Forty-year-old Sepp looked at his watch, took a last sip of his coffee, and grabbed his cap. As he was leaving the bakery all he could think about was how excited he was for his last shift before his two-week holiday was to begin. One more shift and then tomorrow he would commence with two weeks of revelry and drunken debauchery at Oktoberfest. He and some of his old school friends reserved a table for the duration, as they did every year, and Sepp went often. Though it had become commercialized in many ways, Sepp still enjoyed the Oktoberfest celebrations. He’d been hung over or had dragged ass too often in his younger days at work during the festival, so he’d just as soon forget trying to balance work and fun. To avoid any issues he now took the two weeks off for the party.
He met his crew at the job site. They were all finishing their last cigarettes before beginning the day. It was overcast and wet, with periods of rain and darker gray. The men were going to lay some new fiber optic cables for SWM (Stadtwerke München-Munich Utilities) near Dom-Pedro Platz, a very scenic and upscale area in the Nymphenburg Quarter on the west side of Munich.
The work commenced at 7am sharp. It was uneventful. Brotzeit (literally bread time, but it was more like a coffee break) was from exactly 9 to 9:15. The conversation invariably led to the idiosyncrasies of the Bavarians, Sepp being a near-perfect rendition of men in Bavaria, and the other three from northern Germany. It was all in good fun.
At 11:30 the guys decided to take their lunch break and Sepp volunteered to stay with the equipment so the other three workers could duck into an Italian restaurant and grab some pizzas. He had packed a couple of Leberkäse (Bavarian meatloaf) sandwiches which would go down nicely with the two bottles of Helles (Lager) he had. This was his typical lunch.
He finished his sandwiches and one of the beers when he spied an attractive, well-dressed young man sitting on a bench at Dom-Pedro Platz drinking a beer. Sepp, in true Bavarian fashion, preferred to drink beer with another person rather than alone. He grabbed his other beer, locked up the truck and made his way on over to the young man. The sky had quit spitting drizzle for a spell.
Sepp approached the young man. He noticed that the young man was wearing a lambskin leather jacket, expensive Italian shoes, and a bouquet of flowers lay next to him on the bench. The young man seemed unaware of his surroundings and was staring at the ground lost in thought.
“Mind if I sit here?” asked Sepp.
The young man looked up vacantly with bloodshot eyes. He looked at Sepp and then at Sepp’s beer. Though there was no reply, Sepp felt from the man’s body language that sitting down wouldn’t cause any friction, and in fact, the man might’ve even wanted Sepp to join him. Sepp sat down and opened his beer with a plank from the bench.
“The weather’s going to be really shitty this weekend,” said Sepp, trying to open the conversation with the most superficial, safe opening he could muster.
“I hadn’t noticed,” came the curt, quiet reply.
“You from around here?” asked Sepp.
“No, but I’ve lived here a few years. You?”
“Originally I’m from Mühldorf. You know it?”
“I’ve heard of it. Never been.”
An older blue-haired woman walked by with her Schnauzer, reaffirming that dogs begin to take on the characteristics of their owners if given ample opportunity. She and her dog looked at the two men. The dog took the lead in seemingly passing judgment on the liquid aspect of the two men’s lunches.
A few seconds later a woman came by pushing a stroller with a cooing baby inside.
“You have any kids?” asked the young man.
“Me? Not that I know of,” said Sepp. “I usually change girlfriends every few years. Whenever a girl mentions anything about starting a family I know it’s a good time to start looking for another girl. You?”
The young man paused for a moment and then spoke.
“A few days ago a woman called me. She knew my name and told me her name was Sabina. She asked if I remembered her – I said I did, though I didn’t. She said we’d hooked up after meeting at Club 089 in late December last year. Said she was carrying my child, she was sure it was mine. She told me that she didn’t want anything from me except to be with her when the baby came. Her brother and mother were going to come from Switzerland to be with her but had had a pretty serious accident on the way to Munich, so they’d be unable to be with her. I told her I would do it. The baby was overdue so the doctors were going to induce labor this morning at around nine. I tried to get into the hospital right over there, but since I didn’t know her last name they couldn’t let me in. The receptionist told me that there were four different Sabinas at the hospital today, and I couldn’t just walk around peeking in different rooms looking for the one with my child.”
“Wow. Can’t you call her?” asked Sepp.
“No. In all of the excitement I forgot to charge my phone and the battery is completely dead. Now I have a child that I know of, but may never know.”
The young man got up and left, his shoulder heaving as he walked away. Sepp was alone now too, left to rue his choice of sitting down next to the young man.
Only a few minutes earlier a baby had been born to a strong, solitary woman named Sabina. Hurt, she’d sworn that she’d never answer any phone calls from the young man, ever. She kept her promise…