Glass Curtain,
By Thaddeus Hutyra

Chapter 57 - A drama in Robert Vangards house  || All Chapters

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The train was noisy and especially the wheels of the train which clattered on the rail tracks.Despite this,Robert Vangard desired to take a nap.He did so but only for half an hour.The train was nearing a provincial town Zywiec from which there was only thirty kilometers to Orlica,the village in which his wife,Barbara,lived with both of their sons and also his father,Josef Vangard.He dreamt to see his wife,longed for her and felt thick in his entire being with the erotic thoughts concerning the beauty of her body and the gentleness of her character which was like a veil in the air.He loved her.He loved her so much! The train gave a long sound which have certainly woken up all the early sleepers of the night in the vicinity.It was a sign the train was just arriving in Zywiec,a small but lovely town of about forty thousand inhabitants and surrounded by mountains and hills.It was exellent place for tourists,either in the winter season when the upper surroundings were covered by snow or in the summer season,due to relatively warm and even hot long days of June,July and August and also thanks to the river Sola which split the town into two halves.The mountains were full of wild animals,characteristic for this region of Europe:roe-deers,foxes,hares and squirrels.But the greatest riches were among all sorts of birds one could see round the clock.The funniest looking were long legged storks which stood in the water here or there and did hunting on frogs,the delicacies which they shared in their preferences with the French.The only difference was storks prefered more juicy frogs,straight from the water while the French developed all sorts of artful cooking concerning the frogs.Zywiec was famous also,at least in all of Poland,for its beer,the so-called "Full Zywiec",which was made out of a very original recepture dated in the nineteenth or even eighteenth century and the water in it had characteristics of a mineral one because,truly,only the water from the mountain streams was mixed with malt,yeast and all the other ingredients which gave way to the final product.Full Zywiec was so good that even Dutch Heineken bought some shares and became a shareholder,possibly even a majority one.The mountains were already covered by a blanket of darkness,nothing strange taking into the account there was already night.The town,however,shone with some city lights,a far cry from what he saw in Germany or in Belgium but colourful enough to have eyes fixed on the city landscape of even such a local town as this.He smiled to himself.How many times he was here in his childhood,together with his mother or father! How many times later on! He even had some education here in one of the colleges which prepared to exercising a profession.He had plentiful memories from that times.It was here he had some love affairs with teenage girls who swore love to him only to give him up for another lover.But he was not better than they were.He also left some broken hearts after himself.It was simply the teenage age, passionate to the outermost of a rock and roll.But one day he got to know one especially beautiful girl,a blondie,whose name was Helena and who could sing Madonna�s or Urszula�s songs almost as good as the singers did it.She was so beautiful he lost his head and heart for her.At first she loved him too.But after a month or two she began to behave strangely.She had less and less time for him.He tried his best to attract her to him.One day,however,she announced to him she is ending the affair and told him openly what was the reason of her strange behaviour: she got to know a student who studied at the University of Medicine in Cracow and she thought she had more chance to have a good life with a doctor rather than a house painter.He tried his best to convince her he was a better candidate for living together as a married couple and promised her he can also enroll at one of the universities.
-�Perhaps I can become a lawyer,why not?�- He joked.She just laughed,disbelieving him and he thought his heart was going to blow out from the sorrow he felt within himself at the thought he was really loosing her.It happened,finally.She was gone.As simple as that.He went to the local pub and drank alcohol beverages nearly a whole day.He repeated the same the next day.And the following day.By that time he was already accompanied by other drunkards.This descending into hell lasted for over seven days,until his stomach finally capsized and he had to be taken to the hospital.Luckilly,he regained health and had a process of slow recovery in his well being.He was seen again by his friends in the companionship of some pretty teenage girls.He could again smile and laugh,and enjoy some new love affairs.
One day he met another special girl,shy and gentle,who was finishing her study at a secondary school of a general profile.They met at a dancing lot in Orlica,the village he lived in.He was astonished she lived just in one of the neighbouring villages and he never met her before.He felt he got attracted to her and expressed his love to her.She did the same.Half a year later they were already a married couple.They had two sons,Szymon and Tomek,a few years later.Now he went back to them and wondered what will be expression on the face of his wife,Barbara,when she will see him.He did not call to her because he wanted this time to surprise her with an unexpected return.Partially he did so due to his bewilderment at her behaviour the last couple months.She did not answer his letters he sent to her from Belgium.She sounded cold or at least strange during their conversations on the telephone.Something was not the right way.But what? He loved her so much! Only thanks to this love could he forget his first real love to Helena.Katarzyna beat that love and threw away like a mist behind an open window on an early morning.
His heart began to pound loudly when the train arrived in and then departed from next small town villages inhabited by about ten to twenty thousand people each:Wegierska Gorka and Milowka.
Half an hour later the train was arriving in the most picturesque small town village,called Rajcza,in which river Sola had de facto beginning.In that village there were organised ski competitions every winter,exactly in February,and fans of the white madness were arriving in from every corner of the country.His village,Orlica,neighboured Rajcza.He knew he has to get out of the train at the railway station in Rajcza and then has to go to Orlica by taxi rather than with an overcrowded bus.
The train was already coming to the railway station in Rajcza.
He stood up and went down the stairs of the two floor train carriage do the outside door.He looked,with an astonishment sculptured on his face,at a steam locomotieve which stood on the side of the railway station.Such locomotieves were common nearly everywhere in Poland yet in the sixties.The change for the electrical locomotives took part during the seventies.How fast was time! And how fast was a progress of the humanity! Even in his native country which kept souls and free spirits of his fellow countrymen locked in a vicious and unseen box for long years till the revolutionary or rather evolutionary year 1989 which gave a birth to free Poland as well as a birth to other free countries in the region of Central Europe.
He got off the train when it stopped as much as many other travellers who were returning from their jobs or evening studies.He could count up to forty travellers.He looked at the sky.It was uncloudy because there were very many stars which sent their rays in all directions.He felt always dizzy when he looked at the stars.They reminded him of the many other worlds,the outer worlds which certainly had to exist in the Universe.He always felt also reflexieve at such moments and thought about the destiny of the planet Earth and the nearest cosmic environment.People exploited this planet and its atmosphere.It was possible the ozone holes will spread in the atmosphere like holes in the Swiss cheese and,perhaps,one day a cataclistic,monumental ozone hole will come to existence and not merely over a longer period but during a month or even a day.There was no need for Nostradamus to foresee what would happen in such circumstances: there would be entire collapse of the fundemental rules governing the ways the planet can exist.Who knows,perhaps even the Earth would not have enough strength to keep things at bay and everything,including people,would be blown away.There was a growing sense of a global warming but people pretended not to see it.Or perhaps saw it but their leaders disregarded it.Most people behaved like kids.Irresponsibly!
-�Global warming? O.K.,we�ll have more time to enjoy sunshine and we�ll be sunburned most of the time.�-They used to say.Stupid,because they did not comprehend the gravity of the cataclysms which will come one day if nothing is done.The oceans and the seas will flood large pieces of continents,perhaps half of Europe and a whole of Bangladesh.Some islands will become the next Atlantises,such as Ireland and the United Kingdom,Island,the Pacific Islands,Australia and New Zealand partially,Florida in the United States and many other parts of the world�Antarctica will possibly also submerge in the water.There were no jokes with nature.Yet people did exactly the opposite.They brought the evil out of his cave.
-�God,what we do with our planet!�- He whisperred and shook his head with disbelive.He could not comprehend people cared so little for their common mother the Earth was.She had to cry day and nights! She had to feel as if she were raped.Perhaps it was exactly what was happening to her.The never ending wars and conflicts,the acid flames from too many industries,the irresponsible presidents of many countries who did nothing to stop the madness! Where was the president of the United States,the country which was the only superpower left and polluted the atmosphere the most?! Someone had to give example! No,there was no example,there was nothing,simply nothing! In the meantime mother Earth still had to cry and cry,and pulled out the hair on her head from a sheer despair.She no longer resembled Mona Lisa of Leonardo da Vinci,the master who came the nearest to portraying her the way as she was.Oh,poor mother,the Earth!
Robert Vangard had no more time for his thoughts because he just aproached a taxi and opened its door.A surprise showed up on his face when he saw the man from the neighbouring house to his house behind the steering wheel.
-�Hello Jozio!�- He said to the taxi driver.-�How are you? Can you take me to my house?�
-�Oh,Robert! Hello! Don�t ask and get in!�- Juzio Kendecki answered,but his face still showed some excitement,from the very fact it was his neighbour who was getting in and who was away in another country for a long time,rather. Robert Vangard got in and sat down comfortably.Both treated themselves with cigarettes which they lighted up.
-�What�s new with you,Juzio? �
-�What�s new? Nothing new,Robert.You know quite good that in such a village as this one,I mean Orlica,life seem to be eternal and nothing really changes except some small things we usually do:working,going to the church,watching TV,meeting family members or friends��
-�O.K.,I know what you want to house?�Is it still standing?��
Jozio Kendecki bursted with laugh.
-�Brother,don�t be afraid! Your father is there and your great wife! That�s enough to be sure there is nothing wrong with your house.I see your kids playing in the garden quite often.Sometimes I see your wife,especially when she does shopping.She is more beautiful with every passing day! I don�t say more.You discover her better by yourself.Does she know you�re coming?�
This time Robert Vangard began to laugh.
-�No,Jozio,she doesn�t know! It is my surprise return.�- Robert Vangard beamed from happiness.-�Husband back home!�Papa back home!��- He imagined the welcoming shouts of joy.The taxi,a white Polonez,moved.The trip took about ten minutes during which they had enough time to say a lot to each other.Robert Vangard invited him and his wife to his house in the first forthcoming Sunday evening and then got off the taxi when the car stopped,just a hundred meters from his house.
He prefered to walk up the path to his house.It was already eleven p.m.Just an hour before midnight.In such a village as Orlica it meant an hour of deep rather a night.Something like two a�clock at night in the major towns where there are many possibilities to enjoy time outside.
He walked towards his house and felt within himself the overwhelming love he felt to his wife,Barbara,and as overwhelming love to his children.The first love was of the sort a man have towards his wife while the second love was of the sort of fatherly love.He returned home both as a husband and as a father.His kids were still young,perhaps too young to leave them for such a long time.Szymon was just over three years old while Tomek was one and half year old.
He opened the door to his house without a sound.There was really not a rustle heard.His head was filled with erotic thoughts.He wanted to make a hilarious surprise to his wife,come up to her bedroom with no sound,undress himself,get under eiderdown and fill her with a love she deserved for all those months she had to endure without him.He was already hot from anticipation and felt his body was fully filled with elixirs of love he intended to pass over to her.He dreamt about her lips which he intended to cover with his own lips and drink honey from within her with no whatsoever interruption,even if it had to last for seven days and seven nights like in the most beautiful fables.He deserved it as much as she deserved it.He passed the apartment downstairs in which his father lived and went up the stairs towards his own apartment.
He reached for the handle of the door.Just the moment he wanted to open the door he heard a voice,a�male voice.He felt paralysed at first,so terrible shock shook him over and over.Like if he found himself in the epicentre of an enormous earthquake.He opened his lips and closed them,an opened again,unable to say anything.
-�No,it can�t be! It�s my paranoia!�- He thought.
He did not bother for anything now.He threw the door open and put light on.What he saw was like descending to hell and finding oneself there.His wife sat next to a man,still in his twenties,who kept her hands in his own hands.Furious,Robert Vangard rushed down the stairs to the cellar,caught an ax into his hands and ran back up the stairs.He stormed the room with the ax above his head.
-�Where he is? I kill him! Where he is?�- He shouted.His wife just sat on the edge of the bed,wide eyed and with fingers in her mouth.She trembled from fear and egzasperation.She was white on her face like a chock on the school board.He heard the gate otside being slammed with a noise and when he saw the open window he understood how the lover of his wife managed to escape.He threw the ax through the window but knew the guy already had to run like crazy down the street.He turned to his wife with tears in his eyes.
-�I thought you loved me,I thought you loved me��- He repeated himself numblessly.At the same time he recollected all the laughing stock his friends made about women left alone even for a short period of time.When a guy,a cocker rather advanced to them they were loosing their minds.The female mentality! Yet he could not stand it. He just turned himself away from his wife who still sat on the edge of the bed and was afraid to make any move.
He went down the stairs,crying, and got outside.He sat down on the edge of a garden well and looked down into its water deep at least for three meters.The best was to jumped into it and never again get out of it.His life lost value.It was as simple as that.He saw the stars in the water of the well which simply were the mirrored picture of the real stars on the sky.How shiny they were! He could end down there and have a perpetuous peace while covered by the blanket of stars.His head would rest on the pillow of stars! He felt at the same time the energy of the stars.Their light especially,filled his mind strangely,somehow. Instead of getting weaker and weaker because of his despair he got stronger and stronger.He could not do it.He could not jump down there.There was one more thing which was unharmed,his fatherly love.He had to live and care for his children.Absolutely so!
He stood up and went slowly back to his house.The light in his father�s apartment was on what was a sign his father must have heard the noise.He went upstairs but did not enter the room of his wife.He knew she was preganant for some time and was convinced now this baby she had in her womb was not his.He just went to the bathroom,had a long shower,definitely too long,and then went to another room where he sat down on one of the armchairs and tried to get asleep.
He had a terrible headache when he was awoken by his children who tried to get on his knees and shouted enthusiastically:�Daddy is back at home! Daddy is at home!�
He brought both his sons onto his knees and kissed them gently.
-�It�s good to be back with you,my dear children!�- He whispered to them and once again kissed them gently.Tears appeared in his eyes.
-�Daddy,you don�t go away again!�-The older,Szymon,demanded to know.
-�No,Szymon,I stay here.�- He answered but knew better.The pain he felt within himself was unbearable.This time it was better to leave and go away for a while.He had to stay,however,at least one week.Specially for his children.He owed them at least this.He went to the corridor and returned with two large travel bags from which he brought out all sorts of toys he purchased in Belgium.He looked at his sons who played now with the toys and beamed with complete happiness.
He left them with their toys and went to the kitchen,passed his wife without a word and sat down at the table.Barbara poured a coffee to a cup,came up to the table and put the cup on the table before him.She stood there without intention to move away.He looked up at her like at a madwoman.
-�Robert,I swear I wasn�t unfaithful to you! That you�ve seen another man at my side it doesn�t mean I�m unfaithful to you! He had clothes on himself and I also had clothes on myself!�
He felt anger building up in himself.
-�Stop with this lies!�- He shot back at her.
Now she got angry.
-�Don�t look so at me! I�ve really not been unfaithful to you!�
-�You think anybody would believe in what you say? A man in the middle of the night holding your hands,sitting next to you,with no lights on��
-�I don�t care for it! I�m an adult person.I have right to some freedom,don�t I? Well,I changed myself when you were away,I became a modern woman and I think I have right to express some love to other men than my own husband. What I wanted and needed above all was to get some erotism,to kiss a man,to enjoy a man�s tenderness. But,I swear for the last time I haven�t been unfaithful to you! Are you better off now,when I said this to you?
-�Well,I don�t believe you. Besides,I think this baby you have in your womb is not mine but his!
She became red from anger.Her blue eyes became shiny.
-�How dare you say it! We can check it if you don�t believe it! It�s enough to compare your blood with the blood of our still unborn baby to be sure it�s your baby.It�s your baby,Robert! And believe me,please,I was not unfaithful to you,despite what you saw.�
He looked up at her again.The expression of her eyes somehow proved she was saying truth.He did not know now how to react.He felt,however,some stone got off his heart.It might be a truth what she said.Yes,she had a lover but it did not mean she had a sex affair with him.Women often wanted nothing more than just a platonic love.They had distaste for a sex in all its crudeness.
-�Barbara,let me think,please.�- He said to her.He was astonished how much more different she looked now than at the time he was leaving for Belgium.She had a long hair then,she had a short hair now.And she was �modern� now as she herself just said it to him.
The rest of the day passed on caring for his children,walking with them to the riverside and,of course,seeing his father.
-�Hello,father! How do you feel?�-He asked when he enterred the apartment of his father. It was enough to look at him to know his health deterioriated.
-�Oh,son,I�m already finished.I go down,I rather fall down! I nearly can�t move.Even going to the bathroom is for me a challenge,son! I don�t want to live anymore! I want to die!�
Robert Vangard did not know what to answer.
-�Father,don�t say it,please.�-He simply said.
-�Why not?�-His father shot back.
Robert Vangard did not answer.
-�You see,son,I had a purpose in my life.I worked hard and did a small business my entire life.Thanks to it I can leave this house and some ground to you,son.But now I�m finished.I really don�t want to live! I want to die!
-�Papa,these things,deciding about life and death,are in the hands of God��
-�I know it,son.I express only my desire and hope.I have enough of this everyday suffering.
Robert Vangard again did not know what to answer.He felt egzasperated.
-�Have a good night,father.�-He simply said.-�I go upstairs because my children are waiting for me there.See you tomorrow.�
-�See you,son.Care for her.Don�t leave her.She is good to me.�-Josef Vangard said.Robert Vangard knew his father meant Barbara.Perhaps he knew more than he said.
In the evening,when children were already sleeping in their bedroom,he entered his sleeping room and sat down on the edge of the bed in which his wife was already lying.
-�Barbara,I think I must give up with my travels to Belgium.I must stay here with you.�-He announced to her.
-�And where we get money from for living?�- She asked.
-�I can paint the houses around.People always need a house painter�
-�And they treat you with alcohol because they don�t want to pay you the way as they should!�
-�Don�t worry,I think I can withstand the urges within me towards alcohol.�
Barbara brought her hand to him.
-�Robert,I hope you�re no longer angry at me.I promise this what you saw yesterday will never again happen.�
He took her head into his hands and then pressed his lips on her lips.Their kiss seemed to last ages.Then he went with his lips along her smooth,white-creamy body and kissed it feverishly.He returned with his lips to her lips.They had again a long and endless kiss.
-�I love you,Barbara!�- He whispered to her when he took his lips away from her lips for a moment.
-�Oh,Robert,I love you so much!�- She answered.Only after this came the real love which turned them into a Romeo and Juliet.Fires of their love consumed them fircely and burned them alive until they united in one common shout which spread like the beams of a star on the firmament of the night�s sky,the canopy of heaven.
One week later Robert Vangard was travelling back to Belgium.He had no any other choise.First he went by train which took him to Katowice,the town his mother lived in.He visited her there and found himself inside a luxuary coach,afterwards.He would be in Antwerp within next eighteen hours and would add himself to the long story of Polish people who had to go abroad or even overseas in search of a better life.In the United States alone there were over six millions of the descendants of the Polish people who emigrated there.There was another number as much of Polish people spread around the entire world.The emigrations took a place especially after the partitions of Poland in the eighteenth century when the country ceased to exist on the maps of Europe,and also during the nineteenth century,and through much of the twentieth century.There was a chance for better times,now,after the fall of communism in 1989,but the change towards a better life could not be done overnight.Perhaps,thanks to the shock therapy of Minister of Finance,Leszek Balcerowicz,the reborn Poland might flourish sooner than anyone expected.Lech Walesa,the leader of Solidarity during the last two decades of communism was now the president of the so-called Third Rzeczpospolita.
The final word was not said yet�

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