I was done with internet dating, romance was dead. But I knew of a true romantic and Beethoven wasn’t hard to find. He wasn’t on Tinder so I had to send a letter. I waited a month for a reply.
The horseman passed me the envelope. It smelt like decay. I had to break the seal with my teeth.
Beethoven had written ‘based on your letter I think we have a lot in common, you know I am one of the great romantics. Do you mind that I’m decomposing (joke!)’
I spat bits of wax from my mouth. I kept reading.
‘Can you meet me in Vienna? By carriage is quickest.’
I don’t live anywhere near Vienna and I don’t have a horse.
I had my concerns about the state of him, He is old now and I couldn’t be sure he had a toothbrush or used floss. I worried about his breath. In my next letter I asked about his teeth. I finished with ‘btw I love Fur Elise!’ The high notes tinkled in my throat as I licked and sealed the envelope.
I heard the thunder of hooves, my letter had arrived. He wrote, ‘I have all my teeth, but my hearing is gone. And I hate Fur Elise, I don’t want to talk about it.’
‘But the second movement is brilliant’ I replied.
I didn’t hear the horseman this time and he was silent as he handed me the envelope. There were only five words, ‘nobody knows the second movement.’
I’m still waiting to meet Beethoven. When I do he’ll hold me and hum in my ear. We’ll finish the unfinished symphony together. Maybe he’ll introduce me to Handel.
I put my fingers in my ears. I make a low noise like the Moonlight Sonata.
Annette Edwards-Hill lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She has been published in Flash Frontier, Bonsai: Best small stories from Aotearoa New Zealand, Gravel, Headland, Fictive Dream, Spelk, Reflex Fiction and the 2019 Bath Flash Fiction Anthology. She was nominated for the Best Small Fictions and the Pushcart Prize in 2017.