1. The first kiss

Friday evening October 11, 1985, Reinkenstraat, The Hague.

Outside it is dark, windy, wet and cold.

Inside, Gier Sühl smiles and lifts his beer to toast with Bart to the project that has been completed, they are both proud, very happy and excited.
Tomorrow morning, Gier flies back to Stavanger, Norway and Bart goes on holiday to La Rochelle on Saturday.

The door of “café het Stoofje” opens and Helena
(just back from a car journey of over two and a half hours from Heerlen)
walks in, it’s weekend, the week with her client – the ABP,
where she works as a communications consultant – it’s over.

She looks around and sees Bart – an acquaintance from the neighbourhood – standing and talking to an unknown man, she joins the two and drinks a glass, it is very nice, here at the bar.

Together they talk about living in hotels,
to start your meal every day with a shrimp cocktail,
followed by a steak with fries and apple sauce, finished with a cheesecake and a cup of coffee does not appeal to anyone.
You shouldn’t think about having to eat something like that week after week.
With Helena the shivers run down her back, she would give a lot for a “normal” sauerkraut dish, but yes, they don’t serve that at the Grand Hotel Heerlen.

Around ten o’clock Gier returns to his hotel, as the flight leaves early from Schiphol.
When saying goodbye he whispers to Bart “I don’t think you will go on holiday tomorrow”. Ignoring Gier’s remark, Bart turns around to further expand the weekend mood with Helena, they talk a lot about music. It has now become 2 o’clock in the morning and het Stoofje is closing.

Outside in the street, Bart and Helena (who is on the hood of her Citroen CX) discuss what they are going to do now.
Helena lives on the Groot Hertoginnelaan, 500 meters from het Stoofje a long distance away, but driving is no longer an option.
They decide to walk to Bart’s apartment, the Laan van Meerdervoort is only 200 meters away and Helena has never been to his house, she would like to see where he lives.

They play music records all night, there is a tower of 45 rpm singles, from Abba to hardrock by Deep Purple, everything is very nice, pleasant, and they are very busy with the muzic – record after record – so occupied that they can see the dawn come through the window at the street side.

Maybe a good time to go to sleep now? It is now 9 o’clock in the morning!

In the afternoon half past three Bart and Helena wake up at the same time, without thinking they shout at each other: “Shopping !!!!”

Without discussing on whó, whát whére, why and hów they buy sauerkraut, potatoes, smoked sausage and bacon at the grocery store around the corner, Bart still has a can of pineapple in the fridge.

Back in the narrow corridor on the Laan van Meerdervoort, the two stop and look at each other in astonishment, they are both silent, and slowly each of them is aware that the other person is actually really very very nice.

Very slowly their heads move towards each other and gently,
very very gently, two pairs of lips gently touch each other.

– o – o – o – o –

Today Bart does not go on holiday to La Rochelle and Helena now lives with him on the Laan van Meerdervoort.

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