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Nearly Almost Everything

He sits cross-legged on the snowy street drinking his beer, seemingly immune to the frost. He presses his skinny back against the shop window and roars his mantra into the world. “Gimme some loooove, womman, gimme some loooove.” Some passers-by quicken their steps. A punk with a washed out iro is crouching down beside him. “Well dude, need some more bottles for the pawn? I have two bottles left over, what do you say, eh bro?” “Gimme some loooove, womman, gimme some loooove.” he answers. Drips of saliva are flying around. “Okay, I’ll put them in your bag, gotta go now. Come by the park later, dude.” “Gimme some loooove?” With a shake of his head the punk gets up, pushes through his legs and walks away towards the city centre. He is still just sitting on the ground, the beer is empty now, the paper cup that is standing in front of him, too and it slowly grows onto the ground frost. He moves his body rhythmically to the melody in his head. “Gimme some loooove, womman, gimme some loooove.”

“That’s just like you again, sitting fat on the couch the whole day and let the hovel get filthy, stupid slut!” This is dad’s mantra and mother knows, what is going to follow. As every evening, she will try to dodge his blows, but is too drunk. He’s been boozing, too, but he can still beat, especially his wife. And that’s what he’s doing now, with devotion/commitment. In the adjacent room the filius is crouching, having a black eye himself because he brought bad grades back home. He doesn’t hear what mother shrieks, since he is pressing the headphones of his Walkman tight to his ear. “Gimme some loooove, womman…” someone sings, he doesn’t have a clue who’s tune it is. He has fished the tape from a schoolmate’s bag, as he was cutting sports class. The others will go on a class trip tomorrow. Sports week. But his father decided that the idea that he could go, he should directly shove it where the sun doesn’t shine. And then it rained bruises/there was a hail storm of bruises. He  presses the repeat button and within the short time while the tape is rewinding he is hearing sobbing howling. “Gimme some loooove, womman, gimme some loooove.” he mumbles. He presses his back against the greasy children’s bed and absolutely doesn’t understand the rest of the text.

“Dude, what’s this for an asshole?!” a voice is revolting. Legs come into his view, he sees trainers and blue jeans. “What a fucking jerk, screams at people and upsets them, is he daft?!” the voice continues agitating further and is pitchpoling pubertal. “Asshole!” it hisses and the trainers kick him out of his cross-legged seat. He just tips over to the side, rising a hand hesitantly. “Gimme some loooove, womman?” “Dude, I’ll give you something else!” the trainers bark at him and the sneakers beside them giggle. The shoes start a dance on his body, kicking into his stomach, kicking his head, kicking into his intestines. “You bloody tramp!” the sneakers are laughing and are aiming for his mouth. He spits blood and teeth. A bottle is crashing on his skull.

“Do you know what I really like about you?” she asks him, after he softly asked her out. “I don’t know.” he murmurs timidly and blushes. “I don’t know either.” she fancies and prances away with her friends cackling. He twitches like a beaten dog. He looks around embarrassed and has the feeling the whole school yard is pointing a finger at him. Defeated he is scuffling off the field, never conqueror, never hero, and he swears to himself never to talk to girls again. He closes himself into the toilette cabinet. Puts the Walkman over his ears. “Gimme some loooove, womman, gimme some loooove!” it echoes from his headphones. He pulls glue and a tattered plastic bag out of his pocket. Inhales until he nearly gets unconscious.

“Shit, I think the asshole is done”, the trainers say and kick again, just to be sure. “Fuck, dude, leave it be, I can’t be arsed anymore!” the sneakers are whining. Suddenly blue lights flicker over them. Hurriedly they run away. A little later a cop is bending over the motionless body. “I don’t think we need an ambulance for him any more.” he assesses dryly.

“I love you” she whispers gently into his ear, as he is stroking the soft skin of her neck. “I really love you,” she repeats and looks him deep into his eyes. “But I have to tell you something.” He looks back, into these blue eyes and sinks into her sight. “I have applied for the art study in Berlin, and they took me. After the summer holidays I will move to Berlin.” He promptly wakes from his trance. “I think, we will not see each other that often any more, since the study is very exhausting and besides, you have a job here, and I don’t think that you will come to Berlin, too, do you?” The last sentence is not a question. He totally gets that. “Of course we’re going to write and besides, you can visit me from time to time, but I really don’t think it makes sense for us to stay together. Do you know what I mean?” This is a question. He knows the answer. He nods his head. “I have recorded our song, you know, the one you played for me as we have kissed the first time. There is just this tune on the tape, so as you don’t need to rewind all the time. I really love you, please don’t forget me!”

“Did you hear the rastaman has gotten it very bad recently, kicked him out.” a girl is telling the punk a few days later. “Shit, really?” he asks and narrows his eyes angrily. “These wankers, it’s the third time this year they killed someone.” “Yes, it was in yesterdays newspaper, too.” says the lass, squeezing his shoulder pityingly. “Allegedly he was only 33, can you believe that? I always thought he is older. Anyway they wrote in the paper that the city is increasing patrols again.” The punk just spits on the ground angrily. “Did you know, he once gave me a tape? He said it would help when it gets really dark. I don’t know what’s on it, don’t have nothing to play it.” He pours some of his beer on the ground. “There you go, buddy, that one’s for you!” he grumbles tiredly. “I think my mother has a tape deck at home, I could bring it, if you want. Then you can listen in, seems to have meant very much to him.” “Nearly almost everything”, the punk mumbles sadly “Nearly almost everything.”

© sybille lengauer, translation by Giovanna Letizia