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DNA,chapter 2, part 3

Posted by on in Book Translations

Femina would like to take up the topic of emancipation again but does not really know how to reignite the interest. ‘Nonsense, ‘she reassures herself, ‘anything would make a good entry, for example, that the cosmos enters into a new phase, or she could ask one particular question that most people at least once in their lifetime ask, ‘what am I’; or she may just return to her relationship with men, or simply to the current boyfriend. It always includes emancipation in one way or the other: The human race has been given the ultimatum, either to destroy itself or to get rid of their primitive and unsustainable ways of life; men, women, everyone has to take responsibility for their action and free themselves from their dependencies. Well, and she herself, she must let go of her expectations to give her personal freedom a chance.

Femina turns to Tina. Looking at her a big happy smile appears on her face. She decides to drop emancipation as subject of interest. Tina is her comrade in arms anyway.

“You know,” she says instead, “not one day goes by that I don’t thank Fortuna for her benevolence she bestows on me. What do you think? Don’t we have everything we need, in fact, having more than plenty? Just to think under what miserable circumstances others have to live…….” 

She raises her hand to prevent Tina from interrupting her who intended to do exactly that. Femina knows what she most likely was going to say, ‘that this was no reason to be conscientious about.’ True, their predecessors went through so much misery like no others. They were hunted, tortured, murdered. In some parts of the world they still are and it is for no other reason, than thinking differently and being different to their persecutors. To be fair, that can happen to anyone who dares to be outside the establishment. History books are full of their stories.

“I am not conscientious about it,” she says, “but I am sure glad to be a Sozieterna despite it all. I remember too well how I felt when I did not know I was one.”

Tina agrees. She feels the same way, though there was a time when she did not. She is however convinced that Sozieternas have earned every bit of good fortune and happiness there is. “Fortunes belong to the brave,” she states assuredly. “What do others do for their good luck or happiness?! They wait that somebody gives it to them. Boss, king, spouse, whoever they think should give it to them, they don’t care to do something themselves and if they do, they look in the wrong places. And they are full of envy. Indeed, I have no sympathy for them, at least not today.” She sighs, adding finally:  “Sure, I am glad too to be a Sozieterna.”

Femina’s thoughts wander back the memory lane. For a long time she was unaware of her cultural identity. She was raised as a Sozieterna, but it was not discussed or particularly referred to. Mother did mention it on one or the other occasion, when she talked about her own childhood, but ancestry was never the focus of her tales and Femina did not pay particular attention to these rare hints as it had no significance for her. She forgot about it altogether. She had a much protected childhood and though they were materially speaking poor, her life was rich in all other aspects that no money could buy. Mother had a big family and though the contacts between them were rare due to the distances, it was fun to meet the relatives. Femina also loved to spend time with her grandparents as often as she could because they lived in the country with a life so different to the city where her parents were. Mother was full of love, keen on music, singing and dancing, and father would have the most interesting stories to tell from his travels abroad. Mother played her own instrument and often her parents would sing together, songs that you would hardly hear in other places. Father was also interested in reading and had various intellectual interests. He seemed to be particularly fond of travelers. They often had guests in their house from many different corners of the world. That was really in stark contrast to his usual reluctance to keep company with others. Even as a child, and despite not having any siblings she never found there was something more interesting than her own family. Father had no relatives of his own, only a sister whom he found later in his life searching for her, but she passed away soon after. Though he was not much of a social person, as a young child you would not care about such things. Besides, it was rather comforting to have his full attention. Entering school brought the changes, subtle initially. She was different to the other kids in her class and that only increased the older she got and when she was sent to a boarding school to further her education. It became more and more troublesome for her. In fact, there were depressive times when she felt confused and did not understand what was wrong with her. She searched for faults on her, in her and she could not see any despite others telling her she was wrong and at fault. It was better after leaving the boarding school. While studying she went on many travels abroad. There she was a legitimate stranger amongst others. She noticed however, that she preferred a certain type of people, regardless of their cultural background. And then one day she accidentally came across a report on people, a minority called Sozierterna. Though they were not unknown or unheard of, she never had much interest in their history. It was a revelation. Now she understood. Nothing was wrong with her, she was just a Sozieterna. 

Naturally, at the next opportunity she questioned her parents. She wanted to be sure, did not want to leave her conclusions unconfirmed. She smiles. That was the day she met Tina, just after talking to her parents, to be precise. The discussion with them took a very different course than expected. It left her upset with a mixture of emotions that needed some time to unravel. So she went to the local pub to have a drink and calm down. 

‘Yes, yes, she was a Sozieterna. Why suddenly would that be so important?!’ Damn it! Her parents did not understand at all! They did not know about her depressions! ‘It was important,’ she insisted. But father’s simple reply was that she should not measure herself on others and mother said, that they did not want to influence her, she should have her own choice to whom she wanted to belong. Sozieterna had no monopoly on her or her life, only because she was born one.’ Besides, there was also a historical event that left some mark on her parents. They were living in very dangerous times then, because the ruling regime was on a mission of ethnic cleansing. Mother’s parents even had to alter their name to avoid unwanted attention by the authorities. Though Sozieterna never was interested in any politics for their ethnic rights or declaration, they were killed regardless. Sozieterna’s point of view has not changed, but many would be even more cautious, as her parents, not to talk about their ancestry freely.

What could she answer to that?? She could not fault them! There really had never been a need to talk about either. First there was the sheltered family life, then the first school years she was well supported by her parents when things upset her at school, then she was sent to a boarding school, saw the parents only during the holidays and was not really particularly asking them questions. She already had accepted then that they were somewhat different and they did not seem troubled by it. When she started to travel during her studies, she felt so much better anyway, having left the confines of the rigid boarding school. So, why being upset with the parents when she only asked questions now? 

That’s when she went out for a drink. To tell her oldies that ignorance gave her suffering was good for nothing, because father would only fall into a sermon over morals and mother would get feelings of guilt. She did not want any of it. She still was angry, angry with her parents, angry with herself and definitely angry with everybody else. Surely a drink would help to ease the tension. Femina smiles.

“Hey!” Tina snaps her fingers, calling Femina back into the presence.

“I just recalled how we met,” she says apologetically. “We both were really angry, do you remember?”

“Indeed, I do,” she answers and smiles as well at the thought. “But in contrast to you, I was angry with my parents for telling me all the time how pleased I should be about being a Sozieterna, despite the fact, that I had difficulties with others. It was odd, isn’t it, that we both had the same problems but were blaming the parents, for a very different reason. While I blamed Sozieterna as well, you were so relieved to have found out you were one! Oh my, did my parents and Sozieterna get on my nerves!!!! I needed a drink, truly I did. And then you came along. We had quite a few, I remember!”

They both indulge in their memory. It was the beginning of a friendship that lasted and proofed to be very special indeed. ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall…….,’they found the magic mirror in each other’s eyes. There they can see another true reflection of themselves that lies behind the image of a superficial screen.

They keep the evening short being too tired for another long night. The little one comes over to join them. She has enough of losing against Robbi. They decide to watch a TV documentary on wild life in a far corner of the world with stunning photography. After it finished, all three really enjoying it, they retreat into their bedrooms to get a good night sleep. Soon the lights are out and sandman takes them into his arms spinning their dreams with a shiny yarn.  


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