The Final Game

They’d finally done it; the trophy sitting next to Jogi on the floor is really theirs. The winner’s medal hanging around his neck is real; it’s no dream this time. And neither is the wonderful sight of Hansi lying asleep before his eyes. Here on this night everything Jogi could ever have dreamed of is no longer a dream. But only one of these things belongs to him, only one of them is really real. For Hansi may be lying here before him, all stretched out and fast asleep. And he may be sitting here by his side, just inches away from him. Yet he can’t do what he wants to do, he can’t reach out and take Hansi’s hand in his.

How perfect it would be, to lie down next to Hansi, to allow him to wake up wrapped in his arms. Were he to do so Jogi was sure it would be the best feeling in the world. Better and sweeter than anything, even better than winning the all important trophy that’s now in their possession. Instead Jogi sits and keeps watch over Hansi, dreaming of what he’d like to be doing.

Their final summer together is coming to an end. This trip will be the last trip they ever take together. The journey home will be the last time Jogi gets to revel in watching a sleeping Hansi on the plane. Sitting here Jogi didn’t want the summer to end. He wanted to stay here forever, with Hansi and the trophy next to him. He didn’t want to let Hansi go. The trophy he didn’t care about so much, you can always win other trophies. But there’s only one Hansi and he can’t imagine feeling this way about anyone else. Can’t imagine dreaming about anyone else the way he does Hansi. Replacing him is going to be simply impossible. Who could ever learn the ways of Jogi as quickly as Hansi did?

The day Hansi asked him if could take the new job Jogi surprised himself with his answer. Upon hearing Hansi’s request his immediate reaction was no, absolutely not. He didn’t want anything to change, not unless it absolutely had to. And the thought of Hansi not being by his side was simply unbearable. Despite all of this Jogi found himself saying yes. It made no sense to him, not until now. He thought at the time because he said yes, it meant he didn’t love Hansi as much as he’d thought. It was only now he understood it was precisely because of how much he loved him that he said yes. That Hansi being happy is more important to him than anything else ever could be, even if that means him no longer being where he needs him to be. All summer Jogi thought about telling Hansi, he realised he had to tell him. If he didn’t Hansi would never be by his side again in any sense. But as the weeks crept past, as the preparations for their departure continued, still Jogi said nothing.

Before he knew it the tournament began and still he kept his feelings to himself. And now it was over. The trophy was won and at the next game they played Hansi would be saying his goodbyes. Jogi wrongly thought that saying yes to Hansi leaving would force him to say something, to finally tell him just how he felt. So far he’d been proved wrong on this count and it seemed it would cost him dearly.

It seemed as if this would be the closest Jogi would ever get to Hansi. That helping him up to his room after he’d celebrated far too much and putting him to bed was the only way he’d ever get to be so close to him. Putting his hand as close to Hansi’s as he dared, Jogi tried to tell a still sleeping Hansi just how he felt about him.

“I’m sorry I let you go Hansi. That I never told you how I felt. I guess it’s too late now. I thought I could do it, I was sure I could. I never thought I’d be saying goodbye to you. You’re Hansi, you’re always there when I turn around. No matter where we are in the world, you’re always there. Who am I going to hug now?”

Getting up from the floor Jogi picked up the trophy. He was about to turn to leave when he noticed Hansi’s medal is still round his neck. There was obviously no way he could leave it there. Here Jogi was presented with a perfect excuse to be close to Hansi and yet he’s reluctant to take it. Even though he knew he had to. At least he had an excuse in case Hansi woke up. Knowing this made Jogi no less terrified.

Before going over to Hansi, Jogi carefully put the trophy back on the floor. For a minute he stands there, watching Hansi just like earlier. He knows what he has to do; it’s just a case of talking himself into it. It’s not laying a hand on Hansi that he’s afraid of, it’s the opposite. He’s afraid he’ll never want to let go.

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