Fisherman In Grey (Part III)

“I think of the night before. The soft feel of her skin. Her adept and elegant movements. The tender groans which broke from her exquisite lips. Merely thinking about it sends fervorous surges throughout my body.”


I told her about my pretty mundane 20 years of living this life, too, of course. We arranged to meet the following Saturday (last night). She invited me over to her apartment for a home-cooked dinner and some wine. We had roasted cod, spiced potatoes along with a colourful side of veg.

***Last night***

“That was magnificent!” I tell her. “Where’d you learn to cook like that?”
She laughs daintily. “My mother. We cooked together all the time when I was growing up,” she says, staring into some void point of space in the room, then, suddenly turning to me, she continues: “so naturally, I picked up a lot of her recipes and techniques.”

We swig at glass after glass of wine, and chat at length as the gears of time shift on perpetually. We talk about serious matters, funny memories, random happenings – everything and anything.

For a moment, a light silence lolls between us. She’s sat with one leg crossed over the other while her right hand steers a half full glass of wine to-and-fro her lips. Her long, dark-blonde hair rests to one side on her left shoulder. I peer slyly at her for a while. Nicely rounded face, perfectly symmetrical. Small, firm breasts mildly poking through her grey Umbro top. The enticing outlining of her curvaceous hips and well-formed thighs. A pristine build for her tender age of 18. I almost want to tell her how sexy she looks. But I of course don’t. 

It gets to around 11pm when it occurs to me that I’d better call a taxi soon.
“Well, you know, I don’t mean to be too forward or anything, but I mean, if you’d prefer to stay here for the night and set off in the morning when you’re sober, that’s totally okay with me,” she utters.
I stare blankly at her for a moment, then sheepishly ask, “I said that out loud?”

She laughs. “Yes, you did.” I laugh a little too.
“I don’t wanna be a bother, I mean we hadn’t pla–”
“Nonsense.” she interjects loosely. “It’s not at all a bother for me. The woman who rents out the room upstairs doesn’t mind, and her husband comes here for a couple nights every now ‘n’ then, so she can’t complain.” 
My tipsy self mulls over her words for a while, but my vocal chords construct no form of response. “I’ve got spare sheets and stuff,” she continues. “like, if you’d rather sleep on the couch or whatever.”
“No, no, that’s not it. I was just thinking about something.”
She smiles. 

Well, if you’re sure it’s not an issue, I guess I can set off in the morning, for convenience’s sake, I say to her. Amber and I talk a little more over one final glass each, then we decide to call it a night. She offers me the baggiest top she owns to sleep in. Amber then cuts the light, and we position ourselves in her cosy double-bed. 


Due to my fairly drunken state last night, recollections from that point on become rather hazy. We had sex, of course – three or four times in fact. All I remember was her sitting herself atop my body clothed in only a t-shirt and a silken lingerie as I laid on her bed. Her lips pressed intensely against mine as I slipped off her top and undergarment. And then the magic began.

Her movements were supple. Competent. Ardently amorous. All in all, it was some of the best sex I’d ever had, no doubt about it.



Once we finish our tartines, she pours us both one more cup of coffee.
“Could I ask you a favour?” she says, as if all of a sudden remembering something she’d had on her mind.
“Yeah, sure. What’s up?” 

She hesitates. “It may sound a little strange, but, would you mind coming with me to that art gallery? You know – the one we first met in.”
“Of course not, I’d love to,” I say this without really giving it much thought. But hey, she gave me a cosy bed to sleep in, great sex, and fed me twice. I’m sure I can reschedule whatever (if anything) I have planned.
She smiles. “Whenever you’re free, though. Doesn’t necessarily have to be today. I just feel I need to go back.”

After piecing details together and asking a myriad of questions, I manage to discover that the painting, Visser in grijs – or Fisherman in grey – was actually a portrait of Amber’s great-grandfather, painted in 1925 by a Frenchman. Amber’s great-grandfather was half Dutch. He was an avid fisherman and sailor, living his entire life either in or by the sea. Amber never knew her grandfather on her father’s side, and so the next best thing, she thought, was her great-grandfather, who happened to be a fairly renowned fisherman and sailor in Germany before the Second World War. 

That explains her attachment to that painting, I say. Aloud.

The end.


Fisherman In Grey (Part II)

“I caught the gaze of her grey-blue eyes. Gentle eyes. The type that possess a subtle but alluring glow.”

She is studying contemporary art at a private school for individuals aged 18 and above. The course offers no valid qualifications but one is to receive greatly efficient and favourable insight from it, resulting in a very handsome CV for one looking to enter the industry of contemporary art.


She hands me a spare towel and toothbrush. I thank her.
“I’m making apple, tomato and cheddar tartines for breakfast. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Not at all.” I say half smiling.
“Good. How do you like your coffee?”
“Black, mild, with two sugars.”
“Coming right up, sir.” she says in jest. She then shows me the way to the bathroom, and then how to operate the shower.

Once inside, I do a good job of cleaning myself. At a point, I just stand in there for some time while the steaming water sprays over me. I think of the night before. The soft feel of her skin. Her adept and elegant movements. The tender groans which broke from her exquisite lips. Merely thinking about it sends fervorous surges throughout my body.

On the Thursday we met, we exchanged numbers once we realised that we live not so far from each other. I gave her a call on the following Tuesday, and we met up for a bite to eat that evening when I’d finished work.

We got to know each other in more detail: she told me her mother was originally from England. She moved to Germany at 19 to marry her husband once he proposed to her just months after they met. Two and a half years later, they had a daughter and called her Amber. Amber grew up in Rostock with both her parents.
Her father worked at the docks. He never went to university or even finished school; he just went straight into work at 16. He started off solely helping with maintenance of the ships and equipment, and loading the vessels, but he eventually went on to designing and building ships and other structures once he’d gained the practical familiarity.

He is a keen observer, and whatever he sets his mind to, he does it with an admirable efficiency. He’s strong-willed and assertive. His initiative and practicality are his sharpest, most favourable assets. Though, he is also a great family man. He loves the two women in his life more than anything, and wouldn’t hesitate to try provide for their security and every need.

Amber’s mother, who understood very basic German at the time she moved to Rostock, managed to scrape part-time but regular work as a translator of children’s books from German to English, and vice versa. She spent four days a week home-schooling Amber, who hated the idea of school from the moment she set foot there.

I don’t know what it was. I wasn’t especially attached to my parents or anything, and there was nothing wrong with me as far as I know, but I just hated school. I hated the idea of cramming children who had all types of differences and characters into a classroom and forcing them to get along. It just never made sense to me. It frightened me, she said. I preferred to be alone with some pencil crayons and a canvas. Amber’s mother had no idea what to do about this, so she decided to start home-schooling her until a better idea came to mind. Amber’s mother also taught her to speak, read and write in English.

When Amber reached secondary-school age, though, she decided to give school another chance.
I found it strange at first. I mean, of course; I hardly came into interaction with other kids my age, especially so frequently and for so long at a go. But by the second year, I was totally used to it. I didn’t find it hard to make friends. People liked me. I wasn’t popular or anything, no, but when people came to me, they generally never had a problem with me. Nor I with them. I wasn’t the weirdo kid or anything.

She told me how her art teachers recognised her exceptional knack for the subject, and suggested that she maybe ought to pursue a profession within art. The idea didn’t evoke any displeasure in Amber, but she realised how competitive a sector it was, and how challenging it would be to stand out from every other “exceptionally talented art student”. So, she decided to set herself apart from other aspiring artists in her town by leaving Rostock and coming to England for a year to study in a private school.

And now here we are.

Fisherman In Grey (Part I)

I wake up the next morning a little passed eight. The ambience of the room is strangely languid. I’m alone in these unfamiliar sheets, in this unfamiliar room. A modicum of sunlight seeps in through the very slightly parted curtains. I peel the covers off of myself and sit up cross-legged in the bed, trying to listen out for any activity. I can’t hear much. 

I reach for my phone, realise it’s out of battery, and so place it back on the bedside drawer. At a loss for anything to do, I simply lay back down and wait. A faint, weird mix of cheese and coffee wafts into the bedroom from the door.

She comes into the room a few moments later, gingerly opening the door.
“Oh, good. You’re awake,” she says with a smile. I sit up and smile, too. Her hair is tied up for the first time since I’d met her, and I notice her ears are very discreetly on the big side. Very discreetly. 


I met her not two weeks ago. Given the pleasure of having Thursdays off, I try to make a habit of visiting different places or going somewhere I don’t go too often; new restaurants, the movies, art galleries, a relative’s – those kind of things. Sometimes I catch the train to nearby towns and get lost sight-seeing. Occasionally, I borrow my cousin’s car and go to the countryside. I simply sit in the car listening to psychedelic rock albums, and smoke while staring out at the field and the far-flung mountains. Just thinking.

This particular Thursday I happened to go to an art gallery. That’s where I first spotted her. She wore white trainers, loose, vintage Mom Jeans, a white crop-top beneath a maroon bomber jacket, and her left hand clasped a plain baseball cap. She stood out amidst everyone else who seemed to be dressed in smart-casual attire. She looked cool, at least I thought so. 

When I saw her, she was staring intently at an acrylic painting in one remote corner. The painting was of an oldish man (maybe early 50s). It must have been a portrait. The painting captured the man’s top half as he gazed expressionlessly at the painter. A full head of black hair sat atop his head with streaks of white in it which marked his aging. He wore a grey smart shirt with the sleeves rolled up and two or three buttons undone. His hairy arms drooped lazily into his lap. A brown wall for the background. And that’s it. She stood there for a considerable amount of time just gawking at it, motionlessly. 

I approached her, and stared into the painting also. It took no more than 30 seconds to scan all the details of the painting satisfyingly enough to move on. But she remained there with her arms hanging beside her and her eyes glued. An unchanging posture. Maybe she could see something I couldn’t. The painting was ‘of Gillis Alfons‘ by ‘French painter, L. Borde.‘ Strangely, the piece didn’t have a name, Perhaps it was never given one. 

“Visser in Grijs,” she said, suddenly. Randomly. I turned my head instantly towards her.
“Sorry?” the only response my mind could reason to give after not having understood the meaning of what she’d said.
“The painting – it’s called Visser in Grijs.” Apparently I’d wondered out loud. Now that I think about it, how often do I wonder aloud like that? A somewhat worrying thought.

I caught the gaze of her grey-blue eyes. Gentle eyes. The type that possess a subtle but alluring glow. My lips remained slightly parted for some five seconds before I said,
“Oh? Is that so? Interesting,” not knowing what else to say.
“It’s Dutch for Fisherman in grey.”
“Really? How d’you know that?” I asked. “I mean, like, it’s not labelled with a title like all the other pieces in here.”

She told me she had seen the painting before when she was doing a case study on L. Borde. No wonder you seem so infatuated by it, I said to her. We talked briefly more about artists and various paintings. She then told me how she’d come from Germany a few months ago, and was studying in London for a year before moving back to Germany. Once she said this, her subtle German accent became a little more noticeable.


She is studying contemporary art at a private school for individuals aged 18 and above. The course offers no valid qualifications but one is to receive greatly efficient and useful insight from it, resulting in a very handsome CV for one looking to enter the industry of contemporary art.


The ethereal scene before me is almost unreal. The type of scene you only really see in movies.

I’m sat in the town plaza where the mid-Spring sun sheds its rays generously. The air is warm, and hovers placidly in the light atmosphere like friendly ghosts. Two tall buildings stand parallel to each other on either side of the square plaza. To the back, a swanky cafe stands adjacent to a medium-sized restaurant & bar, equal in opulence, and both with outside seating areas. Across from them, an open road which splits into two roads: one leading to the main town centre, and the other to the train station.

In the middle of these four sides of the plaza, there is about 40×40 square-feet of space. There are three benches on each side surrounding a grassy plateau of which is central to the plaza. Clumps of families, friends, colleagues, and individuals are scattered about the square. There are some folk reading silently on this blissful Saturday afternoon; some chit-chat on benches and at the cafe and restaurant over beverages and small meals, some parents let their kids run and play in the grass while they park prams and luggage in the shade, and others scroll through their phones or smoke as the sun beams overhead.

I’m sat on a bench, book rested on lap. A half-smoked cigarette lolls between my fingers. I almost feel bad smoking it in front of the young children who play a few feet in front of me. A boy and a girl. The girl looks one or two years older than the boy. She blows bubbles with her toy, and her brother (I presume it’s her brother, anyway) gleefully chases after them, trying to pop them as they both laugh.

To the bench on my left sits a young man. Maybe mid-twenties. His attire, a clean, sharp three-piece suit. Grey. Sleek brown smart shoes encase his feet. He must work in one of these buildings, I think to myself. The two buildings encompass offices. The contemporary-style buildings are not merely remarkable in size, but are exceedingly dapper and upscale. Those offices had to be used to carry out important jobs, by important-looking people like the gentleman on the bench beside the one I’m on, I think, but don’t say.

He stares into a single slab of the granite tiles which lined around the plaza to act as a pathway, creating a foot-or-so distance between the benches and the adeptly trimmed grass. His gaze eases not as he chews slow and hard over his Subway sandwich. He is bent forward slightly with his elbows pressed against his knees. The young man appears to be lost in deep thought, as though trying to remember an intensely important detail he ought to have not let slip his mind. (Take, for instance, the exact date of his very soon approaching anniversary).

A gentle breeze parades about the setting briefly, then subsides. I look to my right as I dab out the remains of my cigarette. A woman strolls tardily passed me towards the cafe and restaurant area. She has a black leather briefcase in her right hand. Navy cotton skirt which suspends down to her shins, matching blazer, plain white shirt beneath with two buttons undone. Simple flats. She has her brown hair tied up in a ponytail. Her facial features are strong, and she has narrow eyes.

At first she appears plumpish, but I soon realise she’s pregnant (by at least 4-5 months). Her posture by no means shows signs of fatigue. Although slow, she moves steadily and with a certain confidence. It probably isn’t her first time being pregnant, I think to myself. But of course this is a very loose proposition to make from merely observing the way she walks. She’s greeted by a man outside the restaurant & bar who pecks her on the lips, then pulls out the seat opposite his for her to sit.