by Hooked (Translated by Peter G.)
Aargh, that’s terribly bright. And that noise in my head. A student’s life can be so strenuous. I must have been slumming somewhere last night, and I guess alcohol played its part too. Where is my watch. Only 1 p.m., time enough to turn around in bed once more. Oh shit, can’t do that. It’s Saturday. Premier League football at three-thirty. Okay, so that has priority. I’ll sleep in tomorrow instead. After all, it’s only Sunday. Nothing much to do then. May as well sleep it off tomorrow.
Why am I late again? The game isn’t going to wait for me. But I simply had to have some food to fight that hangover. At least my stomach is feeling a little better. Hope it stays that way. Ah, there comes the tram. Guys, don’t rush so. Let the others get out first, then we can get on. Life is too short to be run over by a tram. On at last. Where can I find a seat? Ah, there is a free seat. Wow, that’s a pretty lady sitting right across from my seat. Looks as though she is headed for the stadium too. Whatever, enough time for me to take a short nap and catch up on my sleep. I’ll wake up in time, I can always take a quick peek as we go along.
Hey, Dieter, keep your eyes open. What is the young lady up to? She’s trying to read the print on the reverse side of her ticket. She brings the ticket close to her eyes, scrunches them up, holds it further away again, still doesn’t seem to be quite perfect. Don’t tell me she’s...
Come on, stay with it, this could be the opportunity of your life. What should I do now? Quick now, time for an idea. There it is!
“Standing place or a seat?”.
„Are you talking to me?“
„Yes. Do you have a standing place or a seat?“
„I don’t know. I was given the ticket as a gift.“
„It will mention a block somewhere on the ticket. And behind that a letter or a number.“
„I’ll have to have a look. Ah, there it is: 34A.“
„That is on the opposite stand. Of course, I have a standing place. There is also a picture on the reverse side of the ticket, that will give you a more detailed idea of where your seat is.“
„No, not necessary. If you say it’s on the opposite stand, I’m sure that will be right.“
Pity, why doesn’t she take a look. Or is she afraid of exposing herself?
„Let me show you. Turn the ticket around. There you are, that’s where it is.“
She holds the ticket further away from her eyes again. What a picture!
„Okay, and how do I have to walk to get there? My brother gave me the ticket. Actually he wanted to come along, but something cropped up, and he couldn’t find a substitute.“
No substitute. That means she is either on her own or her boyfriend has no interest in football.
„Look, the entrance is over there. I can also take you to your seat. And if you like, you could also come to the standing area in the corner with me. But don’t be surprised, I am meeting up with some of my friends there; a couple of girls will also be there. And the ushers certainly don’t worry about whether there is one person more or less in the area.“
„Where does one have a better view?“
„Hmm, not a lot of difference, but the atmosphere is much better in our corner.“
„Tell me, are you always this direct?“
„Ehmm. Yes, sometimes.“
She’s caught me. And now? What do I say next?
„You know, why shouldn’t I join you. It really doesn’t matter from where I watch.“
„Great, then let’s go there together.“
It’s going to be tight again getting there on time. We still spent some time talking about football. She has some idea of what’s going on. Most girls aren’t too interested in the subject.
„Hey Dieter, hello there. Who have you brought along? Your new girlfriend?“ Oh Sven, do shut up.
„Yes, Dieter is our gigolo, a different girl each week. But you certainly are pretty.“ Björn, you arsehole.
„Don’t talk nonsense, this is..“ Oops, we did fine talking about football, but I haven’t managed to find out her name yet.
„I’m Ellen. And who are you?“
„Theo is a cool name.“
„Theo is enough .“
„His real name is Theodoros.“
„That’s Greek, isn’t it?“
„Oh by the way, before I forget, I’m Dieter.“ Stroke of luck, found an opportunity to slip in my name without being too obvious.
„Okay, good to know that.“
Was that really necessary, the equaliser in the last minute of play. We could have been leaders at the top of the league.
„And what’s on the schedule now?“
Oh, right, Ellen is also still here. Completely forgot about her. The game was so exciting.
„Sorry, I wasn’t listening. What did you say? I’m still mad about that dumb equaliser. Couldn’t that idiot Niemeyer have simply knocked the ball away?“
„What are we going to do now?“
„Guys, I hope you can cope without me. I’m still weak from yesterday, and I certainly can’t leave this young lady standing here on her own.“
„Sure, mate. But we want a report from you afterward.“
„Oh shut up. Bye all.“ Let’s get out of here. They’re a nice enough bunch of guys, but just right now I don’t need them.
„I don’t have any other plans for the rest of the day.“
„Good, then it’s my turn now. I came along to meet your friends. They seem to be quite nice people.“
„Sure, but please don’t say you want to join the girls’ sewing circle.“
„No, right now I’m starving.“
„I know quite a good Greek restaurant in town we can go to. My treat.“
I’m pretty bankrupt, but when was the last time I went out with a pretty girl. Rather not think about it. Anyway, the Greek restaurant should be just about manageable on my budget.
„Thanks. What’s the place called, perhaps I know it already?“
„Right, hurry up, let’s go in. I’m just about starving.“
„Oh, you don’t look all that skinny. It can’t be too desperate.“
Am I too fat? I don’t really think so.
„There’s a free table at the back.“
„Yes, that’s fine, we’ll take that.“
Well, now I want to see what happens. I’m not going to read the menu aloud for her. I want to enjoy this.
„Here you are, here’s the menu. Would you like to start off with something to drink?“
„Shall we order some wine?“
„Fine, I’d like a dark wheat beer.“
„I’ll have an apple juice spritzer.“
She’s really finding it hard to read. I like the word “struggling“, that’s exactly what she’s doing.
„Aren’t you going to order anything?“
„You’re not looking at the menu at all.“ No, Ellen, I can’t. I’m far too busy watching you struggle along with the menu.
„I’m through already. What are you having?“
„Well, what are you having, I’ll simply have the same.“
„Why? You might not like it.“
„Don’t worry about that. I’ll eat just about anything.“
„Pardon me for being so direct, but are you having any problems reading the menu?“
„That’s okay. The answer is yes, as though I were an old woman already.“
„That doesn’t sound like a long-term solution to me.“
„It’s very new that it is this bad. I’ve had some problems for a while.“
„And headaches too, I suppose?“
„Sometimes, particularly when I have been doing a lot of reading and close work. But they have been more frequent recently.“
„You should go and see an ophthalmologist. I’m not allowed to - yet.“
„What do you mean, you’re not allowed to – yet?.“
„I’m studying medicine, and one day, if it all works out, I would like to take over my father’s practice, he’s an opthalmologist.“
„Do you think I need glasses?“ Yes, I do, and I certainly hope so.
„The symptoms seem to indicate it. Of course, it could be something else too. You should have it checked out.“
„I hope it’s something else. I don’t want to wear glasses.“
„Why not. Here, I’ll let you into a secret. You see, I have glasses too.“
There, it’s out, seemed the right approach. I do have glasses, but they are only –0.5 diopters, one hardly needs to wear them. At least that’s my opinion.
„Cute.“ Nobody has ever described me as cute.
„Then you should definitely go and see an eye doctor. If you think I look cute with glasses, perhaps you will too.“ I’m quite proud of having come up with a good reply that will encourage her to go to an opthalmologist.
„I’ve never been to see an ophthalmologist. Tell me, where is your father’s practice, perhaps it’s not too far away from where I live.“
„Bush Lane 13.“
„That’s convenient, I can practically walk there.“
„Okay, I’ve paid the bill, and some fresh air is really good now. And now?“
„Thanks very much for the invitation. But I’m tired now. Do you mind?“
„No, that’s fine. Shall I walk you home?“
„No, not necessary. Will I see you again?“
„Well, I would certainly like to. Here’s my number.“
„And here’s mine.“
„Ok, see you sometime. And do give my father a call in his practice.“
„I’ll see, Sweetie“.
There she walks. How I would love to be my father. Well, at least sometimes, and certainly with this patient. Or at least be a fly on the wall. Perhaps it would help if I progressed my studies a little more quickly.
And I am still wearing my glasses. Frightening.
Who’s that calling on the phone? Somehow it doesn’t suit me right now.
„Hello, this is Ellen.“ Ellen. I had not had the courage to phone her. Why not, actually?
„Hello, how are you?“
„Pretty good, but...“
„I went to see your father.“
„And?“ Come on, tell me, now you’ve really got my attention.
„Ehm, well... what’s the point, let me say it right out. Glasses.“ Yesss, now that’s great news!
„There, you see, just as I thought.“ I really would like to enquire about the strength, but that would be too obvious. „And now you’re headed for the optometrist?“
„Do you really think so?“
„Come on, you’ve taken the first step, now you should follow through.“
„I guess you’re probably right.“
„Is that all my father said?“
„No, of course not. He said I have been far-sighted all my life, but up to now my eyes have been able to accom.. .“
„Accommodate for it, is the word.“ So it does help if one is in the same line of business.
„If you say so. Anyway, one eventually gets to the point where the eyes can no longer cope, and that is when the typical symptoms manifest themselves. By the way, your father is a nice man.“
„Not always.“ ...but occasionally, and certainly right now.
„So now I am supposed to go to an optometrist and have some glasses made. And he says the glasses are not just for reading, that I ought to use them for distance vision too. But my vision for distance is still pretty good.“
„So you don’t trust my father’s judgement.“
„I just don’t think it is necessary to wear glasses all the time.“
„I’ll just quote our emperor of football, Franz Beckenbauer. Let’s wait and see.“ Indeed, let’s see. Depends on the strength, of course. „But be sure to go and see an optometrist.“
„I suppose I should. By the way, I didn’t tell your father that we know each other.“
I also don’t know whether we know each other, but I certainly hope we will still get to know each other better.
„You do that. I am not trying to get rid of you, but I have some hot food on the table right now. I’m sure you would like it too. I’ll give you a call. By tomorrow at the latest.“
Something tells me I won’t be sleeping well tonight.
„Hello, Ellen, it’s Dieter here.“
„I just wanted to say hello, I have some time on hand now. So what’s new?“
„I went to see an optometrist today. My headache was really bad last night, and I had a real problem reading my textbook, so I went there this afternoon, and selected a frame for my glasses.“
„And when can you pick them up?“
„Saturday morning. He says that’s normal for him, just three days.“
How can I arrange to go along with her on Saturday, I really want to do that. Time for an idea. Perhaps I should do what Wickie does, and just rub my nose. Oh well, not really an idea, but perhaps the direct method will work.
„Do you mind if I come along? I think my glasses may need some adjusting, and the optometrist can sort that out while we’re there.“
„Sure, I don’t mind. Anyway, you are the only one to know about my glasses. See you Saturday.“
Saturday is such a long time away. Guess I’ll spend the next few days studying hard, that’ll keep my mind off her.
„Hello to you too.“
„Well, off into battle then.“
My main battle will be to keep my eyes off certain parts of her anatomy.
„I was here on Wednesday to have a prescription filled, and I was told my glasses would be ready for collection today. I’d like to pick them up now.“
„Sure, here they are. Can I help you put them on?“
Now. Hope I don’t have a heart attack.
„Yes, please, sure.“
„Please hold still.“
„Hey, that’s a strange feeling.“
I’m also experiencing a strange feeling, but I’d better keep that to myself. „Hello Sweetie.“ That’s my revenge.
„Yes, really. That’s what you said too.“ And to see her standing there, she really is cute. And the glasses really look superb on her.
„Mister Kaufmann, is something wrong?“
„What could be wrong?“
„Everything looks a little blurred.“
„That will pass, I told you that last time you were here. At a strength of +4 diopters that is quite usual.“
Plus four diopters, my goodness, that’s quite something. And that is likely to still increase with time.
„You just have to get over the transitional phase. And if you wear the glasses all the time, your eyes will get used to them that much more quickly.“
„I’ll give it a try.“
No major protestations. That’s a good sign.
„My companion here has also brought his glasses along. He says they needs some straightening out. Hello, Dieter, stop dreaming. Show the gentleman your best piece.“
My glasses are not my precious best piece, that’s located elsewhere. Grumble.
„Fine, here they are.“
„Basically they look fine. Are you having a problem seeing with them? Should we do an eye test?“
„Oh yes, Dieter, I did that too, now it’s your turn.“
Ouch. Now what?
„My father can do that too.“ Minor protestations.
„Nothing, do it here and now. You convinced me, so now you can have your turn.“
Can. Piffle. That means must. Oh boy, what have you let yourself in for. I don’t want to have my eyes tested, all I want to do is observe Ellen and how she gets on with her glasses.
„Your glasses are definitely too weak. You ought to have some new glasses made up.“
„How strong will they be?“
„-1.5 diopters. That is nothing earth-shattering, but it’s enough that you should be wearing glasses with the correct strength.“
„Your girlfriend here has +4 diopters, that’s a whole lot more.“
„She isn’t my girlfriend.“ Oops, shouldn’t have said that. Though it would be nice if she were.
„I suppose that’s also true. Anyway, then let’s go ahead and make you some new glasses.“ After all, I am in the same line of business and should know better. The guy is right. Driving a car with – 1.5 diopters and without wearing glasses, that is quite a security risk.
„Dieter, have a look here, how about this frame?“
„And how is that one over there?“
„Dieter, please put on your glasses before we leave this place. Why are you so shy?“
„I don’t know but you’re a little strange about wearing your glasses.“
„That may be, but I also don’t really know why. I don’t know for sure. That’s just the way it is.
„But I’m not. And heaven knows my glasses are thicker than yours. By the way, I happen to think that my eyes are accentuated by the glasses, and I like that. My vision is still not perfect, but they say that will go away. So, Sweetie, put on your glasses, you simply look better with them on, and as a budding ophthalmologist it is also good for your image. You know, I’ve just decided that I could find a young, up-and-coming ophthalmologist very attractive indeed. So?“
I’ve died and gone to heaven. What did I do to deserve this?