The clouds outside Ernst's window were white, signaling the start of spring. It was sometime in April. Hanschen's birthday month… but he wasn't there to celebrate with him. In fact, the once-raven-haired boy wasn't in much shape to celebrate his lover's birthday, either. Instead, he looked out the window, content on his bed, awaiting Death's touch so he join the one he loved the most.
Hanschen… They had been through so much together. They were classmates for most of Ernst's childhood. When they had met, they had only been in class for five minutes. Another one of their classmates, Melchior, was already stirring up trouble when one of the bigger boys had hit one Moritz Stiefel. That was the start of a wonderful friendship, though a short one, in Ernst's mind.
Ernst liked to listen to Melchior's speeches about the alternate to God and Heaven. He guessed Hanschen had his own ideas too, because the two often clashed. Ernst was in love with the blonde haired boy as soon as grade school was done and they were entering the highest level of school they could in their tiny town. Ernst had a clash with his original beliefs when he finally figured that out. But one night in the vineyard changed his views. What he felt was love, and if love was a sin, then what the Church was saying was wrong.
God loved him no matter what. Hanschen reminded him of that daily. His kisses were so sweet, and his words? They were sweeter.
They had very few people who knew about them. If the adults knew… But they didn't. They wouldn't. Ernst's friends: Anna, Thea, Marianna, Martha, Ilse, and, for a short time, Wendla; and their fellow classmates: Georg, Otto, Melchior, and for too short a time, Moritz, made sure that the adults never knew. At least until Moritz committed suicide: but the girls made sure the boys held their tongues. Then Wendla was lost forever, as well. The girls hung on to her memory as long as they could.
Years passed, and the wounds healed, leaving very faint scars on the children. When they turned eighteen, Ernst thought they would be split up: all of them. The thought of Hanschen leaving was too much to bear. But he stayed. They were inseparable, moving to Munich together, and managing to keep their love a secret from the outside world.
Ernst once again smiled out at the cityscape outside his window. Munich was lovely in spring. His last spring on earth, it seemed. He gazed out for a brief moment, before his eyes closed once more, but instead of darkness, he felt engulfed in light.
Ernst darling… he heard a voice call out. He hadn't heard that particular voice since it was a child in a vineyard back in a tiny, grief-stricken town.
He looked up and saw that same fourteen-year-old that had kissed him in the vineyard. Looking down at his night-gowned self, he saw that he was the same age as he was in the vineyard.
What is this? he asked.
Heaven. You return to the age you were when you first experienced true happiness… Hanschen explained. He took the younger boy's hands and kissed him, It's wonderful to see you again, Ernst darling… Welcome home.
Ernst smiled, I love you.
I love you too. Hanschen replied, kissing his lover once more, and leading him down a cobbled path to their new home.
Whoa... that was bitter-sweet.
Sorry about that.