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Romance Sad Speculative

Hans found an old table in the basement. Dust and spiderwebs enveloped its wooden cracks, its joints creaking as he carried it to the dining room. It’s indeed a rickety ancient thing but it’s sturdy enough, Hans thought as his eye gleamed with weary satisfaction. As he brought it to the faint light illuminating the dining room, he noticed some mold forming on its surface. Perhaps it hadn’t been cleaned out completely when it was last used, he speculated. He couldn’t quite remember either why the table was in the basement. 


As Hans dusted it off and ran a damp cloth over its surface, he turned to the window. It was a lovely night. Behind the dark velvet curtains, the moon rested on the clouds and the stars sprawled over the sky. There was not a hint of stormy weather nor was there any unrest heard about; everything was perfectly placid. The thought of this serenity brought him a peace of mind, which subsequently emerged the thought of dear Bertha. Hans knew Bertha would come home tonight. The strong, beautiful, and intelligent Bertha who had dark and dreamy eyes that enraptured his every time they met. He knew that she would be tired from her journey; preparing dinner for her would surely delight her. He was gladdened at the thought of that prospect. When he finished cleaning the table, a crimson colored tablecloth was placed over it. Two of Hans’ best dinner plates settled on opposite sides along with the cherished goblets the two of them would use only during special occasions. In the center, a midnight blue vase contained a simple bouquet of fresh white lilies: Bertha’s favourite. As dark as the room was at that moment, Hans lighted a small candle, sufficient enough it was to brighten the table’s surface. Once he was satisfied, he sat on his side of the table and waited patiently for Bertha. He knew not the exact time to which she would arrive, but he knew she would, he believed she would. As the hours sunk and as the candle’s fire slowly melted the seeping wax, Hans grew more and more restless. He started pacing, rearranging, and pouring countless ounces of water into his own goblet. He eventually felt drowsy and exhausted and heavy and his eyelids seemed to droop down unto his cheeks and—everything went lugubriously dark.


There was a thud. Then came a crash. Hans awakened at the sound. His prized plate was shattered into pieces on the floor, its white uneven fragments scattered on the grimy floor of the dining room. Hans merely stared at it, unfazed. His mind was clouded with longing and misery as he slowly stood up and cleaned the mess. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Hans’ hopes were quickly replenished as he approached the door. Sure enough, the sweet smile of Bertha welcomed him. An overwhelming joy rushed through Hans as he embraced her. He had not seen her in so, so long that his eyes brimmed with tears.


“Oh how I’ve missed you!” Bertha said as she sniffed away her own tears. 


“I’ve missed you too, my dear.” Hans responded as he took her hand and led her to the dining room.


The candlelight blazed as bright as ever, painting the flowers with a soft yellow glow. Bertha expressed her surprise as she viewed the dinner table arrangement. 

“You’ve certainly outdone yourself now!” she commented.


“I almost forgot,” Hans approached the nearby window and opened it. “You like it when the windows are open.”


Bertha beamed at him, silently appreciating his attentiveness. Hans disliked the windows open but he would open it for Bertha any day. They both settled in their seats and sat for a moment, gazing at the scenery outside. A wild wind was now rushing among the trees, softly and slowly it blew and crept towards the house. The moon was no longer resting; it was now hovered above the earth with the clouds surrounding it like a halo. Stars were barely visible as the clouds covered, further bringing out the moon’s glow.


“It’s a beautiful night, isn’t it?” Bertha mused as she turned to Hans. 


Hans nodded and stretched out his hand to her. Their hands held endearingly and almost wistfully in the calm glow of the candlelight. They then talked about everything under the sun. Hans talked about how he had been going fishing in the lake like he always did, sharing his fascination with Bertha who gladly listened. Bertha talked about how tiresome her journey had been, constantly travelling by train to and fro. But she enjoyed it, she assured Hans, who always worried about her.


“I just noticed,” Bertha said, “Where did you find this table?”


“The basement.” he replied.


“Well I’m glad you brought it back up, it’s been so long since we’ve last used it.” she continued, “It’s old, ancient even, with all its cracks but still sturdy enough to be used.”


Hans smiled melancholically. He now remembered why it was in the basement. He held Bertha’s hands slightly tighter, wishing she would never leave again. 


“Hans, you should take care of yourself too,” she added, rather humorously “The house looks grubbier than the last time I set foot here.”


Hans looked around. Spiderwebs had begun to coat the corners, dust settled on cabinets and door frames, and the floor was 


“I’m sorry dear, I’m afraid I worried too much about you when you left.” Hans confessed.


Bertha gave him an understanding look. “That’s okay. We’ll clean the house together, make it look like it always did.”


“Will you stay with me?”


“Always.” 


As Bertha uttered the last word, the wind finally reached them. It entered through the window and extinguished the light the candle cradled. Hans couldn’t see anything but he wasn’t worried anymore. He felt the soft embrace of Bertha’s hand slowly slip away from him. The next time Hans opened his eyes, he found a picture frame sitting on the floor next to the table. The glass covering it had shattered into several uneven fragments. He picked it up and examined the photo. A young couple stood before an altar. The two looked happy and excited, their eyes looking deeply into each other’s with smiles on their faces. The man, standing tall, wore a tuxedo with a single white lily attached to the breast pocket. The woman, beautiful as ever, wore a simple wedding dress that cascaded down the small steps. It was his and Bertha’s wedding photo.


Bertha has been gone for twenty years, I remember now. I finally remember. It’s time to go home, Hans thought. He then decided to clean the house.

February 18, 2021 13:38

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2 comments

20:53 Feb 23, 2021

Your story is a hit, too. It really moves the reader's heart: Love is simple and is never ever forgotten. Blessings.

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Redana U
22:59 Feb 23, 2021

Thank you for this, I appreciate you being my first comment :D

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