He tried to behave as a crown-prince should behave. He closed the door carefully instead of slamming it and he sat down behind his desk instead of lying down in his bed with a pillow over his head. The words of his dad rebounded in his head. What did his father think? That he was still the ten year old peeing in his bed? That he was still the little kid scared for his grandmother? He had news for his father: he was not! Not anymore! He was twenty-one now, old enough to know that this land was going down and that someone needed to do something.
His father still saw him as the little kid not capable to think, not capable to take responsibility. But he was the crown-prince of Austria-Hungary and one day this country would be his. If there would still be a country if it was his time to become emperor and rule. If his father kept on going like this there wouldn’t be a country anymore when he would enthrone.
He made his hands into fists and hit them on his desk. What would become out of the people of this country if his father wouldn’t change his policy? It was his responsibility to protect them, to give them a future, to lead them into the next century. He just had no idea how to do that. His father didn’t listen and if he asked his mother for help she just said that his time would come one day. If that one day wouldn’t come soon, this country would be lost and his existence would have been useless.
“Need someone to comfort you, dear Rudolf?”
Rudolf looked up and met the inviting eyes of the friend he remembered from that time when he was a lonely child. “I don’t think you can help me with this...”
His friend smiled and moved a little closer. “Maybe I can’t help, but I can listen.” His friend laid a hand on his arm and Rudolf was shocked by the coldness.
“It’s nothing...it’s just...they just don’t listen to me! I just wish they would finally start to see me! Finally start to see me as a grown up boy!” He tried not to lose his dignity, but he felt the tears burning in his eyes. “I just feel as if I’m not important, as if I’m totally no-one! As if I’m just good for nothing!”
His friend’s hand caressed his arm and he felt a little uncomfortable. “If you want to be heard, speak louder.”
Rudolf shook his head. As if it was that simple. No matter how loud he spoke, his parents didn’t hear him. His mother pretended to care and he had to admit that he was thankful she did what she did, but it seemed as if she didn’t care anymore. It seemed as if she thought she did everything a good mother needed to do! No, just speaking louder wouldn’t help. “I don’t think it helps...”
His friend laughed again and Rudolf felt how his friend’s hand moved onto his shoulder. “If you want to be seen, do something to stand out!” His friend walked to the back of his chair and he felt his friend’s other hand on his other shoulder. “If they don’t listen when you speak and if they don’t see how smart your ideas are, just don’t ask anymore but act.”
Rudolf shook his head. This was easier said than done. He had tried everything he could, he had tried everything he could think of. They still saw him as a kid, no matter how old he would grow, they would always see him as a kid. “It’s just that they think that I’m still that small little kid not being capable to do what they want.” He closed his eyes and leaned back. The heartbeat of his friend against his head felt somehow comforting.
His friend’s hands moved onto his chest and Rudolf decided to say nothing anymore. “You know Rudolf...” He felt how the hands opened the buttons of his jacket. He didn’t protest when the hands started opening the buttons of his shirt too. The cold skin felt comforting on his warm chest. “There is a way I can help you...” The hands moved lower and lower and Rudolf felt the sweat on his forehead when the hands reached the button of his trousers. “There is a very easy way to stop all this...”
Rudolf opened his eyes and felt how the hands moved back to his chest. “How?” His friend started laughing and he felt a hand touching his cheek. He closed his eyes again, longing to forget all this for a moment, forget how his father yelled at him, how his mother never had any time, how he felt not heard and not seen. He was longing for forgetting he was a crown-prince for just one minute. He grabbed the hands and moved them to the button of his trousers again.
His friend laughed and it sounded as if this was just what his friend wanted Rudolf to do. The hands opened the button and Rudolf sighed an leaned back. “There are a few possibilities...” The hands start caressing him and Rudolf felt how all the loneliness started leaving his head. How all the wounds started to heal for a brief second, how all the pain was disappearing to the background. “Let’s see what I have in my pockets...”
The hands disappeared from his body and Rudolf looked up, full of surprise. “What you have in your pockets?” His friend sat down on the desk and looked into Rudolf’s eyes. Rudolf felt a bit uncomfortable, but at least someone was looking at him. At least someone was listening to him. At least someone seemed to care about him. How could he refuse this?
“I have a knife for you?” His friend grabbed his hand and Rudolf felt the cold metal touching his skin. The knife cut in his hand and Rudolf saw the blood dropping on the papers on his desk. “Not good enough?” Rudolf was too shocked to answer his friend. “Would you prefer a gun? I think I have that one too...” His friend grabbed into another pocket and laid a gun in his other hand.
The knife and the gun felt heavy and cold, but he understood what his friend was offering him. An easy way out, a way to forget all this, to leave all this behind, to never have to look back again. A way to be seen. Maybe his father would understand him if he’d not be there anymore. Maybe his mother started caring if he’d be gone. Maybe...
The idea of ending all this was tempting. The knife and the gun burned in his hands and his friend kept on looking to him. “Just tell me if this is what you want and I’ll help you, I promise!” Rudolf looked at the gun and the knife. He let his fingers play with them and he imagined how it would feel to shoot himself or to cut his wrists. How the life would flow out of his body and how his thoughts would leave him for the rest of his afterlife.
“Just one shot or just one little cut, it’s all you need!” The idea sounded tempting and his friend’s hands grabbed his cheeks. He grabbed the gun and put it against his head. Just one shot and everything would be over. His friend moved closer and closer. His friend’s eyes never lost contact with his and his friend’s lips almost touched his. Rudolf closed his eyes for a second, before he realized what leaving this world would mean.
If he would leave this world, who would care for all the people in this country? What would become from this country if he stopped trying to reason his dad? Wouldn’t he make everything even worse? “NO!” He pushed his friend away and dropped the gun and the knife on the table. “No! No! No! I’m not abandoning my people!” He raised and walked to the door. “I will never stop screaming. Maybe if I scream long enough my father will listen. I have to try...”
He wanted to open the door as his friend’s hands embraced his body. “If you ever want to reconsider my offer, just ask.”
Rudolf nodded and opened the door. “I will, thanks for this talk!” He laid his hands on the hands of his friend and enjoyed the lips touching his neck before his friend let hem go.
“I will be there whenever you changed your mind or whenever you need me.”