Bert was alone in the apartment basement. Ernie inexplicably missing after the pageant that morning, Bert decided to once again attempt some peaceful reading.
No such luck.
As soon as he had deemed it safe enough to read and had settled in his chair, who else but Ernie came charging through the door, shouting merrily.
"Bert! Oh Bert!" he called as per usual greeting. He circled Bert's chair and bounded to a halt, hands on the armrest. "Oh, it's wonderful Bert! Guess, guess, guess!"
Bert unpursed his lips and let out a deep sigh.
"Ernie, please. Not now." he grumbled, "I literally just started reading."
"Oh, come on Bert. It'll only take a second." pleaded Ernie.
"But Ernie, I've been trying to start this book for weeks!"
"I won't leave 'til you guess, Bert!"
Bert heaved a defeated and heavy sigh.
"Alright, alright, fine. Um, you did something fun at the park." he guessed.
"Nope. Guess again Bert."
"Guess again, ok, uh, they've got something new at Hooper's Store." Bert tried.
"Nope. Guess again."
"Herry showed you a new trick."
"Ya got to be on Kermit's news show."
"Nope. But that'd be fun."
"You've got a new hobby."
"Your twiddlebugs just figured something out."
Bert pursed his lips in frustration.
"Oscar was being nice!" he threw out wildly.
Ernie put a hand to his chest. "Good heavens no." he said, "Now that'd really be something..!"
"Alright Ernie, I give up!" Bert burst, "You win. Just tell me. I've been guessing and guessing and nothing's been right! Now what is it?"
Ernie fumbled a bit, but managed to pin one of Bert's arms to the armrest.
"Oook Bert. Calm down there." he said, "I'll tell you."
He waited for Bert to stop hyperventilating. After a few seconds Bert settled down saying, "Ok Ernie. Ok. I'm good. Now what is it?"
"Well Bert," Ernie paused and swelled impressively for dramatic effect, "I love you." He gave a nod to finalize.
Bert simply stared at him for a moment.
"What, that's it?" he asked finally, "Ernie I know that. You've told me before, remember?"
"Well yeah," replied Ernie, "but that was before, Bert. Y'see, there's different kinds of love, Bert. Before I meant it in the same way I do for everyone else; now I mean it differently. Y'see, I'm in love with you, Bert."
"So what's the distinction?" Bert puzzled, "This is Sesame Street Ernie, we need thorough explanations."
"Oh, well," Ernie started, "love can really be for anything, Bert. It's an attraction, like you and oatmeal, or me and Rubber Duckie. Kh-h-h! Now, when you're in love, you feel such an attraction to a person that you want to be with them always. It's like Susan and Gordon; they're so in love they got married!"
"Ooooh..." Bert nodded.
"Right. So, in conclusion:" Ernie also nodded. Then he leaned forward and kissed Bert on the cheek. "I love ya, Bert ol' buddy..!"
Bert's eyebrow rose with the contact, and was now in danger of arching into his hairline.
"Huh..!" he gaped, shocked as comprehension finally dawned on him. Seconds passed, but at last words seemed to find him.
"Oh Ernie," he sniffed, "that is the single nicest thing you or anyone else has ever said to me." He sniffed deeply, then continued, "A-An' y'know what? Y'know what Ernie?"
"What Bert?" Ernie questioned honestly.
Ernie leaned closer in honest curiosity, then started when he felt Bert kiss his forehead.
"I love you too pal."
Ernie gasped, hand flying to his chest again.
"Really Bert?" he yammered, "Oh, that is great Bert! That is-that is just great Bert! That makes me so happy! I am so very very happy! Doesn't that make you happy? Aren't you happy Bert?"
As Ernie blathered on, Bert slumped back in his chair.
"Well I was..." he grumbled. He watched Ernie yak for a couple of seconds, then sighed.
"Just don't expect that kinda thing every day, ok Ern?" he asked. Ernie didn't seem to hear him.
"Oh, whatever. I'll just tell him later." relented Bert, and he buried his head in his book once more.