On the cutting edge - a story
Tracking the past
Angela's eyes grew darker as she looked down when hearing her mother's words: "Are you doing this on purpose?" The attack was so prominent that it was absolutely useless to go on listening to the cascade of the mother's complaints that followed. Slowly, Angela went to get the water to pour in the flower pots that the mother left in her apartment. Actually, Angela's parents moved to the countryside not so long ago, and she could enjoy the solitude in the spacious apartment. Enjoy! Now the mother "dropped in" - just to check on her plants? If her mother didn't reproach her hysterically, just because of a couple of withered flowers, Angela would feel happy to see her. Nothing crucial, on the large scale, Angela thought. Her mother was, yet, of a different opinion.
At thirty, Angela was still unmarried, without children. When she was twenty, she went abroad on a gap year and, accidentally, got raped. She spent one month in a sexual slavery, after which she managed to come back home. Her parents never knew anything about this. Angela preferred to conceal the fact. She remembered from time to time the sunny room of a hotel, the spacious bed covered by a snow-white sheet, and a huge blood spot on it, red, bright. Of the action itself she could recall nothing. As the memory was so painful, it was hard to keep in mind all the details, and all that was left was this image, red and white...
It was not the first time that Angela's memory played this trick on her. Amnesia, the friend of grief and pain, visited her before. When her dearly loved grandfather died of a heart attack, she erased his name from her memory. A year after his death she could recall his name again. Valter. The childhood memories, related to this person, were tenacious. As they walked out in the frosty air, vivacious as she was, she would run away, playing with some neighbourhood boys or attracted by a cat or a dog, that would run frighteningly from her. He would whistle then for her to come back, and she would run to this whistle, as if it was a signal of alarm. Angela also remembered how he would treat her to candy, thought as a good companion for a walk. This taste of caramel, that you can never forget and that you carry through the whole life. He was her first teacher, long before school. Learning how to read and write, how to tell the time and the date, studying the calendar. He would give her the kind of attentions she would not expect from her parents. Once he tore out a sheet from a school copy-book, put it on a desk, then asked her to put her hand on it. He would then take a pen and outline the silhouette of her tiny hand. What fun it will be comparing the size in ten years!
As for her mother, Angela had definitely less luck with her. As opposed to the discoveries that her grandfather introduced her to, the mother's punishments were violent and never seemed fair. Angela remembered her mother loosing her temper, and pulling her hair painfully, then striking Angela's head against the door of a closet... It's easy to take advantage of someone weaker than you. Television turned on when Angela was trying to fall asleep in the next room. Badly ironed wet uniform in the morning, before going to school, hard awakening, her mother forcing her to the bathroom to wash her face and clean her teeth, little time spent at home, living somewhere with her grandparents or relatives, or some other family. Angela had the impression that her mother would love to get rid of her. They say, the first child is hard to raise. She had this sharp feeling of being the trial and error of her mother's till present. She was her mother's failure, shame and fault.
Now she had the impression that the mother searched for the pretext to find some fault with her, and humiliate her. Which was not true, on the large scale. Her mother was not a choleric type. She was a retired old lady who had hard time controlling her emotions that would break through violently touching on the first person that came across her way - her daughter. It hurt Angela, however hard she tried to get used to this. She would prefer to be asked gently about the things her mother wanted her to do. But this would hurt her to ask her mother not to yell. Somehow, she learned to take this as a kind of emotional cleaning up. Although unpleasant, this had to be done, as any work. The only problem was it seemed so energy-devouring and ineffective, compared to the concrete action and a few instructive words that Angela herself would use.
The clock on the wall
Now it was late. The sound of the clock on the wall was a quiet tic-tac, compared to the beat of ruthless thoughts. They were all here, the people that surrounded her today, present and screaming. Maybe they did not scream, in reality, but their conversations were so loud that she could hardly hear them. If they spoke more quietly, she would have understood. But what they said went aside from what they felt, as it seemed. The body language and the language spoken were in contradiction. They seemed to her bad actors who thought they could cheat everyone very successfully, including themselves. Because they had this feeling of fear inside them. Something was very wrong with these people she worked with. On the other hand, her ability to feel their inner state amazed herself. How could they be so neurotic and act against themselves? Why would they want to destroy themselves so much? So many questions and not a single answer!
Nothing, nothing in the human life was supposed to make you more sensitive, more empathic, more gentle. Not the comfort of the armchair, not the warmth in the radiators in winter, not the engine of the car starting, not the highly paid job. To feel the soul of another person is an unpaid job. Time is all we have. Time is all that we can share with another person.