IN WASTELANDS UNDER RAINS AND SNOWS
Pairing: Juergen Klinsmann/Karl Allgoewer
Time: summer of 1984 – summer of 1989
Disclaimer: Not true
Summary: first feelings, first experiences.
In Wastelands under Rains and Snows
He is twenty. The new World lies before him and he is happy with the changes and is waiting impatiently for the new things to come. Everything is different around him and it is noticeable in every detail – red-white banner on the wall in father’s bakery instead of blue-black, tens of journalists on press-conferences, great stadium on Kanstatter-Strasse – Neckarstadion to which his father brought him for the first time twelve years ago and since then he dreamed about playing there, and now the dream came true.
He is playing for “
“Karl the Great” he is called, and every fan of “
He is surprised a little that Karl noticed him, and he is glad because of it. And nobody thinks their friendship strange. They have something in common, some inner similarities, and it makes them close. Karl now is as close a friend as Guido is – or maybe now Guido is almost as close as Karl.
They both do what they think should be done, but Karl never keeps silent. And he doesn’t want scandals, he’s too young to behave provocatively, but he doesn’t want to obey the orders he thinks unreasonable. The coaches forbid him sprint trainings and he does it in secret, paying by himself – because he doesn’t want to be worse than others in something when he knows that he can be better.
“It’s good that you are trying to be diplomatic”, says Karl, and he thinks that he notices a hint of mocking in his friend’s voice.
He plays football and there is nothing more pleasant for him than being on the field. All fans like the way he celebrates his goals, and his brothers are joking about it sometimes. He himself feels a little embarrassed when he sees it on the screen, but during the game he forgets about everything and he can’t react the other way.
“One would think you have some cups missing in your cupboard”, says Karl, and he doesn’t feel offended. Karl is always straightforward in his words and he says unpleasant things sometimes, but never to offend. Karl is simply honest and says the truth, and he thinks it is more important than insincere praises.
Karl is a wonderful man. He is strange and interesting, and it’s always easy to be with him. He will always support his friends and he will never betray. He remembers his father’s words: “Noble and honest people are rare to meet, and friendship with such persons should be cherished”, and he agrees with that, this is why he values his friendship with Karl so high.
And Karl is handsome.
He is handsome in some strange way, not in usual sense of this word, Karl has nothing to do with the word “usual”. Just handsome and that’s all to it. He is a little surprised that he pays so much attention to the appearance of another man, it’s unexpected to him. And sometimes he sees strange dreams.
He knows that it is wrong because he was told so. But he never believes things he doesn’t understand. And he doesn’t see a reason why he can’t think about Karl this way. He was told that it is bad but for him this isn’t the reason.
He has a girlfriend and he spends time with her, but he’s not going to get married any time soon. And sometimes he thinks about Karl, and maybe Karl even knows about it, Karl always sees many things others don’t notice, but it doesn’t bring any complications to their relationship. It is still easy and good to be together.
He is used to measure time in seasons, and a new year for him begins in summer when he has free time to spend with his parents and then go somewhere else. He goes to
“Don’t try to appear better than you are in training, you won’t get to the main squad this way”, says Karl and he shrugs in return. He wants to play and if he needs to train harder than everyone else for it he’ll be doing just that.
He wonders how Karl is able to score no less goals than any forward, Karl’s free kicks are always precise and hard to parry and every defender in the league knows it. And he resigned himself to the fact that he’ll never have great technical abilities. His main strength is the will to score and his quick reaction, and it is enough for people to start calling him a “star”.
And the dreams keep coming, and he thinks about talking with Karl but he doesn’t want to put any strain on their friendship. And he doesn’t know what he will do if Karl answers “Yes, I want it”. He doesn’t even know if he himself wants it, and when in the dark hotel room Karl suddenly caresses his hair gently his first reaction is fear. They always understand each other without words, and this time he knows that it isn’t a simple touch – it’s an invitation. And he doesn’t know how to react because he is afraid of what is supposed to happen next and he is afraid to offend the man before him.
And Karl is still caressing his hair, and his voice is almost like a whisper.
- You will let me do something you don’t want?
And he knows that if he will answer “yes” Karl won’t respect him anymore. So he takes a step back, and sees how Karl lowers his hand slowly.
They are standing in front of each other in silence and he is trying to understand what he wants, and Karl just stands there and waits, and when he makes a decision he knows that it is the right one.
He lifts his hand, touching Karl’s face, and then they kiss.
- I love you, - he says, and Karl laughs quietly.
- No Jürgen, you don’t.
But he knows that he is telling the truth and he is sure that he will be able to prove it.
Bundesliga is a different World. It is much harder to play and score here. He scores five goals in one match and then is unable to hit the goal for a long time, and it annoys him because he is doing everything he can.
“You are beautiful”, says Karl, and with time he stops feeling uncomfortable when he hears it. From the mirror young man is looking at him, almost a boy, a bit awkward and with ordinary face and he doesn’t understand where is the beauty in him. “Don’t try to see what others see in you, you won’t be able to do that”, says Karl, and he thinks that maybe it is the reason. But it doesn’t matter after all and he simply stops thinking about it.
And then comes summer and the World Cup, and the whole
They are watching the tournament together – he and his friends, people he holds dear, those who belong to his little World, and then they spend their vacation together. And a new season starts and a new race for cups and titles.
Karl always says what he thinks. “It doesn’t help anyone when you are lying” – that’s what he says right in coach’s face, and Egon Coordes can only take it silently because these words are justified. He knows that he won’t ever be able to behave like that, and he respects Karl even more because of it.
He wears his hair long because he likes it this way and wears jeans because it’s comfortable. He loves speaking with fans and hates official parties. He never tries to be better than he is and never opens himself to people he doesn’t know. There are people he loves and trusts, and only they know everything about him. With others he is always polite and friendly and a little bit distant. He knows about his shortcoming – he is inclined to judge people by first impression, but he rarely is wrong so he sees no reason to change. Many people like him and he is glad about it – he doesn’t like to have fights with anyone and doesn’t enter arguments when it isn’t necessary, but he can be hard if it is needed. “Every mother-in-law’s dream” – that’s what journalists call him, but nobody is able to find any information about his private life. He has affairs with girls, and he has Karl, but nobody needs to know about it.
When they are together Karl is different, very careful and tender, and usually prefers to keep silent and listen, and he speaks about everything he thinks important. Karl never gives advices, just allows him to speak about anything and sometimes decisions come by themselves, just because Karl was near.
- I love you, - he says, and Karl shakes his head, smiling.
- Don’t hurry. It’s too early for you to love, don’t try to speed things up. It will come in its own time.
But he knows that someday Karl will believe him.
One more season, match follows the match, only stadiums change, and he scores That Goal, and Uli Höness comes to the locker room to thank him for his honesty, and he only shrugs in reply because he simply did what he thought right. And then the letter from DFB arrives with an invitation to National Team, and he goes there with Guido who is still at his side, and there he meets people he knows from U-21 team, and there is Rudi with whom he instantly feels complete understanding and trust, and soon he is in the squad and he is sure that there are many tournaments and victories before him.
- Jürgen, I don’t want you to live in the same room with Karl. You don’t need such influence.
He looks at Ari Haan as if at madman but doesn’t argue, that’s what Karl is doing. The coach backs down in the end, and the whole story becomes just another anecdote that players tell to each other.
He hears Karl’s voice while walking down the corridor in the evening, and they are speaking loud enough so he can’t help but hear the words.
- You think that I could ever try to hurt him?
- I’m not concerned about him, - Haan’s accent seems to be much more noticeable than always. – I’m thinking about you.
And Karl laughs – strange, joyless laughter.
- Don’t think I'm stupid. I have enough presence of mind not to do such foolish thing.
He doesn’t understand what they are talking about and doesn’t want to listen farther. But it seems that it has something to do with today’s argument, and he can’t get Karl’s sad laughter out of his head.
- I love you, - he says, and Karl just smiles and kisses him in reply.
His first big tournament, and another immediately after, and he is a big star already, there are offers from other countries and club management does everything they can to stop him from leaving. He gives his conditions – they can do nothing but accept after all – and signs a new contract on his own terms. Journalists are looking for interesting stories about his life, newspapers are writing about father’s bakery, about his friends, his blue “Volkswagen” becomes almost a legend, and this all amuses him and scares him at the same time and he tries to shield the ones he loves from the attention of the press.
Matches of National Team become as much of routine as the games for club, and he is already one of the team’s leaders, and when he is playing in tandem with Rudi nobody would envy the other team. He calls Beckenbauer by the name and always says his opinion at the team’s gatherings. And now he can’t imagine himself without the people he meets here just like he can’t imagine himself without his friends in
- I love you, - he says, and Karl smiles, taking his face in his palms.
- You can lie about just anything, people tend to forgive such things. The only thing you will never be forgiven for is if you will say these words without meaning them.
There is no reproach in Karl’s voice and they continue to smile to each other. And he still wants to make Karl believe that he is saying the truth, but he understands that he won’t be able to do it – because he himself doesn’t believe it anymore.
He feels himself good at “
They are standing under the tribunes in Neckarstadion.
- I love you, - he says and this time he knows what he means by it. Karl is the part of his life, one of the most important people for him, and it will always stay the same.
And Karl nods and he knows that Karl understands what he is trying to say and means the same thing when he replies.
- I love you.