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Under the linden trees

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“So, we will use city names.”

Berlin — Andres decided his name on his own. He glanced contemptuously through the room of clowns and psycho and finally turning to Sergio. With bold provocation and lingering flirting in the air, he smiled.

Of course, he will choose Berlin, because it is the place where everything started.


Andres was indulging in those ostentatious styles of robbery. He intentionally left his shadow in the surveillance camera footage, or so clichéd to attract attention with a warning letter. He is one step far from clipping his business card in the crime scene. The disadvantage of that is Andres had to move from time to time, sending letters from one strange address to another to Madrid.

Sergio doesn't even live at the old address anymore, but he checks his mailbox at the end of every month. He folded them all into a locked chest of treasure. Sergio was acting like a dragon hoarding golds, but which he never opened because of his hatred. If he had opened any letter from Andres, he would have felt regretful when he read the scribbled written, "love you more than anything else" in the end. But for ten years, Sergio resented his brother for not caring him at all, for not saying goodbye

On the day of his birthday, Sergio received a letter from Berlin in his mailbox. He decided to open the letter right away, and sniffed it up close. It smelled like the ink has not yet faded. The tip of his imaginary pen slid across the paper, and the owner wrote down his longing.

"I miss you so much, little brother. I need you by my side. I look forward to seeing you soon. "

That was enough, Sergio's stubbornness was shattered in a second. Perhaps he was just as eager to see Andres again, to embrace the familiar warmth, to hear his brother's heartbeat when he closed his eyes. Andres had written the time and place in a code that only two of them knew, and he was so sure Sergio would come.


They were meeting in a stately hotel lobby. Across the small garden with a fountain, lined with antique dining tables and chairs. The moment Andres saw Sergio's outfit, he immediately chuckled: "Oh, Sergio... " He reached out to help him with the loose knot on his tie, brushing the dust off his shoulder.

The mere touch was enough to make Sergio shudder, and he almost lost in such intimacy. Sergio lowered his head and took a step backward, sitting across from Andres. As the band played another new piece, the waiter poured wine for them. Sergio knew without a doubt that the price of the bottle was exorbitant. He saw Andres take his glass and taste the wine. The liquid ran through his tongue, Sergio had to look away.

"Let's dance, Sergio. "

Several couples were already dancing to the beat in the middle of the dance floor. Andres's words were not a question but more of a demand. He took Sergio to the dance floor and put his arm around his waist.

"Tango is a dance that two men can enjoy. "

Before Sergio had time to react, he was being dragged around the dance pool. His unsteady gait barely making a few circles. There were a few people whispering at their tables.

"You think your face is not clear enough on the wanted list? "  Sergio lowered his voice to his ear. He sounded annoyed, but it wasn't really a refusion. The scene now seemed almost comical. Sergio hadn't had time to take off his trench coat, it was fluttering like a dress.

Andres shook his head. He looked as if he were on a sinking ship, and they were sharing their last dance. Andres likes to live his life as a movie without a script, a taste of what many ordinary people could not have achieved with all their might. 

At the end of the song, Sergio didn't even want to talk to Andres anymore. He ran his fingers through his hair on the forehead, muttered, "You are always like this, Andres. Most things in the world are just a joke to you, and I often wonder if there's anything you really cherish at all."

Maybe the idea of meeting Andres was a mistake. Sergio got up, nodded, and going to leave. He stepped outside the hotel only to discover that it was near Unter den Linden. The crowds of tourists were about to drown him. He took a deep breath and walked nervously towards the station.

"Sergio, what's the hurry? " Someone came up from behind and put his arm around Sergio's shoulder. If it wasn't this familiar sound, Sergio might have turned and twisted his arm. Andres points on all the buildings around:“ At least check the view. You haven’t been traveling a lot."

"Traveling? Is that what you think? " Sergio shook Andres's hand, he paused. He frowned, "I came to Berlin because of your damn letter, I was so naive and thought you were in trouble. Andres, don't push my limits again. I'm fine in Madrid without your pity. "

Sergio now sounds like a young brother in puberty.

“That is not what I meant, Sergio.” Andres's hand gently brushed his face, “How can my feelings for you be pity? I love you, and there is no doubt that you are the only one I trust, the only one I care about, the only family I have. " Andres's eyes were sincere, it gleamed with a fragile pain. All the cynicism before had been just a fleeting illusion.

"You asked me what I really cherish, Sergio, only you... " Andres leaned toward him, his scent of cologne was invading the area between them. Sergio nervously closed his eyes The kiss landed on his forehead. Andres hugged Sergio tightly as if they were born into the same soul, only to be cut in half.

But Sergio was faintly disappointed.


They strolled down the street. The end of autumn trees was no longer flourishing, leaving only the rustle of leaves and in the breeze. Over the years, Sergio had no idea what to say to Andres except to argue with him. He had thought of many debates of his disagreement with Andres, but now the confession swallowed him whole, and all his complaints dissolved away.

"Berlin is a beautiful city. Before you even realized, you'll love here and forget all the troubles you had," says Andres, who is a far different now from Sergio's memory. Time has washed away the light of exuberance on him, Andres became wiser but more elusive.

Sergio asked in a sour tone even he is ashamed. “What about Madrid? Is that one of the 'troubles' You forgot about? "

What about me?

It sounded like a coquetry. But Sergio was no longer the little boy cowering behind his brother. Andres looked at him the same way he always did, with love and unwilling, like they would part no matter how hard they tried.

"Never, not until I die, and as long as you live in Madrid, I shall not forget to write to you. My beloved brother, if one day I am going to forget all the people I know in the world, I will choose to forget you at last."Andres patted Sergio on the arm, as he had done so many times before. “Sometimes I would think about the days when we were side by side; when you and I worked so perfect together, oh... Good times, Sergio, wasn’t it? "

"Why don't we do it again? " Sergio said suddenly, they stopped. Andres didn't answer, but the dead ashes in his eyes are litting up again. He smiled, it was a gentle smile at the first, then he burst out tears. Sergio stood awkwardly in his position, watching his older brother lose all his manners and laughing so hard.

The street trumpeter frowned, looks like he was distracted, and accidentally broke two or three notes. Andres saluted to him, left with a 50 euro note slipping into his black hat in front of his boots. He praised his performance in German, even Sergio can recognize his amateur.

"I am happier than ever, Sergio! I am so happy just to think of we can be together once again. " Andres looked excited and turned to Sergio. His little brother is now a little taller him, no longer timid and shy.

"What's the target? I'm tired of jewelry stores, museums are always easy, banks are not elegant... and auctions, their alarm systems are basically sending me invitations. " Andres listed, sounds like bragging.

“Why are we going to any of these? We are unstoppable, remember?” Sergio smiled sheepishly, “How about the Royal Mint? Or the Bank of Spain? Let the world see us.”

 He heard a soft but satisfying chuckle. Andres turned to pull Sergio in his arms. The sparks of excitement dashing through his eyes, “Jesus will be proud of you, he will.”

Andres rarely spoke of Sergio's father. He used to take Sergio's to the cemetery, just stand next to Sergio and watch him silently mourn himself. But that was all Sergio need, he only needs to know that Andres is around nearby, and being an existence makes him feel secure.

The next moment when they sharing of breath, Sergio was also influenced by such an joyful atmosphere. He leaned and kissed Andres. Andres paused, and then he only held his brother tighter.

Decorative Lights twined around the lindens, those purple and blue light tubes burned out the darkness of night. They kissed in the street that no one recognized them. Sergio could not understand the meaning of this kiss, but he felt that Berlin was such a beautiful city.

So beautiful that he had all the hopes for his life back again.

So beautiful that he had no idea what the future is going to be.