A/N: Yet another 'one-shot' about Melchior and his unrequited love for Moritz. One day I'll focus on Hanschen and Ersnt… one of these days…
They missed Wendla so much. So much that Ernst gave up one of his notebooks so that they could circulate it around the small group to write her letters. Then Ilse asked them if she could write a little something to Moritz. They knew that she had been wanting to set herself free so that she could finally tell Georg about her growing feelings for him.
Melchior again watched them with the other boys. He wasn't allowed alone ever since the night he had kissed Ernst. Hanschen wouldn't allow it, much less Georg or Otto, who had heard all about it.
"They're so wonderful with each other," Otto sighed, "Especially the young lovers."
He had meant Martha and Anna, who were even now leaning against each other as they read Ilse's letter to Moritz. Hanschen looked up as Ernst finally took the notebook and, catching the boys' eyes, began to read aloud:
I am writing this to remember you, and to forget you, so that I might move on. The night you were to kill yourself was the night I should have stayed with you, to nurse you back to health. I know that if I had, that you might still be here with us, and if that might be, that I could tell you this in person.
Someone loves you more than me. I know this now, from listening to stories told by Ernst about this person. This person has used my dear friend because he has lost you, and I find that not fair.
Were you so sad that you could not push through and see that you might have been happy? That what you needed was right in front of you?
Pushing passed these questions, I tell you my own goodbye. I love you, Moritz, but I must move on. With all my love, Ilse."
Ernst looked up and caught only Melchior's eye. He looked back at Ilse and smiled, allowing her to kiss his cheek. As she was doing so, she looked behind her and saw Melchior and the boys. Melchior wasn't sure if it was he or Georg she winked to, but she did just that: a subtle wink.
Later, as the girls were getting up, Ilse walked slowly up to Georg and they began to talk, Ilse curling her long black hair around her finger. Melchior took his time as he sauntered up to Ernst. Hanschen watched from a respectful distance, regarding their meeting, and noticing that Anna and Martha would not leave the young boy's side. He nodded at Martha, who returned the nod as Melchior finally approached them.
"I would like to borrow that notebook of yours," he told all three.
Ernst looked first to Anna, then Martha, then handed him the book.
Melchior took it home and opened to the next blank page. He thought maybe he would write to both Wendla and Moritz. His letter to Wendla was short: "Wendla, everyday I miss you. I wish desire had not gotten the best of us, yet I also wish you would have told me sooner, so that we might have run away. I miss you, and in a way, I love you. Melchior."
But he could not find anything to say to Moritz. He poured over his ideas that night, blowing off an English exercise and studying for a Latin test to do so.
When he gave the notebook to Martha the next day, he reached his friends with a heavy heart. Georg was smiling as Ilse and him parted so that Ilse might join her friends under that same tree they always met under, and he might join his own friends on the green grass.
Martha gave Ernst the book, whispering into his ear. He opened to the page and read first Melchior's letter to Wendla aloud. The girls nodded as the letter ended. Then Ernst began to read Melchior's letter to Moritz,
"Moritz, words cannot tell you how much I miss you. I could go on and on about how much I wish you were still alive, all the terrible things I have done since you left me all alone. But I can't. There are no words but these: I miss you. I love you. I want you back with me and only me. Sometimes I lie in bed at night and wonder what it would have been like to hold you like I held Wendla that night in the barn.
I walk pass the spot where Hanschen and Ernst once shared a moment and wonder what it would be like if it were us that once shared something special in a vineyard, or an orchard, or a pasture of wild flowers, under the stars, during twilight… whatever.
I admit I projected these feelings on our younger classmate, Ernst. It was wrong of me to think that just because of some similarities you two were one in the same. You weren't. He is here, and you are… well… Somewhere I can reach, but will not for a long time, I hope. I let you go now, but I will not forget your friendship and how much you meant to me. How much you still mean to me. I love you, and I think now I can move on… and not to someone else's partner. Love always, Melchior."
Melchior breathed out slowly as Ernst's silver voice finished off the letter. He seemed satisfied with the tears glistening in the girls' eyes, as well as the simply shocked stares his friends gave him when Ernst finished.
As he lay back in the bright afternoon sun, he heard a breeze blow through the leaves above him, and he heard a soft whisper, I love you too, Melchi… meet me in heaven and maybe your wishes will be answered… but not yet…
A strangely satisfying ending. And now lemme go cry over it…