Eyes Wide Open
When I looked into my father's eyes that evening, I didn’t know it was the last time I could do so. All I saw reflected in his tropical blue eyes now getting pale was a great deal of tiredness, the tiredness of a lifetime as well as some health issues.
- « Five more minutes, please » I asked.
- « I’m too tired, pumpkin, let’s do it another time. »
- « Oh come on ! »
He laughed out loud. My silly childish reaction, I suppose.
- « Another time » He repeated.
I stopped nagging him because there was something else in his gaze. It was there, undefinable and persistant. So, I just dropped it.
I must admit he had had an uncommon life, shaped by History. One does not get to chose his time. He was born on the 15th of January 1917. He was the older brother of a family of four. He was the pride, the supporting pillar of it all. He had quite a brilliant mind, sharp, off-beat, ahead of his time. With the War, everything got blown up : his youth, his innocence and his dreams.
He had gone to combat with all the others. He had even killed an enemy, a young, angel faced German. He had spent his life regretting what he called a murder because he thought that guy might have been an innocent victim of the events. Anyway, the fighting came to an end because our country quickly surrendered. He became prisonner in a working camp. Nobody died there but the detention conditions were really tough.
He was fluent in German and was born blond with blue eyes. He was liked for those reasons and that gave him a strategic advantage over the enemy. He put their vigillence to sleep up until one night, together with two others, they ran away through a hole they had dug under the fence.
They mostly travelled at night towards the East. They slept in haystacks during the day, often starving, surviving only by stealing food in farms. Eventually they were captured, punished and hurt. Locked up in the dark for days. But nothing could ever stop their thirst for freedom. And one fine day, they escaped again and this time for good.
It was an endless journey but, finally, they arrived in a land free of occupation : Hungary. They split up but stayed in contact. First off, my Father went through a living hell. He was very hungry, hosted by way of charity in rat infested filthy places. He was infected with vermin and flees prevented him from sleeping. Then one day, he got his lucky break. He had quickly learnt the local language and he was an outstanding violonist. He found a job in the great Budapest orchestra.
Those were happy times. He was a womanizer and I remember he thought the most beautiful woman on the planet was Liz Taylor with her forget-me-not irises. He quickly took advantage of his good looks and collected women frantically. Needless say he ended up in a cold sentimental desert...
Meanwhile, war had spread out like spilled oil and suddenly there was nowhere to hide. He was made prisonner in a camp where people didn’t direclty die but slowly declined to their very death. He had to work beyond his health capacity and was bound to starvation. He was only half alive when the English and the Americans set the camp free. They felt so much hatred that their liberators kept them gently captive for a small while in order to feed them and soothe them a bit.
That’s how he came back home aged 25 with no diploma and no future. He wanted to travel away. He had a bohemian soul and he wanted freedom in his sexual life. However his parents needed him in the family company and these were times you would obey your parents. That went terribly wrong, one does not tie a dove to a cage…
But, you know… He started a successful entrepreneur life and wasted his time in a first marriage when he came across my Mother. She was 22 years younger and she was an atomic bomb. He threw his life away for her deep brown eyes. She wanted a child. She insisted and although my Father was much too old, he reluctantly consented.. That is how I landed into his life…
Returning to that evening he looked so old and tired…
He drove me back to my Mother’s place. She had left him years ago for a younger man after he had been cheating on her constantly. So, he dropped me home and I went straight to bed. My Father went back to his place, sat in his red velvet armchair and fell asleep. There, in the middle of the night, he passed away.
That night, I had a dream like no other. A dream with no image and no sound. I gently left my body in a pool of light. It was both nice and dizzying. That very light was my Father who had come to say goodbye. I was euphoric, as in the middle of the best happiness ever. I asked him to take me with him as there was nothing left for me on this Earth. The pool of light became unstable revealling many other entities. They were taking him away from me. I begged them, I wanted to go. They refused. They said, with no word, that I had to stay to fulfill my destiny and also for the child. I was desperately hanging on when the pool of light brutally stopped. I fell back into my body and woke up. I was sitting on my bed, crying. I knew…
In truth, I symbolically died that night. It was my turn to fall into a an empty desert of solitude. After three days of tears and an unbearable pain, I suddenly felt a total emptiness. My heart became moonstone.
I was born again ten years after that when I gave birth to the child. I carefully did not pass on lost hopes and dead dreams to him. He knows though, he’s made with the same light fabric. Every day I feed him with music. He is alone the entire music of the universe. I’m waiting now with no impatience the day I will be allowed to go, eyes wide open and a smile on my lips.
Warning : any resemblance to reality will be the result of pure chance or the product of your imagination