A Moment in the Wall

Submitted into Contest #62 in response to: Write about a character putting something into a time capsule.... view prompt

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Christmas Romance Fiction

A Moment in the Wall

Berlin. It was still hard to believe he was taking her to Berlin. A city she’d always wanted to visit, and around her favorite time of year made it all the better. The weather was windy and cold but Terry never minded it. The sharp bite brought back memories of her as a child, playing for hours in the snowbanks in her neighborhood outside of Chicago. She could hear the sounds of half-frozen snow crunching under her flower-print boots, the wet smack of a packed snowball hitting her in the head, her friends giggling as she shook the powder and ice from her hair then prepared to retaliate.

She must’ve spaced out momentarily because the next thing she saw was Roger’s brilliant green eyes full of amusement. Shaking her head, Terry coloured red, causing her boyfriend to laugh.

“Having a nice daydream, love?” he asked, taking hold of her hand and joining the baggage check line.

“I was as a matter of fact.” She flexed her fingers that had begun to cramp from holding her carry-on. “I was remembering how my friends and I would play in the snow back in Chicago.” They moved forward to have their suitcases weighed and boarding passes checked then proceeded through the security checkpoints and off to the International Departure Lounge. The couple still had about two hours before their flight, so they found a spot at one of the many bars and ordered drinks.

“This is the first time I’ve flown since me and Dad moved over here.” Terry said. “Hell, that was nine years ago when Mom died.”

Roger held her hand. “I’m right here with you if you need me.” He kissed her cheek.

She smiled. “I know. Truth be told, I don’t recall much of the flight. Mainly take-off and landing then we were here.” She sipped her Margarita, enjoying the sour taste of tequila mixed with citrus. “Be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous about it.”

“Nothing to be nervous about. Once you’re in the air, you’ll get comfortable before you know it.” Roger reassured, sipping his martini. “Of course, I fly on just about a weekly basis, so I’m used to it.”

“You’d have to be. Be pretty difficult to get to gigs on time by boat, train, or auto.”

“Gets me back to you faster, too.”

“Now you’re trying to make me blush!” And it worked too. Terry felt the redness creep into her cheeks again, making Roger chuckle and wink. She dove into her drink, maybe a little to recklessly. “Okay.” She set the glass down gently. “Might wanna get an appetizer or something before boarding. Don’t need to be drunk when we touch down.”

“It’d help you sleep through the trip. And you always look pretty when you sleep.”

“So, you’ve told me.” Picking up the menu, she ordered something that’d fill her up but wasn’t too expensive. She could only imagine what Roger was spending for this month-long trip. ‘But he does make a lot of money nowadays.’ She thought. ‘Although this is one hell of a Christmas present.’ Her salmon bruschetta showed up ten minutes later, which did the job of dulling the effects of the tequila.

Roger watched her as she made short work of the food and couldn’t help but think how lucky he was to have met her. Sure, she may have been more than a little obsessed with the 1960s and his grandfather’s former band when they’d met but he didn’t care. Terry was smart, beautiful, and his. Subconsciously, the bassist rested a hand on the small box in his coat pocket. If this trip went as planned then she’d be his forever. He had to do it right though. He’d talked the decision over with his grandfather before planning this surprise and the elder Waters had told him, ‘You’ll know when the time is right, my boy.’ ‘Big help there,’ he’d thought at the time but now it made sense. He’d wait until the perfect moment. Maybe one of the Christmas Markets?

He checked his watch. “If you’re finished, we should head to the gate. They’ll be calling boarding soon. Got your bag?”

Terry lifted the black-and-purple laptop bag. “Let’s go.” The pair headed for their gate as the airline employees were calling first and business class passengers to board. “Good timing.” She said as they approached. “We should be next on the list.” While Roger was already shelling out a lot of pounds for this, she knew first class seats were out of his pocketbook. The only way that would’ve happened was if the record label was paying for it, and they sure as hell weren’t footing the bill for a holiday. She didn’t think about it anymore as they handed over their boarding passes to be verified, walked through the tunnel and onto the giant aircraft. They found two seats together that looked like they should’ve been in first class but were at the front of economy. ‘Guess he did manage to spend a bit more on comfort. He really is spoiling me with this.’ As the rest of the passengers boarded, Terry looked out the window one more time. Her excitement was building again. She was really going to Berlin!

After landing at Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg, security, customs, baggage claim, and the transit train ride were little more than a blur as Terry was trying to take it all in at once. The effort made her tired and a bit dizzy as she made herself sit still in the metro car on the way to the hotel. The transport was packed with travelers from all over, coming in to visit the famous Christmas Markets. She wondered then how far in advance her boyfriend had been planning this so they could spend a month’s worth of time there without having to jump from one lodging to another.

“What’s on your mind, love?” Roger asked, causing her to look at him.

“Wondering how much time it took you to put all this together.”

“It’s been in the planning stages for a while. I had to pick the best time to execute it, and when we finally got a long enough break from touring figured out, I started setting everything in motion.” He smiled when she raised an eyebrow. “I’ve had this in mind ever since you told me you wanted to come here for Christmas one year. You said you wanted to see all the stands and shops, and maybe even the remnants of the Berlin Wall.”

She blinked, not realizing he’d paid that close attention to what she’d said. Remembering that conversation five years ago, she’d thought she was talking about a pipe dream. ‘Well, he proved me wrong.’

With four weeks here, it sounds like we’ll be able to do everything we want and then some.”

‘You have no idea.’ He thought, checking to make sure the box was still in his pocket. The train slowed a bit as it took a series of corners and curves then stopped in front of the Mercure Hotel Berlin Mitte. Several passengers grabbed their luggage, Roger and Terry included, and shuffled off the transit before it could take off to its next stop then moved quickly to get out of the cold.

“This place is beautiful, in a steel-and-glass modern sort of way.” The young redhead said, admiring the lobby before walking to the check-in desk. As Roger conversed with the clerk in German, she looked around a bit. Modern as it may have been, whoever built the hotel attempted to insert a sense of warmth with hardwood flooring, wood paneling on one wall, and light-colored bricks on another. ‘It’s got me entranced, that’s for sure.’ She thought, hearing what sounded like a welcome from the clerk then Roger was guiding her to the elevator to head to their room. They were on the 14th floor, and temporary living space was as inviting as the lobby. The colors were warm, with bits of cool mixed in with artwork hanging on the cream walls, wooden furniture, flat screen television, and queen-sized bed with fresh linens.

“Wow! I could get used to this.” Terry set her bags down and flopped onto the bed. “Think we could move in here?”

Roger laughed. “I don’t think they’d give us an extension, love.” He yawned. “What you say to some sleep then an early breakfast so we can see what markets are open tomorrow?” She nodded, got up to move her things then they got ready for bed. Both drifted off rather quickly, exhausted from the traveling they’d done.

For the next two weeks, the couple traveled from one Christmas Market to another, admiring the craftsmanship of the toys and gifts, sampling the holiday treats, and drinking more than their fair share of mulled ciders and wines. One night, Roger had drunk too much of a local dark beer, and Terry had to ask a few locals to help her get him in a cab to get back to the hotel. The people who’d helped didn’t mind; the men were astonished that an ‘English boy could keep up with them,’ as they put it, and said they should come back for Oktoberfest. Terry exchanged email information with the men and their wives, thanked them profusely then got into the cab with her drunken boyfriend. He’d slept most of the way back to the hotel then passed out as soon as they got to their room. The next morning, they stayed in while he nursed a hangover and spent half the day apologising to his girlfriend.

At the beginning of week three, they decided to take a break from the market hopping and took in some of the historic sites and museums. The weather had turned from windy and bitter cold to overcast with some snow starting to fall, creating slush in the streets and ice on the walkways. The couple found warmth inside as they opted to spend the day at Museum Island, admiring the art collection of James Simon, and learning about early mankind in the Museum of Prehistory and Early History.

After spending the day walking and viewing everything from art to artifacts, Roger wanted to make one last stop at one of the many gift shops before they went to dinner. Feeling exhausted, Terry decided to wait for him on a bench just outside the store’s entrance. While she waited, she texted her Dad, keeping him updated on what they were doing and how much fun they were having. She said she wouldn’t be home for Christmas but would make it back before New Year’s Eve so they could go ice skating at the Natural History Museum ice rink. After a few minutes, she got a reply saying that he was glad they were having fun and staying safe. Her Dad was looking forward to the skating and even suggested asking Roger if he wanted to come along. Terry wrote that she’d ask him, said ‘I love you’ then put her mobile away as her boyfriend was exiting the gift shop, holding a bag with the Museum Island logo on it.

“Ready for some dinner?”

“Am I ever! I’m starving!”

He shook his head, his long brown hair brushing his shoulders. “Woman, you are a bottomless pit! It’s a wonder I don’t go broke feeding you.”

She took his arm and they walked outside. “It’s a wonder you don’t go broke spoiling me the way you do.” She glanced at the bag.

“What’d you get, anyway?”

“You’ll see when we go to The Wall.”

It was another six days before they visited the Berlin Wall, almost at the end of their holiday. They had seen all the beautiful Christmas Markets they could get to, walked the museums and historic sites but saved one of the most memorable pieces of history for last. The day was cold but clear, so they decided to walk the twenty-five minutes from the hotel to the spot of one of the last remnants of the Cold War. When they arrived, there weren’t many travelers; maybe one or two other couples, a few residents walking their dogs, but other than that, the place was deserted.

‘Perfect,’ Roger thought, walking hand-in-hand with Terry up to the broken barrier. The few pieces that were left standing were slowly crumbling away, by time or by those looking to own or sell a piece of history. ‘People just can’t leave well enough alone, can they?’ He thought bitterly, setting down the bag he was carrying and gently running a finger along the concrete. A bit fell away from his touch, dropping to the walkway at his feet then bursting into dust.

“Humbling in a way, isn’t it?” He looked at Terry. “To think of how many people died while trying to get to this side of the wall. Makes me wonder what I would’ve done had I lived then like I’ve always wanted to.”

“I’ve often wanted to ask my grandfather what it was like to play a concert here. It must’ve been a highlight in his career but I never got up the nerve to ask him.” Roger felt a tear in his eye but blinked it away. “Enough gloominess. We should make this a memorable moment for ourselves.” He reached into the bag and took out what looked like a brick but it had a cap on one end and when opened, was hollow.

“Is that what you bought from the museum gift shop?”

He nodded. “I wanted us to put our own little time capsule in the Berlin Wall before we left.”

“Are you sure we can hide it well enough so it won’t be disturbed too soon?”

“It’s constructed to blend in.” He took two more things from the parcel. “Here’s what I’m putting in.” He held a sealed copy of Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn and a hand-written letter.

“Hmm… can’t say I was expecting this but I do have something I can contribute.” She reached around her neck and unclasped the emerald pendant she was wearing. “This was my mother’s. She gave it to me before she died. I think passing it along to a future generation is the best thing to do.” She looked at the letter. “You wouldn’t happen to have a pen on you, would you?” Roger handed her one from inside his coat, along with the letter. She quickly wrote on a blank part of a page and gently tore it off then carefully placed the necklace and note into the hollowed brick. Adding his small piece of history, Roger sealed up the capsule and, looking around to make sure no one was focused on them, he gently placed the faux brick inside the Berlin Wall.

After looking at the spot for a few moments, Terry spoke up. “Never thought I’d be putting a time capsule inside of a monument, much less this monument. Thanks for bringing me here, Roger. This was a fantastic holiday.”

“It’s not quite over yet.” He reached into the bag once more then, turning to face his girlfriend, he took a knee in front of her. “I was waiting for the right time to do this and I believe it’s now.” Terry’s eyes shimmered with tears as she knew what was coming. “Teresa McKenna, will you do me the honor of being my wife?” He opened the box to reveal a silver ring with an emerald set in it.

“Roger, nothing would make me happier than to marry you.” He slid the ring on her finger then stood up to kiss his fiancé. As they held each other, a small bit of applause could be heard around them. A few tourists also visiting the Wall had overheard the proposal and offered congratulations. The couple disengaged and gave a bow, earning a few chuckles. Terry glanced at their brick in the wall then at her fiancé. “Best holiday ever.”

October 09, 2020 21:47

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