Glass Curtain,
By Thaddeus Hutyra

Chapter 79 - sGravenwezel villa  || All Chapters

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Tadek Vangard appeared at the s�Gravenwezel villa in which Helene and Herman van Veenen stayed the next day in the morning.The house was spectacular,a pure architectonic design! All walls were built of glass and in some parts of a special,mirror alike glass so one could see reflections of the wonders of nature.Even the roof was built of a glass construction and was a mosaic of a multicoloured glass.The structure looked multidimensional,unearthly,godly.
He rang the bell and heard bark of the dogs.A bit later the door was open and he saw the beauty,Helene,coming on to him with open arms.
-�Oh,Tadek,we�re so happy to see you again!�- She exclaimed and had her arms hanging on him before he even managed to say anything.She kissed him hotly and her kiss was so angelic to Tadek Vangard that he felt a mysterious heat within himself for a split of a second as well as a confusion out of sudden recollection of the tender kisses from Raquel,the sister of Helene,from the time they were in love.He forced the thought away from his mind.Raquel was a definite past and had no place even in his memories.He saw Herman at the door and thought he should say something.
-�Hello Helene,hello Herman! I�m absolutely astonished you�re in Belgium! Are you on a tourist trip to this country? Going to travel more in Europe?�- He said what he thought.
-�Get in,Tadek.You learn everything in a moment but first coffee,O.K.?�- Herman van Veenen answered and extended his hand to him.
They got inside.
-�Where is Angie?�- Tadek Vangard asked.
-�She�s in the garden with the dogs.I�m so happy to see you,Tadek.�- Helene's face glistened as if covered with a thousand and one diamonds.She did not need in fact the diamonds.She was a natural beauty and looked devine,a goddess.
They sat down to the table,Angie came inside with the dogs so Tadek Vangard greeted also her and played with the dogs for a moment.Angie went again outside and the dogs sprinted to the outskirts of the garden,barking loudly and happily at the same time.The little Tibetian terrier was the noisest,in comparison to the boovies.It looked very peaceful outside there in the garden and the neighbourhood.Nothing but villas belonging to rich people and also splendid gardens.The western way. It was quite soon Tadek Vangard learnt the truth: Helene and Herman van Veenen were not on a tourist trip,they moved to Belgium and intended to stay there permanently.They explained to him the nature of the business they did was global and it was really not that important whether they ran their business from New Zealand or Belgium.Besides,to Tadek Vangard�s surprise,they had even more family members in Belgium and the neighbouring Netherlands than in New Zealand.But then,they corrected themselves,well,plus minus the same.Angela Butterby was still at the hospital and Herman's brother,Charles and his wife,Marillion cared for her.
-�On Friday we�re going to have a family meeting of all the members of our family nest and we invite you,Tadek,so you can see for yourself how large is our clan.�- He heard Helene van Veenen.It was Wednesday and Tadek Vangard realised she meant just the following Friday,in two days!
-�You mean in two days?�- He asked while desiring an answer which would negate his prediction.
-�Yes,this Friday,you have to come,Tadek.�
He said nothing.He knew Helene would not accept anything other than his agreeing to coming to the party.
Two days later Tadek Vangard appeared again at the s�Gravenwezel villa,in the evening hours.He was greeted enthusiastically by Helene van Veenen who had a designer's purple dress on herself,short rather but of absolute fine fabrics.The design was sort of Donatella Versace.He could see her long,suggestive legs crowned with designer's red,leather shoes on high heels.She looked terribly sexy,a sort of woman every man in the world would loose his head for instantly.
There were already many guests inside the villa and most of them chatted with each other in a different language than English.It was Dutch,naturally.Or Flemish,in other words.Helene van Veenen aproached a tall and old man with grey or rather silvery hair on his head.
-�Tadek,this is Hans van Veenen,Herman�s great grandfather.�- She announced.
-�I�m pleased to meet you,sir.�-Tadek Vangard said promptly and extended his hand to him.This man was older than Angela Butterby.
The old man,in his eighties most probably, began to laugh.
-�Don�t be so formal,my young friend.Be yourself and enjoy this party.We Dutch love to be informal.�
-�I�ll try my best.�- Tadek Vangard promissed.
Helene van Veenen excused her husband�s grandfather and approached with Tadek Vangard the other family members.After one hour or so he could say he knew them all and he really felt himself relaxed.
There was William Andressen,a cousin of Helene�s husband as well as other cousins:Bert Missott and his wife Francoise,Louisse Delaney with her handsome friend she called Reny,a lady whom everyone called Valencie and who,as Tadek Vangard learnt,was the sister of Louisse Delaney.She was humourless most of the time and disagreed with everything what her husband or anyone else said.Tadek Vangard learnt also she was a teacher at a secondary school and her husband was a lawyer.His name was Frank van Barrer.Curiously,she had a common language only with a middle aged lady of German origine,Lizolette Brown,who came together with her husband,Daniel in order to please Valencie and Frank van Barrer.Lizolette and Daniel Brown were the only guests at the party who were not members of the family.Alongside Tadek Vangard,of course.
The German lady was still strikingly beautiful despite her age of over fifty.She was a blondie and had fine and sharp features of her face,very peaceful at the same time.She must have been a beauty godess when younger.Tadek Vangard knew German women could be the most beautiful women in the world,the beauty icons.What was the name of that famous German star in the thirties? Tadek Vangard felt himself a bit irritated,because he always knew that name and suddenly he could not recollect it.She was an absolute superstar.A vamp.She emigrated out of Germany because she could not tolerate the Hitler's genocidal mistreatment of the Jewish people.Yes,he remembered it now.She was...Marlene Dietrich.Another unspeakable beauty,of the present times,was Claudia Schiffer,the supermodel.So,the German women could indeed be the most beautiful and attractive women in the world.
There were also a number of people of younger generation and most of them were offsprings of the older participants.Mainly they were family members.Tadek Vangard was called to a group of young women and men,most his age or younger:Johan,Tom,Caroline,Chris,Harold,Darn,their girlfriends and in case of Caroline a male friend.
He did not even asked who was who and who for example was the offspring of Louisse Delaney.
Valencie and Lizolette aproached Louisse Delaney and the three ladies had a vivid chat among themselves.Then the Lizolette's husband joined them and it looked they forgot the Polishman who stayed next to them.Daniel Brown,Lizolette's husband was a Dutchman and fifteen years older than she.But despite his age of 65 he was surprisingly �youthful� in his looks and behaviour.Tadek Vangard learnt he was earlier a professional badmington player,one who would do it,that is playing the badmington,forever.So he still did it.He had surprisingly lot of stamina and humour.Smile was never off his face.
Somehow Frank van Barrer was similar to him in his behaviour,also smiling and also joking a lot.They were quite good companions.Andriessen and Missott were serious businessmen and they usually talked either to each other or to their wives.
Tadek Vangard noticed something very special: some of the Herman�s and Helene�s family members were friendly to him and some other,after learning that he was of Polish origine,were not.Especially Andriessen,Missott and the two ladies,Valencie and Lizolette pretended not to see him.It was something strange.But he was not surprised.Despite the fall of communism,and of the Berlin Wall in consequence, there was still a deep devide among the people of Europe.Those from the old Europe,the westerners as they liked to call themselves had mischievous feelings towards their counterparts from the new Europe and treated them or rather mistreated the way as if they were barbarians from the Middle Ages.Some of those people in the so called western Europe had even racist or perhaps even fascist views directed at the people from the central and eastern part of Europe.It was visible in the streets,especially.How many times in his short stay in Belgium did Tadek Vangard heard about the cases of Polish people being picked up by the police from the streets or the houses they stayed in and then being deported back to Poland! Other nationalities experienced the same.
He himself was a New Zealand citizen but they still had him as Polish,just as a Polish.Well,it was good but why also not a New Zealander? The fact was he was a New Zealand citizen and therefore should be accepted as the one who was from that country. But it was not the case.Was it not somehow racist? Or fascist? Why a tennis player who got naturalised in the United States was called an American despite that the USA was not the country of his origine? Was it not a double standard? Nobody wanted to accept him as a New Zealander.So he was a Kiwi just to himself,the one who somehow got the soul of New Zealand within himself.And he,naturally,was also a Polishman because he was born in Poland and loved the country of his origine.But at the same time,he was no longer the Polishman the same way as at the time he emigrated out of Poland.He was definitely yet another man,a man of the entire world.A man thinking global unlike all those locals,including those he just talked to at the party.They saw him through a wrong prism,as if he were a local guy,one with narrowminded mind.It was not he,it was them who were the local,narrowminded people.Simply because they did not accept him as the man of the world despite that they knew he went to the outskirts of the world.If a German or Dutchman would do the same they would be heroes in their eyes.They treated him differently because they knew he was of a Polish origine,someone who could not be the way as any of them could be.It was hidden within their psyche,the Germanic view of themselves as the better sort of people.
Yes,indeed,the changes towards new Europe,the Europe in which the devide would be buried,was going to be a difficult task for many years ahead.Tadek Vangard understood it and therefore did not argue when he felt something was sour but tried,instead,to be kind and full of humour,and optimism.The strategy worked and everybody was relaxed,and less or more talkative.Of all participants,Tadek Vangard liked perhaps the most Louisse Delaney,a short but attractive woman in her forties.Her boyfriend,Reny,was visibly in love towards her.Tadek Vangard learnt she had a husband who died in a car accident ten years earlier but despite this she did not intend to get married again.
-�The most important we love each other.We don�t need a marriage certificate.We�re a modern couple!�- She joked and bursted with a brilliant laugh.Reny also laughed and then just kissed her.Even Valencie van Barrer got somehow some humour.She also laughed and joked,ant the party was a success,to the satisfaction of both,Helene and Herman van Veenen.Or it seemed so.The danger was in alcoholic beverages.Everybody was treated by some sort of liquers and by the time midnight arrived some participants were drunken,simply to say.
Some of the family members moved to the terrace.The German lady who was already a bit drunken moved with them,hold gently by her husband.Tadek Vangard in the meantime desired a bit rest so he went to a neighbouring room and sat down on an armchair.He was bewildered when he realised he heard the voices of those who were on the terrace.He noticed the window was open. He heard just a voice of Frank van Barrer,the Valencie�s husband.
-�I tell you a joke.Once I�ve been at a meeting with Dutch lawyers.One of them asked us:�Who is a woman?�I felt stunned.He asked a question which was so obvious. But what he said next stunned me even more.�- He began.
-�What was it?�-Someone asked.
-�Well,the Dutchman said:�A woman is a man.The only difference is that she is called a woman'�- Valencie�s husband bursted with laugh.
-�You�re anti-Dutch,man.I know it!�- Daniel Brown,the Lizolztte�s husband objected but he himself also bursted with laugh.All the pack laughed.
-�I think the man wanted to say that the woman of the twentieth century,especially now in the nineties,is so much emancipated that whatever differences there were in all sorts of public life among men and women they are no longer present.In the western world,of course.�- Tadek Vangard heard the voice of Helene van Veenen who must have just joined them.
-�Helene,who is that man,I mean the Polishman?�- Tadek Vangard heard suddenly the Lizolette�s voice.
-�He�s my best friend.We met in New Zealand.�
-�I don�t trust him��- Lizolette said.
-�What?!�- The voice of Helene van Veenen sounded stunned.
-�I don�t trust him! I don�t trust Polish people! I hate them!�- Lizolette nearly shouted.
-�Oh,Lizolette,you must have drank too much!�
-�No! I really mean what I said!�
-�But why?�
-�Because my father was killed in 1945! Just weeks before the end of the war! I have never seen my father!�
-�Who killed your father? The Polish people?�
-�No,the Russians! The Russian Army!
-�For God�s sake,Lizolette,not the Polish people killed your father but Russians.But,by the way,it was a war! And remember that neither the Polish people nor the Russians were on the wrong side of the wheel of history at that war.Your father was thrown into that wrong wheel of history.By Adolf Hitler!�
-�Stop it!�- Lizolette shot up with a screamy voice.
-�No,Lizolette,I can�t because I know you aren�t right.You can�t hate those people for what happened to your father.Not even the Russians.Do you know,Lizolette,how many Russians died at that war? Twenty one million people! Twice as many as the entire population of Belgium or nearly as many as the combined population of both,Belgium and the Netherlands,including women and children.And do you know how many people died worldwide then? Over fifty million people! Russians and the Polish people also have right to hate us. Even more so.We must go forward,build bridges and make sure nothing like that will happen again.�
This time Lizolette did not protest.She began to cry.
-�I have never seen my father.He was killed somewhere there in the unkwown land.Just weeks before the end of the world! What a cruel fate! He was killed before I was born! I never knew what fatherhood meant.I don�t even know where he was buried? Or�was he buried? Oh,God,already as a kid I hated��
-�I understand you,Lizolette.Because you were a child then.Because you needed a father which was taken away from you.But now? You�ve been an adult for so long! This drama which happened to you happened also to millions of others,especially there,in the East!We have now a responsibility.We must do everything what we can do that something as that will never again happen. We have to remove the racist,fascist or whatever other ideas which cause us think and act against some other people.We have to extend our hands to those people in the East,we have to accept them and be friendly towards them.They are also Europeans as we are.Neither better nor worse.Simple the same! The time is to unite Europe,the same way as both parts of Germany were reunited.There are great people living there: in Poland,Russia,Hungary�Have you heard about Czeslaw Milosz and Wieslawa Szymborska? They both are Poles and got Noble price for their literary achievements.Have you heard about Tadeusz Kantor,Krzysztof Penderecki and many other great people there? No,Lizolette,we can�t hate them��
-�Oh,Helene,I�m so sorry,I was indeed mad! God,how could I feel so badly? Oh,I hope it�s not too late! Perhaps I can do something on behalf of those people there.They are as much Europeans as we are.Time to bind the two halves of Europe together.Oh,I�m so sorry��- Tadek Vangard was astonished to hear Lizolette�s words which proved the change of her heart.
-Thank you,Lizolette�- Tadek Vangard heard the Helene�s voice.
-�It�s really not too late?�- Lizolette asked once again.
-�Never is too late!�- There was the Helene�s resolute answer.
Tadek Vangard decided to return to the main room,still full of people.He felt somehow happier.There must have been a chance for entire Europe.The winds of change still were coming.
The party lasted till about two at night and then there was time to leave.Only those who arrived from the Netherlands had their sleeping rooms in the villa waiting for them.
Tadek Vangard was taken by taxi to Antwerp,on the cost of Herman van Veenen who wanted so categorically.The next morning Tadek Vangard purchased a sporty,General Motors car GS 16V.
He visited Guido,the Belgian friend of his two brothers and spoke about Robert for an hour or so.Guido felt still devastated because of the deadly accident of Tadek Vangard�s younger brother.And even more so when he learnt that it was not really an accident but a murder.
Tadek Vangard told him everything what he knew about the circumstances of his brother�s death,the Russian mafia�s revenge for their lost opportunities which resulted from the handling of the strategy Beehive to the Americans and also the Steven Mac Dantosh�s triumphal winning over his archenemy,Harry Gullivers when yet another plot,the so called strategy Capital was discovered in which Andreyev Golubin,the Russian spymaster was involved.It was effectively then the end of his carreer and the beginning of the underground,mafia alike activities,or it seemed like that.Nobody knew what really Andreyev Golubin was doing and whether he really was cut out of the political arena.Who could understand the Russians? They themselves had such difficulties in their own relationships and were hesitating,definitely too long,whether to choose the West or the East as the direction for the future generations.
He met also with Alice,his neighbour,heard her dramatic store,especially about her sour relationship with her husband.
The next morning he planned to make a trip to Amsterdam and he was already going out when a telephone rang.He hesitated.Sometimes he identified telephone calls with problems and he just wanted to be careless and full of free spirit.Maybe it is something very important,he thought.This thought convinced him.He opened the door and went back to his flat,reached for the handle and demanded to know who is phoning.It was Katarzyna who rang.
-�Tadek,your father died.�- She announced shortly. Tadek Vangard did not know how to react.Yes it was a sad news,it was his father above all.His father who was so complicated throughout his life,who did not really know how to deal with his wife and mother to his children,who was so terribly oldfashioned and of the old,provincial date.Yet he was his father.Tadek Vangard felt stunned.Not as madly sad as it was the case with his younger brother but only calmly sad.
-�I�m coming yet today by plane�- He announced with a speechless voice.In the village in which he was born he went to the mountains and wondered for a whole day,away from civilisation.Death of his father somehow broke his spirit.He needed to recover mentally,to get strength on going on.Yes,his father was dead.It was a fact which he accepted.His father was so old and he suffered too much because of the sclerosis in his body.In fact,his father wanted to die already for some time.What was strange he did not feel as much devestation within himself as was it the case when his brother died.He felt then as if part of himself was taken away from him.As if he also died.This time,in case of his father,he took it calmly.He knew his father made many mistakes in his life,especially in his treatment of his wife and mother to his kids but he was still his father.So he just prayed to God on behalf of his father,the only thing he could yet do.Yes,he believed in God,his own way.Nobody really knew who was God and how God looked.This was beyond human apprehension.Nobody really knew anything about God.Who said otherwise just lied.The Bible was the most famous fable in the world,written by the ancient priests across centuries and not by God.He could not accept that scenes in the Bible in which people killed people.No,God would never let it happen.Killing people was a satanic idea.Achieving plans by killing was as much so.Only Satan would applaud it,not God.Yet he accepted Bible,both the Old Testament and the New Testament,in a symbolic way.If one believed in God it was not important in what way one believed in God but who was the one who believed in God and what sort of life he/she ran.Dalai Lama certainly had all the doors of Heaven open to himself and it was not really that important in what sort of God did he believe in but who was he as a human being in his earthly life.A killer certainly had the door to God shut down.A thief certainly had less chance with God than the one who cared for others.The ultimate judgement belonged to God.
The day of funeral Tadek Vangard again appeared at the house of his dead father.Most of the family members were already there.Only his mother,Emilia Barton and her husband,Wolfgang Barton,were not present.There were not many people in the church and the mass was quiet.There were not many people also when they marched towards the cemetery.Perhaps because it was a normal,working day and people were busy but,for the most part,everybody came to peace terms with the man who just died a long time ago
Finally,it was everything over,Tadek Vangard prayed yet for a moment on behalf of the soul of his father who was buried next to the grave of his son,Robert.He also prayed on behalf of Robert as well as Lucyna who died when she was only fourteen months old and then returned home,belonging now in whole to Katarzyna and her children,the kids of Robert.
Two hours later he went back to Katowice with his sister Dorota Starcz and her husband,Mirek.
The next day he flew back to Brussels where his sporty car awaited him.
He got into the car and directed it towards the motorway.And then he just drove and drove,up north towards the Netherlands.
He was like an eagle who needed to recover a free spirit�

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