“Hans-Dieter, what did you do?”
Hearing this stopped Hansi dead in his tracks, he was only at the foot of the stairs but Hansi had a feeling he would have heard Jogi yelling this even if he had been at the DFB headquarters in Frankfurt. Weighing up his options Hansi considered whether or not he could still escape, he did this knowing that there was no way out, sooner or later he would have to face Jogi. He just hoped it wasn’t about the scarf, anything but the scarf. Heading up the stairs Hansi tried to think of other things he could have gotten wrong. Could he have put Jogi’s shirts back in the wrong order, maybe but a watch back in the wrong box, mixed up a pair of socks or improperly folded something? Please, please, let it be anyone of those, just not the scarf pleaded Hansi silently as he reluctantly climbed the last few steps.
Entering the room and seeing a distraught looking Jogi holding a scarf up to his face, Hansi’s heart sank, he had been found out. Any other time Hansi would have been able to appreciate how cute Jogi looked when he was angry but it wasn’t possible to do that when he was freaking out like this.
Jogi looked furious now, but the fury in his voice that had that filled Hansi with a sense of impending doom just a moment ago had all but vanished to be replaced by anxiety as he went on about his scarf. “It’s not the same; it’s different, it smells strange, what happened to my scarf Hans-Dieter?”
Hansi didn’t know which he found more unnerving, the fact that Jogi was still calling him by his full name or the way his voice sounded. It wasn’t often he heard Jogi sound like that, his voice a mixture of anxiety, anger and fear. Hansi thought of the times on the touchline he had heard Jogi yelling in a similar way and he remembered how glad he was that it wasn’t him Jogi was yelling at.
This was going to get worse before it got better, not only would Hansi have to own up to what he had done but he would have to tell Jogi that the scarf he was holding was a new one, a different one. He cursed himself for thinking that he could get away with it by washing the new scarf with another of Jogi’s and then putting them away together. He should have known that somehow Jogi would figure it out, he notices everything after all.
“Jogi, first of all, stop calling me Hans-Dieter, it’s really weird when you do that and secondly calm down, and I’ll explain if you give me a chance to.”
“I’ll calm down when you tell me what this is” replied Jogi putting the scarf in Hansi’s face.
Pushing it away Hansi took the opportunity to take hold of Jogi’s hand, in times like this Jogi could always be calmed by a firm but gentle touch. Even before the summer, this had always worked; many a time on the touchline Hansi had calmed him down this way. All it took to calm him from such an agitated state was Hansi’s hand on his shoulder or forearm. When watching old matches, Hansi liked to look out for these moments; he liked to see them as pre-cursors of what was to come. He was happy in the knowledge that he alone had that effect and that he alone always knew what to do.
None of that was going to be of any help here he knew. A missed goal, a pass gone astray, a poor effort at defending, all of that was nothing compared to a scarf related crisis. What Hansi wouldn’t give to have a football related crisis to deal with now, at least Jogi would after calming down respond to logic. When it came to his scarves there was no such chance, logical thinking went out the window.
His hand on Jogi’s the whole time, Hansi proceeded to explain what had happened to the scarf, how he had gotten mustard on it, how he couldn’t get the smell out and so had decided the best thing to do was to buy a new one and put it with the others. As Hansi talked Jogi’s expression softened slightly, the traces of anger disappearing from his face but the anxiety remaining as Hansi worriedly noted. He was no longer so angry at Hansi, in fact if he wasn’t so disturbed by the disappearance of one of his scarves, he would appreciate the effort that Hansi had gone to.
“I’m sorry I yelled at you Hansi, but the scarf isn’t right, it’s not the same.”
Hansi was happy on one hand, Jogi was calling him Hansi again, but at the same time he was frustrated. The scarf was exactly the same one; he had gone to the store himself to check, taking the ruined one with him. Happy with the small breakthrough, he decided not to push his luck, trying as best he could to sound patient.
“It’s the same one Jogi, I went to the store myself. I know, I know, it’s not “your scarf” but it’s the best I could do, please I’ll do anything, just don’t look at me like that.”
Seeing the look on Hansi’s face, Jogi felt bad, he was still disturbed about the scarf but he didn’t want to make Hansi feel bad, not anymore than he had to.
The two of them stood there for a moment in silence, neither of them quite knowing what to do. Suddenly Hansi had a bright idea, he couldn’t give Jogi his scarf back but he could give him something else back, something that he prized as much as his scarf. Something that would equally show how much Hansi loved him. Still holding Jogi’s hand, Hansi led him over his side of the bed. The two of them sitting on Hansi’s side of the bed, he reached over to the top drawer of his bedside cabinet and pulled out the navy blue polo shirt that he had treasured since that fateful summer morning.
Jogi looked confused as Hansi handed him the shirt and even more confused when Hansi told the story of how it came to be in his possession. His expression changed several more times during the course of the story, looking especially angry when Hansi got to the part at the airport, Jogi recalling how furious had been whilst rooting around trying to find it. The look of anger changed to amusement and he laughed out loud as Hansi told him that he had been wearing it, whilst sitting across from him and watching him do this. Jogi couldn’t be mad at him when he heard this, how had he not noticed that, the master tactician who notices every detail. Towards the end of the story Jogi got that dreamy look in his eyes as Hansi recounted how he had kept it next to his bed, sometimes putting it under his pillow at night.
After having finished the story Hansi waited anxiously for Jogi’s reaction, he couldn’t help but worry a little when Jogi didn’t say anything. Instead he just sat there holding the shirt, still with the dreamy look in his eyes which could have an innocent meaning, or with Jogi as Hansi knew all too well, could mean he was plotting something.
When Jogi handed the shirt back to him it was Hansi’s turn to look confused.
“You’re giving it back to me, why?”
“It belongs to the both of us now, one of our summer memories.”
“And the scarf?”
Jogi tried his best not to sound bothered about it, probably failing but Hansi would appreciate the effort.
“It’s fine, it will be fine. Just tell me next time please, no surprises. And don’t try to replace it; they’re like you, irreplaceable. You can get a different one, one that seems like it’s the same in every way, one that does the same things, but it’ll never be the real one. It’ll never be the real Hansi.