Category Archives: Jogi & Hansi: The Löw Adventures

Rainy day Jogi

Singin’ in the Rain

Safe inside, toasty warm, while water pitter-patters on the roof… describe your perfect, rainy afternoon.

My perfect rainy afternoon would look something like this. A Sunday afternoon, two Bundesliga games on TV, two not three, not a 2.Bundesliga game too. And not just because I don’t like getting up early on Sundays, no, it’s because in the past five weeks Freiburg have played on Sunday four times. They drew, won, lost and then drew again. And in that month they also got knocked out of the DFB Pokal, and Mensur Mujdza scored an own goal against Eintracht Braunschweig which kicked off their fight back. So I’m glad the month of Sunday’s has come to an end.

But to get back to the point, my perfect rainy afternoon, like I said two Bundesliga games, than a break for reading until Sportschau and then Tagesthemen to get a little bit of extra footage. No stress, no people, just football, books and the wonderful sound of the rain outside. All whilst wrapped up in my wonderfully soft and warm Freiburg blanket with my mascot. And some time to dream about rainy day Jogi of course. This brings me to what I really want to write about, a new Jogi chapter.

Lying here with Jogi wrapped in his arms Hansi thinks he couldn’t be happier. He’s wrong, there is one small thing which can make him just that little bit happier. Lying here he can’t think of anything but Jogi, he certainly can’t focus on the game he’s meant to be watching with him. He stopped trying to pay attention long ago. All he can think of is Jogi here in his arms, of running his fingers through his hair. Listening to the rain outside Hansi thinks about the one thing that could make this perfect situation even more perfect. Hansi used to hate the rain, especially when he had to go out and play in it. But ever since last summer he loves the rain almost as much as he does Jogi. For now the rain conjures up most pleasant images and feelings. It no longer puts in his mind the miserable memories of the times he had to play in such weather. Now it makes him think of last summer, of how irresistible Jogi looked in his wet navy blue shirt, the way it stuck to him, his hair all slicked back and best of all, that adorable lost look on his face.

Just what caused him to look so lost Hansi never got to find out. Whether it was because he’d remembered it was raining, or if he’d realised what he’d let happen to his shirt or he was annoyed at realising he was going to need to change his shirt, Hansi didn’t know. It didn’t matter, nothing could take that memory away from him. Nothing could take away the memory of his rainy day Jogi.

Thinking back to that day Hansi recalled what took place after the final whistle. Of him going to hug Jogi as usual and finding himself being pushed away almost. Because whilst Jogi had changed shirts at half-time, taking off his navy button down shirt and exchanging it for a polo-shirt of the same colour, it had been for nothing. Because much to Hansi’s pleasure he’d done exactly the same as the first half, he’d once more completely forgotten about the rain and had proceeded to get this shirt just as wet as the previous one. Thus when it came to the final whistle Jogi was initially reluctant to hug Hansi, he didn’t want to ruin his shirt too. Hansi had firmly put him straight on this count, he wasn’t going to miss out on his special Jogi hug for anything. Not when the next one could be the last.

Remembering this very special hug, of how he hadn’t wanted to let go him, Hansi could not help show how content he is just this second. The contented sigh unfortunately for him did not go unnoticed by Jogi. It seems he’s not entirely focused on the game either.

“What are you thinking about Hansi?”

“What I’m almost always thinking about, you.”

“And just what exactly makes my Hansi so happy?”

“Rainy day Jogi.”

“Hansi, I love you more than anything else in the world, even more than Freiburg but I’m not ruining another shirt for you. Not this year anyway. You’ve had your quota of “rainy day Jogi” for this year.”

“So I get more next year?”

“You do, it’s our summer tradition now. But it is a one time event. If you get it all the time, it won’t be so special.”

“You’re wrong there Jogi, you’re always special.”

“You’re still not getting what you want Hansi, keep dreaming.”

“I will Jogi, I most definitely will.”

Out of Reach

Out of Reach

Write about the one X that got away — a person, an experience, a place you wanted to visit. How much would you change about your life to have it within reach again?

It’s not healthy to obsess over things that could have been, to think about how things should have been. That being said I do plenty of it, I try not to but it’s easier to obsess over things from the past rather than trying to fix things now, which is what makes it such a tempting prospect. Whilst I spend quite a bit of time thinking that way, I don’t think there truly is one that got away, in any sense. There are people I miss and things I miss, but I wouldn’t go back. Things are what they are. I think things happen when they are meant to.

So I’m going to turn the rest of this prompt over to a Jogi adventure. For him there is one that got away, that one being Hansi.

Hansi was never out of reach, he was always where he was meant to be and Jogi didn’t have to ask for him to be there. Not once did he ever tell him where he needed to be. He always just knew, right from the start. Right from their very first game together, from the moment when in a moment of celebration Jogi turned around and Hansi was right there. Ready for him to wrap his arms around him, and so it began, from that moment on Hansi was always there. In good times and bad, he was always there for him. Whether it was to celebrate a goal with him or to keep him out of trouble, Hansi knew where he had to be.

Every single game since the first one without him Jogi rued having let him leave. It didn’t matter that he would be going home to him or that he spent every single night wrapped in his arms. It should help, but it doesn’t. Because him being at home doesn’t change the fact that he’s not in the place Jogi wants him to be, the one place he needs him to be. Of course he knew he’d miss Hansi, but he hadn’t thought it would be this way. As each game went by Hansi told him it would get easier, that he would get used to him not being there. Jogi trusted Hansi, more than anyone else in the world. But he was wrong about this, it didn’t get easier with each passing game, it just got worse. As time went on instead of adjusting to Hansi not being there, each game he found one more thing he missed about him and one more thing about the replacement that was different.

The first game he’d been there Jogi was so grateful someone was there that for a moment he forgot it wasn’t Hansi. A fact he still felt guilty about, even guiltier did he feel about what happened during the second game. Caught up in the excitement of the moment he’d turned round, part of him expecting to find Hansi there ready to hug him as always. It was only when he turned round that he realised, just for a second he froze. He wanted to celebrate, but it felt wrong. Before the game Hansi told him it was fine when he’d asked, yet still he couldn’t do it. Couldn’t be that close to anyone other than Hansi, not yet. Even knowing he was going home to a Hansi hug, to as many Hansi hugs as he wanted in fact, he still couldn’t do it.

Truth is as the months went by Jogi was in some ways slowly getting used to the new order of things. Not that he would ever admit it, to himself or to anyone else. But things were about to get even stranger, the USA game would change all of this. Jogi would go from slowly but surely getting to used to how things were now to missing Hansi more than ever before. Having him there, so close but yet so far was torture. In every single way it was wrong and every second he wasn’t thinking about the game all Jogi could think about was how Hansi should be by his side. How he should be the one wearing a matching navy blue shirt with him tonight. Going to greet Klinsi at the end and exchanging hugs, just for a second Jogi could pretend it’s still summer, that Hansi is just behind him. Just like he always was. But of course he’s not, and now Jogi never wants to turn around. Never wants to see anyone other than Hansi there.

Of course he can’t keep it up forever; sooner or later he will have to accept it. If not for his own sake then for Hansi’s. He knows Hansi hates to see him looking so lonesome, if he’s not going to deal with this for his own sake, he’ll most definitely do so for Hansi’s He can’t bear to think of Hansi worrying so much over him, of him feeling that way because of him. The only thing he wants in the world is for Hansi to be happy, and there’s little he wouldn’t do to make that so. Even if it means putting his own feelings aside.

Thus he made a promise to Hansi, that he would in some way show him that he was coming to terms with the new order of things. But not during the Scotland game, he couldn’t do that. Not on the day that marked one year since the first time without Hansi by his side. It had to be the Poland game, he wouldn’t do such a thing on the day marking one year without Hansi, but the Poland game was perfect. A turning point, for them and for the team. Revenge for the defeat last year, a whole year since the replacement was here and finally their first real hug. The first time he celebrated with him. It still doesn’t feel right, it never will. But he did it, not for himself but for Hansi.

His precious Hansi that he loved so much. So much so that he let him go. Jogi missed Hansi more than ever and felt like he would do anything to get him back. Anything for him to be back by his side, keeping him out of trouble, celebrating with him and keeping watch over him. But he knew letting him go was the right thing to do. He may not be his assistant anymore and he may not be standing next to him during those all important moments. But if he’d never let him go then Hansi wouldn’t be here right now, he never would have told him how he felt. Jogi loved having Hansi by his side, more than anything else in the world. But nothing beats coming home to him every night. Nothing beats lying here watching him sleep. Hansi belongs to him now and to him alone. This is how things are meant to be. For truth is, however much Jogi misses Hansi on the touchline, he’s never been closer.

Verbotene Liebe: Jogi & Hansi’s Summer Anniversary Part 2

If such a thing were possible, Jogi had even more fun in Brazil the second time around. The reason for this being that this time he was not be glancing longingly at Hansi and thinking of the fact that he would never stand by his side again. Now Jogi possessed everything he ever wanted and on those early mornings on the beach instead of dreaming Hansi was there, he actually was. For his part, Hansi no longer needed to stay in the shadows, to watch Jogi from afar as he used to do on those early summer mornings. Now he could walk in the morning sun with him, holding his hand and strolling along the beach. For both of them it was as perfect as they imagined it would be.

Just as Hansi no longer had to dream he was walking along the beach with Jogi, so he did not have to imagine that Jogi was really lying here asleep in his arms right now. This beautiful Brazilian summer’s day was really real and could not be more perfect. The two of them lying on the beach here with no-one else in sight, Hansi really couldn’t think of one way in which this day could be made even better. He could not be happier right now if he tried, a beautiful day out here on the beach, Jogi asleep on his shoulder, the calm and pleasing breeze ruffling his hair. Hansi wouldn’t move for anything right now. The warm sun bearing down on them, combining with the warmth exuding from Jogi made Hansi sleepy, yet he would do everything he could to stay awake.

This was the kind of moment he wanted to remember and treasure forever. He focused on the calming rhythm of Jogi’s breathing, the soundtrack to his life. Always there, ever present, always to be relied upon, his ever reliable and predictable Jogi. The only movement Hansi allowed himself was to move his hand up to Jogi’s chest, so that he could not only listen to him breath but feel it as well. If there was anything else going on around them, Hansi wouldn’t have been able to hear it. He only had eyes and ears for his Jogi-Bär.
Trying to stay awake Hansi thought of all the things they could be doing on the beach if they weren’t so content lying here like this. He thought of playing football, barefoot on the warm sand. A friendly game except Jogi didn’t know the meaning of the word, no matter who he was playing with he was always the same, competitive over every last little thing. It would still be fun for Hansi, watching Jogi show off, seeing his hair flying around and if Hansi made him run enough, maybe he would take off his shirt.

He also thought of the water, of whether or not when Jogi woke up he could convince him to go for a swim. Hansi would appreciate cooling off as well but part of him wanted to stay lying on the beach, purely so that he could watch Jogi walk out of the water. How Hansi loved his hair when it was wet. Feeling Jogi starting to stir, Hansi started to think of how he could convince him and more importantly how he could talk him into getting his hair wet. Still not fully awake Jogi looked up at Hansi with a sleepy expression on his face, in this sleepy state he did not at first register the playful look in Hansi’s eyes nor did he have any idea what his little elf-lord was planning. Moving his hand upwards to brush his fringe slightly back as usual, he then let it settle on top of Hansi’s which was still resting where he had left it. Hansi’s free hand went to where Jogi’s had just been, whilst he was thinking about what to say he busied himself with smoothing down Jogi’s hair. Not that it needed fixing in any way, but Hansi never needed a reason to do so and Jogi never had any objection.

Happy and comfortable wrapped in Hansi’s arms, Jogi had no intention of moving at all, not until Hansi had worked his magic that is. Whilst Jogi slowly began to wake up Hansi had hit upon a genius idea as to how to talk Jogi into doing what he wanted.

“How about going for a swim Jogi?”
“I’d rather stay here with you.”
“So if I get up and go swimming then you’ll stay with me there?”
“I suppose, but I’m not getting my hair wet.”
“You’re going to deprive me of that wonderful sight? Of your famous “wet look?” You know even if I hadn’t already fallen in love with you, I would have done so during that game. I had no idea that you could look even more adorable. And to think of all those times I reminded you to wear a jacket, to think of those missed chances.”

Looking at Hansi once more and by now fully awake, Jogi became aware of the game that Hansi was playing and what his intentions were. He had no real objections now to the proposal but he wasn’t going to let Hansi get what he wanted quite so easily, at least that’s what he thought.

“And what’s in it for me Hansi, if I agree to your demands?”
By way of reply Hansi lowered his hand a few inches and just in case Jogi failed to discern his intentions, in a playful tone of voice that matched the look in his eyes from few moments ago, answered: “Trust me Jogi; I’ll make it worth your while.”

With that Jogi couldn’t protest even if he wanted to, even a token display of resistance was beyond him now. Wresting himself free from Hansi’s grasp he got up and began to unbutton his shirt. To his surprise he felt Hansi reach out and with the same hands that just a few moments ago were tempting him into thinking all kinds of thoughts, the kind of thoughts that most definitely could not be acted upon out here on the beach, prevent him from completing the task of removing his shirt.

“I thought you wanted to go swimming, Hansi.”
“I do.”
“So let me take off my shirt. It’s not like you’ve ever had any objections to me doing so before.”
“No I haven’t.”
“Then why are you stopping me?”
“You should leave it on.”
“Why? Tell me, why should I ruin one of my shirts?” You’d better have a good reason for even thinking such a thought, Hans-Dieter.”
“Trust me, I have a good reason.”
“Tell me, your undisputed shirt master can’t wait to find out how his one true apprentice plans to betray him.”
“One word, Jogi, Recife” answered Hansi, smiling in that way that he knew Jogi could never resist.
“You want me to get my shirt wet, just like that day?”
“Very much so. That day was torture, you know that? Seeing how irresistible you looked with your hair slicked back, your shirt soaked through and that unbearably sweet lost look on your face when you realised. And there was worse to come. Watching you change out of that shirt and drying yourself off, your hair flying in every possible direction. In that moment I could think of nothing else and all I wanted to do was to take the towel out of your hands and take over.

Jogi doesn’t say anything in response and from the look on his face, Hansi is unsure if he’s heard a single word he said.
“Are you listening?”
“I’m listening. I heard every word. I was thinking about what you said. About you helping me out of my shirt back then.”
“Does that mean you agree?”
“It does. On one condition.”
Hansi knows what’s coming next. Earlier he’d told Jogi that he couldn’t read his mind which was true. But he knew him well enough that it often seemed like he could. There were many times when Hansi knew what Jogi was going to say before he knew himself, like now.
“Let me guess, you’ll say yes if I agree to us getting new shirts when we get home?”
“How did I know I was going to say that?”
“I know you, Jogi. I know how you think, I know every inch of you by now and I’m happy to say that I mean that literally.”
“How about when we’re done swimming, you can help me out of my shirt like you wanted to back then. Once you’ve done that you can get to know me even better.”
“That was my plan.”
“You don’t make the plans, Hansi. I make the plans, I’m the boss.”
“Not here you’re not; not now. Besides I don’t work for you anymore. And tell me, if you’re the boss then how come I can get you to do anything I want?”
“What makes you think that?”
“This” replies Hansi as he smiles his special elf-lord smile at Jogi, the one that made him fall in love with him, the one that makes him feel like nothing and no-one else exists. The smile which every time he sees it makes him feel like the happiest man alive and makes him so delirious with happiness that he forgets what he’s meant to be doing. Every time it had that effect on him, without fail, no matter how he was feeling before hand, he would feel a thousand times better after it. And now was no different, in this moment Hansi had Jogi at his mercy. He didn’t however take advantage of this and see what else he could get Jogi to agree to. Instead with one hand, he affectionately reached up to Jogi’s fringe, flicking it back in the usual manner. So lost in Hansi’s smile was Jogi that he didn’t do what he usually did, his hand did not follow Hansi’s and do exactly the same thing as was his usual habit.

Still lost in the delirious happiness of Hansi’s smile, Jogi paid no notice to Hansi redoing the buttons of his shirt. It was only when Hansi began the process of unbuttoning his own shirt that Jogi snapped back to his senses. As Hansi had done to him, Jogi prevented him from completing the task at hand.
“No way, Hans-Dieter, if I’m ruining my shirt then you have to ruin yours too.”
“Really Jogi?”
“Yes, you get rainy day Jogi, then I should get rainy day Hansi”
“Ok, Jogi, I do what you do.”
“Just slower is all.”
“What, you think I’m slow? I’ll show you how slow I am.”
Before Jogi can protest or even knows what’s happening Hansi unbuttons his shirt and removes it in one clean sweep.
“Hansi, what are you doing; now I won’t get my rainy day Hansi.”
“You don’t normally have any complaints when I get undressed this fast.”
“Well this time I do. Please put it back on.”
“Seeing as how you asked so nicely, I’ll do so, or would you rather do it for me?”
“Most definitely”

Jogi takes the shirt from Hansi and taking all the care and time you would expect him to, he redresses him. For once he’s happy to be doing so; usually he’s most disappointed at having to redress him, not this time. They’re both dressed and ready now but Jogi shows no inclination to move anywhere. Not even when Hansi takes hold of his hand is he interested in doing so.
“Come on Jogi, it’s just a shirt. You have lots of shirts, more than, well more than anyone else I know.”
But only one Hansi, I know. This is a onetime deal, you know that, right?”
“I do know. After this I’ll put to bed the idea of rainy day Jogi, I promise.”
Jogi smiles at this, taking it in a far more literal way then Hansi intended, not that he has any objections at this particular misunderstanding.
“You can put me to bed anytime you want, Hansi. There’s something I won’t ever argue with.”

Smiling back at him Hansi stays quiet; his only response is to pull Jogi’s hand in the direction of the water. Jogi lets him playfully half drag him there, not really resisting but its fun to make it seem that way. He no longer has any real objections to Hansi’s proposal but as they reach the water’s edge he has one final comment to make on the matter.

“The things I do for you Hans-Dieter.”
“I’ll make it worth your while, don’t you worry.”

Walking into the water Jogi keeps hold of Hansi’s hand, gripping it even tighter when his shirt begins to get wet. Hansi notices and can’t resist making a quip of his own.

“I hope you’d protect me as much as you do your shirts.”
“Hans-Dieter, I’m sacrificing one of those shirts for you. What more proof do you need? You’re worth more than all of my shirts, scarves and stickers combined. There is nothing I would protect more than my beloved Hansi.”
“You take everything so seriously.”
“When it comes to you I do. Like I always say you don’t make jokes about shirts, scarves, stickers or Hansi.”
“Why do I come last in your list?”
“You’re not last; you’re so special you need a list all to yourself. There’s nothing or no-one else in the world special enough to share a list with Hansi.”
“I assure you, you’re special enough to have your own list too.”

Not a word more is said between the two of them. Hansi is happy dreaming of what’s to come later and Jogi is trying his best to do so. Not until they’re almost completely immersed in the water does Jogi speak.

“Here you are, Hansi, your rainy day Jogi.”
“Not quite Löw-man, I haven’t forgotten. You have to get your hair wet too.”
“Elf lord smile or you get nothing, Hansi.”

Hansi complies, smiling at him in that special way which always gets him what he wants. The kind of smile which makes him melt in a way you wouldn’t have thought possible for the ruthless master tactician Hansi knew him to be. Lost once more in Hansi’s smile, Jogi’s complaints of a few moments ago are forgotten. A dreamy expression on his face he lay back in the water, an expression made even dreamier when Hansi came up behind him and ran his fingers through his by now wet hair. With what Hansi’s hands were doing and the pleasant warmth of the water, Jogi is in seventh heaven. Nothing other than Hansi exists right now. Nothing other than his strong and yet gentle hands which these days get him in to as much trouble as they used to get him out of. It was because of said hands that Jogi did not hear a word Hansi was saying.

“I could stay here forever. I could stay anywhere as long as you’re there.”
When Jogi doesn’t reply Hansi continues.
“But I know you don’t want to stay here, even though I’m here. Not for a second more than is necessary.”

Jogi doesn’t reply this time either, leading Hansi to do the one thing he knows will get his attention. He removes his hands from Jogi’s hair. The source of the distraction gone Jogi should be focused once more. However to Hansi’s surprise he remained in his contented state and instead of complaining he did and said nothing, didn’t even search for Hansi’s hands to return them to their rightful place.

“Jogi, I think your hair is plenty wet now.”
This time Hansi gets a response, though not the one he was expecting.
“I’m sure it is, Hansi. But what’s the rush?” asked a very relaxed sounding Jogi.
“Are you serious? All that work to get you out here and now you don’t want to leave?”
“Don’t be so impatient, relax Hansi.”
Laughing incredulously Hansi replies “You’re telling me to relax? You?”
“Yes me, who else would be telling you? There’s no-one else here. Why so impatient anyway?”
“To be perfectly blunt about it, I can’t wait to get you out of that shirt.”
Hansi has Jogi’s full attention now and he couldn’t put his hands back where they were, even if he wanted to. For Jogi turned to face him the second he finished his sentence.
“Well now that you put it like that. Your Prince of Löw is here to serve.”
“If you’re a prince, does that make me the king?”
“I guess so, but only for today. You’re the King of Löw.”
“So you’ll do whatever I command then?”
“Haven’t I done enough already?”
“You have. Except I don’t want you to do anything, in fact I want the exact opposite. You don’t to do anything but be there.”

Putting out a hand for Hansi to take, Jogi replies “I’ll be wherever King Hansi wants me to be. Lead the way.”
His request fulfilled Hansi takes the offered hand and with it firmly in his grasp, he and Jogi walk out of the water. Back on dry land, Hansi stops to enjoy the truly wonderful sight in front of him. A few moments ago Hansi was the one hurrying Jogi along but just this minute he’s in no hurry to go anywhere.

“Why’d you stop, Hansi?”
“I want to enjoy the view. I don’t suppose you’d let me take a picture?”
“What do you need a picture for?”
“It’d be a nice memento.”
“You don’t need mementos, you have me. Besides you have plenty of pictures of me in the album I gave you. Wet look Jogi’s in there.”
“How about lost look Jogi, is he in there too?”
“What are you talking about?”
“That match, when you came back to the bench, you had this adorable lost look on your face when you realised your shirt was wet. I’ve never seen anyone look so sad and lost because they’ve realised it was raining.”
“I wasn’t sad because of the rain. I was sad because of what happened to my shirt.”
“And are you sad now?”
“No, I’m just happy I’m here with you. And I’m not sad about the old one either.”
“Really, why not?”
“Because you liked it. If it makes you happy then I’m happy.”
“Allow me to make you even happier and get you out of that shirt.”
“Go ahead, I’m not stopping you.”
“Not here. Definitely not here” replies Hansi, the glint in his eye leaving no doubt as to the type of thoughts he’s thinking.
“So get our stuff and we’ll leave.”
“You’re giving me orders again. Am I the king in name only?”
“I guess I’ll always be the boss and you’ll always be my assistant.”
“Even when I’m king for the day?”
“Even then. Hansi rules my heart but I give the orders.”
“So you do” replies Hansi as he begins to get their stuff together. Noticing Jogi standing there watching him, he asks “aren’t you going to help?”
“Earlier you said I didn’t need to do anything, that all I need to do is be there. Well, I’m here.”
“Indeed you are my ever literal Löw.”

Jogi true to his word doesn’t do a thing as Hansi works as quickly as he can, his anticipation for what’s to come making him hurry. To his surprise there’s no complaints from Jogi as he quickly bundles up their belongings, none of his typical perfectionism is evident here.

Silence reigns on the short walk back to the hotel, the two of them walking hand in hand, content just to enjoy each other’s company and to think of what’s to come. The silence is only interrupted when it begins to rain.

“Did you plan this, Hansi?”
“No, how could I? Just what do you think I am?”
“A German. A very handsome, delectable and devilishly smart German.”
“Not smart enough for what you’re thinking or devilish enough for that matter. What, do you think I studied the weather reports to deliberately get you wet in the rain?”
“I guess not.”
“Trust me; the only thing I’m plotting is getting you out of that shirt.”
“If you didn’t plan this, then why don’t we have rain jackets?”
“That I will admit to. I didn’t plan this whole thing but I did deliberately not bring those, just on the off chance it did rain. So I could get my rainy day Jogi. Not that it matters, you’re already wet.”
“Did you plan that, what happened at the beach?”
“No, I came up with that just before I told you about it.”
“Ok, Hansi, I believe you.”
“Not that it matters since we’re already wet, but I’m glad we don’t have rain jackets now. As glad as I am that you seem to have forgotten you had one on that rainy day in Recife.”
“I didn’t forget, why does no-one believe me?”
“Because it’s you, it’s so easy to believe that’s true. And if you didn’t forget about it how come you didn’t notice when it went missing?”
“It went missing?”
“Yes, after you took it off you passed it to me, I kept hold of it for a few minutes in case you came to your senses and came back for it. Then I put it to one side, I was thinking about hiding it just in case you did.”
“I thought you said you weren’t that devilish.”
“I’m not; if I was I would have gone through with the idea of hiding it.”
“You may not be that devilish, but I most certainly am, I brought the scarves.”

Hansi’s only reply to this is to start walking a little faster. He was already looking forward to getting back, now he really couldn’t wait. And neither could Jogi who also quickened his pace.

Back in their room Hansi prepared for what he’d been waiting so long to do. He’d been waiting over a year for this moment, for the moment back then he didn’t know was ever actually going to become a reality. This was one of those things that really is worth the wait and will definitely live up to all expectations.

“Take all the time you want, Hansi.”
“I plan to; I’m in no rush now.”
Hansi begins to undo the buttons of Jogi’s shirt, taking as much time as possible. When he’s finally done he helps Jogi out of the shirt, just like he dreamt of doing on that day. The task finished he moves on to drying his hair, a task Hansi could take all day to complete, if only he didn’t know what awaited him afterwards.
“Fun with scarves now, Jogi?”
“Fun with Hansi first, I have to get you out of that wet shirt.”
“And then?”
“Then the scarf lord returns.”

Verbotene Liebe: Jogi & Hansi’s Summer Anniversary Part 1

The first part of the final summer related adventure. And post number 644, perfect, made even better by the fact that it wasn’t deliberate on my part.

Ever since Hansi had returned from the Czech Republic, Jogi had been unable to keep his eyes off him and right now was no exception. Normally Jogi hated lying around waiting for Hansi to wake up. He liked to get out of bed and start the day the moment he woke up. Today was different, not only was he waiting but he was doing so patiently and willingly. The sight of a sleeping Hansi before him helped with that. Jogi may want nothing more than to get the day started and more importantly share his all so special plans but there was nothing like the example of German perfection before him to calm any such impatience.

Jogi had been determined to keep his plans to himself, saying little over the past few days. He was worried if he talked too much he would accidentally say something. In saying nothing he’d said everything. Hansi knew something was on his mind but he had no idea what it was. From Jogi’s questions about what they were doing that summer, his constant checking that Hansi was going to be around the next few weeks, he wrongly thought it was the impending start of the season that was on Jogi’s mind. Thought that Jogi was checking without really asking that Hansi would be around for the first game of the season, since of course the second league started slightly earlier. Never would he have guessed that Jogi was planning a surprise. Such a thing was so out of character as to be almost unimaginable.

Thus Hansi had no idea that Jogi had something special in store for him, not until he woke up to find Jogi watching him. Whenever he woke up to find Jogi watching him as he was now, he knew he had something planned. Hansi recognised all too well the excited look in his eyes, and the equally excited way in which his hand went up to his fringe.

“What do you have planned for me my master planner?”
“How did you know I had something planned?”
“How could I not?”
“But I didn’t say anything.”
“And in saying nothing you told me everything. When I wake up to find you watching over me like that, I know you’ve got something special in store for me.”
“I can never surprise you, Hansi. I don’t like that.”
“You can and do surprise me, Jogi. Rarely a day goes by without you surprising me in some way; it’s just rarely in the way you intend. It’s ironic, I’ll give you that. You who loves to plan just about everything can only surprise me when you don’t plan to.”

Jogi looked crestfallen in his usual special way, the way that Hansi found both adorable and heartbreaking. It was made especially adorable by the fact that he could and did look like that in response to the smallest of things. Things that seemed small but weren’t to him; to him they were as important as any work related decision he ever made. At other times Hansi was unable to stop himself from enjoying a little that kind of look on his face, especially when it was sticker related. It was the contradiction of it that Hansi enjoyed so much, that meant he still found it as funny and as adorable as the first time. Knowing it was about something that really was important here prevented him from deriving any enjoyment from it whatsoever.

“Please don’t look like that, it’s not ruined. I don’t know what you have planned, despite what you think I can’t read your mind.”

Jogi doesn’t answer him, not with words at least. Instead he reaches over to his bedside table and picks up a package that he hands to Hansi, a package which is of course perfectly wrapped. Hansi takes the package from him, he wants to ask what it is but he can tell from the look on his face that he’s not going to get an answer were he to ask. Instead he sets about opening the package under Jogi’s watchful gaze, being careful to do so in line with his high standards. As he removes the paper he waits to see what Jogi will do, to see if he’s going to tell him what the gift is and what it means but all Jogi does is take the paper from him and neatly fold it up. Something which Hansi can’t help but be amused by, Jogi however pays no attention to this, and it’s not because he’s too focused on perfectly folding the paper up. All of his attention is fixed on Hansi and his reaction to the gift; he doesn’t care right now about Hansi finding one more of his quirks amusing.

The front of the album is blank, giving Hansi no clues as to the contents or what Jogi’s intentions are in relation to any plans he has. Opening it, before he can see what the contents are a piece of paper greets him, one of Jogi’s by now familiar lists. Now Jogi looks at him expectantly, this is what he’s been waiting for, for Hansi to read the all important list and to see the picture underneath on the first page.

Scanning the page Hansi sees the flight times listed, but before he reads the rest in more detail he looks up to find Jogi watching him, he clearly cannot wait to tell Hansi what this is all about. Before Hansi can even ask this is exactly what he does and he can only listen in silence as Jogi reels off his plans, as easily as if he had the list in front of him. Explains about going to Stuttgart first and then flying to Brazil, but he gives no explanation as to why they need to spend a whole day in Stuttgart. He lists the times and the dates but provides no explanation as to why those particular dates, not that Hansi needs any reminder of what the last one means. He doesn’t need Jogi or anyone else to remind him it’s the day they returned from Brazil last summer. When Hansi is sure that Jogi is finished reciting the list in front of him he asks his question.

“Why do we have to spend the day in Stuttgart?”
“Look at the first page and you’ll find out.”
Hansi does so, removing the piece of paper to see underneath a picture of him and Jogi from the Ireland game all the way back in 2006.
“This is from our first match, against Ireland.”
“Yes it is.”
“And this is supposed to tell me why we have to spend the day in Stuttgart?”
“It does tell you.”

Attempting to gain himself a little time to think and to work out what Jogi means, Hansi asks about the album.
“What’s in here?”
“Pictures from every match you were by my side for. They’re all there, from the first to the last.”
“What about the Austria match and the Portugal one, are they here too?”
“The Austria one is.”
“But not the Portugal one?”
“I wasn’t there for you to be by my side, that doesn’t count.”
“You made this yourself?”
“No.”
“Someone else chose all these pictures?”
“No, I did that.”
“Then why did you answer no?”
“Because you asked if I made it, and I didn’t, I chose the pictures but I didn’t make the album.”
“There’s my Jogi, direct, honest and literal as can be.”
“What do you mean, “there’s my Jogi”, I never went anywhere.”

Weighing up his reply, Hansi tries to decide if he should attempt to explain or to at least ask him about this. He always likes to explain when Jogi takes something literally or misunderstands something. He never liked to say “it doesn’t matter” or some similar such thing. He would hate for Jogi to feel like it wasn’t important enough for him to understand or that he didn’t care whether he did or not. At the same time he wasn’t sure if it was better to just explain or to wait for Jogi to ask, Hansi knew from experience that going with the latter option may mean waiting a long time. Hansi had told him that it was ok to say you were confused, had reassured him countless times on this point in fact. Still Jogi’s perfectionism ruled or so he thought, and as he often did he would respond with nothing but silence leaving Hansi to pick up the thread of conversation once more.

“Tell me, Jogi, when you misunderstand something, would you rather me say nothing and wait or explain as soon as I realise?”
“I don’t want to talk about this, Hansi.”
“I get that, I do, but I need to know what to do, what’s best, what you prefer.”
“If you think you need to explain, then do so. I won’t be offended.”
“I can do that. I just wish you would say something sometimes, I wish you would just ask. I’ve told you its ok not to get something. I know how much of a perfectionist you are but I can’t help you if I don’t know you need help.”
“It’s not just about me being a perfectionist.”
“Is this about you worrying what other people think?”
“Not really, they think I’m strange anyway probably. It’s more that people get annoyed with you when you ask things like that. They don’t explain or answer your question, they say things like “you should know what I mean” and other such unhelpful things.”
“You don’t have to worry about that with me, I told you its fine to ask.”
“You say that now, you might not be so patient when I’ve asked lots of times. You might end telling me it’s not important, that it doesn’t matter. I don’t want you to get sick of me.”
“That could never happen and I’d never say it wasn’t important, you knowing what I’m saying could never be unimportant to me.”

Sure that he’s done all he can to reassure Jogi, Hansi gets back to looking through the album and flicks through all the pages, looking at the pictures Jogi has chosen. He wasn’t lying, every single game is there; win, loss, or draw. Every moment Hansi wants to remember and even the ones he’d rather forget. Happy, angry, frustrated, each and every last special moment he and Jogi shared.

Getting to the end he sees the pictures from this summer past, the ones that make him so happy and yet sad at the same time. He still can’t believe that he’ll never stand by Jogi’s side again. There’s been several matches since then, matches he’s been at and yet it still doesn’t seem real, the idea that he won’t be there. He reaches the last page and still finds no explanation; nothing to indicate what he’s supposed to take from this, what it is that he’s failed to understand. He knows he’s trying to tell him something but he has no clue as to what. It’s frustrating, normally Jogi is so direct and to the point that his intentions are never in any doubt. Being cryptic like this is not his style at all; not being used to this makes it all the more frustrating for Hansi.

“Jogi, please tell me what it is I’m supposed to have taken from this.”
“Are you pretending not to understand so I’ll feel better about you ruining the surprise?”
“First of all, I didn’t ruin the surprise, and secondly if you don’t want me to know you’ve got something planned then maybe you shouldn’t let me wake up to the sight of you watching over me with that wonderfully devilish grin on your face. And no, I’m not pretending, I really don’t know what it is you’re trying to tell me.”
“You gave me the idea, Hansi, back in February; you gave me the idea then.”
“With the trip to the Schwarzwald Stadion on Valentine’s Day, that’s what you mean?”
“The one and only.”
“So you’ve got something special planned in Stuttgart?”
“I do, but you can’t ask any more about it. I won’t tell you, back then when I asked you why we needed to go there you asked me to trust you. You said: “Trust me, I have my reasons. Trust your elf lord and all will go well.” So now I’m asking you to trust your sticker lord.”
“Ok, I trust you, I won’t ask anymore, I promise.”

Hansi kept to his word and didn’t ask anymore about what Jogi had planned. It was driving him crazy, trying to figure it out but he stuck to his promise. At least Jogi seemed not to notice that he was trying to work it out, so focused was he on getting everything in order for their trip that he paid no mind to such things. In fact Jogi was so focused on picking out shirts to take that Hansi wondered if he even remembered that he wasn’t going to be travelling alone. Hansi got his answer to such musings when he found himself dragged into the bedroom so Jogi could pick his shirts too.

Hansi didn’t know if he should complain about the fact that he was expected to stand here and not express any opinion whilst Jogi rifled through several different possible choices or if he should just enjoy the view in front of him. When Jogi had told him to stand there he’d given him express instructions not to move, instructions which Hansi was thinking of disobeying just this minute and reminding Jogi as he’d done once before that breaking the rules could be fun sometimes. Thus the next time Jogi handed him a shirt instead of just taking the shirt out of his hand, he took hold of his hand as well.

It took a few seconds for Jogi to grasp that Hansi was holding his hand, he’d already began to turn around to get back to the ever growing pile of rejected shirts. When he did, he was in no doubt about what Hansi wanted. He did not however take the bait.

“Not now, Hansi. There’ll be plenty of time for that in Brazil. Who knows maybe it’ll rain and then you can have even more fun.”
“You’re evil sometimes; you know that, now you’ve said that I’m thinking about you all the more.”
“Well, now you know how I felt then. I had to sit next to you for eight years thinking those thoughts and never being able to do anything about it.”
“Eight years? You were thinking of me all that time?”
“I’m not saying anymore about it, not now, not here.”

Jogi was back to being cryptic again, ever since he’d told Hansi he’d been like that, being careful about what he said. It was more than a little disconcerting, Hansi was used to Jogi being direct and speaking his mind. Him being so careful and considered in not just his choice of words but what he said was making this just that little bit stranger. As if the idea of Jogi planning a surprise wasn’t strange enough, now Hansi had this to contend with too.

The next day Hansi was to get his answer, was to get all of his answers in fact. He would soon find out why they needed to spend the day in Stuttgart, what it was Jogi wanted to do there and whether or not Jogi had really been thinking of him all that time. In the meantime, he could not wait to find out all of this. There was nothing more he wanted to do than to ask Jogi why they were spending the day in Stuttgart. He’d asked the moment Jogi woke up and was told to wait. He asked again when they got in the car and got the same answer. It wasn’t until they arrived in Stuttgart that Jogi said another word, then and only then did he tell Hansi why they were there and where they were going. Now he was back to being as blunt as he usually was, but he still wasn’t telling him what he wanted to know most of all.

“We’re going to the stadium, Hansi. That’s why we’re here.”
“For what reason?”
“You don’t get to ask that. I didn’t get to ask you so you don’t get to ask me.”
“All I’ll say is this; you took boots that day in case I needed them. You won’t need boots today.”

The only thing Jogi’s answer told Hansi was that he wasn’t planning on leading him out to the centre circle like he did that day when he asked Jogi the all important question. He should have known better, Jogi was unlikely to give anything away now, not when he’d gone to so much trouble to keep this secret to begin with. And him feeling like the surprise had been ruined no doubt made him all the more determined to keep his final reveal under wraps. Hansi just hoped this really was the final reveal; he was not enjoying Jogi’s attempts at being secretive. Before at times he’d thought him a little too direct and had not only wondered what it would be like if were less so but had actively tried to encourage this. He was no longer keen on such a thing. Now more than ever he appreciated Jogi’s usual directness and could not wait to have him back. If this is what Jogi was like when planning surprises, Hansi sincerely hoped he didn’t make a habit of it.

Arriving at the stadium Jogi continued his silence, saying nothing to Hansi, merely taking hold of his hand as they walked in. When they got to the touchline, Jogi stopped and turned back to the technical area, to the seats where he and Hansi had sat on that night so long ago. Where they’d sat several times since and where they’d never sit again together.

Now he was ready to tell Hansi the reason for being here. Still holding onto his hand, he made sure that they were standing exactly as they had been that night. Hansi stood there mystified as Jogi put his arm in place so that his hand came to rest on his shoulder. Only when he completed this task did he begin to speak.

“A lot of things happened here, I took charge of my first ever game here. I won my first trophy here. I stood with you for the first time here. And I fell in love with you here, Hans-Dieter. Right here, that moment here is when I knew I was meant to be with you and only you. That I’d never love anyone else the way I love you.”
“That’s what you were trying to tell me with the photo from the Ireland game?”
“Yes. At the end of that match was the first time you put your hand on me, the first time you hugged me. That’s when I knew you were the one. I didn’t ask you to be there because I didn’t need to ask, you just knew what to do. You always know what to do and you’re always where I need you to be.”
“All that time, Jogi, and you never said a word.”
“I didn’t know how to or even if I should, but I thought about it a lot. Especially last summer in Brazil, I couldn’t stop thinking about it then.”
“When did you think about telling me in Brazil?”
“During the semi-final mostly, at several points during that match in fact, almost right from the start. When the anthem was being played, I felt you take a deep breath. I don’t know why you did that or what it meant exactly or how I knew what to do. All I know is I felt something during that moment. As if you needed me to reassure you that I was still there, that I would never leave you, afterwards I thought you might have been thinking what I was thinking.”
“And what was that?”
“That whether we won or lost this match the next one would be the last time I stand by your side like this. And that I didn’t want that to be the case.”
“When else during the match were you thinking about telling me?”
“The second goal, when you came out of nowhere and hugged me. I thought about how you might never hug me like that again. I was happy about the goal, about how everything was going, but most of all I was happy seeing how happy you were. Seeing that look of pure joy on your face, feeling you grab hold of me the way you did. It couldn’t have been more perfect. Were you thinking about such things then, Hansi?”
“Why do you ask? Is there something that makes you think I was?”
“There is actually. When I turned to you and asked you “is this really real” your answer was really confusing. It made me think you might know how I felt, which just confused me even more.”
“I don’t remember that, I don’t recall you saying that or my answer. But you do, don’t you?”
“I do. You said “this match is just like you, Joachim; it’s too wonderfully weird and perfect not to be real.”
“I said that?”
“You did. The night after the match I kept playing those words in my head over and over again. I couldn’t stop hearing them, even if I wanted to.”
“So tell me, why that day? What made you wake up and decide that was the day you were going to tell me?”
“I woke up thinking of you, thinking of how I wished you were there. I thought of all the times we’d travelled together and of all the times we’d had breakfast together. And I realised, that wasn’t going to happen anymore, I was never going to see you in the morning like that ever again. I was never going to get to see a sleepy Hansi again, or get to watch you sleep on the bus or the plane. I realised that not only did I need you to be there, but I wanted you to be there.”
“So there was no real reason why you picked that day?”
“Not really, I didn’t pick it. It just happened; I’d been waiting for the right moment, until I found the courage to do it.”
“You get the point that I’m always trying to make then, that you don’t always need a plan. That it’s ok to just “wing it” sometimes?”
“No, I still don’t agree with that. Not having a plan for telling you made that the scariest moment of my life. Having a plan would have helped I think.”
“I don’t want to argue with you, not now, but you’re wrong. Having a plan wouldn’t have helped; it wasn’t because you didn’t have a plan that you were afraid. You were afraid because there was no plan to be had, because this wasn’t something you could prepare for. This is what I’ve been trying to tell you, you can’t prepare for everything. Your lists and schedules and plans can only get you so far.”
“I don’t agree, Hansi. A plan may not have helped that day but it’s because of a plan that we’re sitting here today.”

Hansi couldn’t find a way to argue with that and honestly, he wasn’t trying very hard to. There were times to set Jogi straight and to point out the flaws in his logic; this was not one of them. Here and now Hansi wanted to do nothing more than enjoy the memories they’d created together here.

It was all so perfect coming back here where it all began, in more ways than one for as Jogi had said, this was not just where him and Hansi stood together for the first time but here was where Jogi had taken charge of any team for the first time ever. It was made even more perfect by the fact that this was not only where their time together began but where it ended, at least in terms of matches played on German soil. Here was the last time they had stood together before departing that summer, the friendly against Chile being the last of the preparation matches before the World Cup.

Hansi however was not thinking of that match; was not thinking about any of their matches in fact. Standing here watching Jogi he was picturing all the times Jogi stood here without him, of his time in charge of the team here. Reminiscing about those days amused Hansi, thinking of how Jogi was back then and how different he was now. To think of his complete lack of taste in clothes and how such a thing would not be possible now. He made no attempt to hide the look of amusement on his face whilst he thought over all of this; consequently not even Jogi could fail to notice it.

“What’s so funny, Hansi?”
“I was just thinking about you being in charge here.”
“And that’s funny to you?”
“No, not at all. I was just thinking about the pictures of you I’ve seen from back then. Of your, how shall I put it, your lack of taste in certain things back then. I couldn’t imagine you wearing such things now.”
“Hansi, I love you, I do but…”
“I know, I know, don’t joke about the shirts. I know the Löw rules. I just couldn’t help myself; standing here with you I couldn’t stop myself from picturing you back then. Will you forgive me this one time, seeing as how it is a very special occasion?”
“I will forgive you, but you’ll have to make it up to me in Brazil.”
“I’m sure I’ll have no problem doing that” replied Hansi with a devilish look in his eyes, leaving no doubt that in this instant he was the one who had something special planned, many special things in fact.

Already his mind was coming up with several different ways in which he could make it up to Jogi who for his part was giving the subject some thought as well. A few moments ago he’d been content to stand there reminiscing and observing the smile on Hansi’s face, yet now he could not wait to leave. An impatience which was all too clear in his actions and his words. Tightening his grip on Hansi’s hand and pulling him in the direction he wanted to go, his words contained his customary directness that Hansi was coming to appreciate so much.

“Actually, why wait till we get there? I have a better thought, we’re going to go back to the hotel right this very moment and you can start making it up to me right away.”
“Sounds like a plan, Löw-mann.”
“It’s not a plan, Hans-Dieter. It’s an order.”
“An order, I stand corrected my ever precise Germanic pedant.”

Hansi did as he was told back at the hotel, they may have only spent one night in Stuttgart but in that one night he already went some way to making it up to Jogi for his shirt related joke. Later that night whilst he was lying in bed wrapped in Jogi’s arms, Hansi thought back on their first and last match in Stuttgart. Wondered if back then Jogi dreamed about him, if he thought about him being wrapped in his arms like he was right now. Hansi knew there was no point in obsessing over such things, yet still he could not prevent himself from thinking back to how much fun they could have had back then.

Hansi in trouble – the scarf mistake

“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.

Verbotene Liebe – Summer Memories

This wasn’t the first trip they had taken together, they were used to travelling with each other by now, but it was their first official holiday together. To celebrate the events of the summer and what had followed, not to mention to escape the wet and windy German winter they had decided to go back to Brazil. To spend some time on the beach before the winter break ended and the two of them would resume their usual busy schedules. The time they would spend together on such excursions would be doubly valuable since of course Hansi would no longer spend the majority of his time by Jogi’s side.

Now Hansi could experience the joy and the frustration of watching Jogi pack. It was so far everything he imagined it would be, a task which was entertaining as it was frustrating. Having been forbidden from doing anything else, he found himself relegated to fetching clothes. Jogi it seems had decided he was going to pack for the both of them. This was probably for the best since Hansi knew that anything he packed would be unpacked and refolded by Jogi anyway. As much as he loved Hansi, nothing would come between him and his perfectionism. It also meant that Hansi could do what he loved best, watching Jogi hard at work and not having to worry about not focusing on the task at hand. As a result he could allow the very dreamy thoughts he was thinking right now free reign.

Running his fingers through the perfectly lined up t-shirts Hansi thought back to the navy blue polo shirt that he secretly kept in his bedside drawer. He hadn’t worn it since that day in Brazil, the day after the USA game, nor had he told Jogi that he had it. For that shirt belonged to him, he was probably still looking for it. Hansi hadn’t told him yet of how he had wrongly been given the shirt along with his and how instead of telling him or the person who dropped it off, he had not only decided to keep it but had actually worn it. Wearing the shirt had been wonderful; even though it was freshly laundered Hansi was convinced that traces of Jogi remained so that it was as if he was wrapped up in Jogi.

He felt bad, especially at the airport where he could see Jogi rifling through his bags trying to figure out what had happened to it. But not bad enough to tell him that he was sitting in front of him wearing it, Hansi had wondered if Jogi would notice, with his sharp attention to detail he didn’t miss much. In fact it occurred to Hansi now that of course he had wanted him to notice. Subconsciously he had envisaged Jogi looking over and seeing the shirt, their eyes meeting and sharing a look of recognition. Neither of them would have been able to say or do anything about it, not at that moment in a crowded airport surrounded by everyone, but they both would have known and that would have been enough.

Having chosen and packed t-shirts and shirts, Jogi was now moving on to shorts and trousers. The shorts brought back equally fond memories for Hansi, memories of how he had watched Jogi take his morning run. Hansi had to get up stupidly early to see him, far earlier than he considered necessary, but it had been worth it to make Jogi the first person he saw every morning. Hansi had always kept his distance, made sure that Jogi could and would not see him. He had liked seeing him all by himself, how he was when there was no-one else around. Now they would get to run on the beach together, just the two of them in the early morning sun.

The Perfect Game

The Perfect Game

You’re set to play poker (or Scrabble or something else . . .) with a group of four. Write a story set during this game. Or, describe the ideal match: the players, the relationships — and the hidden rivalries.

I could obviously have written something football themed, but football is usually at least five a side. If they were playing without goalkeepers as you do in some types of games of street football then it could have worked, but I thought I’d stick with the first suggestion of poker, I had a good reason for doing so. Just a few days ago I got a set of playing cards in the post, not just any cards of course but a special collectible set of VfB Stuttgart themed cards from when Jogi Löw was their coach. I was pleased to see that his card was the first to greet me when I opened the box, and less so to find Thomas Schneider next in line. Given that not long ago I got those cards and that Schneider seems to be quite the poker player. I don’t know if he actually plays cards, I’m just going by his behaviour on the touchline and the fact that I can only think of three times I’ve seen him smile or display any kind of facial expression. And one of those times is unconfirmed,  I thought I saw him smile during the Georgia game but when I went back and checked whilst I was making the Löw highlights I couldn’t find it, so who knows. Anyhow, first the playing cards in question and then the story:

Joachim Löw - VfB Stuttgart playing cardThomas Schneider - VfB Stuttgart playing cardHansi had laughed when Jogi told him he was going to play poker with Thomas. He didn’t mean to, not out loud at least but the idea of it was so amusing that Hansi could do nothing to hide his reaction. A reaction which did not go unnoticed by Jogi.

“What’s so funny? Explain yourself, Hans-Dieter” asked a visibly annoyed Jogi.
This only made Hansi laugh even more, for as he said this his hand went up to slightly sweep his fringe back in his usual manner.
“I’m sorry, Jogi, I don’t mean to laugh at you. It’s just the idea of you playing poker with Thomas. This I would like to see.”
“Why, what’s so special about it?”
“Well, he’s got such a poker face and you, well you’re you.”
“I know who I am, who else would I be but myself. What’s your point, what’s that supposed to mean?”
“Let me put it this way, I don’t think poker’s your game.”
“All games are my game, I can be good anything. Just you watch. You said you wanted to see it, so come along. You can watch me play.”
“No, I didn’t really mean, I….”
“I know, you don’t want to come to Thomas’ game.”
“I didn’t say that.”
“You didn’t have to.”

If Hansi refused to go with Jogi to the game, he would be admitting the truth. Something he had no intention of doing. Which was why a few minutes later he found himself sitting across the table from Thomas, trying not to be unnerved by his poker stare. He tried instead to focus on what he’d come to see, on what at any other time could capture his attention completely, Jogi’s mannerisms and other odd little ways. He tried his best to focus on watching Jogi shuffle and reshuffle the cards and could not help but smile to himself whenever his hand went up to his fringe, as it frequently did. Luckily for Hansi, Jogi was so focused on his task that he didn’t see this and thus Hansi could get away with his amusement this time round.

Hansi originally intended to watch them play, but a game of three soon became four. When Jogi dealt Thomas and Andreas in and then asked Hansi if he wanted to play too, before Hansi knew what he was saying he answered in the affirmative. It wasn’t until they were playing for a few minutes that he realised why. That he realised that he felt compelled to beat the replacement. Sitting there thinking whilst Jogi was shuffling the cards, Hansi was thinking how he’d like to see whether or not the replacement could decipher Jogi’s tells. He wanted to see if he’d gotten to know Jogi as well as he did, despite the fact that all the evidence so far proved the opposite to be true. It was something related to this very fact that was driving Hansi in his quest to beat the replacement.

The incident of the missing hug as Hansi had come to call it, an incident which showed that at least at that point the replacement had not learned any of Jogi’s ways at all. Previously Hansi told Jogi that he needed to let this go; that no good would come of obsessing over it. Obviously Hansi could not take his own advice.

Jogi was normally the competitive one, the one who didn’t know the meaning of the words “ a friendly game.” Here Jogi soon found himself outdone in those stakes and a game of four soon became a game of two as it descended into a duel between Hansi and Thomas, with Andreas and Jogi being reduced to hapless spectators.

Their roles were well and truly reversed now, Hansi was not only being the competitive one but he was the one who was failing to pick up on the fact that Jogi was bored and impatient. Usually it was other way around, Jogi was the one who boring him to death about stickers or trading cards or some other such subject Hansi found tedious. At such times Hansi would soon stop listening to what it was Jogi was actually saying and would lose himself in listening to the delightfully odd sing-song tones of his wonderful voice.

Here Jogi had no such distractions to enjoy. He didn’t have Hansi’s equally delightful voice to lose himself in listening to, for he barely said a word and every word he did say was as curt as could be. He also did not have Hansi’s adorable elf-lord smile to enjoy the sight of, nor the sweet look of concentration on his face that was usually present when he was thinking.

Thomas turned out to be as competitive as Hansi was determined and with neither of them willing to back down, the game soon turned into a stalemate. It seemed neither of them was going to walk away from this game a winner. Not until Hansi in a moment of distraction looked over at Jogi and realised something important. He didn’t need to win this game. He’d already won the game that counted most of all and already had the best prize imaginable.

“I fold, I’m out.”
“Giving up already?”
“No, it’s just that I don’t need to win this game. I’ve already won the only game I care about winning.”

Afterwards Jogi asked him what he’d meant, what the other game was that he’d been referring to. It was awkward at first, Hansi wanted to simply say the truth, to say why he’d wanted to beat the replacement so much. Instead he settled for an answer which was suitably cryptic for Jogi to not know exactly what he was referring to, but one which still contained the truth.
“I didn’t need to beat him, not at poker or any other game. I’m the one who gets to come home and hug you every night, that’s all that matters.”

Verbotene Liebe – the aftermath

The fourth and final piece of the puzzle, the Löw adventure which whilst it wasn’t written especially for today, is being posted in honour of today and what it means. It follows on from the very first chapter, it covers what happened after Jogi drove over to Hansi’s.

In the moments following Jogi’s surprise arrival, the two of them stood there in silence, merely gazing into each other’s eyes. Nobody moved, the air was still, silent but for the sound of Jogi breathing. In that moment neither of them needed to say anything and neither of them needed to move. They were not standing right next to each other, Hansi still by the door and Jogi frozen in place just outside. They did not need to be, they had shared the same space for countless hours, at matches and conferences and training sessions. Their closeness was already such that they didn’t need to be close together now.

When movement did occur it was Jogi who made the first move, walking slowly but purposefully towards Hansi. Hansi put out his hand which met Jogi’s chest as he approached, not to stop him but as a reminder of all the times he had done so previously, as a sign that those moments had not gone unnoticed or un-cherished by him. This time he was not stopping him from doing something stupid, this time when Jogi stopped upon feeling Hansi’s hand he reached up and took it and let Hansi lead him into the house.

There were so many things to talk about, so many things that needed to be said, so many questions about so many moments that Hansi wanted to ask. Maybe because there were so many things to say, they ended up saying very little to each other. Neither of them knew where to start. Jogi usually so commanding and decisive was helpless, he may have been the one who phoned Hansi and driven here but he had no clue as to what would happen next. The man who always had a plan, who thought of every possible eventuality had none here. Just as on the pitch when he needed a new idea he turned to Hansi, ever reliable Hansi who always knew what to do and say so that he could figure out what to do next.
Jogi looked up at Hansi who was still standing, having led him to sit on the sofa. Instead of sitting next to him Hansi had remained standing there, one of his hands still holding his and the other caressing his hair. As Jogi looked up at him, Hansi had let go of his hand and started to turn away, suddenly aware that he was still in his pyjamas and intending to go and get dressed. Indecisive he may have been in regards to everything else but here Jogi knew what he wanted, he was not going to let Hansi go anywhere, not just yet. He grabbed hold of his hand, pulling him towards him. Before he knew what was happening Hansi found himself sitting next to Jogi on the sofa, so quickly and without warning had Jogi pulled him over that Hansi was almost sitting on top of him.

Feeling Hansi close to him, Jogi pulled him even closer, so close that he could smell his hair and so that Hansi could rest his head on his shoulder. Jogi loved how sweet Hansi looked right now, in his t-shirt and shorts, his hair still a little messy and the sleep that he hadn’t time to rub out of his eyes yet. He lay back, allowing Hansi to snuggle up to him, the perfect position for him to fall asleep. They remained there like that for a while, not saying anything or doing anything. Jogi was wide awake the whole time; he wanted to remember every moment of this. Hansi still not fully woken up yet and basking in the warmth Jogi provided could not help but drift back into the sleep that he had not long ago woken up from. Every so often he would wake with a start, as if he was unsure whether or not the morning’s events had been a dream or had really happened. Each time he awoke Jogi was there to remind him that it was real and to tighten his grip on his hand. Jogi had no intention of letting Hansi go ever again. The summer may be over but Hansi would be his forever.

Jogi and Klinsi had their summer fairy tale, now Hansi was going to get his very own never ending summer. He may not be his assistant any longer but still he would take his rightful place by Jogi’s side. The only place he ever truly belonged, no other would he dance with. For now and forever more Jogi will dance with Hansi Flick.

Jogi and Hansi’s Summer Fun – The City of Löw

I was saving this idea for the 8th July, the day that marks one year since Germany beat Brazil 7-1 and reached the world cup final. However today’s prompt has tempted me into posting it now. I’ve changed my mind for two reasons, firstly I need a little cheering up after the U21 side crashed out of the Euros last night after losing 5-0 to Portugal. Not that the night was all bad, there was a half-time interview with Hansi and I managed to record it, so I did get to have some fun. Secondly it’s hot enough here right now to be posting a summer themed story such as this. Plus I may have another idea for a story for that day, a rainy day Jogi story.

So far Hansi had spent the day lying around on the beach watching Jogi hard at work whilst he tried to stay awake so as to enjoy the view. With the wonderful sight in front of him and the heat, he had been completely unable and unwilling to move a single inch. He hadn’t moved a single inch since Jogi had asked him to put sun cream on him, a task which Hansi greatly enjoyed. He got an equal amount of enjoyment when Jogi returned the favour. Getting full enjoyment out of the task Hansi had taken as much time as possible in doing so and Jogi had done the same.

Right now Hansi was watching Jogi building sandcastles, not just one but a whole city of them. With the attention he was paying to each one, you’d think he was planning the construction of a real city. Hansi wondered whether or not Jogi had taken into account the fact that he would not be able to preserve his Löw-tropolis, if he hadn’t Hansi did not want to be the one to tell him. It had been most entertaining, seeing the cute look of concentration on his face, seeing how focused he was on the task at hand. After having being hard at work for a while, Jogi had unbuttoned his shirt and seeing this Hansi could not help but think of the fun he could have as a result. Now this was something that was worth moving for, upon noticing he immediately began to make his way over to where Jogi was sitting being careful of course not to disturb any of his masterpieces.

Noticing when Hansi was sitting right next to him, Jogi totally misread his intentions, thinking that he was coming to help him build.
“You want to help me build Hansi?”
“No, Jogi, that’s not what I had in mind.”
“What did you have in mind?”
Putting his hand inside Jogi’s now unbuttoned shirt Hansi replied “take a guess Jogi.”
“Not now Hansi, I have to finish this first.”
“Are you sure about that” replied Hansi as he moved his hand further down.
Tempted by this new line of thought, Jogi reconsidered, his sandcastle city could wait. In fact if he had stickers here right now, he would happily put them away for what Hansi was offering. Excited Jogi may be but he was as cautious as ever, nothing was going to distract him from the all important task of protecting his hair.
“It can wait Hansi, just one thing; I don’t want any sand in my hair. I’m trusting you Hansi.”
“Don’t worry my little master builder, whatever you command.”

With that Hansi pushed Jogi down onto the towel that he had been lying on up until a few moments ago. But not before he removed his shirt and allowing his hand to rest on Jogi’s muscular shoulder, taking his time to trace his fingers down his arm before he took his hand in his.

Afterwards Hansi was feeling lazier than ever and he had no intention whatsoever of moving from where he was lying wrapped in Jogi’s arms. He was hoping that Jogi had no plans to resume his building project and he wondered what he could do to talk him out of such a thing if that was required. When he felt Jogi begin to move underneath him he tried to work out just that. Whilst he was thinking he made it as difficult as possible for Jogi to get out from underneath him.
“Hansi, get up.”
Hansi tried pretending not to hear him at first, pretending that he was still asleep. That ploy was foiled when Jogi moved his hand to where Hansi had put his own not so long ago and when he had done so Hansi had been unable to hide how pleased he was at that.
“Stay here Jogi, we’ll have some more fun. Your castles can wait.”
“That’s not why I want to get up, I’m hungry. I want to get some snacks. Guard my castles whilst I’m gone.”
“I could do that, but what’s in it for me?”
“I’ll make it worth your while. Your master builder will come up with a master plan for his apprentice.”

Reluctantly Hansi agreed and moved so that Jogi could get up. He would however not get to find out what fun Jogi had in mind for him for whilst he was thinking of that dreamy expression on Jogi’s face when he moved his hand into his shirt he fell asleep. Thus when Jogi returned he found his watchman asleep on the job. Thinking of how to get his own back Jogi was at first thinking of an amusing way to wake him up, that was before he came up with a truly masterful plan. Leaving his sandcastle city unfinished he instead embarked on his next project, that of burying Hansi in the sand. Hansi had not moved at all throughout the process making the job far easier than building his city had been. Finishing up Jogi sat back satisfied, now he just had to work out whether or not to wake him up or to wait. Continuing with the devilish line of thought that had led to this plan he came up with an even more mischievous idea. Proceeding with his plan Jogi made a hole in the sand that now surrounded Hansi and slipped his hand inside and let it come to rest square in the centre of his chest, no way would Hansi fail to notice that or resist responding in some way. Sure enough he began to stir and a confused expression appeared on his face as he tried to move his arms towards the source of his pleasure.

“Jogi, what did you do?”
“I buried you Hansi.”
“Why?”
“You fell asleep on the job.”
“On the job, guarding your sandcastles is a job now?”
“You’re my protector Hansi, the castles are an extension of me. So yes, it’s a job. Did I fail to provide sufficient motivation?” asked Jogi enticingly as he further drew Hansi’s attention to where his hand was.
“Let me out of this Jogi and I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
“I think I’ll let you stay there a while longer. I like having you at my mercy.”
“Like that’s any different to normal. You don’t need me to be imprisoned in here for that to be true.”

Verbotene Liebe – Hansi all alone

I wrote this chapter way back on the 22nd December, the day after the last game of the Hinrunde. It wasn’t a good day, they drew 2-2 with H96, throwing away a 2-0 lead in the dying minutes of the game. I can’t help but think how things could have gone differently had that not happened, had they not been so careless at such a crucial moment. I didn’t see the second goal back then, just like I didn’t get to see Petersen’s equaliser in today’s game. An unwanted bit of symmetry there. In a way I’m glad I didn’t see the goal today, it would have been a reminder of what could have been, a false sense of hope. Seeing the score in the corner of the screen was enough. How cruel it can be, to see that 1 sitting tauntingly in the corner as you desperately and furiously pray for just a little bit more extra time.

After drawing that game they spent the Christmas break at the foot of the table, and usually the teams that are bottom of the table at Christmas are relegated come match-day 34. That was only true of one of them this season (last season Nürnberg and Braunschweig were the two bottom teams at Christmas and they were both duly relegated come the end of the season) for Dortmund did not get relegated, they of course rescued their season in enough time to still be able to qualify for at least the Europa League. Freiburg came out ready for a fight after the winter break, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1, but it wasn’t to be enough to save them in the end. I’m so very disappointed for them, for me and for Jogi that this story does not have a happy ending. But a promise is a promise, I said that come the final day of the season I would post it. I know it’s technically a Christmas story, at least it belongs to that set of stories and some people would say that’s bad luck but at this point it doesn’t really matter, the worst has already happened.

This is my 450th post, that should be something to celebrate, being 50 away from 500. I never thought I’d get even close to getting to such a number. I was sure I would quit or get bored just as I do with everything else but it seems this is here to stay. I should be pleased that I’ve reached such a number, but I can’t feel happy about anything right now, it’s just not possible. Every-time I do think a good thought or something good happens, like the great addition I just found for my ticket collection on eBay, it comes back, the reality of today, that crushing feeling of disappointment. Back then I couldn’t say that Freiburg being bottom of the table ruined my Christmas because I’m not really a big fan of Christmas anyway. Just as here I can’t say it’s ruined my summer because I’m not a fan of the summer break either. I just hope it hurts less as the weeks go by, though something tells me that’s not going to be the case.

Having sworn to not wear this shirt again until they are back in the top flight, now I don’t want to take it off. I have lots of Germany shirts to wear instead, but none of them mean what this one does. I think by keeping it on it’s making me feel worse, a constant reminder of the day’s events, but equally taking it off feels wrong knowing that I can’t wear it again. I can’t bear to put it away, not just yet. I don’t think hanging it up near my bed so that’s the last thing I’ll see before going to sleep is going to help any but it’s what I’ve done.  It’s not going to get better is it, reminders or not? Nothing is going to help lift the crushing sense of despair right now.

I need next season’s shirt I already, I need to start saving for it now, so that least I know I’ll be getting one. I need to look down and see that familiar badge there once more.

Anyhow, here’s the story:

Like he had done on so many other occasions Hansi was watching Jogi pack his suitcase, watching as he carefully took each item from its place and then neatly folded and placed them inside. Hansi was not a happy Hansi however, in spite of the fact that he was watching Jogi at work. He was unhappy because he would not be falling asleep safely wrapped in Jogi’s arms, he would not be spending today’s game sitting next to Jogi and he would be the one who tied Jogi’s tie before he went on TV tonight. The only good thing about tonight was that a certain other person would not be there either; he had not been a part of the summer’s events so there was no reason for him to be there. Hansi did not feel at all threatened by him, but he was still glad, he would not have liked the idea of him sitting where he should have been.

Seeing Jogi examine the suit and check it one more time for any imperfections, Hansi thought back to the day it had been delivered and the first time he had tried it on. Hansi had been watching as avidly then as he was now.
He wished he could drive Jogi there, just to maximise the time spent with him but he couldn’t drive there and be back in time for the game. Part of Hansi wished Jogi didn’t have his license back yet, and then he could have driven him to the train station and spent just a little more time with him. He would see him the next morning, yet that was far too long for Hansi. How he would hate saying goodbye, having to let him go.

Hansi’s loneliness continued throughout the day, right through to the match. The one source of happiness was that because Jogi was not here, he could wear his Santa hat. Jogi may not approve, it may not go with his formal attire and he may be the only one wearing one where he was sitting, he did not care. He liked the hat, that was enough for him. The hat was not enough to temper his unhappiness at the empty seat next to him. Throughout the game he kept glancing at it, almost wishing that he had invited someone just so that he would not have to see the empty seat. But he could not have done that, as much as he hated seeing the empty seat, he would have hated it even more to see someone else sitting there. Plus it would have been embarrassing if he had leant over to them, forgetting that it wasn’t Jogi sitting next to him. As he no doubt would have done when Freiburg scored just before half time, his happiness at the goal for Jogi’s home team was reduced somewhat when he thought about how happy Jogi would be if he were here right now. A feeling which multiplied when towards the end of the game Freiburg scored a second. If Jogi were here right now no doubt Hansi would find himself the recipient of a joyful hug. It wasn’t often this season that Freiburg gave reason to celebrate, how typical it would be that on what was shaping up to be a great evening for them Jogi was not here. In the 93rd minute, Hansi found his feelings completely reversed; all of a sudden he was glad that Jogi was not here. Now that he wasn’t Hansi would not have to witness the disappointment on his face as his team threw away what would be only have been their third victory this season. Not anger just that crushed look on his face that Hansi would have been completely helpless to do anything about.

Despite the disappointment of the game, a part of Hansi wished he could stay there at the stadium, since he felt so close to Jogi there. Anything to avoid going back to not only an empty house and worse, an empty bed. Stay he could not if he wanted to see Jogi on TV later that night.

Later that night Hansi settled down in front of the TV, waiting expectantly to see Jogi. He was filled with joy as he saw him on the screen, his hair perfect as always and his new suit looking as perfect as it had the first time Hansi saw it. He would be able to reassure Jogi later that night, since he would no doubt ask how it had looked, that it looked great. His tie perfect despite Hansi not being there to check it. Hansi noted the way his hand kept going to said tie, as if he wanted to take it off and knowing him, replace it with a scarf. He wished he was there to be the one to untie it for him and to unbutton the first few buttons of his shirt. With what was left of the night he tried and failed to occupy himself, he was waiting anxiously for the agreed upon time for the phone call. His mind would not settle then but at least he we would be a little happier hearing Jogi’s voice. The minute hand on his watch would just not move fast enough.

Finally the time was here, the time for their customary phone call. Jogi phoned him, as always, just like the first time so he could start the conversation with those exact same words, “Hansi, ich liebe dich.”
Straight afterwards he asked Hansi about the game, for once this was more important than his suit. He wanted to know how they had managed to throw away the lead they had, Hansi had no answers for him. He hated hearing his voice sound like that, knowing he could do nothing about it. He diverted the conversation quickly to the topic of his suit, telling Jogi before he could get a chance to ask that it looked great. Jogi sounded a little more cheerful at hearing this. Hansi imagined him lying on the bed as he was himself, propped up by pillows, his hand reaching up to his hair every few minutes as always.

How big and empty the bed seemed without Jogi there next to him. Jogi in his hotel room was thinking similar thoughts, he thought about Hansi all alone at home, how he didn’t know what to do with himself, there seemed to be no way to get comfortable, and he didn’t feel right without Hansi in his arms. Sleep was not going to be easy to come by tonight, for either of them. At least Hansi would have Jogi’s pillow to fall asleep holding. It was strange, normally Hansi was the one to be held, but the sweet smell of Jogi’s pillow in his arms would have to suffice. Jogi did not even have that, all night he tossed and turned restlessly. The first thing he would do when he got back would be to take Hansi in his arms, winning trophies was a great feeling, but it or anything else could not come close to holding Hansi, that was truly the greatest and sweetest feeling of all.