Chapter 1 – The Encounter

Common Man .. Continued

Stella’s Visit to Germany was a vacation she treated herself after answering long edging university papers. It was one of her listed items on her never ending bucket list.  A much awaited break was finally embraced when she arrived Berlin in October. Berlin seemed like bliss to live in, a luxurious life, and a wanted ambience by anyone. The night seemed long enough since she travelled seven hours with an added three hour pre-departure wait, but as excited as she could be, the roads witnessed her glee. She didn’t know anything about Raphael nor did she expect crossing ways with him. On reaching the hotel, she shared her thoughts on the lavish airports and tweeted the city lights with her best friend, something she’d always do when away on vacations; and then closed her eyes to the night.

The next morning saw her wide smile as she was all ready to explore Berlin. The view from her room was sun kissed and breath-taking. Lush green pathways with sun rays gliding through the leaves of every tree made a mesmerising landscape that Stella imprinted on her heart. Dressed in blue jeans and red t-shirt, with a DSLR around her neck and a list of places in her hand, she stormed down for the lavish German breakfast. The buffet spread had Tee (tey/tea), Kaffee (Kay-ey/coffee), fresh Brotchen, Brot,Boot-er and Marmelade (fresh rolls, bread, butter and jam), Weich Gekochtes (soft boiled eggs) served in an egg cup, Honig (honey), Quark(a type of curd cheese), Wurst (sausage), choice of Aufschnitt and Kase(cold cuts and cheese), Cornflakes, Muesli, Frisches Obst (fresh fruits) and a wide variety of Brot and Safte (Bread and juices). Stella dived into the assortment and enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast in ages. Heavenly feeling knocked her doors in sweet symphony and this just couldn’t get any better for her.

Beginning her expedition, Berlin offered Stella modern architecture such as Mies van der Rohe’s landmark Neue Nationalgalarie. Reminders of the city’s turbulent 20th century history included its Holacaust Memorial and the Berlin Wall’s gratified remains. Also the 18th century’s Brandenburg gate was an iconic symbol of reunification. She boarded the train to Bernauer leading her to the first place on her list, i.e. Berlin Wall. The majestic wall engulfed her thoughts into a scenery that drove vivid imagination within Stella. She envisioned the war bifurcation that had happened in Germany years ago. The patterns on the wall brought out art that may not be truly defined globally but as she walked around the stretch, Raphael couldn’t go unnoticed. She stood and glanced at him pacing to and fro beside the wall taking notes of everything that caught his eye. Stella found him weird at once but shrugged it off in laughter. She didn’t have the slightest idea that Raphael noticed her too. With her new edition DSLR she clicked images in awe of everything she saw. And not to be mischievous, but she kind off clicked Raphael too. Varied angles enabled her lens catch the best of him. As she zoomed in at the pictures, she found him toned and bold. Dark polished brown texture, with jet black soft hair covering his ears, and the blue shirt shaping his muscles only glued Stella on to him. Pretending to click varied scenes, she captured his smile which was radiant and contagious. With mere understanding, she failed to realize he smiled at her. Gazing into the lens, adjusting the light and texture of the frame she looked fixedly at him acquiring his magnetic persona when her eyes opened wide. She thrusted her camera down and turned her back to him. She noticed him smile at her lens. Stella was caught. She tried to walk away with baby steps pretending everything’s alright being equipped in planning her escape, Raphael kept pace with her.

Raphael walked upto Stella and before she could prepare an escape, he interrupted her plot. “I see you love photography; but only if you asked me to pose maybe you’d have better pictures of me!” Rolling her eyes with no words to push out of her mouth, she tried not to smile in embarrassment and thought of apologising; just then she heard a roaring laughter. Raphael enjoyed her sheepish smile with least intention of making her feel that way. Stella just swished around and walked towards a taxi stand. He chased her confessing his intent and promised to make it up to her on a date. “Are you asking me out on a date? Intend on mocking at me again, is it?” “No. Please, just one date and I promise I will make it up to you.” “Okay! Southeast Cottage Hotel, 7 o’clock. I hate late comers.” “Aye Aye Ma’am! By the way, I’m Raphael James and you are?” “Stella Marie” and she walks off with a smile he definitely couldn’t see and surely didn’t miss.

-Adelene Coelho

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