Nice Neighbours

What struck me, however, was that he always took care of the house and garden, while Christine only looked after the children. I hardly ever saw them talking to each other. That didn’t mean that they didn’t have a good relationship, on the contrary, I had the feeling that there was a quiet harmony between them, but really ‘quiet’.

One evening, when the two of us were chatting over a beer again and the occasion was favourable, I brought up the subject of things being so harmonious between him and his wife. Karl sighed and said that Christine was really a good soul, so frugal and patient. He couldn’t wish for a better partner.

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I kept silent and enjoyed this harmony with him.

— — —

My company had given me tickets for the city theatre. They were box seats for a Schiller drama. And two tickets of that.

Two tickets!

Why did they give me two?

They knew I was divorced and lived alone.

I asked Karl if he would be interested in an evening of classical theatre. Although, I could have given myself the answer in advance.

Nah, it’s not his thing.

But he wanted to ask Christine, who is more educated in cultural matters and doesn’t get out of the house and away from the children enough anyway.

All right.

Karl then came and told me that Christine was thinking of coming along if Karl would put the children to bed alone.

So it was agreed that Karl would put the children to bed and Christine would come to the theatre with me.

Silently I asked myself what I was supposed to talk about with Christine all evening.

Well, we were going to the theatre, so there wasn’t much to talk about.

I picked Christine up from the front garden door at 6:30 pm and, being the old cavalier that I am, opened the door to my car for her. It was warm and the weather dry and Christine was wearing a breezy summer dress and shoes with heels. In the car I noticed that she had also taken perfume.

She seemed to really enjoy this evening, and I couldn’t blame her at all.

Always children and household, she was probably very happy to get a chance to go out.

It was then a nice conversation with Christine in the car, she was really educated and obviously interested in many different topics. She knew about politics and could also tell us about Schiller and his plays.

Respect, I thought, you think women get stupid in the household and then Christine shows me how easy it is to misjudge.

I smiled to myself.

We soon found our box in the theatre, we had seats in the second row. I offered Christine the seat with the better view.

The performance was very good, the modern direction was not to my taste — I prefer more traditional performances — but Christine told me quite a bit about the director’s ideas during the interval.

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