Mr. Autumn has arrived early. During the day he tries to hide behind the sun but when the sun is not around he cannot fool anyone. Even the days are shorter as Femina sadly notices. In the morning when she hurries to work, the sky is grey and it takes a long time until the sun, if at all, can pierce through the thick layers of mist and fog. The grasses are wet and the many flowers in the gardens gleam loudly in their bold colors as if they wanted to scream ,- "hey, we are still here despite the nights being so cold, so cold". In fact, this year has not been summerly at all. The harvest is later than usual and fruits lack the sweetness that comes with maturity.
Since a few days now Femina has been a host. Tina, her best friend and soul mate has come to visit for a few days. They don't see each other often, both agree it is far too seldom, but circumstances make it impossible to do so. Tina has brought with her her little girl who is now eleven. Femina has seen the child only a few times with big time gaps in between, - incredible how she has grown and she looks so sweet, promising to become indeed a beautiful example of gender. Femina is delighted to have them visiting particularly as she had already given up hope to see them before her own departure.
"So you are off again," says Tina. She swirls the tee in her cup before she carefully takes a sip. They have made themselves comfortable in Femina's living-room, relaxing on the lounge between the pillows and cushions, and the little one has lied down right in the middle of them, not showing any signs of wanting to leave. She does not seem to get bored though Tina and Femina can talk and talk, for hours on end, they never run out of things to talk about. Besides, it was a long time they did not see each other. Femina also appreciates discussions with her friend because she is one of few people that Femina knows, who do not just argue the point, but are able to allow topics to develop even if they are not of their opinion. She can phantasize ad absurdum and gently highlight the weaknesses in the other one's view, not ever losing track of her own convictions. Discussions can get heated, but in the end they are what they are, exchange of opinions, opportunities to see something from a different angle, learn may be something new, and have fun to challenge each other. So, the pleasure is all theirs. How could they ever get bored! This may well be the reason why the little one seems to enjoy it as well and no, she is not tired, when Femina asks. After all Tina and her where out and about the whole day! But no, she is not tired and she happily participates in their conversations beaming in blissful contentment.
They return to Femina's departure plans. "Leaving", she says, " is usually never easy for me, but not from here. Naturally I will miss my 'oldies', but there is no other sadness. I sure have to go."
Tina nods in consent. She herself would like to travel, even with her little girl. But being not anymore as little, she needs schools, forcing Tina to be sedentary for now. Tina is a psycho-therapist. She works from home, is her own boss. She is therefore quite satisfied with her life. Good enough, Femina comments dryly. Besides, she has the little one whom she loves dearly and who contributes to her happiness. The child is the product of a failed marriage. Femina never met the man, which according to Tina is no loss. Femina was never really curious, she saw his pictures and heard enough about him,- it did not entice her to actually meet him.
At present Tina lives with a girlfriend, a friend of both of them for many years. This relationship seems to be very harmonious. " May be the world is really better off without men", Femina states hesitantly and glances at her friend, who only nods. Indeed, she seems to be the best proof of such assumption. Femina has not seen Tina as happy and relaxed in many years, and so is the child. Tina remains silent. Such a comment was unusual for Femina, but Femina's mood is running low. She had a stressful day at work and though she already has given notice it is sometimes not enough to soothe her mind. There is her boss who is a "nightmare", and Femina finds it sometimes difficult to control herself. She would like nothing more than to thrash her opinion about him into his skull. He will not change, no matter of her staying or leaving. And why should he anyway?!
"I cannot face my boss in the moment," Femina continues. "He is such a loser. Mind you, he got everything what society cherishes. He is clever, ambitious, a tenacious worker and he is ruthless, and coldblooded. And he has a biting wit. Besides, being quite young, dynamic and if you like traditional, he does not look bad either he seems to have it all. He already climbed the social ladder high up, but not yet to the top. I suspect that is where he aims to be. He wants the highest realm of power that the ruling establishment has to offer. He of course is totally self absorbed and believes he is the best. And why wouldn't he, having been in Solarsol, the Mecca of all progress, - something that most of the homegrown achievers admire in speechless awe. It brings them down to their knees. Idiots! They are all idiots! Of course, he has gained knowledge but to be better than the rest is fictitious. However, the overall educational level here is grossly lacking. No surprise then, that the apprentice in Solarsol, becomes the super specialist at home, and he laps it all up, instead putting the records right. Oh how I hate them, him as well as the others"
Femina has let her anger fly, but now she stops, takes deep breaths and noisily expels the air, her nostrils flaring with the in and out.
"But what can I do? Don Quichote and the wind mills! - and meanwhile the world falls apart. There are too many of them. Everywhere. Ignorance worldwide. Prejudice! Superstition! Or is it purely the inertia of the mass? And heaps of Neros in key positions,- and then this overused argument of the "Will of God" and the "human nature",- I just cannot hear that any longer! Sometimes you think you are talking to someone with intelligence, but when you look closer into their eyes, you are taken back by the conceit, vanity, ignorance that lies in them and you know, these are dangerous combinations! Well, the evidence is out in the open, you see how far the world has come."
Femina fall silent again, calming down.
"And still, I believe in the future," says Tina matter of factly
Femina shrugs her shoulders. "Indeed, it does not matter. Though I don't believe in it, it is a possibility and damn; - this is reason enough not to give up!"
She takes a cigarette, slowly lighting it. "You have done your part to ensure continuation", she says and hints at the little one who listens attentively with the head resting on one arm. So here they are, models, but without dictatorial validity or use of power.
"What is continuation?” asks the little one
Femina and Tina look at each other, smiling. "Continuation is when things move on", answers Femina and waits.
"Hm", says the little one and seems to think intensely, because many things move on, in fact, everything does.
"And you, still not keen to have your own progeny?", continues Tina
Femina smiles and listens deeply into herself. She has often thought about it and still does as she finds it important, but the result is always the same. And so it is now: "No......., truly no."
Tina grins unashamedly. She knows, that an argument such as ' you miss indeed a lot.....' does not cut it, but she insists on the point that Femina forgoes a responsibility and that she acts egoistically; their race should not die out. On the other hand she would never want to push Femina into something that she does not want. However, she likes to stir the fire. After all, this topic is hotter than ever. But Femina is not particularly keen to take the bait, not at present anyhow. She is too exhausted from the day, or better from the content of the day, that was so full of rubbish that one could easily suffocate in it. On days like this, future for her is nothing more than a word.
"What happened today that you are so affected,” Tina asks after Femina falling silent again. "The boss? Come on, - most men are forgettable, that is nothing new,- what else?"