When her mother woke up, with the sunset, she had already been sitting by the window for hours.
The night before, she had rushed back to the village. It was late, and she had been nervous to say the least, walking all by herself for the first time, in the middle of the forest. But nothing could have kept her home.
Mother, I made some coffee… Would you like a cup?
The old woman already sitting at the kitchen table, nodded softly.
She wished she could give her a little hope. Whatever good news that she could hang on to. But all she had to offer was the warm mug she put on the wooden table, and her hopefully reassuring presence.
Words were useless, in the home that had seen her grow up. She wondered if the old house had enjoyed that much silence since the day her oldest brother had been given birth in their parents’ room.
In the couple of months during which they had patiently waited, her mother had aged considerably. Her once crow black hair had dyed to a rainbow of greys, and she could see the subtle tracks tears had traced from the corner of her eyes, and on her cheeks.
Still, she knew that the woman that had given her life to raise her and her siblings still had much more strength than she had. Her faith was almost unshakeable. It was admirable.
She wished she could say the same. But the day before, when she had found the most succint note laying on her doorstep, she had doubted the power of their constant prayers. Knowing him, and his love of words, sending so very few felt like a bad omen.
We found Gunther… We’re heading back home tomorrow.
That was it.
She went back to the stove, and got the coffee pot to fill her mother’s cup again. She wanted to ask if she really believed they could keep some hope. But words didn’t want to take a leap from her lips.
From afar, she heard a sudden thundering sound.
Running out, her heart skipped a beat when she saw the carriage coming down the road. He, and her father sat in the front, leading the two horses car. Obviously, the stay in the capital and the trip back home had been challenging, but it felt reassuring to see their worn out faces.
When the carriage stopped, in front of the house, she ran to the back of it with whatever hope she had left in her heart. There lay a silhouette covered with a white cloth.
Hanging to the wooden side of the carriage, she broke into tears. Noooooo – she thought, as she realized that her doubts were coming to reality.
Suddenly, she felt his hand on her shoulder.
I’m sorry… – He said .
Staring at the body lying on the flatbed, she noticed a little movement. Taking the cloth away from it’s face, her brother turned her way, and smiled.
I’m sorry it took us that long…
She kneeled to the ground, and weeped. Gunther was alive. She couldn’t believe it.