And then there is that feeling that I have seen her some place. Not just in passing, but up front, may even have had a conversation with her. When and where, totally escapes me. While talking with Heinz, I can’t help but steal glances at the brunette. The young man sitting next to her looks as if cut somewhat in her image. Probably siblings. Even though the brunette and I make a couple of perfunctory eye contacts, there isn’t anything that indicates us recognizing each other. She too is probably thinking that she has seen me somewhere, but not quite be able to put her finger on when and where, or if at all.

On our way out, I stop at their table and ignoring the other two, approach the brunette. Singling out someone like that in a group is always a hard thing to do, especially if there is another woman sitting right next to her. There is always that small moment of discomfort and a feeling of being rebuffed for the other, but then it fades away. I fish out my business card and hand it to her.

‘I was wondering if you would ever be interested in posing for Playboy?’

A smile crosses her lips.

‘Interesting, you’re the second person to ask me in a week’s time.’

‘You mean someone else beat me to it?’

‘I am afraid so!’ And she allows herself a self-conscious smile.

Susi (Pletz), our photo editor perhaps?’

‘No, it was man. A photographer. He said he often works for the magazine. Peter something.’

‘Could it be Peter Brüchmann?’

Ja, that’s him.’

I don’t think I have ever met Peter. May have said hello to him in Susi’s office but honestly can’t quite place him. After I did Barbara’s test shoot, even though I arranged for her centerfold to be shot in Chicago by Pompeo Posar, Susi had assigned Peter to do her story pictures around the city and also some additional nudes. Curious how you cross paths with someone not only once, but twice, and yet never really cross them.

‘Yes he does. Then you’re in good hands. Are you going to do it?’

‘I don’t know. He said he will call me.’

‘I’m sure he will. Just in case, you have my card if you ever need to contact us.’

‘I’ll’, she says.

And I walk out of the place with Heinz. The name she gives me is Marion Jaspers. It rings the bell, but the more I try to conjure up the memory of when and where I may have heard it or to confirm that nagging feeling that I have seen her some place, the more I am lost.

●●●

Couldn’t have been that long. Probably a couple of weeks or so later, I am sitting in our apartment complex’s communal sauna, sweating all the toxins off my pores – having reached my maximum tolerance for the heat and the steam, and am about to rush out of there and under the ice cold shower when I see Marion walking in with the young man. Sure we both must have thought what are the odds of running into someone three times in a short span of  a few weeks? If it were a fiction, I would have attributed it to the author’s lack of imagination. After all, Munich isn’t that small a town. It’s a big German city with a population of more than a million. We simultaneously smile the smiles of a certain familiarity. But I am boiling and must get out of there immediately. I exit with a hurried excuse and throw myself under the ice cold shower and then clutching my towel, rest on the bench outside to catch my breath.

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