gercan -- so i keep you in my mind
Gilbert calls right as Ludwig is measuring out detergent. It’s not a task that needs his full attention, much to his despair, so Ludwig cannot, in good conscience, simply ignore Gilbert’s call. Moreover, he can’t fully sink into his task of laundry knowing Gilbert is calling him. Not just because Gilbert will leave him voicemail after voicemail listing, in great detail, the number of sacrifices he made for Ludwig (“You’re my nation-state and baby brother,” Gilbert reminds him frequently, in a tone of voice that Ludwig secretly thinks all the former empires perfected during one of their knitting circles. It’s not as though Gilbert does that often–because he associates that kind of behavior–“uncool weak shit, Ludwig”–with Roderich or Arthur or Francis. But he’s not above it, and he has used that beleaguered self-sacrificing older brother act on Ludwig for things like not responding quickly enough to calls and/or texts or not drinking the next next round of drinks that Gilbert decided to get on a Tuesday), but also because–
“Damn it,” Ludwig sighs, looking at the detergent dribbling steadily over the rim of the little plastic cup onto his fingers. He pours some back, pours the rest in the machine, wipes his fingers on one of the sheet corners in the machine, puts down the detergent tub, and then winces because his cell phone starts ringing again.
–because Gilbert will just keep calling.
And there’s a little notification that tells him that his brother has also left a message.
He answers. “This is a bad time,” Ludwig says, “I’m doing laundry.”
“It’s not Sunday,” comes his brother’s response. Gilbert doesn’t laugh, but his voice does kick a little higher as he teases. “First you go out with the North Americans on a weeknight, now you’re doing laundry on a Thursday–”
Ludwig sighs and turns the washing machine on. Leaning against it, he’s torn between hanging up on Gilbert or just hiding out in his kitchen and rearranging his pantry until he has to arrive at today’s afternoon session.
“And what are you doing up this early?” Gilbert sounds downright gleeful. “Did you just not go to bed? Are you still drunk? Tell me everything, Luddy. Did you help Canada steal another stop sign?”
“I made him put it back.”
“Look, Ludwig. I always encouraged you to be a leader. But sometimes you have to be a follower. Like when you don’t have any friends. When you don’t have any friends–”
“I have friends–”
“Three of them are dogs, and they’re with me in our ancestral home.” Ludwig starts rearranging his pantry and chooses not to have Gilbert elaborate because their ancestral home changes on Gilbert’s mood. Sometimes it’s a cottage, sometimes it’s a park, sometimes it’s a bar. It occurs to him, unfortunately, only later, that maybe Ludwig should have changed the subject and asked just where Gilbert was just to avoid this entire conversation and–