My Father and his best friend

James and Vivian met on a dating site, in an old hotel in Bratislava.Vivian was 18 years old and James was 19 years old.  Tall, blonde, blue eyed, tanned and well formed, they both bathed in adoring eyes of their secret admirers and took all the physical advantages of their youth, healthy upbringing and lucky inheritance for granted.

Vivian’s description was:  ” I’m not a time waster so here it is:  I am very good looking therefore my sisters hate me, my Mother even does not like me, on one understand me, the world is such unhappy place to live in.”

James’ was: ” I’m warm, intelligent, funny and very handsome guy.  I have very good relationship with my sibblings and my Mother adores me. I have so many friends. The world is such happy place to live in.”

Each was attracted to the other’s candour. Their parents thought that it was a match made in heaven and prepared a lavish wedding.  The young couple moved to their new fully equiped flat in the middle of the city.  Piles of expensive wedding presents piled their new rooms.  The couple was in love,  their daughter was born and everyone blessed this happy and blissful marriage.

They have been together just for two years. Then the marriage fell appart leaving just the metal taste in their mouths and hate for the rest of their lives. They changed the wedding vow, they hated each other until death fell them apart.

Here was the problem.

James was the eternal optimist, Vivian the eternal pessimist. Vivian was a nurse in a childrens’ hospital, stuck in a job with crying little ones, unfriendly staff and an abusive head sister. James had just finished a contract position in telecomunication. He hadn’t found another contract yet but was sure there was a job just around the corner. He had so many dreams to fullfil and so many plans for his successful future.  ‘Life was his oyster’ and there was nothing in his way to a bright and prosperous future. And soon enough, there was another job for him, he was the youngest supervisor in a new built factory surrounded by hundreds of workers, mostly young females.

He thought Vivian was unsuccessful because she was so negative.  Vivian thought James was successful because he was just lucky and it was not fair. She put herself down and admitted that she could not totally let James into her heart because she didn’t believe that he could really love her.

James tried to be understanding about Valerie’s work situation, but if he gave her suggestions on how to present herself more positively, she said he was judging her.  James also felt his love was never fully received or acknowledged. While James was optimistic, he was also stressed about being a parent and responsibilities it brought on him.  Vivian felt she was already stressed about her own situation and felt that their child was just another burden.  She wanted to know what he expected from her. James said he needed her to reassure him that he would always have her in his life regardless of  what happened.  She said: ” You don’t need me behind you with your optimism and luck …”

James felt that if Vivian kept telling him how worthless their relationship was, she would finally convince him and the relationship would be over.  What Vivian was trying to protect herself from was impossible.It was too late.  She was already too far. James left her for another woman, a young chick, one of his factory girls.  She was devastated.  She would never surrender and let him in.  She was happy now that she never did.  She was ready for a revenge, a sweet revenge that would fill her life.  She went out to look for a boyfriend and not just one.

Half a century later I was standing on the same spot where the old hotel in Bratislava, the place of their first randevouz stood.  The world moved on, there was a new shiny skycraper towering over the lapidating building waiting to be demolished.  Looking at the sad remnants of the forgotten past I wondered if Vivian thought that by withholding love, or not allowing James’ love in, she could save herself from the devastation she would feel if he left her.  The life taught her that she couldn’t.

The life moved on, but they could not.  Hate without end.  James died prematurelly surrounded by his big family and many friends. In his dying days he felt ‘the metal taste of unfullfiled first love and long life hate’. He wanted to make amends but it was too late.  Vivian never spoke to him again.  She said he was already dead for her years and years back.

Vivian live alone, without any family or friends. That was how she plans to run her life until her last breath: with her arms crossed and her head high, always prepared for a fight, waiting for the blow to come from any side.

Vivian knows now that rejection is going to hurt just as much if she thrust her face into the wind and said, ” OKAY, I AM GOING FOR IT !”

She still does not know not hate and revenge but forgiveness and love bring happiness and trust back into her life.

It is too late for James to find out that everyone should acknowledge their mistakes and there is never too late to apologize and look for forgiveness, but it can be too late to leave it until your last breath. Everyone should pay their debts on time.

It is too late for James to find out  that no wrongoing will be forgotten and there will be time in your life when it comes back to haunt you. Do not count on your luck.

I am standing in the middle of a bustling old street in Bratislava and think about my parents.





I AM CONTENT AND HAPPY BECAUSE I WAS ABLE TO LEARN FROM THEIR EXPERIENCE. There is no bigger gift they could give me. If they only knew…