Glass Curtain by Thaddeus Hutyra

chapter 56

 

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MAREK VANGARD'S WEDDING...

Author:Thaddeus Hutyra

 

Finally that great day Marek Vangard dreamed about for some time did happen:thanks to the wedding which was just accomplished! Maria,not Bartosz but Vangard up from now,looked fabuously in her gown: a blondie,smiling and laughing,bursting with happiness every time she received greetings from the relatives on both sides of the new family.They still stood on the steps to the church,happy they have alraedy had the golden wedding rings on their fingers which made them a wife and a husband.The Sun shone brightly the way it used to shine in the best spring days of March.What a lovely Sunday was it! Unforgetable!
-“It’s a pity,neither Tadek nor Robert are here.”- Marek Vangard let the thought to cross his mind.Tadek,naturally,could not come.He was too far away,in New Zealand.Besides,he still had some horrific problems.Of the nature nobody would dare to dream about.He was surprised,however,why Robert has not managed to arrive from Belgium where he worked seasonally,despite that he called two days ago and informed him he was boarding a luxuary coach the next day.What happened? He put the thought aside.There was no time to bother now with problems.Now,when everybody in the family and invited guests looked at them.He kissed Maria and felt thrilled she was his wife now.
Some classic limousines arrived in the church courtyard and first the bride and bridgroom entered the most beautiful of the limousines,creamy white old American Chevrolet which one of Marek’s friends bought in the United States when he worked there.The columnade went to a nearby castle which with its many towers looked absolutely picturesque,especially with the mountains seen in the far background .This town they had their wedding,Bielsko-Biala,was unoficially a capital of the mountainous region of the Beskidy mountains as much as Zakopane was the unquestioned capital of the Tatra mountains,the highest ones in the Carpathians,with Rysy Mountain reaching 2499 meters and Gerlach Mountain reaching over 2600 meters above the sea level.
Once they found themselves inside the castle that part of the wedding ceremony began which was called “wesele” in Polish and meant dancing and fun having till the white morning of the next day.It stil was not as long lasting as it used to be in previous centuries and even in the twentieth century and quite often during the communist rule.This so-called "wesele" lasted then for three days and three nights!The youngest of the guests were already dancing to the tunes of a regional orchestra band.Tables were full of all imaginable deserts,cakes,drinks as well as of traditional foodstuff cooked out of pork,beef,chicken,veal,fish and other sorts of meat.First,naturally,everybody was asked to try a light soup,then some cutlets in bread crumbs,and then,finally,whatever one wished.When the evening time arrived and people were hot from enjoyment,dancing,fun and laugh,evrybody was asked once again to sit down behind the tables and have a spectacular dinner with turkey mixed with pineapples and a rich variety of other green addition covered by a creamy sauce in which there was added some sort of an alkoholic liquer.After that there was time for deserts with rich amount of ice,the so-called cassatte ice,in which there were even crushed nuts and which seemed to have all the tastes of the world,from the white cream to cacao plus the wood berries,mixed finely,which previously had to stay for a day or two in a special liquer,called advocaat.After that nobody desired more eating.People moved to the dancing floor.They knew they will be dancing absolutely to the white day of the next morning.There could be no any other alternative.Even the oldest one among the participants,Aniela Bondas,participated in the dancing.She would be happiest in the world,as much as everyone else,if not the fact she had to tolerate the presence of Marek Vangard's father,Josef Vangard.
-“How old he looks now! Nearly as much as I am! He’s got difficulty to move at all!”- She noticed to herself when her eyes made a shot in his direction.She hated him as no one else in her long life.She hated him for the traumatic long years of drama her daughter and the mother of his sons,Emilia Barton,expierenced while in the ralationship with him.
Josef Vangard,in the meantime,tried his best,and despite being seriously immobilised by his illness which caused that the veins in his body were filled with fat definitely too much,he tried to dance as much as he could.Especially that he now danced with the wife of his oldest son.
-“Maria,only one more of my sons still didn’t marry.I hope he’ll marry soon.A man without a wife is like a tree on a desert with no one even a drop of water.I hope I’ll still be alive to see him getting married.Or…at least get a card…”- He whispered to the ear of the beautiful wife of his oldest son.She bursted with laugh and made funny mimics.The locks on her had flew in the air while she turn her head over and over.She knew whom the father of her husband talked about.
-“Don’t worry,father,Tadek will also get married.You’ll see it! Or…at least,you’ll hear about it!”- Maria Vangard bursted again with all happy laugh.Strangely,another unusual dancing pair found themselves next to them.It was Emilia Barton,the Marek Vangard’s mother and her husband,Wolfgang Barton.Emilia Barton exchanged icy looks with her former husband,the father to his oldest son.A grimace appeared on her face but managed to smile to Maria Vangard.
-“You look beautiful,Maria!”-She managed to smile to the wife of her son.
-“You also look great,mother!”- Maria Vangard answered and was surprised by the realisation how really young and beautiful looked Marek’s mother,despite being already fifty years old and how old looked Marek’s father,her former husband! She had no time to think about it anymore beacause her own mother with her own father found themselves next to them.They bursted with laugh and exchanged some warm remarks among themselves.Even Emilia Barton and Josef Vanguard fergot about their animosities for a moment.Emilia Barton was surprised she no longer felt a hatred to the man who was her husband for long years before.He was no longer the same as he used to be.He was an old man this time,weak and nearly unable to move.He should have rather been her father than a husband.Of course,she would never accept him as her father.Not as she remembered him,despotic and beating her far too often.She could make a revenge now on him,now when he was weak like a baby and she realised she would not do it.She had no longer desire to be consumed with hatred.Nevertheless,she felt she had enough.She needed to get away from the man who was once her husband.
-“Bolek,I must sit down for a moment.Sorry.”-She whispered to her husband who looked far more younger than her former husband,and kissed him on the cheek.
-“Do as you wish,Mila.”- He answered to her gently and also kissed her.He knew why she needed to get away.She went to the tables with empty chairs and sat down on one of the chairs.
-“Heavens,how old he became! I can’t recognise him! I feel dreary he was my husband!”- She thought.Once again she could not come to terms she lived for two decades with someone,her husband,who was over twenty years older than she was.She felt,therefore,unhappy now in that sea of happiness.She turned her head away from that man who was her nemesis.He could not spoil her this evening.She was determined to enjoy this wedding night.There was no place for unhappiness here.She looked at the other family guests and observed them.Most of them looked great.She was proud of her daughter,Dorota Starcz,especially.She danced with Mirek Starcz in a fantastic way and was definitely the most beautiful woman in this place.She should have been a fashion model and,in fact,she had once such a proposal but rejected it for the sake of staying together with Mirek whom she loved and with their children,Paulina and Kamil.
-“I don’t see Marek.”- She thought now and began to search him with her eyes.When she finally saw him she nearly bursted with laugh.Her son danced with his grandmother and her own mother! She watched them now,with a smile on her lips while her mind was filled with the other two sons,one who was in New Zealand and the other one who was late,for some reason,from his return trip from Belgium.
-“How’s that possible Tadek lives in the West and is unable to visit us,at least in such a day!”- She thought and could not apprehend that question.In her mind West was West.Who was lucky to live there had good enough life and could certainly afford visiting his family members.But with Tadek there were associated some other problems.She did not know much about that problmems.Marek was not much talkative on that.She was,naturally,concerned about her youngest son.Why he did not arrive yet? What happened? Somehow she felt her youngest son will arrive tomorrow.It was often like this: when you needed to come on time you were late,because of some unforeseen circumstances.She was consumed by that thought when suddenly she saw Marek,her oldest son,standing above her.
-“Mom,come,dance with me!”-He proposed her enthusiastically.
She began to laugh.
-“Oh,son,you better dance with Maria!”
-“I’ll dance with her but first with you,mom!”-There was a rhytmic music and singing which was taken from the Elvis Presley repertouire.The orchestra and their vocalist were quite good.
-"Mom,please...Come!"
-“I saw you dancing with your grandmother a moment ago…”
-“Look,mom,she dances now with Bolek!”
-“Well,we’re also going to dance,son.”-She announced and stood up.
They began to dance.
-“Mom,grandma is still a good dancer.I’m astonished she’s got so much energy!”- Marek Vanguard noticed aloud what he just thought.
-“Yes,son,she keeps great.Despite that she is already nearing eighty years in her age.
-“I hope it’s genetic.I’d like to live as long as she does,and with so much energy.”
-“I wish you that with all my heart,son.But above all that your relationship with Maria is full of happiness and understanding all your entire life.”
-“I love her,mom.You know it.
-“Yes,I know it,son…”
-“Mom?”
-“What,son?”
-"Are you happy with him? I mean Bolek.”
-"Of course,Marek.Absolutely so!”
-“I’m happy the more!”- Marek Vangard answered and smiled to his mother.They danced a bit more till they found themselves next to Wolfgang Barton who danced with Aniela Bondas.
-“Mother,I can no longer,I go to sit down.”-Emilia Barton said to her son’s grandmother.
-“Oh,daughter,me too!”-Aniela Bondas said.
-“Let’s go then!”
-“And we?!!”- They heard both men.
-“Seek new ladies!”- Aniela Bondas joked.
While sitting at the table,both women,a mother and a daughter who herself was a mother and even a grandmother,looked at the dancing pairs.Somehow they felt they needed to talk to each other.
-“Mother,Marek is astonished how’s that possible you have so much energy in yourself.”- Emilia Barton said.
-“This is the force of my willing to do so,daughter.”- Was the answer of her mother.
-“You see,my oldest grandson got married.I wanted to show to him and everyone around here I can dance as before.”- She continued.-“This energy is nothing but a will from within me.I really no longer have so much energy as I make everyone believe.But I’m happy God let me to live so long and without too serious an illness.When I look sometimes at young people I wonder why there around the world are some of them who have to die because of that terrible sickness…How is it called that sickness?…”
-“AIDS,mother”
-“Yes,AIDS.Heavens!I can’t belive there can be such a desease in the twentieth century! How’s that possible there are no medicines for it? Why the governments do nothing? Or if they do something why so little? Why they spent so much on weapons while they should spend on the reasearch to find a vaccine?! Heavens,what a horror!"
-"Yes,horror,mother.I hope the scientists are really working on a vaccine which will bring end to that horror.
-“May it happen as soon as possible! I pity those young men and women.They should live! You know,my daughter,when I’m alone sometimes I cry and pray to God at the same time,asking Him for miracle.I’m so old and I’m still believing in miracles.
-“That’s the effect of you books.You read tonnes of them in your lifetime.
-“Yes,you’re right.I read books in every spare time in my life.They were the only my enjoyment,the only my happiness,the only escape from reality which took beating on me far too much a woman can nothwistand.Above all they saved me from my solitary life.I had no chance to get married again after your father died.No man would marry a woman with so many children I had and so poor.”
-“I’m so sorry for you,mother.”
-Don’t bother.Thanks to my books I won my war with solicitude.I’ve never felt myself a solitary person.Books were my passion! Mila,and you?!…Tell me,do you really love Wolfgang?
-“Yes,I love him.Thanks to him I learnt what love is."
They noticed how Marek Vanguard brought his father out of the dancing room to the other room,holding him firmly and making sure he could walk without falling down on the floor.
-"What a grandpa he looks!I can’t believe it! He is ten years younger than me.”- Aniela Bondas had glaring eyes in which were sparkles of anger. Emilia Barton said nothing.There was a silence between them for a moment.
-“Mila,sorry but I must tell you something.”-Aniela Bondas looked strangely nervous.
-“What’s that ,mother? Take it light,please."- Emilia Barton felt worried at the sign of a serious look on the face of her aged mother.Aniela Bondas hesitated.
-“Well,I must tell you this,daughter.Ever since then when I presurred you to get married and forced you de facto to do so and soon afterwards learnt how he treated you I felt guilty all those years! Ever since then!
-“Oh,mother,don’t say it! Don’t let the old wounds to get over to us once again!-“Emilia Bondas interrupted her and felt she was panicking.
-“No,Mila,please let me finish…You would never believe how much I despaired for what I have done to you! Your tears were my tears! Your despair was my despair! I had even thoughts I get an ax,come over to the house where you lived and chop him to pieces.I would finish in jail but you at least would be free to have a life without a violence.Heavens,how I hated him! How unhappy I was when I got to the point you must have hated me for what I have done to you…
-“Mother,stop it!”
-“I don’t stop.I want you to know everything.I was as much unhappy as you were.But what could I do? Once you got married it was not possible to split your marriage.Not at least in that traditional environments we lived in.I felt guilty so much…”-Aniela Bondas lost her stature and began to cry. Emilia Barton reached to her hands and took them into her hands.
-“Mom,please,listen to me.”-She said.-“Yes,I blamed you for some time for what happened to me.Because I got married to a man I did not love and more,I did not want.I did it against my own wish.I followed your order.I was so naïve.You told me then:’He is rich,he’s got a house,an enterprise and in the end does not look so terribly.And love? Love will come one day!’-You told me.But the love never came! I blamed you,yes I blamed you!”
-“I wanted your best,my daughter.I thought he‘ll be good to you!You know how we lived.In what a poverty! So many people to feed!"- Aniela Bondas still cried.
-“Yes,I know,my mother,you wanted my best.But you chose the wrong method.You can’t order one to do so.I mean to get married.Despite this I understood one day that I could blame myself as much.You see,you read a lot of books in your life.I saw many films.There were women,whether in that books or that films,who were not afraid to say:”No!”.That was my mistake and for that I could blame only myself and when I understood it one day,I stoped blaming you,my mother, and I blamed just myself.I should have been able to say:'No!'Believe me,please,I don’t blame you and will never do so.I love you,mother!
-“Really,Mila,do you forgive me?”
-“Yes,I do,I absolutely do so!”
They have fallen to their arms,a mother and a daughter who found themselves in the end the way as they were long time ago,that is innocent to each other,and proving that it is never too late to return to that innocence.This time they both cried from happiness.
They heard a voice of a chief cook who called everyone to the table in the dining room,dried up their tears,got up and,holding themselves by hands,went there.
Not everyone had strength to dance entire night.Only the younger among the family members and invited guests continued to do so.The older ones were returning to their homes after midnight.Aniela Bondas was one of the few lucky ones who could have a rest in the other part of the castle.Emilia and Wolfgang Barton were invited to stay overnight in the house of her sister,Hanna Ropuch.The rest of the night passed fast,just on sleeping,and when Emilia and Wolfgang Barton appeared in the guest room of her sister she was already seated there with her husband,Ryszard.The clock showed eleven a clock in the late morning.Somehow,they were behaving strangely.They did not smile and exchanged stranged mimics between themselves.The TV was on and they pretended they are interested in what they saw on the TV screen.Emilia Barton began to feel she made a mistake she agreed to come to her sister’s house.There was a reportage about the Pope John Paul II on the Polonia channel so they switched to that channel.There was a pilgramage of the Pope born in Poland scheduled for next year.
-“Our Holly Father will come this time to free and independent,capitalist Poland.”-Emilia Barton said aloud.Hanna Ropuch looked at her furiously.
-“To free and independent Poland?…Mila,what don’t you say! He will come to a country,his native country,naturally,which is on the brink of bancruptcy! Look,how a large unemployment is there in our country! People have to emigrate or go abroad to seek a job! Our pensions will be worth nothing before long! How many old women,as old as our own mother has to go to the streets and beg for a bit money! What a shame!…”
-"Oh,sister,you overexeggerate!It’s not that bad! Yes,there are some people begging in the streets but not because they are dying from hunger and cold.We have many charities they can go to.Caritas for example…
-“This is a drop of water in the sea!"
-”Better this than nothing! Remember,America was not built instantly to its present weight.It will take time to rebuilt our country because of the devastation the communists left after themselves."
-“At least people had free medical services then,free schools,free vacations…Everybody had a job…"
-“Forget that nostalgia!It was everything living on the borrowed time.Remember,we as a country owed over forty billion dollars to the overseas banks and countries,due to the mismanagement of the communist rulers! Thanks God they are gone!"
-“But what I want to say is the present rulers are not much better!"-Hanna Ropuch still disagreed.
-"Mila,Hanna,stop this quarell.We can do nothing when it comes to politics.- Wolfgang Barton tried to calm down both ladies.
-“Mila,I don’t like your son.Marek is so,I would say,arrogant! He thinks he is better than we because he does some business.Shit,there are people who do much bigger business!"
This was too much for Emilia Barton.She became red on her face.
-“You’re not better,sister! Always making problems!"
Hanna Ropuch jumped to both her legs.
-“What have you said?!...How dare you!...In my own house!...Go!...I don’t want to see you here!"
Emilia Barton could not believe what she saw and heard.She was white on her face now.Slowly,she stood up and looked at her husband.
-“Well,we go and be sure we’ll come here never again!"- She announced.
Hanna Ropuch just looked at her and said nothing.
When Emilia and Wolfgang Barton got to their appartment in Katowice,the capital of the Silesia region,they needed long hours to calm down.Her daughter,Dorota and her husband,Mirek with their children,Paulina and Kamil,came later on in the afternoon and learnt from them what happened at Hanna Ropuch's house.
-“She kicked us out.I’ll never forgive her this!”-Emilia Barton concluded.They had some delicious cakes,coffee,wine and chatted on all possible themes then.The yesterday’s wedding was the most important theme,naturally.It was then when a bell rang and when Wolfgang Barton opened the door he saw Robert Vangard.
-“Hello,Robert,come in!”- He invited him with open arms.He entered the living room and kissed his mother,sister and the little daughter of his sister.
-“What happened,Robert? Why haven’t you come earlier? We thought you’ll attend Tomek’s wedding…”- Emilia Barton inquired.
-“Oh,mom,there was a truck blockage on both sides of the German-Polish border.The truckers demanded speeding up the border procedures so they wouldn’t loose their time at the border.I can understand them,it takes sometimes a few days before they can go further but it cost us,I mean the private travellers,staying over twenty four hours at the border.Everybody was raged but nothing could be done.
-“Shit,what a bad luck!”- Mirek Starcz cursed.
-“Yes,a bad luck.I missed the wedding.”- Robert Vangard answered.
-“Robert,undress yourself and sit down to the table with us.I make a dinner for you in the meantime.”-Emilia Barton was already running to the kitchen.
-“Thanks,mom!”- Robert Vangard was happy he found himself among family members in the end.He still had some trip before him left because his wife,Barbara, and children,Szymon and Tomek,lived fifty kilometres away in a picturesque village Orlica,which was situated in the heart of the Beskidy region.Nevertheless,he desired to spend time also with his mother and sister and other family members.He asked thousands of questions about the wedding,about them and what new happened in the country during the time he was in Belgium.There was some peacefullness now in the air and the enjoyment,and feeling of fun returned to all of them.He was perhaps the most handsome of all the brothers,tall and a blondman.But above all,he enjoyed talking and they felt the same way thanks to him.
In the evening he had to go.He desired to see his wife and children.Emilia and Wolfgang Barton went with him to the railway station.The train arrived and he really had to go.Mother took him in her arms and kissed him on his cheek.
-Robert,promise me you stop drinking.You’ll see,you’ll be happy!"-She begged him. He smiled to her.
-“Don’t be afraid,mom.I’ll manage it.”- He promised. Wolfgang Barton gave his hand to him.
-“See you,Robert!-He said.
-“See you,Bolek.”- Robert Vangard answered.
He jumped to one of the carriages when the train just moved.Emilia and Wolfgang Barton looked at the train which disseappeared slowly from their vision.
-“What a day! You know,Bolek,I have a feeling something is in the air.Something tragic.I fear for him.He is so vulnerable."-Emilia Barton expressed her feelings.
-“You mean his addiction?"
-“Yes,I mean it.He is a house painter and people treat him too often with alkohol beverages.He is unable to say:'No.'"
-“Perhaps he’ll get over that matter."
-“May good Heavens let it happen!" - A sadness was sculptured on the classic features of Emilia Barton. Wolfgang Barton took her into his strong arms and looked in her face.
-"Mila,don't worry.Robert is a bright man.I'm sure he'll get over his addiction.I love you,Mila,so much! You're the only my star under the open air!" Emilia Barton looked up at the sky and bursted with laugh.
-"Bolek,there are many more spectacular stars on the sky.Look at them!"
-"No,I look only at you! You're my only star!"-He repeated and still kept her firmly in his arms.
-"I love you,Bolek."-She whisperred and knew he waited for these words. They had a long kiss with which they proved to the world there could be lovers in their fifties.
Afterwards,they decided to walk back to their appartment.They did so in silence,the cure they needed the most….Nevertheless,they had impression the Sky and the Earth were a monumental musical house in which there was performed a divine act of Phantom of the Opera.And they loved it,as much as they loved each other.What love could do!...To be continued…Author: Thaddeus Hutyra,e-mail: tadekhutyra@hotmail.com or: clubbers@funworld.be
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED








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