by Josh T. Alto
Whether it is always the same, the stronger wins and the weak must disappear
|“Just tell me why” – I heard my husband saying for the twentieth time.
“But what should I say?” – I thought; poor Robert, if he doesn't understand why it happened by now, he never will.
Why does anyone betray her husband? If he needs an explanation he probably won’t understand at all.
With Robert, we were like two dragonflies, like the ones over our tiny lake, chasing each other, fighting all the time. We started together, shoulder to shoulder, but it was hard to imagine how far we got by then, when the dreams were gone, the dreams we once had shared but we did not have any more. After some time I suddenly felt that I was captured there, like a wild animal trying to break free. All I wanted was to just run away, far away from there.
Even as a teenager and later, before I met Robert, I was always running away. But why? When someone had told me he liked me I was scared. But is it not better to be loved, even if I do not feel the same as to love without any hope? I often thought about it. I decided I would rather be loved by someone, but by whom?
Then he came. When it started with Robert, at the beginning everything seemed to be perfect, kisses, bunches of roses, going out in the evenings, dancing every night, he holding me tightly. He had beautiful eyes and I could see the deepness of his love in them. He promised never to leave me, whatever happened he would stay by my side. He loved me a lot and I accepted it, but soon I found out that there was a time bomb that could ruin everything if I let it go too far.
It was not obvious at the beginning, though I could have anticipated it from tiny signals: he could never accept me as I was. Although he seldom criticized me directly, he often tried persuading me to his way of thinking. He was always waiting for the moment I changed and I could fit into his perfect world but I could never live up to his expectations. The days passed by, and the days became weeks and the weeks months. And nothing happened because I liked myself as I was, I never wanted to be someone else’s creation even if he loved me that much. In some aspects he wanted me to be like him but I never wanted him to be like me. Ask the water to be like the fire. I know we cannot force people to change, and if at the end we succeed in changing them, they will hate us forever.
Like dragonflies. I often sat there and watched them over the water. It was my idea to dig out that lake and make it real with water lilies and sedge. I needed a piece of timelessness in our garden where I could sit after coming home from work, watching the water, listening to the twittering of the birds and drawing or painting something. Drawing a world that only existed in my mind, my world of dreams. The peaceful flow of the lake, in perfect harmony with nature, made me imagine a better life for both of us. That's exactly what's missing in our relationship! Yes, we were like dragonflies, we never agreed, he was fire and I was water, you can imagine a fight but it does not bring much.
The years went by, the fights became worse, once we even agreed to separate, but how, and where should we go? There was the house that we both loved and the garden with the lake. What should we do with it? What could we do without it? We loved it too much but we could not live here together any more, or could we?
Unfortunately, or fortunately, we did not have any children so I started going out to ease that tension inside my head. First I told him I had to do some extra work and I would be late. At the beginning he did not suspect anything or most probably he knew everything but did not want to show me how much he suffered.
My first affair since I met Robert, was with one of my colleagues, nice, smooth, always there when I needed him but keeping his distance, I could not do anything about it, we just ran into each other’s arms. In another life we could have made a nice couple but in this life we had already tied ourselves to someone else. That’s what we thought. But soon I wondered if it was a solution to all of my problems. I sometimes asked myself if I really liked it, if this was the life I always wanted to live.
My days became really long and sometimes at home after a long day at work, I just sat there at the lake watching the reflections of the sky in the water with the water lilies and the dragonflies. I did not know whether they were really fighting or if it was only their rituals. I also had rituals with Robert that might have seemed like fighting to a Martian who watched us from a distance. Like fire and water, they cannot live together but somehow need each other.
But my soul could not rest, there were the shadows that were hunting all over in our lives, shadows of unforgotten pain, shadows of unhappiness. I never talked about it with Robert but they really poisoned my life all over and there was no relief at all. I felt it at each moment I saw him and I could not do anything about it, like a trap where you fall in and can do nothing but wait for someone who can help you out. We even stopped talking to each other.
I just sat there sometimes with closed eyes, waiting for a miracle, trying to find my real self behind the curtains of a new day, but the days came and went without any hope. I cried every night, I felt like I was stuck in the moor and no one came to rescue me.
One day when I watched the dragonflies flying over the water lilies I realized that they were not fighting any more. No doubt, one of them disappeared, it was not there any more. I sat there like I was awakening from a dream and opened my eyes to the world for the first time. It really made me think it over, are we only dragonflies fighting each other, or humans with our own destinies. Whether we accept the same rules of nature, the stronger wins and the weak must disappear.
I was waiting for several hours sitting there at the lake but one of the dragonflies never came back again. I thought about my life as well, why we were fighting and whether it was really worth it. I think life is generous after all, it gives the poor what they deserve and also the rich. I never really thought about it before, the weak disappears and the strong survives but it only struck me after a few months.
Robert disappeared on a Sunday morning. He just was not in his bed anymore and I have not heard from him since then. He did not leave any notes, only disappeared from my life without any trace. The police ensured me that it happens from time to time. A husband has enough and wants to go his own way and comes back after some time, or maybe not. But Robert was not that kind of an adventurer. He was more desperate lately, he did not even fight with me any more.
A few months passed and I still enjoy sitting at my tiny lake watching the water and recently there is a new dragonfly coming nearer and nearer to me. It settles on the stone where Robert used to sit when we still cared for each other and looks me directly in the eyes with his huge sad eyes. I can see a deepness there that magnetizes me. Sometimes I even imagine tears in those beautiful eyes.
Yesterday the new dragonfly sat on my hand and was watching me long and accusingly. It was only then when I first could feel that deepness of sorrow and pain in those eyes and also the emptiness that echoed inside my heart. I knew it was impossible and only my conscience was playing a cruel game with me but I still felt Robert watching me from the bottom of the lake still expecting me to change, to finally fit into his perfect world.
(Word count 1457)