A Usual December Morning

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Chapter II, Timeless Casanova.


Gertrude could not believe she slept with the same man her very own grandmother slept with sixty-four years earlier.

“How come?” She wonders. They could not sleep well that night, staring blankly at the ceiling. They slept in the same room as the situation made them feel uneasy to be alone.

 

She wanted to ask, “how was it?” She was very curious, but the mere thought of it made her puke.

 

“Oma, are you sure?” She finally inquired, breaking the long, awkward silence. “Are you really, really sure?” 

 

“You ought to stop, Gertrude,” Oma was still awake, who, like her, couldn’t sleep well too. 

 

“I tell you, I cannot be mistaken. I remember him vividly. He was the most handsome man I have ever talked to! How can I forget?”

 

“But how come? How has he remained the same all these years? Young all throughout? How is that possible?”

 

“That is what I also want you to know. If you ever happen to see him again, ask him. That bastard sleeping with my granddaughter. I cannot imagine at all!”

 

But Gertrude went about her normal days without ever seeing him again. She was the librarian so she could read any book out of the shelves, but after that night, she couldn’t even finish a single chapter. 

 

Another book was opened, closed. Opened again. Closed again. Another book opened. Closed. Still another one. Opened, closed. Opened, closed. Opened. Opened. Closed. Closed.


Her hair has grown awry. Wrinkles appeared on her forehead. She could not think straight. 

 

And this went on and on and on. Weeks passed. Months passed. A year. And another year. And a few more months.

 

Until she read in the broadsheet the first significant post-war milestone – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was ratified on that day.

 

“That news lights up everybody’s mood, isn’t it?” A man spoke to her, with a smile – the kind that arouses the most sensitive sensation.

 

“Armand? You're back…”

 

“And you are?”

 

“Don’t you remember me? I was and still am the librarian of this library.”

 

“No, I don’t remember you. And I am not Armand.”

 

“Oh, you are! Come, tell me, have you drank the water from the fountain of youth?”

 

“What are you saying, Miss?”

 

“Armand, it is I! Gertrude! I have missed you ardently! It’s been two years since I last saw you.”

 

“Gertrude, you must have mistaken me for another man. I’m sorry, but I must go…”

 

“Armand, please don’t! Please stay, and I will keep all your secrets with me! I promise, I shan’t tell! Come on, Armand, don’t you miss what I did? I know you want it as much as I do!”

 

The man looked tenderly at her. She had the most expressive green eye he has ever seen… and her hands were so smooth and silky.

 

“I won’t let you beg for more. I’m sorry, Gertrude. I do, I do know you. I just don’t want others to know. Yes, we can do it again. Please see me here…”

 

 

Hotel Goldener Hirsh

Getreidegasse

 

 

“Promise me not to tell anyone? Just you and I. See me before sunset. Tomorrow.”

 

The man left hurriedly, and Gertrude stared at him the entire time he was leaving the building.

 

“I am staring again. Not with sadness, but with joy… But why am I glad to see him when I’m supposed to be mad or confused? I’m not supposed to do that thing with him again. I only ought to know the secret to his youth!”



To be continued...

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