"the wrong boy"

by Joshua

i dreamed that i had to have open-heart surgery. We were sitting on a bench in a train station in Munich when i got the news. You were holding my hand and you were dressed in a very Abercrombie and Fitch sort of way. i didn't have a shirt on but no one seemed to mind. After all, i had to have open-heart surgery, so i had more important things to worry about. The guy who told me didn't seem very concerned - i would think that "you have five hours to live" would be a difficult thing for someone to tell another person. i guess i really wouldn't know. Come to think of it, you didn't seem very concerned, either. You hadn't shaved in a few days so when you leaned over and kissed me on the cheek - i could never get you to kiss my lips - i felt more of the scratchiness of your chin than the touch of your lips. Looking back, a lot of your kisses were like that. i remember thinking - what now?

-- What now? i said.

You didn't say anything. You just leaned back a little, your right hand limp between us. You were still wearing her ring - i can't remember how many times i pleaded with you to get rid of the ring, to throw it away, to forget the past, to live with me and love me. i was afraid so i squeezed your hand tightly but all i could feel was the silver of her ring. You had fallen asleep on a bench in a train station in Munich. i looked around me frantically for someone to comfort me because you were asleep and everyone is million times more beautiful when they're asleep. i didn't want to ruin your perfection. But no one else was around in the entire place. Not even the guy who told me i was going to die.

i slowly began to realize my mortality.

i looked at you and cried because i didn't know what else to do.

When people are going to die they try to spend what little time they have left with loved ones or going to Disneyworld or playing catch with their little boy or something. i didn't do any of that. After i was done crying, i got up and left you there, asleep on a bench in a train station in Munich still wearing her ring after all those hours since you had broken up with her and run away with me to a train station in Munich. That's all.

i felt kind of bad just leaving you there because i knew the city so well. But then i remembered that two weeks before you had left me alone in Madrid. If i was strong enough to handle that, certainly you would get along in Munich. After all, you were perfect.

-- He's perfect, i told myself. He'll get along just fine.

And i walked into the English Garden.

It was a summer day, so everyone was out sunbathing, even though it was sort of cloudy and not very hot. i made my way over to the Chinese Tower and had a beer. i never drink, but i figured it didn't much matter now. i found a nice patch of grass by the river and sat down to watch the people around me. Two boys - about fourteen years old - were fooling around with each other. They were wrestling so the adults nearby wouldn't suspect anything. Every now and then, though, i would see one little hand reach over and grasp the other's penis with a little jerk. i could only catch little bits of what they were saying. Every now and then i would hear a dich or the occasional liebe.

i thought i was the only one who saw this but in the bushes next to me a man was masturbating. When he ejaculated some of it flew out and hit one of the boys on the leg. As they were shouting for help from the evil pervert i got up and walked away. The Polizei apparently never noticed the boys' erections.

i thought i would be questioned as a witness but the Polizei just walked right past me. i wondered if i had finally gotten myself to look that german. i had tried for many years to convince people of my german heritage - there were many stigmas against Irishmen ever since Ulysses. My accent had at one time been very distinct, but by now had all but disappeared.

It was refreshing to think that i would finally be accepted as a german for the last three hours of my life.

It was troubling to know that i could live a long life if i could only afford the surgery, but also a little satisfying to know that my life was over.

i didn't know where to go, so i walked to the Frauenkirche. It just seemed like the right place to go. i stopped at the Disney store across the street first and bought a stuffed Cheshire Cat. i had wanted one for many years.

The doors to the church were open and inviting. i walked up the steps and tried to enter but found that i could not bring myself to move any further. i wanted to go in and find peace but my body would no longer respond. A man of the cloth noticed this and came to greet me.

-- Guten Tag, mein Herr! he said.

-- Ja guten Tag, said i.

-- Könnten Sie nicht herein kommen, mein Herr?

-- Nein, leider nicht.

-- Warum nicht denn?

-- Das weiss ich nicht. Ob ich das wüßte, würde ich das vergessen, und dann würde ich gleich dahin gehen.

-- Möchten Sie wirklich nicht herein kommen?

-- Nein, das habe ich nicht gesagt. Als ich gesagt habe, ich möchte dahin gehen, aber ich kann das nicht machen.

-- Schade - es tut mir so leid, said he, and chuckled a bit as if he didn't believe me. This of course was of the utmost importance to me, and it frustrated me a great deal that he was so flippant.

After several minutes and repeated utterances of the words - Also denn? - he shut the doors to the church and i quietly walked away, dejected. i suddenly felt very cold and guilty that i had left you alone in the train station. i ran back to the station as fast as i could.

It was empty, and i had less than an hour left.

i felt stupid. You were perfect and i had left you alone in a strange city. i suddenly felt weak and stupid and sad and lonely and very, very sorry. So i sat down on a bench and cried and waited to die.

They found my body the next morning. They buried me in Dublin, my home, just a few blocks away from where i went to school. You didn't attend my funeral. But that was understandable. After all, you had to have open-heart surgery, so you had more important things to worry about.

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