Over the years Birmingham’s German Christmas market has always seemed the ideal place to meet those old school friends, and old school acquaintances, who have got in touch through social media and whose curiosity, or sometimes mine, led to the suggestion that we should meet up for a drink. Usually we do only meet on the one occasion. It is nice to chat, nicer to be recognised after so many years, but clear as well that we have both moved on and that we have neither the time, nor enough in common, to sustain a friendship. I was hoping tonight might be different but not expecting too much. .
I was standing in the cold, in front of the bar above which an elk’s head repeated “O Tannenbaum O Tannenbaum” over and over again without ever getting to the verse. I stood looking around for my friend, sipping at my wheat beer when I noticed a woman looking at me, as if trying to place me. We made eye contact and I walked over to where she stood at one of the tables in front of the Council House. I was glad to be able to put my drink down.
I looked at her closely. She was dressed in a waterproof jacket, denim skirt and boots. She was in full make up and her hair was a stylish asymmetrical bob with a big splash of red.
“I’m Karen” she said in a voice that was a little deeper than I had expected. “I am sure we have met before somewhere.”
I wasn’t so sure, and really I have never known cross dressing men, or transsexuals or whatever you ae supposed to call them. Such people had always seemed rather weird to me. I realise that my schooling in the very masculine environment of the single sex King Edgar’s Grammar School and my lack of exposure to the opposite sex until I went to university, had coloured y attitudes. You can call me old-fashioned, a bigot, if you like, but I am a straight guy who well……
Karen smiled again. I did find her attractive and this was a little disconcerting. At the same time her features were beginning to look familiar.
“I’m Paul” I said and sipped again at my beer as the moose sang again
“I know” said Karen with what seemed a conscious effort to take the bass tones out of her voice.
I put my glass down and reached out to touch her face. I ran a finger down her cheek, feeling the smoothness of her skin underneath the expertly applied foundation. I ran it back up, against the grain, and felt the stubble, the sort that even two close shaves could not remove. I stroked her again and as I withdrew my hand she took out a packet of cigarettes, out one in her mouth. She handed me a lighter.
“A lady should never have to light her own cigarette” she said in a very matter of fact way.
“It’s Tim isn’t it?” I said, feeling my heart race and my armpits start to sweat.
She took a deep drag on her cigarette and leant her head back to expel the smoke upwards into the cold Birmingham night.
The smoke, the relentless singing of the elk, the snatches of other people’s conversations, the clink of glasses, all seemed to freeze in the moment. I was 16 again, with Tim who was becoming Karen, and I realised we can never step into the same river twice.
Tim has smelt of sweat, polo mints and testosterone. Sometimes I could detect orange peel on his breath, Karen was Opium, mulled wine and Marlboro Llghts.
“Did you want this meeting as much as I did?”
“I don’t know” she replied. “I just wasn’t sure how..”
“But you’re still you.”
I took a step forward, it my hand round the back of her head and drew her towards me. She did not resist and opened her mouth, just a little, teasingly little, for me to push my tongue inside and feast on her new flavours. No more orange peel, no more mints, but this was a more enticing prospect, cigarettes and wines, a softer, more voluptuous body that pushed back, thrust a tongue deep into my mouth and then went limp in my arms as our tongues intertwined. .
As we kissed I was aware of nothing but the song
“O Tannenbaum O Tannenbaum” And then the next verse that I knew from school
“Wie treu sind deine Blatter”
How faithful……..and how we were rekindling an adolescent passion……. We had kept the faith for 30 years, hadn’t we?
I felt precome damp on my boxers. Pushing my leg p against her thigh to shield my hand, I reached up inside the denim skirt and fumbled inside her panties to touch a cock, that was as stiff as mine, yet bigger. I pulled myself free of her and said, panting,
“Come on Karen, let’s go and find somewhere quieter.”