MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR
Fandom: German National team
Disclaimer: I still don't know people mentioned in this story and I still hope it isn't true. The plot is still only my fantasy
Summary: Christmas preparations. Markus Loew's POV.
Author's notes, previous chapters and music here
Timeline for the series is here
Most Wonderful Time of the Year
I overhear him talking on the phone.
‘I love you’, he says, and there is a reverence in his voice, a depth of feeling that is impossible to describe and hard to even imagine. For a second I feel as I’m overhearing the most secret, most profound prayer, something that is not situated and never was intended for profane ears like mine.
At this moment I almost envy him, and almost envy Daniela, because they were able, they managed to keep all their feelings and never let them fade, and he’s still telling her that he loves her as he was doing when they were just getting married. Though even then it wasn’t like this…
They are lucky to love each other like that. And, romantic that I am, I’m awed, and ashamed at the same time too because I’ve allowed some of my feelings to be replaced by a habit, and… And when I see how real, how true the feelings are it almost makes me feel inadequate in comparison…
And I still haven’t bought this book of Maugham’s novels…
“Markus?” Jogi’s voice breaks me out of my thoughts, and I send him a smile and follow him to the crowded streets.
I still don’t understand how our mom managed to tip over the Christmas tree in the living room, but after this disaster the whole day was spent sweeping out the shards of glass from the carpet and armchairs, and there was not a single one piece of decoration left unbroken. It was Jogi who was consoling her because she was so upset that I’ve feared she’ll have a heart attack, and it was Jogi who suggested that we both go and get another set of balls and angels and candysticks and make it better than it was.
So we’re out, in the middle of the crowded town where everyone seems to be in a Christmas rush, getting presents and trees and decorations. Hundreds of people with colorful bags, smiling and talking cheerfully.
Big Santa Claus at the crossroad greets everyone and wishes all passerbys happy holidays, making children laugh.
We are walking side by side, and Jogi is hiding his hands in his pockets and smiles at the shop-windows. He looks happy and… carefree. The third important person in the whole
It’s one of the moments you want to stop and keep forever. I don’t remember when I’ve seen him like this, and I don’t remember when was the last time we were out for a walk to buy Christmas stuff together.
“I love holidays”, he says and laughs.
“What are you going to give to Daniela?”
“I… Ohh… Haven’t thought about it yet. Haven’t asked her even what she wants to get for Christmas, and now every question about gifts will look suspicious…” He laughs again, covering his eyes with his hands. “Oh Markus, have you ever seen a fool like your brother?”
“A couple of times. Watching kangaroos in the Zoo”, this one almost earns me a hit over the head, but I’m quick enough to duck – no wonder, after so many years of practice. It’s our running joke since I was six and they’ve taken me to the Zoo for the first time. These kangaroos erratically jumping all over the place still is probably the most funny thing I’ve ever seen.
But Jogi looks really embarrassed.
“I was too concerned about Tim’s problems to think about anything else”, he adds as if trying to justify himself before me.
“Tim?” I think it’s better we drop this other line of conversation for now.
“Borowski”, he smiles wryly. “All work and no private life, you know”.
It’s strange that they’re still selling Advent Calendars though there’s not much left of Advent now. There should be some logic behind it. Some very, very reasonable logic, and the fact that I fail to see it probably means that this logic is obvious and… well, logical.
“And I haven’t even called Daniela today”, adds my brother as if an afterthought.
I nod and point to the right, there’s a big… No, enormously huge mistletoe hanging over one of the small shops. Joachim looks and starts laughing.
Something in the words he’s just said rubs me the wrong way but I don’t understand why or what it is.
“Just a moment”, I ask him, pointing to the bookstore just around the corner and he obediently walks inside with me. Little Christmas tree before the entrance is glowing with colorful lights. The long rows of shelves are filled with books, books and more books, and it’s peaceful in here like in every bookshop or library, peaceful and quiet, with a hint of miracle being somewhere close… Maybe behind one of these shelves.
Jogi observes a heavy emerald-green volume in my hand.
“For your significant one?”
“Politically correct as always, Herr Bundestrainer?”
“It’s part of my job description”, laughs he and takes to steps to the side, as if to avoid the smack should I want to give one to him.
I adore my brother.
We walk along the brightly-lit shop-windows, and he is smiling so much, making fun of everything he sees, and I can’t help but smile too…
He’s said ‘I love you’, but he said he hasn’t…
I suddenly realize what it was that bothered me. If he hasn’t spoken to his wife today… Who was he… Does it mean…
He grabs me by the hand and drags me to the little shop where the piles of Christmas balls are lying in big baskets as if they were apples, and everything is sparkling and shining, and a young woman in silver hat helps the young couple to choose mistletoes.
“Blue or red or pink?” I ask.
“Red and silver”, answers Jogi in a tone that clearly says he won’t bear any argument, and laughs at my expression, and next moment he’s already at the basket with big silver balls, choosing.
Does at mean that he…