They knew each other for 13 years. Laura was 42 and Eva 22 when they first met in a bus taking them to the sea side. Eva got attached to Laura the way an orphan gets attached to a mother she never had. Shortly after their relationship became truly intimate. They would talk endlessly on phone and share the most sacred secrets and aspirations.
In the mean time, Eva has grown into a fine professional, with a solid career built on her intelligence and connections. She also married a fine man. Laura was endlessly involved in family struggles: a 33 year married life with a cheating husband, a troubled daughter, who was Eva’s age, extended family intrigues and constant battles.
A year and a half ago, Laura called Eva. She sounded even more distraught than usual. And usual was already pretty disturbed. She learned accidentaly that her husband had an illegitimate daughter who just turned 22 and that he initiated contact with her and her mother. Laura was seeing the way out from it by jumping from a roof of a building. Eva listened for hours and managed to change Laura’s perspective on the situation. It’s somebody’s else tragedy and its’ your choice if you want to play a part on it. Eva was there for her, without judging.
A year latter, Laura’s husband died. A heart attack. Eva was the first person Laura called when she got the news. Her husband at that time was abroad for work. Eva was there again for Laura, helpful, supportive, obliging. She managed to get Laura through the inheritance process without her sharing property with her husband’s illegitimate child. So it was only Laura and her daughter who inherited it all: assets in four countries. Even the experienced notary Eva choose for Laura was daunted by the task at hand.
Laura wanted to travel. She believed her life was a sacrifice to others benefit and now she wanted it all. „I am a bad girl now” she used to repeat. Laura cautioned her with empathy „it’s ok to go into the opposite direction for now, but you need to find your balance”.
Eva was prety traveled and gave in easily to Laura’s desire to travel. Italy was her dream country. Eva took care of all travel, visa and accomodation arrangements, all for best prices. Laura gave Eva money for her flight and accomodation, pretending she would not want to be bothered by it while on vacation. Eva put that money on her visa.
A week before the trip Eva learned she was pregnant. She has not cancelled the trip knowing it would upset Laura. Laura already announced her daughter, who lived in a neighbouring country, that she will not be visiting them this Christmas. Laura told Eva that she enjoyed her daughter’s shock at the news.
They were finally in Rome. In the airport they wainted for their luggage and baby stroller. It was returned to them broken, with a missing wheel. This stroller belonged to Laura’s nepthew and she offered to give it to Eva’s child but did not want to accept money for it. „They ruined our vacation” was Laura’s outlook on the situation, to Eva’s husband disbelief.
Once settled in the hotel, Laura started to exhibit a demanding behaviour. A behaviour of someone who paid a touristic agent and expected services in return. Eva’s pregnancy made her more vulnerable and on the third day of their trip she experienced pain that made her stop and sit down in the middle of a street. Laura started giving patronising advice about Eva’s blood vessels. „Give me a break about your vessels. I am pregnant”, Eva responded, already prety pissed off. Laura extended no hand and no word of sympathy.
The next day, Laura turned her back at them in her bed mimicking a flu. Eva and her family had fun at the zoo that day.
Laura’s daughter now called severall times a day. A drastic change to her previous ignoring and non-carrying attitude. Was Laura’s 15000 Euro recent gift to her daughter behind that change?
Laura refused to join Eva and her family next few days. On the 6th day of their trip they were to take the train to their next destination: Florence. Laura was now again with Eva and her family untill she learned her way around in Florence and disappeared for two days. She reemerged in the breakfast room the day they had to take the train to Milano, their last stop.
On their brief encounters, Laura’s demands continued to get more annoying: this train sits are not comfortable, the taxi driver is cheating on us, the weather is bad, why are we going this way… an endless tirade of negative affirmation.
In Milano, Eva got sick and spent her day in bed. It was New Year’s eve, and as nothing happened, Laura rushed in Eva’s room with shampaign and fruits to „celebrate the New Year”. Eva did not buy this change of attitude.
The day of their return, at the airport, Eva’s family was invited for a quick, family check-in. Eva asked the officer to allow also Laura to join them, introducing her as their grandmother. On the plane Eva’s pain intensified. She could not move and hardly managed not to collapse. Upon landing, Laura left the plane among the first. What’s the hurry?, Eva asked herself. She soon got it answered.
Laura was radiant. Her daughter, her nephew and her son-in-law, all came to greet her at the airport. An unheard-of event. Laura told Eva there is no room in their car to take them to town and abruptly left. She totally disregarded that Eva was barely standing on her feet.
Eva knew this trip was definitory. She knew for some time that Laura has chosen a different path. The path of a ‚bad girl’, as she liked to put it. She only miscalculated to whom she may be bad and to whom not. Eva felt Laura used her to blackmale her daughter into loving her. And she succeded it somehow: Laura’s daughter called 10 times a day, didn’t she! Laura did not understand that her strategy might be working, but only in the short run. What also Laura forgot was that it was only couple of weeks ago that she was crying on Eva’s shoulder because of the costant disrespect her daughter was displaying towards her.
Eva felt it was totally inappropriate for Laura to pay her back for everything she has done for her, including the little thing of „keeping her alive” over the last 18 months, in Laura’s own words.
Once home, Eva knew it was time to put it behind and let Laura follow her own path.
Eva celebrated and cherished her own devotion and ability to manifest such a kind friendship. And above all, the freedom from others’ abyss.