Tag Archives: Çağlar Söyüncü

Should is the Root of all Evil

I’ve been waiting to post something until I was sure I had a subject to write about which wasn’t related to real life in any way. I still don’t have that but today I realised I don’t need to keep waiting. It’s possible to write about real life without it getting too depressing. At least today it is. I’m in sort of a good mood and I’m making the most of it. Freiburg won, I got a Jogi video from the game and with ten packets of stickers left to open I’ve completed 87% of this season’s album. Those things may seem pretty trivial but they are very important to me and I’m no longer worrying if I should be thinking of bigger things or if my interests make me a child. I don’t care anymore.

What I should or shouldn’t like is of no importance to me anymore. I’m not so worried about what other people think of me in that way. Sometimes the right pieces come together at the right time to make you see something and that happened to me this week. The research I’ve been doing for my presentation and the psych appointment being the two pieces in question. One of the things I discovered whilst looking things up was the word autism was first used in 1912 and it used to describe a group of patients who seemed to be isolated and uninterested in the world around them. That was long before autism became a proper diagnosis or even a recognised condition but it wasn’t that far off an accurate description. And I know some people won’t like it but it makes sense to me. I understand why some people will be offended by that because it conjures up the image of the stereotype of autistic people who are living within their own little world and who are unable or uninterested in being a part of the world around them. Thing is I do live in my own little world and I’m not keeping that a secret anymore. I’m not making myself spend time with other people just because I think I’ve had too much alone time. I know what makes me happy and what doesn’t. It really should be that simple but I over complicate it. I have to try and stop doing that.

Like I said it makes sense to me and it was reading all of that combined with what the person I saw said which made me realise something. I wish they’d been blunter, at first they went through the usual but there’s no such thing as normal anyway. Then we got to the real point. I don’t seem normal because I’m not. Any effort I put into trying is a waste of time. It’s an unobtainable dream. And that led to another question, do I even want to be normal?

The past few months I certainly thought I did, now I’m not so certain. One thing I did decide is that I was a lot happier before I started worrying about what other people think I should be doing. I’ve been so worried that I won’t or can’t meet their expectations. And I’ve been worried about what’ll happen when they realise that themselves. Yet I was worrying about completely the wrong thing. What I’m really afraid of is them finding out I have no intention of even trying. Because I really don’t want to be normal or to do any of the things everybody thinks I should want. That’s the secret I’m worried will be exposed. Not only that I can’t pretend to be normal but I don’t actually want to.

I know I said this wasn’t going to be depressing, I didn’t lie, this is far less depressing than the last thing I posted. I’m not debating whether or not I have the right to be alive for one thing. Today I haven’t felt like I’m a waste of space who doesn’t even deserve to consume oxygen. I might feel that way tomorrow or even later tonight if I can’t sleep again. But at least I had this one afternoon free of any such worries. To get back to the point there’s a phrase I came across which I feel fits perfectly, it’s how the Navajo Indians refer to people with autism and such disabilities. They call them perpetual children which I think is a really neat way of putting it.  I can’t explain why exactly, I just really like it.

Nothing has changed between now and the last post I wrote, nothing has been fixed or anything like that. There’s still plenty to be put right and I’m no closer to a solution for the main problem than before. The reason I’m not stressing out over it is because I’ve let myself withdraw into my own little world without worrying if I should or not. There’s that word again, should. They’re right, it can be an insidious and unhelpful word. I have to do what I need and right now that’s run as far as possible from reality.

On the subject of reality there is one thing I have to mention, Freiburg’s win against Schalke today means they’re in fifth place in the table. If they finish in fifth place they’ll be playing Europa League football. I don’t want to think about next season because it feels like tempting fate, both in regards to them and myself. As good a mood as I’m in it still makes me uneasy to think that far ahead, to assume I’ll still be alive then I suppose. In regards to Freiburg it’s not missing out on Europe Im worried about, what’s scaring me is the possiblity they will qualify. I’m not sure they’re ready for such a big step. Last time it pretty much broke them and whilst I’d love them whatever happens – whatever division they play in, I’d rather not have to go through the heartbreak of relegation again and what comes with that.

Relegation is one thing, you can always get promoted again after all. But the players, that’s not so simple. I got over the others leaving last time that’s true. This is different though, I’ve watched them become a team together, it would be all the more painful because of that. I guess this specfic worry ties in with what I’ve been writing about. Because by rights there’s no way Freiburg should be in contention for European football. They’ve conceded 55 goals so far this season. To find a team who’s conceded more in fact you’d have to go right to the bottom of the league, HSV have let in 59 and Darmstadt 59. To put things in perspective they were relegated in 2014/15 having scored 36 and conceded 47. They’re going to finish in the top half of the table with a worse goal difference then when they were relegated, having scored only four more goals. I think it’s the contradiction and oddly enough their unpredictable nature which I love so much. Sometimes they just don’t make any sense. I guess they’re a good fit for me in that sense. I mean last week they lost to Darmstadt who are in 18th and got relegated this weekend, and not only did they lose but they did by three goals. And this weekend they’re in a European place. From one extreme to the other.

The reason for their relegation two years ago lay in the fact that season they drew 13 games compared to five this season. They still have defensive issues obviously but they’re working on them, Söyüncü is a large part of the reason they’ve improved so much. The handsome Turk has the intelligence to match those good looks and is something of a monster tackler. There’s one question which requires no thought at least, he is without a doubt my favourite player this season. Not just my favourite new player but my favourite overall. There’s nothing complicated about that at least.  I just wish he could have played today, not least so Schwolow would have someone to celebrate with, a little something like this:

Lowered Expectations

These past few months I’ve had very low expectations of myself and the past few weeks that’s been true more than ever. The logic is simple, keep expectations low so that way I won’t be disappointed when I fail to live up to them. This week all I have to do is write one small letter, I know it’s only Tuesday but I’m already beating myself up for not having gotten it done. All this time thinking about it and I could have just written the damn thing by now. Yet it’s not so easy, not least (and I’m aware this sounds absurd) because I don’t know what to say. Or rather I know what to say I just don’t know how to put it, how to make myself come across politely. I’m used to things making me feel stupid in some way but this is something else, it’s making me feel like words aren’t my friends either. It’s had the effect of not making me want to write anything, though I can’t blame that for not posting anything on here, I haven’t felt particularly motivated in that respect anyway. So unmotivated have I felt on that count I’ve stopped bothering to make excuses to myself as to why I haven’t done so, nor did I make myself promises, saying that I would try the next day.

When it comes to this stupid letter however I have made many excuses and found just as many distractions.  First of all falling back on the usual tried and tested methods such as looking for new Jogi pictures, sorting stickers and then resorting to sorting out the ever growing list of recordings on my hard-drive. The latter provided quite a bit of fun, I’d forgotten about all the Copa America games I’d collected last summer and the fact that it wasn’t all doom and gloom. As for new distractions I’ve spent quite a bit of time dreaming about Freiburg’s Turkish defender Çağlar Söyüncü. In my story I paired him up with Alexander Schwolow as friends simply because that’s how I wanted things to be. And it turns out they have quite the budding friendship in real life, at least on the pitch anyway. It’s one of the things which has cheered me up somewhat this week. I always like getting pictures of my favourite players but these were extra special, and just to make it a little bit more fun I made a GIF too:

caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17 caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-1 caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-2caglar-soyuncu-alexander-schwolow-freiburg-v-koln-2016-17-3I know I’m getting ahead of myself seeing as there’s still fourteen matches to go of this season but I’ve already made up my mind, the name on my home shirt next year is going to be Söyüncü. In one way I suppose that’s a good thing, the idea that I’m thinking ahead, even if it’s only in a football sense. Thinking ahead to next season means a part of me is planning on being around that long. Even if I don’t feel like it’s true evidently another part of me knows better. I can’t say that I’m feeling any better though because that wouldn’t be true at all. The feeling that I’m sleepwalking through everything won’t go away. Even when I’m watching Freiburg play I feel like I’m not quite all there. I start off feeling fine but the longer the game goes on the harder it gets to keep paying attention to it and my mind ends up drifting.

I thought all those feelings might disappear when I got some sleep but in retrospect I don’t think the sleeping tablets helped that much. For one thing without them I’ve fallen back into my old routine of sleeping in the day and being awake at night, and for another I didn’t like the way they made my head feel. They helped me get some sleep and actually at night-time too, problem is I felt sleepy in the day as well, even with just a half dose. But it doesn’t matter in the long run anyway since they could only be a temporary solution. I’m not quite sure where all this leaves me now or what if anyhing to do next. I’m not keen on the idea of going back there again. I’m not sure listening to someone tell me that at least my speech is good, there must be good things about having autism and that I should just do the things which make me happy is going to help. Great, so I’m capable enough in terms of speech and expressing myself to say that I feel like I don’t want to be alive anymore but I can’t articulate why. And of course I have to live with this, with everything not making sense. I can imagine their answer to that too, things like this don’t make sense to anyone and it’s difficult for everyone. I have no idea if that makes any sense, I hope it’s not descending into rant territory anyway because I said I wouldn’t do that today. I’ve aleady exceeded my rant limit by ranting about Leipzig and last week’s events.

Whatever the answer to any of that there’s one thing I know for definite, I can’t do something because someone else thinks it’s a good idea or it’s what I should be doing. If I write something it has to be because I feel like it. Forcing myself to write could end up making me hate it and were that to happen I’d pretty much be left with nothing. Football is a good interest to have right now but it’s nothing without the stories. If I lost the stories I might actually start to feel lonely. I know I feel a little lonely even with them but not quite so much. At least when there’s always at least one character living in my head then I always have someone to talk to. And I don’t have to worry about what time of day it is. People don’t like being woken up at 4:00am unless it’s a real emergency. And apparently having an existential crisis isn’t an emergency, nor is finding a new Jogi video either.

Normally I would say that the week can’t have been strange because everything is always strange. Yet after last weekend’s events I think I can say just that. I’m not sure what result was more surprising, Dortmund losing 2-1 to Darmstadt or RBL losing 3-0 to HSV. The former resulted in the commentator saying that sometimes things happen in football which can’t be explained. The words stuck with me, as did the fact Darmstadt won at all. Surely given their perilous situation they can’t possibly survive, it makes me wonder if there’s a message in that, sometimes even the loser gets to win. As for HSV that was a different kind of incredible, no-one would have predicted them being the team to breach Fortress Leipzig, or doing it in the way they did. It led to me coining the phrase “Holy Hamburger SV Batman.” Which sums up effectively the weirdness of that situation, and just to make it a little more interesting one of the goals was scored by Kyriakos Papadopoulos who spent some time on loan at RBL earlier this season. He was of course on loan from Leverkusen and he scored against them too. It’s exactly the kind of trivia I love. In that sense I’m glad I still care enough to remember such things. The day I stop caring about random facts and trivia is the day I know all is lost.

Bundesliga 2016/17 Album

Of all the things I’ve been looking forward to this season the new sticker album would come close to topping the list and for two simple reasons, Freiburg being back in the top flight and finally getting a sticker of Nils Petersen as a Freiburg player. I’ve waited two years for the latter and it was worth the wait. As luck would have it I got one of his stickers in the first lot of packets I opened from the blisterpack, the shiny version of him too.  In total I got six Freiburg players from the first lot of stickers, including getting Alexander Schwolow in the first page of the album which made me most unhappy. I wanted to get him from a packet and now I feel cheated of that. As well as Nils and Alex I also got who is shaping up to be my favourite player this season, Turkish defender Caglar Söyüncü. And Vincenzo Grifo, Marc-Oliver Kempf and Aleksandar Ignjovski. From the packets however it wasn’t a Freiburg player who was the first of my favourites to appear, that honour goes to Jonas Hector of 1.FC Köln. Now that I don’t mind, he may not be a Freiburg man but I like him a great deal and I was just as happy get Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski.

I do however have one major complaint with the album, just like the Champions League one it has no sticker of Matthias Ginter or Erik Durm, he  was in there last season but isn’t now. It’s one of two reasons why I have no pictures of the Dortmund page. The other reason is the same one there’s no picture of the Bayern page either, with Freiburg being back in the top flight it’s not necessary. They’re in there and instead VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96 suffer the ignomy of having just a sticker for their badge and kits at the back of the album:

20170206_151824 20170206_151647-1 20170206_174353 20170206_174406alexander-schwolow-sc-freiburg-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker jonas-hector-1-fc-koln-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker caglar-soyuncu-sc-freiburg-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker aleksandar-ignjovski-sc-freiburg-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker sc-freiburg-mannschaft-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker marc-oliver-kempf-sc-freiburg-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker robert-lewandowski-bayern-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker nils-petersen-sc-freiburg-shiny-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker vincenzo-grifo-sc-freiburg-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker sc-freiburg-trikots-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker thomas-muller-bayern-2016-17-bundesliga-sticker

Advent Calendar Day 2: The Handsome Turk/The Unsolveable Problem

Finding motivation to write isn’t always easy, tonight unfortunately it’s not a problem. I say unfortunately because my need to write doesn’t come from a good place. It’s not a sudden flash of inspiration or an attempt to work out my feelings and thoughts in a constructive way. I’m writing simply because I don’t know what else to do. There is nothing I can do about this particular issue in real life. I have someone to talk to about it but I’m sick of talking when that’s all I can do. There’s no need to discuss the matter any more. I could certainly do with a protector right now, so in that sense it’s fitting that behind door number two in the Freiburg calendar was Turkish defender Çağlar Söyüncü. He’s quickly become a firm favourite with fans and with me too. I don’t usually take to new people well,  it can take a while to adjust to their presence and that goes for new players and people in real life too. But there is something about him and it’s not just his dashing good looks as the title would suggest. I just called him that before I learnt how to say his name properly and it just stuck. How could it not with pictures like this(courtesy of Freiburg’s twitter page):

cyrp1powqaargtxLike I said it’s not just his good looks, it’s the good impression he quickly made on the pitch. Despite the language barrier he’s become a formidable force in Freiburg’s defence and whilst that still does cause some problems there’s no doubting his commitment. He makes mistakes just like everyone else but he always gives 110% when trying to fix them. In trying to fix his defensive error against Mainz he practically ended up in the back of the net along with the ball. I like that in a person, not only taking responsibility for their own actions but immediately trying to right the wrong. It’s something which seems to be lacking in a lot of people these days. It’s always someone else’s fault, some people seem to have a real problem in admitting they are the source of their own problems. It’s so frustrating dealing with a person who can never ever be wrong and who completely loses it if someone even hints they are.

I know I have trouble accepting criticism and admitting I’m wrong, it’s something I’ve been working on for quite a while. So it makes all the more frustrating when you get accused of being rigid and uncompromising by someone who refuses to deal with their own problems. If it were just the case they found me frustrating and we didn’t get on that would be the end of it. You can’t be liked by everyone and some people just can’t get on, I can accept that. What I can’t accept is the constant criticism and what’s progressed from passive-aggressive sniping to direct insults. Direct in the sense there’s no doubt they are meant for me yet they still don’t have the guts to say them to my face, which only angers me more. If someone has a problem with another person they should deal with it, not act in such a cowardly manner. I know what they’re doing, I’ve been here before. They plan on taunting me until I snap and respond aggressively, thus making me the bad guy. This is a tactic I know well from school. Despite how they’re constantly putting me down and chipping away at me  I’m not going to react, it’s killing me not to but I’m not giving in.

Doing so would make me feel better in the short-term but would do nothing to help the long-term problem. I’ve already let it get to me more than I would like, having spent part of the afternoon ranting about it. That in a sense is giving in, letting the anger take over. But at least it was to someone else, I didn’t respond to any of the provocation at the time. I know it’s not always wise bottling up feelings in this way, except sometimes you don’t have any choice.

I never used to think of what happened earlier this afternoon as a meltdown, I only used to count the more physical occurrences. It wasn’t until I read more about the matter I realised this very much counts too. Of course it does, close to two hours of ranting whilst angrily pacing back and forth, only stopping to punch something when I got frustrated at not being able to get my words out or being interrupted in some way. Times like that it really doesn’t help when people try to talk over me or tell me what they think I mean, it just makes me angrier. But it’s over and done with now. I think not only did it need to happen but I had an inkling it was coming, that it’s been building up over the past few days, I just wasn’t consciously aware of it. I think it may have been the reason I finally made my bed this morning after not having done so for over a month. Maybe I knew I was going to need the comfort of a freshly made bed. Because afterwards I needed to sleep which is what usually happens. Not for the whole day though which would have ruined everything, just a short nap before Bayern’s game. Now after some sleep and having watched the game I feel a little calmer, my routine has been preserved and there’s no reason the rest of the weekend can’t proceed as planned.  Of course what I didn’t foresee was the troublesome person in question once more trying to bait me into reacting. I’m pleased to say I didn’t fall for it, I felt angry and hit myself as a result but that’s all. I’m counting it as a success because it was just one moment, after all I’m writing this instead of ranting furiously about in real life. My head is quiet and I want to keep it that way.

The situation isn’t going away and I don’t have a plan as to how to deal with it yet. I need to find a way to not only resist the temptation to retaliate but also to control my own feelings. Because all that happens when I get angry is I blame myself and get even angrier. If there’s one thing know for certain it’s that I don’t need any help on that front, I can find plenty of things to reproach myself about without any help from someone else. All I know for certain is going on the attack is not an option, more aggression won’t solve anything. With that in mind I have to mention the final and second reason this post was even written at all. The question of who was lurking behind door number two in the Dortmund calendar. A player who no doubt would be the bane of Söyüncü’s existence were they to ever face off, the quick footed Ousmane Dembele who recently scored his first ever goal for Dortmund in the crazy 8-4 win over Legia Warsaw in the Champions League. Just as it’s fitting Söyüncü was today’s Freiburg player so maybe the sane is true of Dembele. Sometimes with players like him they can’t be caught and with their never ending trickiness and pace their opponents understandably get frustrated which leads to them reacting out of anger, and taking them out in a way the rules do not permit. There is always going to be a player who’s faster than you or who you can’t quite catch. How you respond to the situation is up to you. I suppose that’s enough musing for one night, to finish Dembele’s wrapper:

20161202_221303-1

Jogi’s Late Night Phone Call: The Grey Shorts Dream

I haven’t posted anything other than pictures in a while, nothing substantial at all let alone a Löw related adventure. I’m not sure if I can get back into the habit of posting regularly, or if I even want to. In the meantime however I have at least been writing a lot of Löw adventures, though I have no intention of posting most of them online.  This one however I can’t resist posting, I started writing it during the last international break and have only just got around to finishing it. The idea originated from a dream I had in which Jogi was wearing grey shorts and a red pinkish jacket like in the hotel interview in Deutschland: Ein Sömmermarchen. The jacket that is, the shorts are another story altogether and are partly what tickled me enough to write this story to begin with.

The source of my amusement being a picture in a certain German newspaper of Jogi wearing grey shorts. Now if I had seen that picture and then had the dream that still would have been funny but what actually happened is even cooler. I had the dream about him in grey shorts the night before I saw the picture. It was a great dream but annoyingly enough it happened exactly as described in the story – except of course I dreamt about Jogi rather than Hansi, I too woke up without knowing how it ended. I can’t say the same for the dream I had the night before last though. Now that was most definitely  a dream I would have been annoyed to not know the end of. In fact I wonder if that dream had anything to do with why I suddenly decided to finish this story. The dream invovled not only Jogi but Freiburg’s recently acquired Turkish defender Çağlar Söyüncü. I won’t go into details but suffice to say they were in very close quarters. I don’t know why I had that dream or why it was him, I’ve never thought of him that way before but I am now:

caglar-soyuncuJogi’s Late Night Phone Call

Hansi may have been in the middle of a very pleasant dream himself for all he knew but thanks to Jogi he’ll never get to find out. As if Jogi being away for the week isn’t difficult enough, now he’s being woken up by Jogi calling in the middle of the night too. Of all the ways he wants to be woken up by Jogi this isn’t one of them. Though to be honest he’d rather not be woken up by him at all, that’s all Jogi’s thing, not his. At least he hopes it’s Jogi calling anyway, same as he hopes there’s a good reason for this. By that he means a good reason by Jogi’s standards, a Jogi related crisis he can deal with but not a real one. Answering the phone and trying not to sound worried Hansi asks “What do you need, Jogi?”

“Did I wake you?”

“It’s three in the morning, of course you woke me. Is something wrong?”

“No, everything’s perfect.”

Waking up a little Hansi asks “How can that be? How can things be perfect without me there?”

“It’s what I called to tell you about, but first I have to ask you something.”

“You’re not going away, are you?” asks Hansi, sounding as tired as he feels.

Wrapped up in his own excitement Jogi’s completely ignorant of how tired Hansi is and sounding as enthusiastic as Hansi does tired he replies “No, never.”

“Of course you’re not” sighs Hansi, realising there’s no way out this. Propping himself up on the pillows to help him stay awake Hansi continues “What do you need to ask?”

“Tell me what you’re wearing.”

“Jogi, I love you but I’ve got no time for your games, not at three in the morning.”

“It’s not a game; now tell me, what are you wearing?”

Giving in just to make Jogi go away faster Hansi answers “Shorts and a t-shirt.”

“What colour are the shorts?”

“Seriously?”

“Yes.”

“They’re blue.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure. I know what colour my clothes are” replies Hansi, doing his best by this point not to snap at Jogi. Were he more alert he would think of a most perfect way to wind Jogi up, like saying they were Hoffenheim blue, just like the blue his formerly beloved Oliver wears for Freiburg’s arch rivals. It’s a good thing Hansi’s not awake enough to come up with such a thing. Saying that would not be good in two ways, first of all Jogi would not respond well at being teased about Oliver and secondly it would bring his ever pedantic nature to the fore. He’d never be able to resist pointing out that as a goalkeeper Oliver wears green, not blue. And just like always Hansi would forget what they’d even been talking about to begin with. There’s no chance of that here though, Hansi’s too tired to even think of anything else. At least he thinks he is, because when he hears Jogi’s reply it certainly wakes him up a little.

“You were wearing grey ones in the dream.”

Now Hansi is definitely awake, sitting up straight in bed he asks “What dream, Jogi?”

“Ah, so now you’re interested?”

“Yes, tell me about the dream.”

“Sure you’re not too tired?” teases Jogi.

“I’m sure, now shut up and tell me.”

“Which is it, shut up or tell you?”

“Just tell me already, you know you want to.”

Jogi didn’t need any encouragement from Hansi but he did enjoy teasing him, it’s usually Hansi doing so to him, it’s nice to turn the tables every once in a while. Even more when Hansi actually wants to hear what he’s going on about. Jogi however for all his persistence in other areas gives in rather easily here, his own excitement to share his dream overtaking his fun at teasing Hansi. Getting right to the point Jogi explains “I dreamt about you at the beach, you were wearing grey shorts and a red jacket. You weren’t wearing anything underneath the jacket and you were too shy to take it off. So I had to encourage you.”

“I bet you enjoyed that.”

“Yes.”

“Did you succeed?”

“I did, eventually. First I talked you into just unzipping it a little. Once you’d undone the zip halfway down I pointed out you might as well just take it off, and you did.”

“What happened next?”

“No idea, I woke up.”

“Jogi, you cannot do that to me” groans Hansi in complaint. He’d been annoyed about being woken up but now he doesn’t care about that, he just wants to know the rest of the dream. He really hopes Jogi’s just teasing him here and he asks just that, saying “You’re kidding, right?”

“No, I woke up. I don’t know what happened.”

“You need to tell me, you did not just wake me up at three in the morning for nothing.”

“Go back to sleep, have a dream of your own.”

“No, you woke me up, finish the story.”

“Want me to tell you what I think would have happened, what I would have liked to do?”

“Yes, tell me.”

“We could have some fun on the beach; you could take my shirt off too. Then, who knows, maybe the shorts could have disappeared as well.”

“Really, is this a private beach?”

“You were the only person in my dream.”

“Jogi, there could have been a crowd of people there and you wouldn’t have noticed, in real life or a dream. When you get focused on something you want nothing else exists.”

“Nothing but you, Hansi. I only ever have eyes for you.”

“You’re such a liar.”

“No I’m not.”

“You are, when we watch Freiburg play you’ve only got eyes for Nils Petersen. I might as well not exist then.”

“Not true, who’s hand am I holding?”

“Mine, that’s true. But if he were sitting next to you then you’d hold his hand too.”

“Don’t bring Nils into this.”

“Is Jogi getting defensive over his little Freiburger?”

“First of all Nils isn’t little, second of all I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Then how did you mean it?”

“I can’t think of Nils that way, he’s too young.”

“So if he weren’t then you’d happily think of him that way.”

“No, stop being a pedant, Hansi. That’s my job.”

“It’s ok; you can like him if you want. He can be on your list.”

“What list?”

“Some people have a list of people they could sleep with if they were allowed.”

“Do you have a list?”

“No, but I bet I know who’d be on your list.”

“You sure about that?”

“I know the first two names anyway, it would be Petersen and Schwolow, I know it would. They’ve both got blonde hair and blue eyes, and they’re handsome like me.”

Wanting to tease Hansi back Jogi retorts playfully “Are you sure you’re as handsome as they are? Schwolow’s pretty cute you know, I’m not sure you’re as cute as he is.”

Pretending to be offended and doing his best to sound hurt Hansi complains “Hey, that’s not nice.”

“You brought up the list, don’t tell me I can think about other men then act hurt when I do.”

“My shoulders are bigger and stronger than his; he won’t be able to carry you off to bed like I can.”

“Maybe not, but he’s a goalkeeper, Hansi. And you know what they say about goalkeepers.”

“What do they say?”

“They have magic hands.”

“Before you said I did.”

“You do, but not like a goalkeeper does.”

“So he’s on your list then?”

“No, I don’t need a list, I have you.”

“That’s sweet.”

“What about you, who would be on your list?” enquires Jogi, but before he can give Hansi a chance to answer he does so himself, saying “I wonder who you would like; I know your type, tall, dark and handsome, like me.”

“Jogi, you’re so much more than tall, dark and handsome. You could find a lot of men who meet that description, but none of them would have your special brand of strangeness, none of them would be as intense and loveably odd as you are.”

“So you don’t have a list either then?”

“No, I don’t need one either.”

“I couldn’t find anyone like you either, no-one else could be as patient with me as you are.”

“What about my hands, are they magic enough are do you need a goalkeeper as a backup?”

“No, your hands are enough. I wish you and your hands were here now.”

“Don’t you always wish that?”

“Yes, but now more than ever.”

“Go back to sleep, maybe I’ll come to you in a dream.” Thinking back over what Jogi said earlier Hansi realises what he should have done then, the question he should have asked right away. Jogi asked what he’s wearing and he failed to do the same, a mistake which most definitely needs to be corrected. Doing just that Hansi asks “Jogi, what are you wearing?”

“Navy blue shorts.”

“Just the shorts?” asks Hansi pointlessly, knowing full well Jogi says exactly what he means.

“Yes.”

“Oh, I wish you hadn’t said that. Just once I wish you lied to me.”

“I don’t lie to you, I always tell you the truth. It’s one of the things I love most about you, that you never ask me to lie or pretend.”

“I can’t believe I have to get back to sleep with these thoughts in my head, I would say I’d dream about you too but I’m not sure I can get back to sleep.”

“You will, just think of me and you’ll fall asleep eventually.”

“I don’t know, tell me about what you want to dream about. Put some tempting thoughts in my head.”

“I want you to be a big strong Viking who carries me off in his rowboat. A very handsome, rugged Viking with long blonde hair and striking blue eyes, just like you.”

“Vikings now, really? Are we done with the winter solider then?”

“No, I still like him. Actually he’d make a good Viking, wouldn’t he? He’s got the right look anyway.”

“Jogi, it’s gone three in the morning. We’re not discussing the winter soldier.”

“No, we’re not. I told you what I’d like to dream. So go dream it.”

“I really wish you were here next to me.”

“I know, just two more days and you’ll get what you want.”

“It’s too long to wait, I hate being patient.”

“Spend those two days thinking of all the fun we’ll have. Think about it, you’ll be well prepared at least. You know I hate people who aren’t properly prepared for anything.”

“You don’t need to tell me to do that, I’ll be thinking of you anyway. I’m always thinking of you.”

“Go to sleep now, and think of me there. Good night, Hansi.”

“Good night, Jogi. And stay out of trouble.”

Instead of finishing the conversation as he usually does and repeating the ever familiar phrase Jogi changes it slightly, adding a few extra words when he replies “Stay out of trouble, Hansi, for now anyway.”