Last chapter of the English translation of the short story about Ricu I’ve already published in German. The previous chapter can be found here.
Translation was done with DeepL translator, followed by revision on my own.
After ecstasy followed exhaustion. And it was not the pleasant feeling he usually experienced after an orgasm. He felt cold, the world seemed like swaying, even though he was lying on his back. Another kiss he felt, on his neck. Hands kept running over his body, tenderly. But then the other let go of him, as he lay there, feeling he lacked the strength to stir. And from the other side of the bed, he pulled the blanket over to him, carefully spreading it over his body.
Further, he remained next to Ricu, being still dressed as he was, which now, right next to the bedding, seemed even more inappropriate than before. Somewhat dazed, but grateful for the kind gesture, Ricu at least leaned his head against him.
Very slowly, what had happened began to piece itself together before his eyes as he lay quietly like that, feeling a hand caressing his cheek. Did the hand feel warmer than before? Or was it he himself whose body had grown cold over the time he had now been naked, in the bathroom, on the floor, here in bed?
“ Say, did… you just bite me?“, Ricu finally murmured, opening his eyes with some effort, trying to look up at him. A smile, slightly devious, was the only response.
„Oh, boy,“ Ricu groaned. But even speaking cost him strength, which he felt he didn’t have much of right now. „You really are a weird sort of, you know that?“
The other laughed. He didn’t answer though. Instead, he stroked Ricus hair briefly, and set about getting up. Began to put on his shoes, took his jacket from the chair.
„I’ll pay for the room over the rest of the week,“ he remarked. „If you do wish for some unsolicited advice, make sure you get your affairs in order by then. There won’t be any more bonuses on my part.“
Despite the fatigue with which his body responded to the exertion, Ricu once again struggled to sit up. Once again irritated by the unpredictable behavior the other displayed.
„Thank you,“ was all he said at first. From the door, his counterpart nodded to him. And was already reaching for the handle.
Ricu almost expected him to ignore it; for a moment it seemed like that. But then he did pause, and at least turned his head toward him.
„Could… you stay a moment, please? Just a couple of minutes.“
Don’t leave me alone, please!, it ran through his head at the same time. But saying it like that, he guessed, would earn him nothing but one of the typical contemptuous remarks the other was so well versed in. And he would hardly have been able to bear it, now, at this very moment.
His counterpart visibly hesitated. Then he raised his eyebrows, and put his jacket back on the chair. The shoes, however, he kept on as he pushed Ricu aside a bit, lying backwards next to him on the mattress.
He didn’t bother with him any further, merely doing what Ricu had asked him to: stay. It was Ricu who sought his closeness, nestling against him. Leaning his head against him, actually enjoying this: not having to be alone. Being able to touch someone. Even if it was someone who had asked him to do something today that he might be ashamed of for the rest of his life. Even if it was only for some more minutes. Being alone would have been worse.
„I will never see you again, will I?“ Ricu asked at some point into the silence.
His words remained quiet. Such as it was here at all, between them, at this moment: quiet. But to the other’s cool demeanor, even that seemed to make little difference.
„That’s the whole point,“ he replied tersely. Ricu nodded. And remained silent.
„Your cell phone is working again,“ it was now the other who addressed him again. Ricu nodded.
„I turned it off, just so you wouldn’t be surprised.“
Now somewhat irritated again, Ricu looked up at him. And rolled his eyes a tiny bit, accompanied by an equally slight shake of his head, about the certain encroachment that lay within.
„You’re really into not blackmailing yourself, aren’t you?“
„I’m very much into not allowing myself to be blackmailed.“
This time Ricu merely puffed.
„So, do you resent me?“ he then asked, but this time without looking at him, again nestled against his chest. „For not buying exactly what you told me to buy?“
„On the contrary. You took your little bit of freedom and used it to improve your options, long term. All of which confirms that letting you have it wasn’t a mere waste.“
Again, Ricu looked up at the other at that comment. He had to shake his head a little at that again now.
„I reached my grandmother,“ he now declared. And in doing so, cast a cautious glance up at the other before he would once again expound on how little he cared.
“ So?“ he asked instead now, when Ricu did not continue to speak, downright impatiently.
„She’s going to help me,“ he explained, now somewhat reluctantly after all, because he felt he had to tell instead of merely being allowed to. „She will send me money, and with an acquaintance of hers I might be able to get an education. If he agrees, I might even get a room nearby.“
The other nodded. Momentarily silent.
„Still, none of this sounds happy,“ he then stated.
„Though I should be grateful?“
Again Ricu gasped. Bitterly, this time.
„Believe it or not, I am. She’s not rich, you know. And strictly speaking, she wouldn’t have to help me at all.“
„But it’s still not good enough for you, and that makes you a really naughty boy.“
Ricu shook his head. Not in response, though. But simply judgmental, about it all.
„I had imagined my life to be… different, you know?“ he explained. „I was going to go on to school, get the next degree. And after that, I don’t know, something with art maybe. Or music. Not becoming a car mechanic, amongst some macho guys.“
„Well, at least you’d get some body muscle, you could really still use it.“
Once again, there was such a deprecating look that accompanied his words. And now, at least, Ricu had to smile a little at that. Though he found he could have kept on being annoyed by it.
“ Encouraging someone is really out of the question for you, isn’t it?“
The other raised his eyebrows.
„What am I going to lie to you from heaven about having all the ways open to you?“ he retorted. „You’ve now had a chance to see with your own eyes how the world works, from the only true perspective: way down below. If you’re dying for some advice from an old man, I’ve got this one for you: You’ve gotten the precious opportunity to see what people are like, in the last few weeks. Remember that, and remember it well. You‘ ll always only find out what people are like at the very moment when they can make decisions, behave as they please. That’s exactly what you have experienced more of in the last few weeks than others have in half their lives. I can only advise you, even if your position in the grand scheme of things might now improve: make sure you don’t forget that. For what you have seen of people in these last weeks, my dear Maurice, is the truth.“
Unwillingly, but also startled, Ricu jerked up at this last sentence.
„How did you…“ he said. But then lowered his head.
„My wallet,“ he concluded.
„In the nightstand drawer, right next to your phone. You couldn’t get much more careless than that, almost.“
Ricu rolled his eyes. Once again, because he probably had to admit that the other was right here.
„My parents shouldn’t be the ones to decide what my name is for the rest of my life,“ he merely commented. But then decided that he didn’t feel like talking anymore. And now snuggled back against the other. He felt an arm wrapping around him, and once again found himself safe and secure in this little touch of tenderness. Even if he knew that this would be over really soon. Maybe also: because he knew that this, between them, at that point, had nothing more to do with commitments that might come.
„You’ve been nicer to me than you wanted to be, haven’t you?“ asked Ricu again, though.
The other shrugged his shoulders.
„And what was agreed upon was really only one night, not a week.“
Now the answer was again a contemptuous snort.
„I stole away your first time,“ commented the man who continued to lie next to him. „I think that can be worth something, don’t you?“
Ricu lowered his head.
„I had a taste with girls once,“ he replied, but quietly and almost humbly. „But yeah, kind of…“
He fell silent.
„Anyway – thank you,“ Ricu finally said.
And still for these few minutes enjoyed this embrace, in which shortly after he quietly fell asleep.
Thanks for reading 🙂