OK am Kai
She called Illusion in panic: "Help, love. I need some posh outings in Hamburg." Illusion, used to going out with style, was cool as a cucumber: "How about Au Quai (read 'OK')?", she answered.
It was a cold war season between Blaine and her; no communication for over 2,5 days, and he was travelling to Hamburg that weekend. For work, he stayed in the city on Friday. They planned to use the opportunity and meet. She needed a bombastic battle opening, female style. Curly hair, green dress, high-heels and her favourite black scarf around her tiny neck - she met him with dignity around Koenigstrasse area.
They walked alongside each other, but he was not holding her hand this time. She let him lead and talk about his job outlooks.
In Au Quai, the waiter brought them to their table on the outside terrace. Rick loved the restaurant, commenting on its poshness. 'That was the whole idea', she thought, 'let's do something top-end for a change'.
"I mean it seriously. I want more of it. Like this. Dates - posh, you - beautiful. Do we want to give it another try?", Blaine seldom asked questions like this. She nodded and the cold war was over. They sat there for a while after dinner, overlooking cruise ships and the glassy parallelogrammy Dockland, making plans to go on a "Titanic" tour (#without the drama) together one day, maybe to Helgoland, maybe further. It started to rain. For now, he got them a taxi. On the back seat, he reached out and grabbed her hand. Taxi got them to Savoy for a movie night. After the performance, Rick brought her home in a gentlemanly manner. It felt fabulous. Cold war was over, it was another new chance. It kept raining.
It was the hottest May ever in the history of Hamburg. For weeks they had around thirty degrees and tropical conditions. People on holiday in Mallorca and usual touristic destinations were missing out - Hansecity was rocking the temperatures.
Driving past Speicherstadt, Tiger said: "I agree, it is not urgent, but I would like to travel with you again soon." The idea of going somewhere new got her all excited about new impressions, she was craving adventures again. The power of anticipation.
Car roof open, Tiger looked at her through his sunglasses and continued: "I spoke to Beatrice yesterday, the rings are ready and will be shipped next week." Saying this, he instantly brought her into the Paresian boutique, and the excitement about the matching rings was hopefully not too obvious and not too much on her face. In fact, a lot of doubts and thoughts went through her head simultaneously, a lot of questions related and not so related to the subject were popping up in her mind. By the way, did you know that an average human generates up to 60,000 thoughts per day?
Tiger interrupted her thoughts: "And I know we said, Italy was so very special, but when I am falling asleep at night, the thought of Hyde park and us rowing the boat is the brightest on my mind", he argued in favour of London. Good distracting tactic, nice try.
"I know you said Koenigstrasse, still can we go to Grosse Elbstrasse instead?" - Tiger parked at the Fischmarkt car park and led her through the district towards Dockland. The area was full of "top 10 instagrammable" opportunities. She finally got a shot of the Grosse Elbstrasse 45 that evening, which she was passively hunting for since last year. The frame in the entrance hall, holding the glass and sectioning it into squares, looked like an English kiss "x". She pointed the fact out to Tiger, whilst he was busy with a careful pull on the locked glass door leading to the Elb promenade.
The Fishmarket area had a lot of character - she wanted to stop at every corner: have a beer and a gaze at the Rattsherrn Eck; sit at L'Osteria stairs leading to the outlook of the Elb; stand still on the promenade path, looking at the opposite shore with its cranes&container patterns. Tiger spoke about newly built Gin hotels and Burda, and other clients, pointing out buildings and telling stories from his past as they slowly walked along the cobbled street in the golden sunset light.
Hummer Petersen and Co.
They passed along Hummer Petersen, which was famous for Tiger's favourite (and, apparently, the best) tuna steak ever. It seamed Tiger came from the block, for he was describing every worthy restaurant in the neighbourhood.
Mash was the Danish steak house. Danes invented great catering places. She liked Joe and the Juice. "I would like to sit down for a drink at Seepferdchen," Tiger said. She was excited, as she remembered the restaurant's opening back in 2007.
To their disappointment, Seepferdchen was no longer there. They reverted back and stopped for dinner and drink at Fischbeisl, Tiger had a lovely served avocado salad and she "pinterest"ed the food presentation into her mental drawer for future cooking events. All genious is so simple!
"I'd like a spa holiday, and you? Which country would you like to visit next?", Tiger forked his salad and she thought he was trying to reproduce Italian holiday. "Spa is great, Germany is underestimated". She drank her black current soda. "Why is it so that we stop touristing around areas we live in?", she criticized her own behaviour. She took such a beautiful location for granted.
"Look at the chefs in the kitchen, it is hard work", Tiger said paying the bill. She replied: "I would like to have a cooking night with you, that takes up to 3 hours, with wine and all the banter." He hugged her and joyfully said: "Let's pin it onto our bucket list, I'd like it too."
He mentioned Teherani for the third time since they were dating. There must be something about this designer, she thought. One fact was, Teherani had designed a lot of glass buildings in Hamburg. Tiger showed her Lofthaus am Elbberg: the quirky glass building reminded her a little bit of the Flat Iron. Lofthaus was hit by the road, splitting into two directions at the buildings base - this was Teherani's first designed house in Hamburg and now he owned it, it was his office.
When she thought about it more, Teherani was everywhere in her life: Berliner Tor Bogen was a daily visual, the dancing towers had her favourite roof-top bar, Europa Passage was a summer treat and a winter shelter, and last but not least known to her - Dockland was astonishing. The architectural ideas were so unusual, non-standard and glassy; each single one was an eye-catcher.
For the first time, she climbed the stairs with Tiger to the top of Dockland to have a fantastic view of the Koehlbrandbruecke. "I do not want it to be decomissioned, it is Hamburg's landmark." She looked away, trying not to think about it, passing the hobby photographers with their telephoto lenses, photographing her favourite blue steel sight.
On the other side, she saw "Au Quai" in the distance and remembered the cold war 2017. Tiger distracted her by showing more landmarks, like buildings and bridges. "It is my passion, the biggest deals are made by the greatest", Tiger The Great stated. She had no doubt he would be successful.
It was a school night, so they had to head back to the car. Thoughts of exploring the Fischmarket and surrounding areas again, on her own, with her DSLR in hand, were constantly crossing her mind. On the way back, she saw StrandPauli and pinned that venue for a night out with Tiger or her student friends.
"Emotional deficit. Emotional hunger!", she thought all the way back home. The challenge of finding happiness in here and now was still on her to-do.
All's gonna be Au Quai (OK) in the end.
Tiger told me a story on the rooftop of docklands, which I wanted to share with you.
One day, a stranger comes to an old man, who lives in the mountains, and says: "My daughter is pregnant. You are the father of her child! Take responsibility and the child."
"Well, so be it," the old man replies, takes the child and brings him up.
Some years later, the stranger returns to apologize: "I am sorry, old man, I was mistaken, you are not the father of the child. Give me the child back!"
"Well, so be it," the old man replies and gives the child back to the stranger.