This is just the beginning

The night air stuck to my skin as I wandered the music festival grounds. Klaus and I had just met face to face for the first time after a brief Facebook exchange earlier that spring. I had recently come to Freiburg, shattered from an old life I wanted to leave behind me. When Klaus offered me a ride home that evening, I happily accepted. It was getting late and the walk to my Rieselfeld home would have been pitch black.

“I just have to collect Perry,” Klaus grinned. I saw a slender form, decked out in tie-dye, emerge from behind one of the containers.

“This, Christine, is Perry Robinson.”

Perry embraced me, arms widespread as he exclaimed: “Beautiful. Far out, man. This is just the beginning!”

Photo credit: Klaus Polkowski

As we piled into Klaus’ van, Perry asked me question after question. We were so immersed in conversation that I forgot to tell Klaus where the turn to my house was.

“Rieselfeld or Wiehre?”

I absent-mindedly said, “Oh, just keep going. So Perry…what were you saying?” Perry continued to fascinate me with story after story. And the next thing I knew, I was in Klaus’ kitchen until nearly dawn.

Later, we travelled to Trinidad & Tobago together. Carnival was in full swing and we enjoyed each other’s company just as we were. No facade. No pretending. Just pure love. Of life. Of music. Of each other.

“Life is mysterious. Don’t take it too serious,” he would say, stirring his morning drink of hot lemon and honey. He showed me his morning exercise routine, his books, his philosophy of life. In New York, I attended one of the most ethereal music performances I have ever experienced. He played clarinet as if it were an extension of himself.

This summer he came to the music festival once again. His health turned for the worse so we visited him in the heart clinic near Freiburg during his brief stay there. The air was as hot as that first night we had met.

As we parted in the middle of the night, once again in Klaus’ kitchen, he smiled, eyes bright with future plans.

“This is just the beginning,” he said. I hugged him tenderly, sensing that in some way, it may also be the end.

Yesterday was his last day on Earth. But his beauty will live on in us all. I will be forever grateful for him because he brought me one of the greatest gifts in this world.

He brought me hope.

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