Flash fiction. Letters to Einstein, by Wendy Markel. Image: a silhouette of Einstein's head in which another silhouette of a woman in profile looks out at falling paper.

Letters to Einstein

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December 1902 

Novi Sad 

Darling Albert, 

We had a daughter, just for a day. I don’t know whether to be relieved or to allow myself a tiny ache of sadness. My mother’s tongue is sharp with disapproval since I brought disgrace upon her. She berates my father, on the hour, for encouraging me to attend the polytechnic and says I shouldn’t be permitted to return. He says my education, food and board are paid for and he cannot feed me twice. I shall be in your arms next month; we have been apart too long.  

Your loving Mileva 

Ps I have an interesting theory about relativity to discuss. 

July 1908 


Dearest Albert, 

I hope your mother remains in good health and her sister is not too taxed, having your cousin, Elsa, and those unruly children home. What a shame Elsa couldn’t keep her husband happy. And him in textiles; she can never have been in want of a good warm coat.  

Little Hans Albert wishes you would bring him a gift on your return from Wurttemberg; one of the carved cuckoo clocks would look pretty on our mantel.  

Marie Planck visited today. She says Max is interested in developing our theory and wishes you to address the German Physical Society. We had sweet tea and rosenkuchen and discussed the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Marie and I agreed Henriette Boltzmann received insufficient credit for her husband’s work.  

Give my best regards to your family. And Elsa. 

Your loving wife,  


August 1913 


Dear Albert, 

Baby Eduard has not fully recovered and I cannot join you for our holiday.  

It is disappointing; I was excited to meet the Curies. The eldest daughter, Irene, is an attractive girl, I understand, if a little florid, somewhat similar to Elsa. But, of course, better educated.  

Max Planck visited, asking when we were moving to Berlin. I don’t believe we have discussed this yet; it will be something to look forward to when we meet. 

Your wife, Mileva 

October 1918 



It seems my work on the mathematics of gravitation was useful to you. As you mentioned, having failed my degree in 1902 I could not expect to see my name on your papers; you may recall I was otherwise engaged. Thank you for your promise to send us your Nobel prize money. Let us hope you’re nominated.  

Hans and Eduard send their fondest love and wish you would visit. Both boys need winter coats; perhaps Elsa might speak to her ex-husband? Such a convenience she has been in Berlin all this time. 

Your lawyer’s letter arrived. I will sign and return the papers tomorrow. 


January 1921 


Darling Albertle, 

The newspapers say New York is mid-snowstorm; when do you arrive? Your secretary isn’t returning my calls, so I do not have your itinerary. 

The receipt for a fur coat was in your jacket pocket; so thoughtful, my love. When might I receive it? 

Your loving wife, 


Wendy Markel

Wendy Markel writes speculative, historical, and contemporary short stories. Her stories have been placed in competitions, including Globe Soup, The South Warwickshire Literary Festival, The London Society, and Reedsy. Her winning story, The Last Of The Bright Young Things, will be published in the latest edition of Prompted Magazine.


When not writing Wendy enjoys the company of her husband and dog, and travelling to sunnier countries as frequently as possible.

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