Schnitzel and I Bonus Scene:
It was the start of a fine part of the evening: the leaves were turning brown from their original red, and the air felt crisp and calm… the type only found between the quiet hours of six and seven o' clock, when most were home eating dinner or getting home from work.
Aleksi Lebedev strolled through the red and orange park, walking parallel to a long black fence, iron, and twirled in hard, beautiful shapes reminiscent of Victorian times. The young man put his finger on the fence and rode the gentle slopes of the fence, feeling every smudge of dust, every story ever imprinted upon its cool metal by similarly-capricious passerby.
Kaspar had flown into Boston just as he had flown in as well... it has been six years since their last meeting, where they were both graduating school, each boy incensed with the other. His ex-boyfriend had moved to Germany in a rage, strictly forbidding himself from contacting Aleksi any further. And Aleksi - well, he moved on with his life. That's what you're supposed to do with first love, isn't it? "Move on"?
So he tried, and his California days of surfing and dreaming while smoking copious amounts of pot between blunts passed at bonfires, he found more love, which he naturally, then lost. However his academic career was successful, and he had been invited to Boston to speak at a conference that could add significant clout to his already-extensive resume.
Harvard loomed in the distance: this was the incoming Freshman class he would be speaking in front of, just for a couple of minutes at his still-early career as an English Literature professor. He was only just finished with his Masters' degree, but his work had so impressed one colleague that he was serendipitously invited to an event of such prestige he'd likened its possibility of happening in the realm of the lotto and spending the winter on Mars. However, life brings curves balls, and somehow, Aleksi felt, that perhaps a heartstring of his had never been severed, from its connection from another heart...
The universe works in funny, funny ways. His brother, halfway through his doctorate in Quantum Mechanics, who enjoyed exploring the possiblities of different universes, could tell you all about it. It was in fact this brother, his beloved embryo-hogging twin, that was behind the quality and panache of Aleksi's extensive work volume.
"Aleksi!" a familiar voice rang clear from behind our young scholar, shaking him from his reverie. He turned to find a beautiful young man running up to him from around the path, his autum coat floating in the breeze behind him. "What a surprise this all is, isn't it?" he said, shaking his flaxen bangs from his sky blue eyes. He smiled, and Aleksi suddenly remembered what it was like to kiss that mouth, to hold this man in his arms.
"Kaspar," was all he could muster in the moment. "It's you. Look at you! You're stunning - healthy! So healthy." His colleague smiled shyly. "Quelle coïncidence, n'est-ce pas?"
"Plutôt," Kaspar grinned. "Shall we, huh?" The German Poet sashayed a few steps and walked in line with his high school acquaintance. "It is very fortunate that we meet here, in this beautiful place. Who thought either of us would be speaking at such a grand institution."
"Oh, it's only Harvard," Aleksi teased, in his old childish way of his. His hand brushed Kaspar's as they walked, but he pretended not to notice... until Kaspar brushed him back. "You really do look better with age," he found himself saying.
His companion turned to him and smiled. "Danke schön, lovely man. I still have your "gift", you know..."
Aleksi's felt his eyes widened, and he looked quickly down at his feet. "Er," he said with clear embarrassment, "You mean... that day..."
Kaspar was quiet for several moments, and the two of them walked in silence. They approached the seminary and walked inside, the Moscow-born scholar holding the door open for his fair-featured freund.
The hall was packed with men and women just barely having graduated high school, chatting amongst themselves, playing with their telephones, and generally being unruly. The two old friends found their way through the masses and behind stage, where they were greeted each by familiar and new faces. They ended up sticking together, as they were both far from home, and both embarassed and surprised at having been invited at all... Until...
"Hey guys," Nicky said from behind them both. Aleksi and Kaspar jumped out of their skin and turned around to see a tall, imposing gentleman, reminiscent of Al Capone and other mafioso. His suit was pin-striped, and his hair was slicked back with enough gel to merit a "Caution: Wet" sign. "Didn't expect to see your faces round these parts. You're speaking to Harvard freshmen? Well, look at you, up-and-coming, Lebedev. How's your brother - seeing anyone?"
"Nicholas," Aleksi spat. "What're you doing here?"
"Hey, Lebby, I was polite. Can't you make nice?"
"Jazzer would still be around if it weren't for you," Professor Lebedev said. "My mother told me you came over to borrow some China, but no, you went straight for the dog, and gave him his very last treat. So you can just go rot in hell."
"Hold up!" Kaspar intervened. "Nicholas, it's nice to see you.. are you here with anybody else?"
"Yes, of course I'm here with somebody. You think I came here all by myself, huh?"
"Listen," Kaspar said, "Let's not get antsy..."
"Back off, Boris. Oh, look, there's my beautiful date now... the one, the only, Cecilia Cartwright."
"Ally! What are YOU doing here?"
"Oh, God," Aleksi muttered under his breath. "I really should be prepping my speech." In front of him stood his ex-girlfriend, a girl he technically dated, although the real reason for their relationship was to divert his schoolmates' attention from his romance with Kaspar - which backfired.
Kaspar didn't seem to remember Cecilia, as he shook her hand politely and commented on the weather.
Cecilia had aged well also, and was in her early twenties with even longer blonde ringlets, this time going all the way down to her hips. Her clear blue eyes sparkled and her face shone when she smiled. She wore a knee-length pink dress with elegant silken frills, and pearlescent stockings that made her look positively regal - in a princess sort of way.
"Oh, please don't go," she begged her old flame - at least, that was how she had always considered him. "I can't believe we have this opportunity to be together! Who would think a reunion like this would happen in such a random place such as Boston? Harvard, no less! Why, guys, this is just mind-boggling."
"Yes..." Aleksi intoned, still underimpressed with Cecilia's ability to speak for a week straight. "Well, I have to go on soon... Cici, what're you here for?"
"Oh, I'm dating the Dean."
"... Wha... OK, well, then what are you doing as Nicholas' arm-candy?"
Cecilia laughed heartily. "Oh, sweetie, I'm not his date. I'm his chaperone!"
Nicholas cast her a look of indignation. "You think that's supposed to be flattering?"
"On me, yes," Cecilia smirked.
"Wow, what bad, bad girl..." Aleksi said, but Kaspar whacked him on the arm before he could continue.
"Well, better run!" Cecilia announced. "It was a pleasure to see you boys. Ally, keep in touch," she said, blowing Aleksi a kiss before she pranced off into the crowd.
"Did you actually call her a bad girl? While she was in that absurd get-up?" Kaspar complained.
"Hey, pretty boy, it's been six years, we're not exclusive anymore. Especially when you run off to Europe to be a poet."
"I ran off to Europe to get away from psychopaths like you!"
"A psychopath? I'm not a psychopath! My country didn't try to wipe out an entire race with fire and starvation."
"How racist and ignorant can you possibly be? My nationality does not determine my morality. We determined this long ago, on our very first date. So we dated and all this time this was your true opinion about me?"
"What if, in a past life, you killed me... say, at Auschwitz?"
"Aleksi, this is ridiculous!" Kaspar's pale face was getting heated with passion and exasperation. He shook his head with abandon, and his red lips parted, and tears sprung to his eyes. "Aleksi, my poem is about my country, and an apology, an apology to all the people we hurt... please, you must forgive us."
Aleksi shook his head. "I don't forgive you. And that mark you have, you can keep it. At least you're alive." And he left his ex-flame in the backstage room... he knew his time to speak was just in minutes, and he had to get in line for the podium.
He could see the auditorium from the small hallway queue in which he waited. Long curtains, massive in stature, lined the walls. Blue and orange, rich and beautiful, sat behind the thousands of students that lined the walls and filled in the awe-inspiring amount of space. He was going to tell these kids, that their futures were bright, and their minds were their most essential utensil. They really, truly, could accomplish absolutely anything they desired. If, of course, it aligned with the laws of physics!
He stepped up a little further as another young man approached the podium, his turn to give his gift of knowledge to the upcoming class of 2020.