street were old buildings, dark brick, that had several offices in, one that sold cloths, and had a doctor and dentist in them, on the second level-the second floor, was the medical area. Behind that was the American Hotel, on the corner, behind the hotel the street lead into a more residential area, both small and large framed houses, cozy like, in-between more guesthouses and smaller buildings. There was a German whitewashed jail building you could see it by the reflection of the moonlight, Gordon often drove by it, could barley see the top of the three story building now.
Augsburg was a quaint, medium size city-in 1969, charming with lightly bright smiling and festive people. At the American Hotel they even had a gambling room, always crowed with GI’s playing the slots. Those handles clicking brittle against the metal partitions set inside the tomb like boxes, with all those silver looking coins, jumping and falling until they settled, with all the wheels abruptly stopping the inside rotating wheels.
Tonight was the night to get drunk, and play those one arm bandits he thought, get your mind separated from reality.
“What youall goin’ to have?” said the southern bartender, Sergeant Manes, from Ozark, Alabama.
“I don’t know,” said Gordon Wes, deliberating. “Something strong thought.”
“Youall dont look very well this evenin’ Professor Wes, whatsa matter with youall? if-en you dont mind me askin’?”
“No, I dont mind.” Said the professor.
“Eyes goin’ to fix youall up with somthin’ fine,” said the big burley black bartender, with his rustic hoarse voice. “You ever try southern moonshine, sir?”
“Go ahead; I know you got some, your own private stock I hear.” And the sergeant laughs, “You bet your life I do!” he comments.
“You drink this Professor and you are goin’ to feel good all over. Matter-of-fact, youall’s goin’ to want to fight everyone in the damn hotel here,” said Sergeant Manes. And he started to pour Professor Gordon Wes, his special moonshine, from a bottle hidden under the counter.
Sitting on a stood at the bar, Gordon Wes drank down four shots of that so called white lightening, or moonshine, it didn’t seem to affect him much, he didn’t feel any better or worse for that matter, and the big burley bartender looked surprised at the professor waiting for it to hit him.
“Mamma Mia,” Sergeant Manes said as if in surprise he didn’t fall off the stool-to Wes, “You have one iron stomach, if-en I ever did see one!”
“Give me something else, something that just don’t burn all the way from your lips to your feet, and don’t do a single thing to boot!”
“Youall gots to be careful, cuz once that moonshine hits home, you is a goner,” said the bartender.
“Just give me a beer with a shot of whiskey on the side.”
He drank the whiskey down, and the beer as a chaser, and it warmed his insides up, and thought: Georgette was right; he was no more than a well off bum, drunk. It didn’t do all that much for him. Drinking was not the overall cure, it only pushed aside issues, troubles, problems, and he knew tonight if he kept drinking he’d drink himself unconscious, and wake up, and Georgette would be gone, but he continued to drink nonetheless.
“Oh yes,” he murmured at the bar. “I’m Professor Gordon Wes, and I teach psychology here in Augsburg, and Munich, along with Darmstadt and Frankfurt, for the ‘University of Maryland, Extension Program, courses for the Military…!” then he noticed Manes was looking at him strange, and then he figure it out, he was acting strange, his head was getting dizzy and his eyelids wanted to go to sleep, and he nearly had to pull them up with his fingers, and Manes noticed this. But he was a good paying customer and they like him at the American Hotel Bar, and so Manes smiled, as if he knew the moonshine was starting to take effect, and said not a word.
A shorter man than he, built well, with red hair came in with two other soldiers. He sat down at the bar, on a barstool, with both his friends, as if waiting and looking for an empty table to sit at. The red headed soldier’s friend were called Bruce, he was taller than all three, the other one was called Sergeant, and he was the shorter one, more silent, both of them from the south, the red head from the Midwest.
“I’m Professor Wes. Have we ever met before, perhaps in Jackson, New York, or Manhattan?” he said to the red head.
“I’m just a soldier sir,” said the red head, “a corporal in the Army, stationed over there at Reese Compound. I doubt we ever met, I’ve mean I’ve been in New Jersey, but not in New York.”
“I’m glad,” said the professor. “Do you want some moonshine? I’ll buy you one!”
“No, I’m a beer drinker,” said the corporal. “You look kind of near to the ground tonight professor, if you know what I mean, what’s the matter?”
“I’m really happy to meet you,” said the professor, “needed someone to talk to, some wife problems but I’ll get over it.”
“I guess so,” said the corporal. “Meet my friends, Bruce and Sergeant…” and the sergeant said quickly, “No first or last names please-not here anyway…” and thus, the corporal smiled and simple repeated himself, “and here is Sergeant, sergeant,” with a chuckle.
“Yes, I understand” said the professor, “lot’s of commies around here I hear.”
“Yes,” said the corporal, “the communists have infiltrated the hotel here, and so has the media. Everyone trying to get all the worthless information they can out of us GI’s.”
“Yes,” said the professor, contentedly. “That is were we are at. This is the most penetrated bar and hotel in this part of West Germany, with the most communists and media seeking hounds I’ve ever been around.” Then the professor asked “What you boys going to do now?”
“Not much, just drink, maybe gamble a little, and get a table to sit at, and drink some more, why?”
“Well, I’m about half crocked now; let me buy you boys a drink.” And he did, he ordered three beers for the three soldiers.
“That’s grand,” said Bruce, thanking him, the corporal shaking his hand, for a thank you.
“That’s splendid,” said the Sergeant thanking him also. And they all hit each other’s glasses as in a toast, “To better days, and long life,” said the professor.
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