“You are right Robert, they are looking for an ideal girl, qualities they will never find in any real girl.”
“Can you feel how self-satisfied Pavlo feels, almost smug, as he listens to them. That boy has his head and heart in the right place. I think when he grows out of his teen problems he will be a wonderful Cherinian.”
“Maybe he also needs to learn to think of you as a person and a friend instead of the way he hero-worships you.”
“At that age all boys need to have a hero. He will grow out of it and start to see the clay soon enough.”
“No my love, there is no clay for him to see.”
I crinkled my nose at Cassie, “See love, even your mother needs to grow up. You can already see the truth about me, can’t you my sweet baby girl?”
Dommi burst into a laugh as if surprised by a joke. “She says the only clay you have is the clay you see.”
“Robert, may I see you alone please?”
As we walked off I broadcast our ‘privacy’ signal. “What is it Dimitri? By the way, I must thank you for the use of your home, it now holds many beautiful memories for all of us.”
He waved it away. “I need to ask your advice. Do you recall the discussion we had, when you asked what I would do, would I make the same mistakes if I had a chance to live my life over?” I nodded. “I need to repeat one of those mistakes.”
“Dimitri, that is your right, you do not need to ask me for my advice.”
“It involves another person.”
“Maybe I better let you explain then.”
“When I was twenty three years old I fell in love with a lovely girl. Over the next twenty years she loved me, then did not, so many times that I no longer knew what to think or do, though I continued to love her children as if they were my own. Finally one day she told me, as part of justifying her betrayal of my love, that she had never loved me as a man, only as a friend. That was the last time I allowed my love for her to over-rule my head. I spent the rest of my life alone, not willing to trust another woman. I have hardly ever thought of her since then and any bitterness I had has long since left me.
A few days ago I received a message that she is in a hospital, and is expected to die within weeks from liver cancer and she wanted to see me. I went to see her.”
“Did you discover you are still in love with her?”
“No. I discovered that despite all the times of pain, she is my only real friend, the only one I care for, even though I would never want her back again as my woman. Robert, would it be wrong of me to use my healer to cure her, to also rejuvenate her?”
I could not help it and he felt the chill and anger within my heart. Cassie stirred in my arms and I sent her a tendril of my thoughts to calm her. Dimitri pulled back as if I were about to strike him. My anger turned to a sorrow and this he felt too and found more unbearable than my anger.
“You ask me if it would be wrong to save, to heal someone you care for? Dimitri, your younger looks of today do not justify what you are doing, you should have more sense than to ask me that. You say you find you think of her as a precious friend then dare to question, as a Cherinian, whether it would be right to heal her? Why don’t you look within yourself, face what you are hiding from, then ask yourself the question you dared to ask me. Did you truly hope I would justify your unspoken wishes?”
I turned away from him abruptly, walking away as he murmured, “I don’t understand, what unspoken wishes?”
The room went silent as I walked through, a path opening before me as they sensed my anger and grief that a Cherinian would try to use me this way. Cherine and Jade were the first to run out of the bedroom to me, hugging me so that I had to stop walking. Alki came over.
“What is it my Roberto? Why such grief?”
“I cannot speak about it.” I felt the need of my girls and sat down so that they could sit on my lap and hold me. “Alki, do not mind me. I am still too stupid to be worth your worry. I keep on forgetting how complex human nature is. I think I may have made a mistake.”
Cherine tried to come into my mind, anxious to find what had hurt me so I quickly thrust up the ‘privacy’ sign again.
“You would do that to me Robert, you promised we would always be open to each other, not just for the good times.”
“I am not doing this to hide my pain love, I was talked to in confidence and I must keep that confidence.”
“Even if it is hurting you!?”
“You can feel most of the pain is gone. Alki, would it be wrong for me to discuss this with Themi, in his professional capacity? Would I be betraying a confidence?”
“I think not. If it helps you to understand, perhaps you will be able to help the one who spoke to you in confidence.”
“Cherine, take Cassie to her mother please. Cassie, you will respect my wishes on this and not repeat what you heard.” I went in search of Themi and took him to my office and repeated what I was told.
“I reacted to what I thought were his real reasons. My thoughts were that he had not healed her, was asking me in the hope that I would refuse him the right to do so and that would absolve him of guilt. I think that despite what he said, he hates her for her ultimate betrayal of his love for her and unconsciously is trying to punish her.”
“It is a harsh conclusion you have jumped to. If it was Alki or I asking you, you would be justified. But our Dimitri of the gentle heart? I’m not so sure.”
“Themi, if he truly cared for her, even as a friend, surely he would have cured her and risked my displeasure?”
“With your permission, I think it would be better I talk with him before I give any advice.”
“Then do so. Please mention I only spoke to you in your professional capacity and you will respect that and not make the subject common knowledge to all Cherinians.”
“If you are wrong Roberto, he will feel wounded by you.”
“If I was wrong, I will accept blame as easily as I dealt it.”
“Roberto, first you must teach me how to block off part of my mind. I need the ability for my patients sake, but more urgently now for his sake.”
“Let me in.”
I left him shaking his head at how simple it had been and sent Sam to find Dimitri and send him to Themi. I did not want to meet him as he came through so I hid in the kitchen, making myself a coffee I did not need. If you think I was being a coward, let me point out that I was only employing a little common sense for a change - as any decent coward caught in my position would tell you.
“Roberto, Elia and I have some news for you.”
I gestured for them to join me at the table.
“This home of yours is actually sitting on two properties which means there are two houses behind yours. I own the house on the one side which leaves one more house on the other. We recently bought the one house at the back, as you know. We wanted to let you know we have now bought the other two. Should we need to gather all the Cherinians together again, you will have three houses plus mine and yours to shelter them in.”
“It must have cost a lot!”
“We can handle it.” He replied with a twinkle of pleasure at having surprised me. His pleasure soon faded away. “What is wrong Roberto, you are not pleased?”
“About having the shelter you know I am. I am just starting to hate the person I have become.”
“What person have you become?”
“You tell me Alki. Am I the Roberto you knew anymore?”
“You must not take things so much to heart.” Elia tried to cheer me up.
“Elia, he is right, he has changed. What is eating at you Roberto? You have more wives than a pasha, your powers have grown so that you are able to protect all those you love, we have no enemies to fight. What is wrong?”
“I’m becoming…Alki, I no longer work, you and Elia pamper me, I wish for something and you get it. There can be very little pride for me in that. I have also become afraid, I have made too many mistakes so I no longer trust myself to be ‘crazy’ as you called me. I am not the leader you wanted anymore.”
Alki stopped Elia from trying to talk me out of my mood. I felt all my girls silently listening, but did not have the heart to shoo them away.
“You have chosen this day, the birth day of Cassie to turn inwards and examine yourself?”
“Can you think of a better day? A daughter is born and I find she will have a father she will soon not respect for he does not respect himself. The birth of a child is the right time for some introspection and the facing of some unpleasant truths. Alki, I fought you, tried to keep at least some appearance of supporting my family. My various bouts of illness and our battles forced me to give in. Now, if I did not have you and Elia I could not even feed my family, never mind keep them in this kind of luxury.”
“Of course you could.”
“How, by painting?” My question was meant to be sarcasm.
“The market has noticed your pictures are no longer appearing. We get many emails about it. We also get enquiries about buying your originals. If we sold them you could be wealthy in your own right, but I have refused, holding them for your family and all Cherinians. Have I done wrong Roberto?”
“Of course not! Selling the paintings would not ease my mind. That would only solve the problem for a short time and then I would be relying on your charity again.”
He looked hurt for a moment, till a white-faced Elia spoke. “You may be our leader, but you have angered me. How dare you call it charity! You listen to me young man, it may be time you learn a little bit of history - it just might be good for you.
There have been many leaders who have gathered power because they had a dream, you are but one of many, even if your dream is more glorious than any before you. There have been many leaders who have taken their followers to war, just as you have done. It is immaterial whether the wars were of your choosing or not.
There have been no leaders who fought the battles on their own!! You are the single exception.”
“No Elia, I did not fight alone. All Cherinians have stood by me, my own girls bombed, losing arms, an eye. If they had not been Cherinians, the scars would have still been there for you to see how sadly I failed them.”
“Bah!! There is no talking to him Alki, he is not examining himself, looking for the truth. He is filling himself with self-pity and no one can argue against the way he feels, it would be a waste of breath!”
Alki sat back and smiled at Elia. “I am happy to see him this way, it means our Roberto has not changed that much. Since I have first known him, he has been this way, always questioning his value to us, finding in any tiny failure of his, proof of his not being suitable to lead us.”
Elia leaned forward, trying to emphasise his words with his body. “I see this man who stole the heart of my daughter and I do not see what our neighbours see, I am filled with pride that she chose him and that he loves her. I look at my wife, at myself in the mirror and see an old couple who were waiting for their children to give them grandchildren so that they could die peacefully, knowing there will be future generations, that it was not all for nothing. Today that old couple greet with joy those grandchildren, but no longer need to pin all their dreams on them, for this old couple have new dreams, a new child of their own to love and bring up. For that alone I would have gladly given all my money. I see my wife happier than she has been in the last ten years, damn it, so am I!! For you to find the little we spend on you, who are our family by the way, offensive, is an insult to our love.”
I sighed. “You have not understood me. I do not resent you helping us. I resent my doing nothing. I loved painting, I loved the feeling when I saw a world within my mind in a way that was unique to me and I was able to create it on my screen. I even loved seeing people respond to those pictures.”
I hope you enjoy reading this story of fantasy, adventure and love - and should some of it be true for our reality, I hope you will love our Cherine.
Αλέξανδρος Ζήνον Ευσταθίου(Alexander Zenon Eustace)
3rd September, 2019
* posted on PALNet - Steemit - WEKU - CreativeCoin: 3rd September, 2019