13. Your True Love

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God made the world,
And he made it round,
I got my baby,
And I'm glad I found,
Her love was meant for me,
And my baby, she'll always be.


It's so cold out here. I feel like crying, but I refuse to.

I ran out of the club, down to the main Reeperbahn strip, where I fell over on the steps. My knee stings where I've grazed it. I find a bench facing the road and sit down, pulling my knees up to my chest, putting my feet on the edge.

I've been here a few minutes when a man sits down next to me. He says something in German, which I ignore, but it doesn't put him off. I assume he's a sailor or something. He has a tall army kit bag with him that is tied with a rope at the top. He moves closer to me. He's got a pock marked face and a couple of days growth of white stubble and he smells like stale, wet tobacco. He puts his arm around the back of the bench, around me, still speaking in German.

In my peripheral vision I see a figure, a black leather jacket. It's George, I think but when he speaks, I realise it's John.

'Gerroff her, yer old perv,' John says, shoving the sailor. He spits something back angrily, but gets up, heaving his bag onto his shoulder and walks away.

John walks around the bench and sits down next to me. I put my head on my knees refusing to look at him, but I can't resist taking a sideways glance. He sits with his knees apart, leaning back on the bench. He bites the nail of one his fingers, then lights a cigarette.

After a moment, he looks at me and I snatch my head round, a little too late to pretend I wasn't watching him.

John stretches and straightens his back. He pulls the front of his shirt away from his body, looking down to inspect it. There's a large oval damp patch on the front which is still drying, a strong smell of malty ale.

'Thanks for the, uh, bath earlier, Hannah, but you could have just told me if you thought I stink,' he says and grins toothily.

I don't reply for a moment, staring straight ahead, hoping he might just take the hint and leave. He doesn't, so eventually I say, 'Why are you following me?'

'I'm not following you,' John says. 'I always come here for a smoke before our set.'

'Oh.' That's all I can think to say.

'George went the other way to look for you, if you were wonderin'.'

We sit in an awkward silence for a moment while John smokes. He reaches inside his jacket and takes out a creased packet of cigarettes.

'Want one?' he asks, offering them to me. I shake my head and John returns them to the pocket of his jacket.

'So,' John says with a cough. 'I'm, uh, sorry for the things I said just now.'

'Are you?'

'Yeah. Otherwise I wouldn't say it, would I?'

'Look John, I don't like you and you don't like me, so lets not pretend it's any different.'

He gives me an odd look and sits up. 'I don't not like you,' he says, then corrects himself, 'I do like you.'

I shake my head at him disbelievingly. 'Apparently I'm whiny and spoiled and...' I stop, not wanting to finish that sentence.

'Ah, I didn't mean it,' John says, a wry smile on his lips. He's acting as if it was all a joke, and I'm being overly sensitive. It didn't feel like a joke at the time. 'I just... It's not anything you've done, it's just that you're always... in the way a bit.'

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