I have killed my daughter. Or, actually, no. No, I haven't. I have simply killed her soul. And that is worse. But she regained it. At least partly. And that is good.
My thoughts come out in shards and splinters, torn or chipped off from the mosaic of a dreadful life. That's how my life has been. Until now. Now it's simply sad and pathetic. Can I call this progress?
Where do I begin? Telling my story I mean. Dreams? I used to have some. Plans? I didn't even have the time to make. Love? A word well known, but a feeling almost alien to me; erotic love.
I do have hope though, and it resides on the face of my daughter. Her name is Chara, which means joy in Greek, but joy is something that she found very late in life, and for that I am to blame. I am to blame for everything actually, everything bad that ever happened to her.
The past. I remember it. I can't escape it. I used to be good when I was young. I was a good daughter, a good student, a good Christian. And when I grew up a bit I became a good spouse, a good housewife. And I became bad; a bad mother.
I never loved my husband. Never. Because I had no word in choosing him. My father did that for me. It was the late 80's and at the time we were living in a village south of Nicosia, here in Cyprus, that could remind someone of Europe in the fifties. The law of the father was the only law of the house, and no one dared disobey. So, just after I finished school and though I wanted to go and study at the university in Athens, he just picked a groom for me and that was that.
At the time I couldn't even describe how sad I felt about this turn of events. Depressed? I didn't even know the meaning of the word back then. Angry? Oh yes, I was angry, but I kept that inside because there was no meaning in expressing the fury that was boiling within. Disappointed? Definitely.
I haven't talked about this to anyone yet because, well because, I am me. And the me of today has no friends and no allies. And I haven't even dared say it to my daughter, though these days our relationship has started getting a little bit better. OK, there it goes, the big secret: I have only loved one man in my life, and that was my teen love, Panagiotis.
Oh him. Him I could love for ever after! But I haven't seen him for a lifetime. The last time we've met was when we were both eighteen, twenty-seven years ago. I remember. His dark eyes. His tender gaze. Our first kiss at the back of the classroom during a break. The way he held me in his arms at the final school dance, the party of our lives.
I was taller than him but that didn't matter. I was a better student but that was of no importance. His eyes and his arms, that's my version of paradise. A paradise that I long to rediscover, but where and with whom? Isn't every paradise of the past a paradise lost?
Where is he? What has he done with his life? There are ways to find out, but I wonder as to whether I should even try to do that, as I'm certain that he's moved on with his life, that he is happy. Who am I to intrude? But…
I want to know. All I have to do is strike a few keys, type in his name, and see what comes up. So easy. Oh blessed epoch. When I was young a simple phone call was considered a-kind-of luxury in our part of the world. Do it! I command myself. Do it. I have to. Otherwise I won't sleep all night, as I'll keep thinking about him.
I type his name. I hit enter. I wait. Not for long. A common name and surname. Too many results, from Cyprus, Greece, England, Australia and South Africa. I go through the links, visiting profile pages in social media and webpages, and I finally spot his profile. He aged well. I check his About link. It says nothing about his work and there's no mention of any family relations. I feel myself smiling. Just a little.
I scroll down his posts. There are links to some articles, youtube videos, and photos from some places he visited and with some friends. I try to see if I can recognize someone else in them but I don't. New friends probably. Or relatives. I don't know.
I go back to his profile picture. It's a good one. Close up. His hair is longer than I remember, his eyes the same black, though they seem a little sad or thoughtful, I'm not sure. I look at the other photos. They are bright there. I can't help from wondering about what happened to him. I have this feeling that there's been quite a bit of suffering in his life. Or maybe I'm just projecting.
I turn off the screen. I take a sip from my glass. Vodka with ice. Russian. Always Russian. The ice is about to disappear at the bottom of the glass and the drink will soon turn warm. I don't mind.
I drink a lot these days, perhaps out of boredom, or probably because it would be impossible for me to forget my circumstances, even for a little while, otherwise. An author said: "You know me. I like thinkers, but I love drinkers…" Would he love me?
"You are pathetic," I can almost hear you scream that in my ears, but I don't care about what you think. If you were in my shoes you'd most likely react just the way I do. Loneliness is a bitch, and something has to tame it. Chara, my daughter, my savior, is not here right now, so vodka will have to do.
A note on the title: In Greek "Via" means violence and that's what this book is about; violence against women. But in the Latin languages the word has a completely different meaning, a meaning that also resonates when it comes to this story, and that's exactly the reason that I chose it.
The image was taken from here.