Mariposario – Chapter II

Mary’s side of the story:

Vienna. January 5th, 1955

Yesterday’s sermon was on the good Samaritan. After I had said my evening prayers last night and rested my head on the cushions, the thought of it prevented me from entering the world of dreams, so I was left awake and contemplating. To me the thought of someone just passing by a fellow human being who had just been robbed of all his posessions and whose face showed traces of physical injury was simply unbearable. I was wondering what people’s motivation to ignore the pain of others might be. Were they simply heartless and self-centered individuals whose sole concern was their own well-being or were they in denial? Was it possible not to be aware of someone’s misery and was this therefore the reason to deny them one’s help? Either way, it didn’t make sense to me and I had a hard time choosing which one of the two options was worse. All I knew was that I’d never end up a person like that. I would try and keep my eyes open and rush if someone was in need, relieving their suffering and aiding them in the best way possible, as a good Samaritan would. I fell asleep with a satisfied smile on my face.

At school today I found myself to be somewhat distracted. I am usually good at paying attention and eagerly providing topic-related comments but today my thoughts kept drifting off to that sermon. Which is why I acknowledged it with a mixture between guilt and fear when the voice of the teacher calling my name brought me instantly back to reality. I sincerely wished that she wasn’t going to ask me anything that would reveal my absent-mindedness during the lesson. “Mary”, Mrs. Smith said, “the principle wants to see you in his office.”

I was shell-shocked. In my head I quickly scanned through all the options and made a list of what I could have done wrong to deserve to get sent to the principle’s office, but failed to come up with anything. The way to the principle’s office reminded me of a slow-motion scene in a movie in which the convicted felon, chained up and accompanied by an army of police officers, would walk along the aisle leading from his jail cell to the hot seat. When I finally knocked on the principle’s door, a harsh voice that sent shivers down my spine, told me to enter and in that same manner demanded me to take a seat.

I must have been trembling terribly, for the principle looked at me with an odd grimace (that was most likely intended to be a smile but gave the impression of someone who was in great pain) and said “Calm down, Mary. I know you’re probably wondering why I sent for you. It might comfort you to find that I haven’t heard any complaints about you ever since you have started at this school four years ago. Quite at the contrary.” A short pause ensued in which the principle, a large, stout man in his fifties with a proud mustache, got up from his chair and started wandering up and down his little office.

This left me somewhat nervous so I embarked on pondering what the purpose of my being here might be. After all, I wasn’t aware of any wrong-doing on my part and his disarming of all of my fears had reassured me of this. “Mary”, the principle’s voice echoed through my thoughts and recalled me of his presence in the room. “I have heard nothing but good things about you. You’re an ambitious scholar and an excellent one as well, I daresay. I’ve witnessed the passion with which you dedicate yourself to the subject matters and the concerns of your fellow students alike. Hearsay tells me you always have an open ear for everyone and never fail to come up with some handy advice. I am sure that all of this praise must surprise you, but Mary, you do have a character of gold. Which is why I think you should receive some reward in exchange…

Mariposario – Chapter I

Mary’s side of the story:

Vienna. January 4th, 1955

What a wonderful day! I’ve spent all morning at the market, exchanging conversations  with people and selling mother’s Apfelkuchen.  “I don’t mean to burden you with this additional task, Mary”, she said this morning, “There is no need for you to feel obligated to do my work. I know how employed you always are with your chores”. It almost made me feel guilty that my mother, who was constantly busy managing a household, a tremendous garden plus four children was about to have a bad conscience that I was selling pies on my free day, so I assured her, that I loved helping her out and told her not to worry about it. It was the best way for me to have some change once in a while and to socialize outside of the house.

Another aspect about this task I very much  enjoyed was making an effort to neatly decorate my little counter with handicraft, to make the pies  look more appealing to the customers. Oh, I have created so many beautiful pieces of handicraft! I love knitting and sewing with a passion! It is somewhat relaxing to me and I like to daydream about the most random things, whilst devoting myself to another piece that I am sure to take delight in. What I really didn’t expect though was the fact that so many people were stopping at my table just so they could admire my work. One old lady particularly took me by surprise when she exclaimed that I was very skilled and that many people would love to decorate their houses with my embroidery, which almost made me blush.

That was also the moment when I got the idea of offering my handcraft for sale, along with mother’s apple pies. I am convinced, that selling my work will earn me quite some money! To be frank, the thought of owning such an amount of money somewhat preoccupies me. I am afraid that it will spoil my character and lead me to indulge in selfish pleasures. I’d better donate all of it to charity, so that even more people will be able to benefit from my efforts! There are so many people out there who are not as well off as I am, people who would appreciate the taste of warm food and the luxury of their own bed. I have all of that – and more.  At times, I even find myself taking for granted what I have and it makes me feel quite ashamed. My parents work hard to fulfill my every wish – not that I am trying to have many wishes since that would contradict my idea of a modest lifestyle – so I am really not in a position to complain about anything at all.

In the evening, I got dressed for church. I have made a habit out of attending services every other day. I find that one doesn’t necessarily have to believe in God to be able to find that there is some truth to the stories in the bible. Even if one cannot identify with their meaning, the words are unmistakeably poetic and I am always able to derive inspiration from them.  One of my favourite pastimes is to philosophize about what I have learned at church when I am in one of my daydreaming moods again. I personally believe that these stories teach you a lesson about life whereas most of the advanced theories you learn at school don’t seem to apply to real life. Speaking of school, I am currently in my last year of a girls’ Catholic school. If I make  an effort, I will undoubtedly excel in most subjects, which will hopefully enable me to pursue a career as a social worker one day. I feel like this is a position in which I can really make a difference, even if it is only a small one. It seems like  there are so many people out there who need my help…

Casey’s side of the story:

Vienna. January 4th, 2011 I hated this day even before I was fully awake. There was just this odd day-hating vibe in the air and I must have inhaled too much of it. Anyways. I woke up too late, which meant that there “would be no breakfast”. (As if I even ate breakfast in the first place, DUH. I’d just take a piece of bread and say that I would eat it on the way to school to make my mum shut up. Geez, I’d do most anything to be spared a lecture about why breakfast was so damn important. I mean who the heck cares, right? And when mom wasn’t looking, I’d toss the bread into the next garbage can. If she knew about that, I’d get another lecture about how kids in Africa were starving and how I was an ungrateful brat, etc.) Oh yeah, and I was definitely late for school.

I’m in my senior year at this lousy public school where students and teachers just don’t give a shit about shit. My parents expect me to do a good job though, so I can go to university and brag about some useless title. (Basically DAD wants to be able to brag with his little “baby girl”. I’m his only daughter so he “only wants what’s best for me” aka imposing a career on me that I couldn’t care less about). But that’s not to say that I am good for nothing. I am incredibly good at wasting time! And getting wasted! Who cares about hobbies when you can drink booze, right? And there is always booze. Plenty of booze. Or wait. In my mom’s book, “booze” stands for “study group” or “prayer circle”, as the case may be! (As if! My mum’s SO gullible. I am starting to believe that she only believes what she wants to believe. I mean if she admitted to herself what a failure her daughter was, she’d probably blow her brains out, lol). To cut a long story short, there is always booze. And sometimes there is sex. Mind-fucking, hot sex. Whatever it takes to get reality out of my brain…

Fragments of a Broken Soul

The room that I am locked into is dark. There are no windows, there are no lights. There is just me. Me and a sad song stuck on repeat, it’s the only one I know. It gives me as much comfort as it gives me pain. I feel like I am a fountain because the tears just won’t stop pouring. Or am I a weeping willow?

I can’t help thinking that when the going gets rough, I always end up on my own. You’ve left me alone and crying when I was “the girl”, like a discarded item in a wastebin, used, dispensable and disgusting. I should be used to the feeling by now but it still brings me down.

Did you ever actually regard me as something that posesses a soul?

My thoughts are a spinning wheel, just turning around in circles and turning against me. You have taught me to become my own worst enemy. I am crying silent tears of regret and bitterness. It’s over. Over over over, the spinning wheel echoes. OUR past turned into my present, I cannot shake it off. My body turns every disease into a remedy and this last remedy will be my death. A remedy against what has been and never ceases to haunt me during every waking moment and even in my sleep.

I would like to call you. Just to hear your voice. I am longing to take everything away from you. Everything you have. Your dignity. The ones you love, assuming you’ve ever loved anyone. I want you to be broken, just like I am. I want to torture you like you tortured me. You will have to bleed, but I am not going to let you die, you’re not getting away that easily. I want you to survive just so you’ll feel the full extent of pain and get to cherish every second of it. I want you to remember it.

Maybe then you’ll know what it feels like to lose everything you have ever had, like the past and future I never had, because you turned my body into a weapon that is designed to self-destruct.

Now I am not referring to your posessions because WE were never rich. I am talking about your soul. I am talking about leaving you damaged goods just like you’ve left me.

I wonder if you ever felt the shame. If you ever even felt. I am sure that you were well aware that what you did was wrong. Did you get thrills from tasting the forbidden fruit?

I am dropping that bottle of red wine on the floor because I forgot that I don’t drink. I am imagining it is your blood that is spilling all over the floor now. I take a second just to think of the mess and who will have to clean it up once I’m gone.

Over over over. I want to dedicate this last breath to you, even if you don’t deserve it. I could have made it big. Instead, you’ve made me a nutcase, a maniac, someone who will be dependent on pills for their entire life. The broken fragments of my soul are surrounding me like the broken shards of the bottle. I am now sacrificing my blood for yours because I can’t go on.

I bet everyone called you Goody Two-Shoes when you were in jail. Did you ever wonder what became of me? What my life turned out to be like? I’ve spent years at the orphanage, thanks to you. Was I doing well? I went through hell there. Did I ever make it big? I got suspended from high school for starting a fist fight. You taught me a lesson in violence, didn’t you? Now don’t be modest, we both know that you did. Now there is no need to blush or is it the wine that reddens your cheeks? I realise you’re not actually here and the wine’s spilt all over the floor.

How am I doing now? How thoughtful of you to ask, thanks. I am living, but not for very much longer. I am feeling the urge to sleep. Did you see those sleeping pills next to me? You couldn’t see them, because they’re gone. I swallowed them all and when I did, I thought of you. I stopped sleeping because of you. You see, you’ve made me scared of dreaming. I am desperate, hysterical. Do you know what it feels like to lie awake every night? Maybe I am giving you too much credit, but you have been a part of me for the longest time. Now I want you gone, gone! I realize that I can’t kill you without killing myself. My mind’s getting blurry and I feel myself slipping away. Famous last words?

I’ve made a mistake, I don’t want to die. Not because of you and what you’ve done to me. All I want is to start all over and somebody who will listen, even if they can’t understand. The record plays a bittersweet symphony. It’s over.Over.