He spoke in a way that reminded me of coco hulls. The smooth carpet created by my mother spreading them over the freshly raked garden beds. He had a sort of twang, that all though he was a stranger to me, he made me feel safe. This almost guaranteed protection allowed me to open up, to tell him things that I didn't even realize were inside of me. Little memories that, together, became a tale, the story of my life. Whether it was because he actually enjoyed the time we spent together, recalling the most comforting and the most painful reflections of myself, or that he simply just delighted in the way my voice hummed like vibrating metal, he stayed around. Every Sunday we'd sit on the same bench and, although I did most of the talking, I learned his name, Gregor Metzgar, although he was born in Austria, he refused to except the country as his own, and gave his allegiance solely to Germany. He had been born to a woman named Margret, and, a man named Günter in a small alpine village. When he was fifteen, the Austrian government quietly and skillfully eliminated his father, a convicted war criminal. Gregor and Margret had to flee to the southern German town of Prien. He spent his summers, gaily watching the cruise ships come and go from the large royal complex built in the middle of the local lake. His mother became a seamstress and he enrolled into the Ludwig-Thoma-Gymnasium. He studied the effect of forest fire on the lives of the Goths, the first settlers in Bavaria for his Arbitur. He got a 2.51. He moved to America in his 20's to become a businessman. In 1980 his company bankrupted. How he ended up sitting with me every Sunday in Golden Gate Park, in the DeYoung museum's sculpture garden is a mystery. But what isn't a mystery is that throughout the upcoming summer, we would become closer then the tightly glued capsules of coco hulls after a season of watering and shrinking into each other. We would become the thick mats they formed when you raked them in the fall, preparing the the beds for the upcoming deluge of leaves, snow and ice
1An equivalent of a "B" in the American quality index.