Glass Curtain by Thaddeus Hutyra

chapter 43


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Author:Thaddeus Hutyra


Raquel Hendrics was madly in love towards Tadek Vangard.They have lived together already for four months in her villa in Eastbourne and she had impression she loved him more and more with every passing day.It was love,sure.Yet another love among so many ones around the world.Yet another love story.Summer was ending and the April days were a bit colder and refreshed more often with a rain.Soon it would be autumn while there,in his native country,spring.But nothing really changed.Nothing at least in their passionate lovemaking.They could have written an exhilarating book about their lovemaking.There was no time for this.Both were too busy.She had to attend classes at Victoria University of Wellington and he did business,sending goods to his brother in Poland or surfed for hours on the Internet.She has often found him on the terrace of her villa sitting there and looking somewhere far away,over the waves of the Pacific and over the mountains.He still dreamed about his America.She found it sometimes so irrational but said nothing.She was intelligent enough to know no dream can be beat as long as it is not confronted with the reality.He had to go to the States one day and see the country for himself.Only then will he recover the touch of reality.The problem was it was not possible for him to go to the States.Not yet.He had to stay minimum three years in New Zealand in order to get a New Zealand citizenship and passport as the consequence.So it was still a long way which,on the other hand,was acceptable,taking into the account immigrants in the European countries and in the States had to wait double so long time to be able to obtain passport.They often stayed on the terrace in the evenings,peaceful and full of singing birds around.It was a time of some friction between New Zealanders and Americans.No American warship equipped with nuclear bombs was allowed to the New Zealand harbours and the United States government could not swallow this.How such a little country,inhabitted only by three and a half million people and an ally at the same time could say no? It was simply unthinkable to the Americans.One editorial in Washington Post or New York Times,Tadek Vangard did not really remember,called even New Zealanders more stupid than the over one hundred million sheeps in the Kiwi land.This was,naturally,an affront towards Kiwis and they stood even more determindedly against a number of diplomatic pressures from their number one ally.It was a sort David vice Goliath struggle.Americans had to give in in the end.But it cost New Zealand withdrawal of a number of costly programs which were financed by Americans until then.New Zealanders had also problems with the French who had their colony in New Caledonia,situated between the coasts of Australia and New Zealand.The French tested their nuclear bombs underwater nearby the Muruora atol,against a fierce opposition of the New Zealand and Australian public.The New Zealand and French governments did not have diplomatic relations since the eighties when one of the Greeenpeace fregates,”Rainbow”fregate,was bombed by French undercover agents.Two New Zealand activists who were on the board of the fregate were killed.There was only one solution to ending the chill between both countries: ending the nuclear tests.Slowly,New Zealanders were getting the upper hand,thanks to the growing worldwide presure on the French.Tadek Vangard and Raquel Hendrics went often to downtown Wellington where there was enough enterprise to choose from.Sometimes they just dined in one of the many restaurants.Sometimes they went to visit the Raquel’s family.Tadek Vangard enjoyed coming to the estate of Angela Butterby but,actually,never had opportunity to see the head of the family since the memorable Christmas and New Year time.Now,it was a late afternoon and they were heading there.Angela Butterby wanted to see them.She called earlier in the morning and spoke to him on the telephone.He promissed to come.Raquel,after returning from the university,did not object.Once again as so many times so far,they travelled alongside fabulously picturesque beaches of the Pacific waterside.The Sun still shone.Its rays filled the ocean’s water with unbelivable shine as if the Sun just enjoyed swimming in the depths of the ocean.
-“We’re in Wellington within minutes.”- Raquel Hendrics said,wanting to break silence.
-“I love travelling alongside these seasides.”-Tadek Vangard said what was on his mind.They talked sometimes strangely,not really answering each other.
-“Tadek,do you remember Dick?”
-“Dick Butterby?”
-“I remember him too good despite that I saw him only once…at the Christmas party.He was late then and Herman was madly angry at him…”
-“They hate themselves.”
-“But why?”
-“That’s simple.Both of them are already thinking about the vast fortune our grandmother will leave to them and other members of the family.Dick says openly he should get the biggest percentage…” Tadek Vangard made mimics.
-“I don’t see any reason in this for hatred.”-He answered.-“Both will get the right and just percentage,and Angela Butterby is free to decide who gets what.Firstly,they’re brothers and fortune is something of less importance.”
-“They’re such brothers to themselves like two snakes fighting for the same place.If they could they would kill each other and would be happy with this.Dick is the oldest of them despite that he is a son of John Butterby,the second husband to Angela Butterby.Herman and Charles,despite that they’re younger than Dick, are sons of Ghandy van Veenen,the first husband to Angela Butterby.To make it sound more complicated,Sjef and Marcel are also sons of Ghandy van Veenen but Angela Butterby is not their biological mother.Their mother was second wife to Ghandy van Veenen,Amalie Holtman,an English actress…”Tadek Vangard thought furiously.He felt subconsciously something was strange with that family.But what? He had no idea.
-“I think,Raquel,something is out of order here.Something terribly mysterious and deadly tragic…Look,both husbands of Angela Butterby are dead…Ghandy van Veenen and Amalie Holtman died in a car accident…In Monte Carlo as you told me earlier…John Butterby was murdered and no detective was able to solve the puzzle concerning his death…I rather think there is possibility the car accident in Monte Carlo was an attempted murder and both husbands of your great grandmother were murdered by one and the same killer.She has a vast fortune which spreads over several continents.She must have had enemies.The world also does not lack psychopaths…Her vast business empire was like a spider web.A very clever killer,psycho or not psycho,could manage to move within the spiderweb.”
-“Oh,Tadek,I don’t know what to think about it.It is possible what you say and I feel thrilled.Someone else within our family might get killed.Perhaps even me,you,anyone else…” Tadek Vangard turned himself gently towards her and kissed her.
-“Thanks,Raquel,you know I’m a stranger within your family.”
-“No,Tadek.”-She protested.-“With me,you’re part of this family.”
-“One day you might get fed up with me…I’ll have to go away…”
-“No,Tadek.Never! I love you so much!”-He did not answer but kissed her again,gently and making sure she did not loose her vision of the road.It was she who drove the car.
-“Tadek,I forgot to tell you something about Dick.”- She continued their chat when he stopped kissing her.
-“What’s that?”
-“He got divorced from his wife two weeks ago.” Tadek Vangard felt a blow in his mind.
-“And you’re saying it to me now?”- He felt amazed.Raquel began to laugh.
-“Oh,Tadek,we had so much love! There was no time to say it.”
-“O.K.He got divorced.As you told me before his wife is…sorry,was Charlotte Stone,a known actress in this country,eccentric but beautiful.Why have they divorced?”
-“Nobody knows.Just got divorced.I don’t like much Dick but I have also never liked Charlotte.”
-“What about their six years old daughter,Jilianne and their four year old son,Damone?”
-“They’ll stay with their mother.”
-“Of course,fathers usually are losers in such matters.”Their conversation had to stop because they have found themselves in the city of the captal,full of the automobilists who came here from whatever places to attend parties,go to clubs,cafes,tavernes,restaurants,night clubs or just to the cinemas.Evenings in the downtown Wellington were always full of people.When they found themselves inside the estate Raquel Hendrics directed her car towards the villa in which Angela Butterby lived.
-“Tadek,you go there and I’ll come a bit later.I have to see my sister yet.I promissed to Helene I’ll visit her tonight.” Tadek Vangard felt himself irritated.
-“You’re telling me this just now?”- He asked with some incredulousness in the sound of his voice.She just kissed him.
-“Oh,sorry,Tadek,I know I’m not right.But I must see Helene.She waits for me.”
-“Well,I hope you join us fairly soon.”
-“Sure,just half an hour of my absence.”Tadek Vangard got off the car and directed himself to the front door of Angela Butterby’s villa while Raquel went with the car to one of the other villas in the estate,making much noise with the wheels of the car at the same time.Only then Tadek Vangard realised Angela Butterby and Raquel Hendriks did not like each other for some mysterious reason.What was it? There was no time to think about it because the moment he wanted to press the bell the door was opened by a nice,young service woman who invited him inside the house.He was guided by her to the living room and was astonished by tremendous riches inside the house.Angela Butterby already waited for him there.She smiled to the servicewoman.
-“Thank you,Agathe.Could you bring us some nice drinks and a desert which I asked you to prepare?” -“Yes,madam.”-Was a youthfull answer of the woman who must have not been older than nighteen years.She probably was a student,working part time to make money in order to afford her studies.Only then Angela Butterby have turned herself to Tadek Vangard.
-“I am pleased you visit me.But…where is Raquel?”
-“I am sorry,she had to see Helene.She’ll join us soon.Thank you very much for your invitation.
-“You don’t have to be thankful for anything,young man.I simply desire to see you.There is a bit of Polish blood in our genealogic tree,because my own grandmother was from Poland and,therefore, I’d like to chat to you.I hope you don’t feel like if loosing time…”
-“Oh,no! I feel honoured to be here before you.”- Tadek Vangard answered straightforwardly.
-“Sit down,young gentleman.”- Tadek Vangard did as Angela Butterby asked him to do and sat down on an armchair,covered with the finest black leather he ever saw.Angela Butterby did the same just next to him.Variety of drinks and fruit coctails were placed on a table at the same moment.His first impression of the old woman was absolutely positive.Despite that she had squize in her eyes she had very classical features of her face and lean body.This was unusual taking into the account she was already over seventy years old.This was also somehow an evidence to him she must have been quite beautiful as a young woman and certainly original one,and with energy of ten people at once.He felt some sort of aureole beaming out of her.She was certainly a strong personality.She reached into a pocket of her silvery dress and got out a pack containing…thin cigars.Tadek Vangard was unable to hyde his surprise away.
-“I never imagined for one moment even you might be smoking…And not just cigarrettes but cigars!”-He remarked.She laughed gently.
-“Don’t worry,young man.”-She said.-“I’m not going to live forever.And I enjoy the cigars.They are the best ones! Cuban…”
-“What I already know you are Englishwoman…”-Tadek Vangard tried to get the conversation on his track.-I feel fascinated with what I already know abot you.Could you tell me a little bit more about yourself.Why New Zealand? Why not England?” She smiled to him the way as if she were his mother. -“Perhaps I’ll tell you about myself and my life.I feel I am in mood.”
-“I’m very curious…My own grandmother has something common with you…She also has the eyes’ squize.She has had a very dramatic life…Ten children and alone because her husband died when he was in his forties,as a consequence of the concentration camp he was in during the second world war.”
-“Then I’m also curious.”
-“I propose we begin with you.”- Tadek Vangard proposed.
-“You really want to know?”
-“Absolutely so!”She closed her eyes for a moment.
-“I was born in the Chenginton county in South Anglia.My parents were tremendously rich and had a prinsely status.I was their the only child.A jewel,as my father used to say.My childhood was so good! There was no a single day I wouldn’t be happy.Yet one day-I was six years old then-my mother came to my bedroom and she cried as never before.
-“Mommy,why do you cry?”-I asked then.
-“Your daddy will never again return to us.”-My mother answered and she cried even more. I felt devestated.
-“He was a conspirant in a plot against the royal family.He was shot!”I still remember this unbelivable shock I expierenced then.As if I lost my own life.I collapsed to my mother’s arms and we cried and cried for hours.It was then when my childhood ended! I realised the world could be cruel.I hated the royal family for letting my father to get killed.I hated the little bastards in the royal family who did nothing but had everything just because they belonged to the royal family.Those royal bastards who were taught racial convictions and disregard towards a common man.I was sick of that disgusting talk about the blue blood of the royals...God,I hated it.This alone stamped the unequality of men and women even within one country...I was thirteen years old when my mother died,out of despair.I began an orphan life,with tremendous riches,including some castles.I survived somehow.I was sixteen years old when I swore to myself I will never get married.I had not wanted to share the destiny of my mother.And then came the war.I opened hospitals in two of my castles.I was a nurse.Can you believe it? A countess as a nurse! People loved me for this.It was then when I assisted in bringing back to life one Dutchman who was very,very much hurt.He was so handsome! All blond! He looked so innocent! He was like a baby in an adult skin.Literary my baby.I have fallen in love to him before he could even know it.His name was Ghandy van Veenen,the one who was father to Herman and Charles.Despite that I was in love I had not even imagine he might become my husband in the future.He was cured and soon he was gone away from my hospital.I think he probably knew I was in love in him.Eyes of lovers don’t lie.Soon afterwards,however,I fell in love yet to another man.He was John Butterby,a tremendously rich industrialist,who built scydrapers in the States and some European countries.He was an Englishman.I had a baby with him before we managed to get married.It was Dick you saw at Christmas party.We didn’t hurry with getting married.We were young and of opinion people in love don’t need to get married.I followed him to every place he moved to.One day I caught him in love affair with his…secretary.I severed whatever ties with him and went back to my counties.Strangely,I met Ghandy Van Veenen in London who was a businessman this time,owning an international real estate headquaterred in the States.He invited me to an evening party.It was enough just one kiss from him and my love returned with multiplied force.We bacame married soon afterwards.It was then when I received a letter from John Butterby in which he appologised to me and swore his affair with his secretary was a big mistake and she was gone away from his life.I had let him know I forgave him but,unfortunately to him,I was already married to another man.As I told you I had two children with Ghandy,Herman and Charles.We had a happy life.But a blow came to me one day when Ghandy informed me he had yet another woman and he wants a divorce from me.I thought about a suicide for some time.Naturally,I agreed to divorce him.I wouldn’t be able to live with someone who might hate me.There was only one codition:splitting his fortune in half,on behalf of his sons who stayed with me.He agreed.I did not have to wait for too long time before I knew who was his second wife.She was a recognised English actress,Amalie Holtman,with whom Ghandy had two children,Marcel and Sjef.It was then when I decided to go definitely out of the United Kingdom.I expierenced there too much tragedy.My new countries were the United States where I concentrated on doing real estate business and New Zealand where I enjoyed leisure.My business expanded.Shortly it was not only international real estate but also complex package of international insurance.The capacity of my business became bigger than that of Ghandy and I measured myself more and more to the business empire of Dick Butterby.I knew it was only a matter of time I’ll beat him too.I was known as an iron lady in my business empire but not a cold-blooded one.Employees had to follow the strick codes within my companies.Years passed by,my sons were already young men.I thought I will never get married again.I got to terms,somehow,with my fate.You wouldn’t believe what a shock was it to me when one day John Butterby appeared before me and simply prayed to me for real forgiveness because he loved me for all these years we were away from each other.He was still a handsome man,brown eyed and dark,a typical Englishman!I don’t know what happened to me? Love to him reappered in me.Can you believe it? In a woman who was known as an iron lady within her business empire!I accepted him and we got married within a space of weeks.God,the ghostly fate returned with a vengeance! John was murdered in Palmerston North,with a shot to his head,three months later! Within a space of two weeks afterwards,Ghandy and his wife,Amalie Holtman,died in a car accident in Monte Carlo when their car somehow got off the road and fell hundreds meters down the abyss.My agony reached apogeum.I hadn’t dispaired,I hadn’t cried.I fought back! I understood I had a powerful enemy,either the fate or some murderer,or yet both.I feared no one and nothing.I had now an empire which consisted of my own assets as well as the assets of my two husbands.I became ruthless,someone as if ten men were sitted inside me.Some called me a bitch.I didn’t bother.If I saw someone was unjust I didn’t bother to bring him down.Hundreds of men and their businesses were ruined.Some made suicides.I still didn’t bother.Because when they were powerful they were bad as evil.I became evil to the evil people and an angel to those who needed help.I opened a number of funds,orphanages,financial assistance to those who needed it and offered my support to groups which acted on behalf of environment and human rights.I was antiroyalist.I would not and could not return to England because there was the royal family hated by me,the people who enjoyed all the privaleges I don’t know what for.I loved the American system,one free of such perplexity as the one in the United Kingdom.Finally,time is time,unfortunately.I aged.I became an old lady and had to think about retirement.My agents took over my empire.My sons run it partially.When I’m dead they will be free to take over my empire and do whatever they are pleased to do.They have allocated their parts.Everything is just perfect.So I can enjoy now to be just a grandmother…”
-“You’re a great grandmother!”-Tadek Vangard expressed himself with absolute astonishment.
-“Tell me about your grandmother.”
-“Oh,she had also a tragic life.She and her husband lived in a small mountain village when the war came.They had ten children.Her husband was taken to a concentration camp by the nazis.My grandmother,Aniela Bondas,had to turn herself into a heroine and be able to feed ten children,at the time when everything was down because of the war.Somehow fortunately in these dark times of evil they had cows and pigs,and chicken,and some land.Children had to work hard as if they were adults.Two children,the youngest,didn't make it and died.They got sick and there was no whatever health system.It was war!In the fifth year of the war there was a front passing through the village and my grandmother had to stay with her children nearly non stop in an underground cellar.Despite of it,bullets were flying around like birds of death.They were very lucky.When the front finally moved away and they could get out the cellar only their house still stood full,despite being holed by bullets like swiss cheese.The other houses were completely destroyed.The biggest luck for them was the return of my grandmother’s husband and father to their children.But he died soon afterwards of pneumonia.It was the legacy of five years of imprisonment in the inhuman coditions within a concentration camp in which most people were long dead,either in gas chambers or simply from not seeing food for weeks and months.My grandmother had to continue her heroic life.She got never remarried.Who would like a woman with eight children? Her life was hard and she was an iron lady,too.Only the evenings were great to her.When there was a fire in the fireplace and her children went to their beds,she enjoyed reading a book.She read thousands of books in her life.They were her second life,the good one.”
-“Oh,so tragic!”-Angela Butterby whispered.She had tears in her eyes.
-“Yes,very tragic.”-Tadek Vangard agreed.
-“Is she still alive?”
-“Yes,she is.But she can say finally her life changed for the better.At least she has much more time for her beloved books.”Tadek Vangard was undecided whether to tell this old lady about the rest of his family and especially about equally tragic life of his mother when they heard Raquel in the front doors. -“Hello Grandma,hello Tadek! I’m here!”- She announced herself loudly. She appeared in the living room,came up to her grandmother and kissed her on her cheeks.Then she sat down on a fine leather armchair,just next to Tadek Vangard.From now on their conversation took a form of a chat on anything what was happening in the contemporary world and in the family. When they were returning home to Eastbourne late in the evening Tadek Vangard remarked to Raquel:”Your grandmother had a very dramatic life.She is a real heroine!” Raquel Hendrics bursted with laugh.
-“Oh,she must have liked you very much! Not many people can hear a story of her life from her own mouth.”
-“Then I feel honoured!”…To be continued…Author: Thaddeus Hutyra,e-mail address:  or: