Dusk was settling on the small village, casting a dusty glow like a spell over the rooftops and streets. The long shadows grasped and twitched like fingertips, and the sun was only giving off a weak, vague light as it surrendered to the night and retreated behind the hills. Everybody was at home, engaged in some quiet, solitary activity. There was no sound except the rustle of wind in the wiry grass and the faint call of birdsong.
A girl sat on the stone wall that ran around the outside of the church, casually swinging her feet, with a boy sat on the ground below her, playing with a stem of grass. The girl was leant back slightly, smiling piously, looking up at the darkening sky and the tiny, brilliant white pinpoints where the stars were slowly beginning to form. The boy was hunched over himself, a small, secret smile of his own playing at the corners of his lips.
"It's lovely, isn't it?" the girl said. "When it's like this. So peaceful"
The boy didn't look up at her as he replied: "Yes, it is"
"In fact, sometimes I think it was even worth it, just for this. I never used to appreciate the beauty of things before .I'm so happy that we can enjoy nights like these, even now" the girl continued. The boy didn't reply. He didn't need to. He knew that she would understand his silence better than any words he could form together. He'd never been best with words. They were like obstacles that tripped him up.
"Oh, look…" the girl breathed, her head tilted to the sky. The boy followed her gaze up to look at the moon, burning a dusty orange against the navy sky.
"I've never seen anything like it!" the girl whispered excitedly.
"It is quite amazing" the boy replied. "How many of these sorts of things have we missed, I wonder, when we were preoccupied with other things?"
The girl turned back to him, and their eyes met.
"Don't say that, Moritz" she said, with a kind smile. "For now we can see them all!"
The boy called Moritz laughed, and the girl grinned in return.
"I do love having your company" she said fondly. "I cannot believe we hardly spoke for such a long time. I had forgotten what good friends we used to be"
"Yes" Moritz replied. "And it is lovely to have somebody to talk to. It used to terribly lonely at first, before you came along"
"Did you ever imagine it to be like this?"
The boy drew his knees up to his chin, and hugged his legs to his chest. He shook his head slowly.
"No. I wasn't quite sure what it would be like. But I am quite happy with the outcome"
The girl smiled, relieved. "So am I. I like having time to just wander, with nothing to hold me down. I walked down by the vineyard today, and…oh, Moritz, you will never believe what I saw there!"
"I saw Hanschen Rilow and Ernst Robel, together! They are lovers, now"
Moritz furrowed his brows.
"That is very strange. Love is still a foreign concept to me, Wendla…I used to think that that sort of thing was wrong"
"So did I" the girl named Wendla nodded in agreement. "But all love is pure. People just need to understand that…I think that what happened to us drew them together. It is having an effect on the whole town"
"Hanschen and Ernst…" Moritz mused. "Yes, I suppose it makes sense"
"It does, doesn't it?" Wendla said, excitedly. "Do you think it would have still happened, if we were still there?"
Moritz shrugged. "I don't know" There was silence for a moment, before he added: "When you go wandering, Wendla, do you ever go to see…him?"
There was a short pause.
"No" Wendla said quietly. "I think we helped him once, but…I wouldn't want to scare him. He can be so fragile sometimes, like a child"
"Do you ever wish we could tell them?" said Moritz. "That it really isn't as bad as everybody thinks it is?"
"Oh, always" Wendla smiled. "But that's the test, isn't it? One has to find out for themselves"
A peaceful quite settled over the pair, as the moon peeked down at them from behind the church spire, and cast a protective light over them. Somewhere in the distance, the cries of crickets and the rushing of water could be heard, but they seemed so far away. True, even now the children seemed a little more blurred and faded then they had before. Wendla pushed herself off the wall to land by her friend.
"Come on, Moritz" she said. "We'll have to go, otherwise we'll be late"
"Late for what?"
"Don't you remember? We promised Melchior and Ilse we would go and play pirates with them" Wendla smiled. And she was younger now, smaller, her face fuller. She was a little child again. And Moritz smiled back at her.
"You got the hang of all this very quickly" he said. "It will take me some time to learn. But please forgive me. I did shoot myself in the head, you know"
"Don't worry" Wendla giggled. "You have plenty of time to learn. See, you've done it now, you've done it perfectly"
The little girl extended her hand, and the little boy took it.
"Tonight's a beautiful night for playing" the girl called Wendla said, and the boy called Moritz nodded. And then they faded into the air, to run and skip and to play pirates for ever more.
Note-Didn't understand it? Me neither…