Παρασκευή, 16 Αυγούστου 2013

Interactive Novel XX

(yet another note from the diary of Lilika -the granddaughter- several years later.) 

Lilika looked hurriedly in the mirror by the entrance door. A quick glimpse. That was all it was. She thought she looked tired and thin. Much too thin; and the first signs of wrinkles around her heart-shaped lips needed worry her. It was not the right moment for such worries, but she could not help  but notice that time was passing and was intolerable event to beautiful people.
Which...made her decision even harder. But she wanted to do it and she would do it, and there was no turning back. She smiled..."No turning back"...How ugly! Her situation now found an accurate description in cliche phrases. "Impressive! oh what I' ve come down to", she thought. She expected a family meeting, her father would arrive any time soon and she felt uneasy though prepared for this encounter.
She knew that the old man would not accept to make things easy for her, he would not swallow all that she was going to tell him so easily. "I wish things could be easy once for me," she said to herself. "What the fuck, it's my life damn it!" The door-bell rang. "Oh! here he comes! Let's see.." She opened the door and kissed her father. "Hello, come on in," she said calmly, although she could have had a heart attack with such ponding in her chest. "How are you dad? Would you like a soda? coffee? can I get you anything at all? I have prepared lun..."  "I don't want anything, let's get to the point," her father interrupted her fake coolness. "What's all about? Are you unwell? is there something wrong? I do hope you have become wiser over the years." He paused and then continued: "I had great hopes for you. You remember how I always spoke of you. I thought you were my cleverest kid; a bit difficult, but the cleverest by far. And yet, I never quite understood how you became so problematic; I don't quite unserstand that. You have become a Jack of all trades...and maybe...maybe, it is the fate of intelligent people, you have to keep them straight on the right track, on the right path, no matter what." He looked around and continued: "If you leave a marvellous horse on its own, it will fall down the slope right on the first false move..." He paused again and made a gesture like asking "Are you alone?" He then went on: "What's wrong Lilika? Oh God, I am not in the mood and age for nasty surprises anymore. I can't worry for my kids right at the age when I should be preparing to relax and enjoy what's left of my life." He made a gesture as if saying, "Speak!"
"Listen father, maybe you have already guessed, from things I have told you, that...you know...Stephen and I are not getting so weel together...I mean..." "Oh, don't start Lilika!" her father interrupted her. "You chose him, I never quite liked him or his family, although they are pretty nice fellows, but you said you wanted him, and I went along, especially as after your mom's death I had to be mother and father alike..." He took a deep breath: "We get married once in our life..."   "Father, what are you talking about? This is not the Middle Ages, if I want to get married five times I can do it, and being a lawyer, I know one or two things about that!" "I cannot deal with this Lilika..." "What the fuck are you talking about dad? I am your daughter and you must act as a loving father should! Stephen's parents took sides with him, not with me! Why you must do otherwise?"
A long, angry pause fell and filled the room like an ice cold avalanche. "Listen Lilika," Thanassis started after a while, "I understand that you are far better than him. You possibly feel better in many ways, and not as your father, but as an almost impartial observer, I am telling you that you are better than your husband; but marriage is not a boxing ring, it is a set of compromises, and in any case, in ten, fifteen years from now, none of that will make sense or will matter... Being close to your '50s, in say fifteen years from now, you won't care about love and passion anymore, and with good will and patience, life will soon pass. Then," he added smiling, "old age will take care of everything else, and we shall all have avoided problems..."
Lilika was left awe-stricken. "Are you serious?" she exclaimed. "Are you serious dad? I cannot believe what I' ve just heard!" She felt as if someone had punched her hard in her stomach. She wanted to vomit. "You are the best person to turn a female individual into a masochist, victimised person dad," she said calmly, holding her rage which had started to boil beneath her fake calm expression. "What you said is deeply humiliating and insulting," she continued with a sudden pitch in her voice, which made her father lift his head and stare. He fixed his glance right between her eyes, "as if he was the shooter who wants to find the best point on the head for the final blow." She felt lonely, abandoned, unworthy to be loved. She became a little girl again, and she totally hated that. "I' ll fix this feeling later, now I must be strong," she said to herself.
"OK, dad, listen, I' ll go ahead with the divorce, Stephen and I have discussed things over, and there is nothing you can tell or do to change my mind. Yes, I wanted him, yes all that's been said is true, but he is a different person now, and I want out of this marriage while I am still young and I can fix things and possibly meet someone else..." "Oh no, my dear, life and marriage is not about changing our minds and trying men over!" said her father abruptly. "I wanted my freedom too, but no, I was there for you, for all of you, for my family! I did not say "sorry now it is hard for me, please let me go..." I had my chances with other women, there were things I did not like in my own family, I took over debts from your maternal grand-father after he died... so suddenly and early, you know all that...and I was young..." he paused, then he continued with a certain theatrical style, "but I did not leave. I worked my ass off to pay the debts, to keep my head above the water and the shit and give you a good life. Is this how you repay me?" "It is not about you and payments and debts and metaphors dad, it is about my life! I am young and..and we don't live twice, for fuck's sake! I want to live, and I shall do it against all odds! I want to be happy and this man has ceased to make me happy for quite some time now. I gave him the chance to change things, he does not fucking understand..." "There is no reason to swear..." "Oh father please, this is not the time to teach me manners..." They both remained silent for a while. Each wished that whoever would go first in reacpitulating, would something that would miraculously fix the situation.
Her father stood up. "I have nothing else to say to you. You divorce and you won't see me again. Don't bother to even come to my funeral. I expect you to abide to reason and I shall consider this meeting a bad moment. Don't worry, we all have bad moments, I shall not disclose any of this to anyone, and I shall forget our conversation as soon as I get out f here." Another long pause. And then, "I shall wait for your answer, in writing or phone, or any other means you choose, to tell me that everything has gone back to normal..." He was trying hard to sound in control and even slightly comforting, and the whole situation started to upset Lilika even more. Her choices were to either become a beloved toddler again, or to be a rejected adult. She chose the second. "Dad," she said as he was pressing the button of the elevator, "dad, let's not say such cruel things and please don't forget you should be on my side..." He re-entered the apartment and close the door behing him. "Lilika," he said, "no, do not expect anything from me if you go ahead with this stupid plan. I have backed up your career change plans, your huge expenses, your choice of husband. I shall not support any stupid plans to destroy your life, I have to protect you from yourself. Good-bye Lilika, don't do anything stupid, think carefully." He looked at her thoughtfully: "There are millions like you. You cannot make a career out of your constant need to be an exception."
He left. Lilika closed the door and sat on the sofa. She started to cry. She was angry and guilt-ridden. Not for the divorce, but for shattering the family happiness. The awesome balance of bad relationships. Oh no, she could not accept that! She was not responsible for decisions other people made long before she was born! Especially having heard all the terrible and bitter fights between her parents, all she could do was to feel deep mistrust for family happiness, relationships and men. She wanted her freedom when she needed it, she wanted to decide what was best for her, she wanted to be in control of her life, and she would seek happiness, her happiness, no matter what. She washed her face, tried several smiles on the mirror, and she acknowledged the difficult times to come.
She took a deep breath and waited for Stephen to arrive. "One by one, I' ll take the dragons down," she thought trying to amuse herself and ease the situation. "I think I could do with a date right now,"  "let's see what's available in the market", she thought with a touch of cynicism and immediately felt her spirits slightly uplifted as if she's had a glass of wine. "Innie, minnie, miny, mo" she sang pointing at two telephone numbers on a piece of paper. "Okey dokey, let's call the blondy," she said and checked her watch to see if there was still time to make a phone-call before Stephen arrived.