‘The thing is, there is this woman!’

‘What woman?’

‘Her name is Ursula. Uschi.’ I wait for him to elaborate. ‘We see each other on and off.’

‘You mean…?’

‘Yup. Seitensprung!’ And we both break out laughing, remembering the fun we’ve had years earlier defining and re-defining the expression. Literally, it means a sideway leap. Simply put; straying or cheating in a relationship. Have a fleeting affair on side. Hoping no one notices it and then leap right back in the line. No harm done!

I am not happy about it, but I understand. An opportunity of a quick clandestine bums always trumps an evening out with a friend. But why tonight of all nights? The crossing in my mind of the expression bums makes me want to burst out laughing. Because it’s one of those other German words – literally it means, to bump! bounce! bang! Or normally used to run into something or someone. But it also means…

And I remembered another one of the editors during the early days: Carmen Jung using it and then telling me what it really meant in answer to my simple question.

‘Do you have a boyfriend?’

‘A steady one? No. But I do have someone I have bumsverhältnis with…recently it was perfectly defined in Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis movie, Friends with Benefits. And then she goes on to elaborate, how perfectly it works for her. That they have each other, and yet they are free.

‘I wouldn’t do this to a good buddy like you. But she called me a while ago whether we could have a rendezvous tonight that her husband had to take a sudden trip to Hamburg.’

‘I still don’t say anything. The expression on my face has a question mark.

‘And?’

‘And Hilda knows I am having dinner with you. You see?’ I certainly do. What could be more convenient?

But I still don’t want to see it. I notice a certain dismay on his face and then watch him slide open his desk drawer and pull out the two strips of the tickets and hand them to me. Printed on them is Paul McCartney & Wings. Not a bad trade off.

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