One mistake leads to the next and then to the next and at some point, before you realize, you’re up to your neck in shit. So, I sat in the cow patty, pretending it didn’t stink, while I tried to hold my nose shut as good as I could.
I wanted to apologize, but she didn’t accept the apology from me. She never believed I was sorry for anything. She was right. I apologized for most things as a courtesy. But here, in this case, it was different. I sat in front of her again. From the girl with the boyfriend. The girl I loved. The woman with a look melted in fire and the shoulder of ice.
In her eyes laid a sadness that flowed like water through a hole in a rowing boat. I wanted to hold it, but I couldn’t touch it, so I held my breath. Their waters were deep, but I could see life as I sank. The one that floated around in it, would adapt or die would they ever come to light.
“Who has the prettiest, the richest, the best dressed. I hate that attitude, I’m tired of it. I don’t want anyone to show off, on the contrary, I’d like one, that I’m already thinking about getting out of the house with the trash ”
“Yes. I’d rather have a monster waiting for me at home to look forward to than some bimbo I have to show off to all the time.”
“Nice thought, but you’re a liar”
“What betrayed me?”
“Your male ego.”
“Pretty big, isn’t it?”
“What is it, that you really want?” I asked her.
“Someone who respects me as I am”
“With respect, do you mean blissful silence about your mistakes, or that they’re tolerated, or that one might even have to learn to love them?”
“Nothing of the sort. I just want to feel that someone cares about me the way I am.”
“I’m sitting in front of you”
“And we’re not talking about standing in a showcase again?”
“Nothing to do with showing you off”
“Then what is it with me?”
“It’s you… I don’t know.”
“Do you love him?”
“I don’t believe in love,” she said coldly.
“Now it’s you who’s lying. Why do you think you’re so disgusting?”
She filled the glass, and she didn’t look at me, and then she asked, “Can I ask you a question?”
“What do you hope to get out of this?”
“Suddenly on the honest track?”
“You’re blocking again”
I smiled. She got impatient.
“You should get to know someone who hates you, who at least sees who you really are,” she said annoyed.
“You mean like you?”
“If I’m the first one that comes to your mind”
She smiled, hit the idea out of the air with her fingers and said, “but I didn’t mean it like that. You’re hoping for too much with me, you’re not a man, let alone a bad boy.”
“Then what am I then?”
“A wounded boy who thinks he understands the world.”
“Then I’m just like everyone else”
“No, you have no values, everything is like this, and if it’s not, then it’s not.”
“I take the world as it is”
“The world is what you make of it. You’re out to make a joke of it.”
“If there’s nothing of value, doesn’t laughter make it more valuable?”
“Like you don’t care if you’re here or not”
I suppressed what I felt as best I could. I wanted to tell her now, but it wasn’t a moment to confess his feelings; it was a moment to run away, I should be so uncomfortable, but my backside made no decency to give up the place.
“What does this tell you?”
“That this gives you worth. Which doesn’t make you tragic or self-sacrificing, but just pathetically dependent on someone you don’t even know that long”
“It’s true, I’m pathetic, and that sitting here is valuable to me is also true. It may seem pathetic if you don’t think much of yourself…like you do.”
“Do you think you have me now because it’s true that I don’t think much of myself?”
Her voice was angry and louder than before. She interrupted the conversations of the others sitting at the counter. They all left each other for a moment, looked at us and hoped something would happen that you could talk about. I looked into this dry steppe. I lost myself, my brain died of thirst while all our viewers waited for me to dance. I didn’t have much time to decide. I didn’t want to dance, not mime the monkey who throws in rage what he can get his hands on.
I wanted to sit here, even if a monkey that doesn’t dance doesn’t stay in memory. I wanted to stay seated for the moment, that might only be worth her salary plus tip for her, but it was more for me.
“Do you think I see in you the wounded girl in your stories?”
“I let go of the girl, too. You cling and have not evolved.”
“Further develop, further develop, where should I further develop to? You can smear the caterpillar-cocoon-butterfly bullshit on your bread. That’s just what people are told, so they buy beautiful clothes.”
“You’re just negative, and everything in your world is negative. How can you see the positive when you’re someone like you?”
“You’re right. I see no positive”
“God you’re sick”
That hurt me, and I got angry, but I warned her because I was unstoppable when I hated.
“I want to get something right between us: that I am what you make me out to be. Just like I am to everyone what they make off me. If anyone needs a bogeyman, that’s me, I volunteer and if you want to make me a boxing sack, do it, but don’t expect me not to swing back if you hit too hard.”
“You can’t talk normally to me.”
“Yes, because I obviously have to watch what I say. It’s difficult, and I thought it would be easy. There’s so much in the air.”
“From one day to the other, you turned nervous, hardly spoke a word, and blame it on some caution you think you need to have. I have got nerves”
“Because I’m afraid every step I take maybe the last, I can take”
“Then just don’t take any more steps, take it as it is.”
She breathed angrily, came to rest and squeezed me where it hurt:
“You only have today, and I don’t understand why you’re here when it hurts so much. If you want to show off how much you can suffer, then GRATULATION! Shall I give you the average man’s trophy? You always talk so coldly about yourself, but I don’t see it or comprehend it. You’re hurt, little, for justice crying boy who pretends his feelings are fairer than all the others. You’re giving me a bad time.”
“Finally, you said it”
“If you know it yourself, you’re an even bigger idiot than I thought you were.”
“I’m actually an idiot”
Could she stop being right once?
“You’re a coward and I’m right”
“I think that’s the bravest thing I can do.”
I got up and put the cash on the counter and set off for Ätz’s. I ran like the time I’d killed a rabbit in my youth. I didn’t want to be alone. I needed someone to talk to.
I knocked on his door.
Something was stirring behind the door. Ätz opened and he was surprised to see me.
“What are you doing here? Is everything okay?”
I broke up in pieces. In glassy tears dripping on the floor.
He opened the door, I took off my shoes and jacket, while he kept asking me what was going on.
I asked him to let me sit down first, but he insisted on getting an answer, but I wasn’t ready to ready to give him one yet. I sat down in the living room, my eyes buried in my hands, catchin’ the liquid that shot out my eyes. He asked me to finally tell him. When my own whimpering was enough for me, I just said it out loud, „I can’t do this anymore”
“What can’t you do anymore?”
“All of this. This godforsaken life.”
“You can’t just give up now”
“Give up what? The fact that we’re the bad guys and that I was never proud of it?” I paused. I hadn’t noticed, and then it struck me like lightning. “She was right. I’m completely blinded.”
“The cunt doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
“Fuck Ätz. Do you even listen to yourself?”
“Then go to her. Get lost on that girl who won’t let you in, but is trying to control your life”
I pushed him.
He pushed back
I hit him.
My fist landed in his face. He didn’t even twitch.
His first one hit me over the eye.
My skull rang. I lost my bearings.
Then I felt the next hit in my stomach. My upper body tilted forward.
I felt like puking almost instantly.
He struck again. My lights went out.
When I woke up, I was lying in the stairwell. In the mezzanine, one set of stairs down from his apartment. He’d dragged me here. My forehead was bleeding. My jacket was resting on top of me. I felt the salt of my dried tears on my cheek. One of my shoes was sitting next to, the other on the third stair above me. It was all there, money and my keys in my jacket pocket. My phone had a little crack in the front camera, but it still worked. I was still angry, but because it rained outside, the anger quickly vanished. That’s what I had wanted. One final stroke to draw the line.
I didn’t call him for a week to prove it to myself and then another, so she could believe my change. I now condemned him for what he did, but I was not willing to rat him out myself.
Because his actions were wrong, but his motives showed me who he truly was. I can do well all life for the wrong reasons. It doesn’t make me a good person, it just shows the others that I’m doing good. In conclusion, his actions did not make him a bad person either, I thought, it only showed the others that he was doing bad things. For who didn’t matter to them. I knew better. Ätz did it for his family. Besides, he had been my friend.
I didn’t have anyone left, but it wasn’t all lost. Because now I could show her who I was and tell her who I have been. I told her that evening pretty much everything. My story began the day I arrived here and ended with the reason for the fresh cut on my forehead and the disintegration of a friendship.
“And who are you now?” she asked me.
“I’m nobody. But not a nobody with less than nothing, I’m a nobody, a fresh start.”
And she looked at me, maybe saw what she had made of me. She looked over to Ulrich, the blond Nordic waiter who listened in, but acted as if he was doing more than just listening. A glass can only be so damp, and if he didn’t want to make a fire then he rubbed the same vessel for an overly exaggerated length of time.
She saw me, and then she said, “Go.” She didn’t say “go” but she said, “go”. Women don’t need words for that. A cold enough shoulder was enough. It never takes any words.
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