The excitement of relocation had me suppress the memory of that night with Mr. N. I flew to Germany again for the year-end sales conference and the office Christmas party a few months later. It’d be a great chance to meet my future colleagues. I was particularly looking forward to getting to know one person.
I remembered a tall, brown-haired, spectacled man from the London office. I first noticed him during my very first business trip two years before and thought how fun it’d be to date a boy like him instead of suited investment bankers I dated then. I saw him at the party the following year. I joined him and a girl at the stove on the balcony and attempted to strike a conversation, but he only smiled and wouldn’t open his mouth. For the rest of the party, I was kept company by Klaus.
It had been less than a year since our meeting in Tokyo, but by the time I returned to Germany in December that year, Klaus had impregnated a 20-year-old receptionist of his office. Looking at the petite Asian woman with long black hair placing her hands on her round belly, I shuddered.
I sat with Mr. Yoshida and his team for a meal. A while later, people who finished eating started to come to the bar to order drinks. The DJ was getting ready on the dance floor. Mr. Yoshida was cheerful despite his recent difficult decision to give up an opportunity. He asked me if I thought any of the European staff attractive. Emboldened by a glass of champagne, I confided, “that guy with glasses and spikey hair.” Mr. Yoshida acknowledged the man, and a few minutes later, he brought him over to our table and whispered something in his ear. The man turned to me and reached out his hand over the table. “Hi, I’m Stuart.”