Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Real Life Fairytales

Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca
They're all around you; those stories that people frown upon because they seem too good to be true, which in most cases they turn out to be. But sometimes, rarely I agree, people really experience things with a happy ending and sometimes they actually do live happily ever after. I'd like to tell you a short story:

In the beginning of the 1900's, the Swedish countryside looked pretty much like they do in the movies. Out in the west, in a place covered in picturesque yellow fields, lush oak and birch forrests and glimmering streams and lakes a teenage girl named Helga was one day walking uphill with a friend when they passed a small red cottage with white corners and an open window. Through the window, a sweet violin melody streamed. Many years later, Helga explained that she fell in love in that moment.

The man with the violin was called Erik, and in not too long Helga and Erik became a couple. They soon got married and had two children - they lived in that same place in the countryside their whole lives. As the couple grew older, Helga became senile and lost her memory. One thing she did remember and loved was how Erik used to play the violin and sing to her, so until the end he used to sit next to her and play, and when his arms weren't as they used to anymore, he just sang. She remembered the lyrics and sang when she could, then just hummed.

They grew old together - very old. Both of them reached beyond 90 years old and until the end, they sat next to each other in the kitchen sofa, kissing each others cheeks, talking and holding hands. When Helga passed away, Erik sat in front of the chapel crying out loud: "My dear little Helga... My little Helga!" They had then been married for over 70 years.

Whenever I loose fait in love, I think about them; my great grandparents. Now, although my story is very different from theirs, I believe I'm the lead character in another fairytale. We met in a war ridden country in Sudan as a teacher and student, stayed together for a while but was torn apart by circumstances that none of us could influence. For three years, we nearly hated each other, couldn't even be in the same room. But then something happened. Our roads once again met, even though it was completely unlikely, and now that big puzzle is finally filled out with more and more pieces for each day that passes. It's not complete yet, and I doubt if it ever will be, but at least it starts to look like a picture now.

The fairytale is now taking me out of the country, to a place where language is used with passion and the sunset paints the sky with fire. I'm going to begin writing the second chapter of this story there, and where it will take us next, I don't know. What I do know, is that there is no turning back this time. It's already written in stone and for once in my life I feel completely at ease, even happy, to be powerless. To not being able to change the course of events this time is bliss, because I know it will take me to where I should have been all along.

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