Thu Sep 6, 2018 09:21

“Danke, thank you,” Heinrich said after Jehan explained what a shark was. The German word always slipped out first when he tried to thank people, but after a year in Sonora, the English followed so close behind, it became almost a single mixed language phrase of gratitude rather than two separate sentiments.

But he was glad to know they were talking about Hai. He knew what Hai were. Granted, he’d only seen them in person once, when they visited the Wizards Aquarium in Berlin, but he had read enough books to feel capable of engaging in a conversation about them, now that he knew what they were conversing about. Assuming, of course, his English was up to the task. The language barrier was always the trickiest part in engaging with the Americans.

For a moment, he wasn’t sure it was as Jehan took off on a explanation of a time he starved himself? But then he remembered the Hai topic had been introduced with a question about how long they could go without eating. So it was at least tangentially related and he wasn’t completely missing some key link between the topics that would make complete sense to a native speaker.

No, he decided, Jehan was just one of those people who talked all over the place and woe-betide those who couldn’t keep up. Heinrich decided to take it as a challenge to his English comprehension skills.

“Mein Lieblingstier?” he repeated the question in German, not because he thought Jehan could confirm he had understood it correctly, but because he needed the moment it took to say it for considering his options. He wasn’t really sure what his favorite animal was.

The hawk was growing on him, as it represented Aladren, but he wasn’t sure that it was his favorite. He certainly couldn’t say he was fond of hawks. That emotion went to a different kind of bird entirely. “We had,” he paused, trying to recall the little used English word, “ducks, at home, in Deu- nein, Germany. I miss the ducks.” He paused again, looking far away and immeasurably sad.

It wasn’t exactly an answer to Jehan’s question, but it was going to have to do. His throat was tight with thoughts of the home that wasn’t his anymore and he didn’t think he could say anything more.

He took a sip of his pumpkin juice to try to wash the tighness away.

  • HaiJehan, Sun Aug 12 11:52
    ”What is Shark?” Well. What a question. There were so many ways one could start to answer that. To begin with, sharks as simple creatures were, actually, fascinating. Jehan had stumbled upon a book... more
    • Ente — Heinrich, Thu Sep 6 09:21
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