Disclaimer: Not true
Summary: Missing scene to "Amore Italiano". Holidays in Stuttgart
Small pub on Kanstatter-Strasse is crowded as always. He shakes the snow off his hair, at the same time trying to see something in a half-lit hall. Small orchestra is playing some joyous melody, music, sound of beer glasses and voices are merging into a merry noise.
Rainer Schütterle stands up, raising his glass over his head. He waves his hand, smiling, and makes his way between tables and dancing people to the corner where his friends are sitting. They greet him – loudly and happily. Guido grabs him in a hug as if they haven’t seen each other for a long time, though they meet every month in a National Team. He tries to embrace everyone at once, and they are showering him with questions.
- When did you arrive?
- How long will you stay?
- Is it better in
- Couldn’t you come later?
- How is
- And is there a snow in your
- Which beer will you drink?
- Come with us for a ride tomorrow?
He laughs, not even trying to answer.
- Am I the last to come?
- Almost, - winks Guido. – Everything is ordered already, so you’ll have to eat what you’ll be given.
- Sit down already, - laughs Karl.
Everyone moves a little, and he sits down on the bench. Rainer Zietsch puts a beer glass in front of him, someone throws a ribbon of serpentine over his shoulders. Mistletoes are hanging on the walls, Christmas balls are glittering in the dim light, and hats of the waiters are decorated with tinsels.
Schütterle looks at the company.
- Now if only this damned goalkeeper will come…
- And hit someone over the head for such words, - Eike Immel is standing right behind Rainer’s back. Schütterle tries to hide under the table, but Eike still manages to hit him lightly. Laughter is heard from the nearby tables. It’s close to Christmas, and nobody is able to stay in a bad mood for long.
- So, everyone’s here? To our meeting then! – Karl raises his glass.
- Yes, to our meeting!
- At last gathered you all in the same place!
- Long time no see!
- To the meeting!
Again everyone speaks at the same time, clicks of glass are accompanied with laughter. Günther Schäfer tries to push Guido under the elbow, Guido manages to avoid it but still spills his beer and starts swearing without using any improper words. This is so familiar, so close that he wants to laugh – simply because of joy that is filling him.
He is home.
There are a lot of stories and anecdotes – silly little things that are impossible to tell on the phone. He himself manages to convincingly portray Trapattoni yelling at the players, tell curious stories about everyday life in
- Greetings from Arie Haan!
- Now he finally managed to put you and Karl in different rooms!
- Our coach’s dream came true!
He and Karl almost fall under the table laughing. This story is the main joke in the team for two years already. Old piano player who is known simply as Walter shows his mastery of the instrument.
- To dance! – Guido grabs him by the hand and drags to the dance floor.
They join the other people dancing in front of the orchestra. The musicians are playing another quick rhythmical melody. Fountain of confetti goes off at one of the tables, and everyone applauds. Some people are dancing near their tables, others make their way to the dancing floor. Waiters are moving back at forth, carrying glasses of beer and plates and smiling at the customers. The pair enters the pub, snowflakes are glittering on lady’s hat. They look around, trying to find empty seats, and the company of students near the door makes places for them at their table. Even strangers smile at each other and talk and laugh, and the lights glittering on small Christmas trees makes everyone feel – it’s holidays already.
He falls onto the bench next to Karl, who is sitting at the table for ten minutes already, looking at his friends dancing. Karl nods and pats him on the shoulder.
- Now tell.
- What? – He takes his glass.
- I told everything this morning at home already.
- But I wasn’t there. Still not disappointed in
- I already told you last week…
- And now repeat everything you were telling me all this time, and I’ll watch you.
- I’m not disappointed in
- I don’t have problems with Giovanni himself, but I have problems with his tactics. It’s just nonsense – to play defensive against the last team of the league! Nobody will understand it – not fans, not spectators – nobody!
- Tournaments are not won by attack only.
- But they are not won by defense too! So we’ll be playing null to null draws with everyone, and what will we win this way? People are watching us! Even if we win scudetto this way and the stands will be empty while we are playing, what then?
Karl laughs again.
- You’re thinking for yourself, good for you.
It’s the best compliment one can receive from him.
- Private life?
- Oh well... If you mean just private life – yes, there is, but to marry – no, there isn’t.
- Don’t hurry. Early to marry – early to divorce.
On the dance floor Guido with the unknown girl try to show some dance. Judging by the music it should be czardas, but in reality it looks like something between polka and waltz. But it doesn’t confuse anyone, people are laughing and rewarding the dancers with ovations.
- And in the team?
- There wasn’t till this month.
He smiles at Karl.
- Try to guess?
- Won’t even try. Who?
- Never trusted your taste.
- I’m not looking for the wife after all.
- Good to hear.
Schütterle stops in front of them.
- Why are you two not dancing?
- We’re watching you, - smiles Karl.
- Let’s go!
- Go, dancer, - Karl waves him away. – Amusing sight, these dances of drunken football players.
They look at each other, then at the dance floor, and smile.
- Why Lothar?
- Well, how to explain… - Again he’s unable to hold back the laughter. – In two words – we were drunk.
- Excellent reason, - Karl is always harsh and precise in wording his thoughts.
- You don’t like him.
- Too many complexes and even more ambitions.
- He has enough talent to back up his ambitions.
- I’m not talking about football.
It makes him think. Karl never speaks without thinking, especially if the topic concerns his friends.
- You’re advising me against meddling with him, right?
- You’ve meddled already. Are you two friends?
- No. I’ve told you already, after what happened in summer…
- You’re sleeping with the man you don’t trust.
He shakes his head.
- No, not even sleeping. It’s just sex, nothing more. He’s a good lover, experienced, and he is German after all, it’s easier to spend time with him and Andy than with others.
Karl puts his hand around his shoulders.
- I understand, - and it seems that Karl really understands everything as it is.
- You think I’m making a mistake?
- He’s no worse than any other. Just be careful with him.
The image these words bring to his mind make him laugh.
- He won’t run to the nearest newspaper with the photos after all!
- No, he won’t, - Karl is looking straight at him.
- And I’m not going to fall in love with him.
- Good, - they take their glasses again. – Are you still renting the apartment?
- Yes. I’ll try to find some place to live after the New Year, there wasn’t time before.
- Closer to the lake. There are such landscapes, I don’t know how to tell, it’s… I’ll be living there after I end my career, I swear, I… You have to see it, you’ll visit and I’ll show you, it’s something indescribable…
Karl smiles softly, looking at him. Horst always smiles at him this way…
Eike falls on the opposite bench, moaning.
- They’ll kill me with their dances.
- You should be used to this, you’re the goalkeeper, - laughs Guido, his cheeks red from wine and dancing.
- Look, it’s after already! – Zietsch’s tone is surprised. – Let’s go closer to home?
They all stand up, laughing. Günther takes him by the hand.
- Where are you leaving?
- I should be in
- Then you’re with us tomorrow?
Everyone applauds. They leave the restaurant. There is no wind, and the air is not too cold. Both Rainers start singing “Stille Nacht”, and others join. They are walking down the street – nine young man, holding hands and singing the most famous of Christmas songs. The woman is smiling at them from the window, the man they pass by starts singing softly too. Big snowflakes are falling from the sky, and shop windows are decorated with colorful lights.
Christmas is coming.