“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” – A popular proverb.
It’s All for the Best
“You do have a weird conception of “it’s all for the best”, Serena’s faint voice was trembling out of impotence that unexpectedly had seized all her being. Tears were spilling from her eyes uncontrollably. The situation was totally out of control: Mauro had monopolized territory, time, everything.
Refusing to surrender, Serena realized that the only weapon she still possessed was words. The words that had to strike the man sitting next to her in a precise and accurate manner, like Artemis’s impeccable golden arrows. Plucking up courage, Serena cleared her throat. Her hoarse voice cut the space in three well-defined time dimensions: “First, you’ve bonded me to yourself for nearly a year telling me nothing but lies. Then, you’ve literally imprisoned me in this apartment against my will. And now you’ve tied me up to this deck chair using brute force. Exactly which one of these your actions should I evaluate as “it’s all for the best”?”
“All of them,” Mauro responded decisively. “Probably you can’t understand that now, but soon you will. All you have to do is open your eyes and see the whole picture.”
Kneeling in front of his love prisoner, Mauro was slowly examining his hands. Then he turned his gaze on Serena for what seemed an eternity to her. Once again the girl experienced that terrible paranormal feeling, as if Mauro’s black eyes were sucking her will and depriving her of mental ability. Finally, the man stood up and started walking back and forth across the terrace with his arms crossed behind the back, like a scientist in search for the answer to an unsolvable dilemma.
“You see, amore mio, unlike you I know what I want and what I do. I realize that now my manners may seem pretty drastic to you. But you have this impression only because you don’t trust me enough. And yet, you should: I would give my life for you without hesitation. Since if you are no longer alive, I won’t bother living either. Do you follow me? The truth is that I love you. Therefore, everything I do I do it for you. I do it for the best.”
“It does not seem to me,” murmured Serena choking with tears she couldn’t neither stop nor dry.
“I see that. You’re still a little girl, Serena, an adorable and savage little girl. But spoiled, impulsive, capricious and, forgive me, stupid. You are a hard head, deliberately obtuse!” Mauro’s initially calm tone started to change gradually. “You’re not a grown up woman yet, you don’t know what you want. What’s worse: even if you do, you are prompted to give up your dream for the sake of morality standards, religious values, or other similar bullshit invented by idiots and constantly unsatisfied philosophers. The stuff you read in your books. I’d love to burn them all.”
Accept Real Life
Mauro took a deep breath. Then, he went straight into a monologue, acting brilliantly and confidently as if he was addressing a vast and appreciative audience, anxious to cling on his words. “You live and breathe words as one breathes air, to fill up and go on. But real life is beyond this moral bullshit. Real life is a savage, intense and sometimes fierce battle, where only the strongest wins. And, as a popular proverb says, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”; words are futile. You should know that they won’t award you a medal or proclaim you Saint even if you follow all the written and non-written rules.
In real life nothing is handed over to you on the silver platter,” his melodic and rich voice sounded ever more excited. “When you know what you want, all you have to do is grab it. Figure out a game plan and act immediately. Without second thoughts. Using all capabilities you have. Otherwise, you’ll lose everything. Real life will pass you by, while you’ll remain its mere spectator: not the protagonist. And at the end of your pathetic journey you’ll be filled with pang yet useless regrets like “I should have to” or “I could have to”… I’m made of sterner stuff. I’m not like that bunch of hypocrites: I do not hide behind difficulties or seemingly unsurpassable impossibilities. I am the sole owner and the sole manager of my life: I decide for myself.”
“As well as for the others,” Serena added, immobilized on the deck chair. Her words suspended in the air like Artemide’s arrows prompt to pierce its target.
Live and Breathe Words
Mauro gave her a murderous look. Deprived of any possibility to brush tears away, Serena’s beautiful face began to resemble one of those surrealistic paintings. “Only when the so-called “others” are incapable of making any effective decision. And, to my deepest regret, I care too much,” he replied abruptly.
Distracted for a moment by the odd and surreal appearance of Serena, Mauro raised his eyebrows in search of the right words. Suddenly his face went dark. “It’s true, I’ve lied to you about my inexistent marriage as well as about not having children. I did it because I wanted you to stay with me and I knew that you wanted it too. Trust me, I was thinking a lot, but there was no other way to convince you that the only thing I want in my life is you. From what I knew of you, I sensed that if I had told you all the truth from the very beginning, you would have left me immediately as my “story” could never fit your tiny scheme of moral values. Neither then nor now: after everything we’ve been through together.”
Mauro’s penetrating voice was raising more and more. Each syllable was pronounced with utmost precision, his words striking as precise as Apollo’s arrows. “Think, you are prompt to sacrifice our love – my, yours, the love of your life – for what? For non-existent moral values invented by faggots and psychos? So yes, I lied to you for the best, hoping that sooner or later you will stop to perceive the world in its static and bland good or bad and stop to see white or black only. I hoped that you’ll develop the ability to distinguish various flavours and colours, the warmth and the aroma, the taste of happiness and challenge. All I was expecting is you to learn how to enjoy your own life, not to merely observe it as a horse wearing blinders. Then I would have told you everything.
Instead look at you: now as then are you are only prompt to flee to your surreal life using the moral standards invented by others as the imaginary shield. You refuse to accept real life, you are afraid to live it, to let you go completely. You have no idea of who you are, you just imagine it. So yes, I lied to you for the best and I’m proud of it.
It’s true, I’ve imprisoned you in our home: it’s yours rather as it’s mine. I did it because I wished we’d talk, since a love story of these dimensions is not easy to let go. Nothing can be solved by fleeing. You must learn to face real life and to discuss eventual problems; to explain your opinion in a clear and explicit manner and, then, to understand the point of view of your interlocutor, not just yours. Evaluate each event as a component of the whole picture. Yet, you are incapable to do any of these. You are stuck between what you want and what you think is right.
Three days ago I gave you the ultimatum. All you had to do is tell me that you don’t love me anymore and I would let you go. Three days have passed and yet you have not made up your decision. Today I’ve tied you here – I could take advantage of you or leave you here for several days – and yet you have not pronounced those words. Just say, “Mauro, I do not love you anymore” and all your sufferings – supposing they are true – will end. Why don’t you tell me that?! …so finally I could get out of this embarrassing situation, too! Say it! Now!”
Serena felt an acute pain in her chest, as if innumerable imaginary arrows suspended in the air up to this moment, all of a sudden turned true and pierced her body causing bleeding wounds all over. As if it wasn’t enough, the immense weight of arrows was pressing her down slowly taking her life away. The pain was increasing indescribably with every passing minute. Serena was lacking air.
“I’m waiting,” as a steel sheet, Mauro’s abruptly metallic voice dropped on the arrows stuck in Serena’s body. The girl couldn’t breathe. She could not pronounce a single word.
When the Going Gets Tough
“As I thought,” Mauro’s voice trailed off in disapproval. He stared at Serena for a few minutes, then walked to the edge of the terrace. Making a half-jump, he sat down on the still and turned his body to the opposite side of the edge. “You know, I’ve never seen my feet suspended from the seventh floor,” he added in funny voice.
“Seriously, we have to put an end to this story. The game has got too long and I’m getting bored.” Mauro looked at his watch. “Listen to me: now it’s 2 p.m. Till 3 p.m. you have time to spell out that damn phrase. The sooner you do that, the sooner I get off here, release you and, finally, you’ll be free to leave. I won’t try to stop you in respect of your irreversible decision. At that point I will be dead deep inside since our story will be officially over, forever.
Keep in mind that the longer I sit here still, the heavier my legs will become; a more likely possibility is that they will get numb. Hence you have to bear in mind that my chances to get off the right side of the edge are inversely proportional to the time that I pass here. Moreover, you must also consider the sun that beats down and kind of blinds me as well as the wind that is rather stiff today. Do you understand?
Besides, if I don’t hear the “magic” words by 3 p.m., I’ll jump down. Living without would make me feel dead inside, I’ve already told you that. Therefore, I’ll sacrifice myself to you: given that you are incapable of reaching any smart decision by yourself, I’ll ease your task. This way, the final decision will be mine, while you will pass the rest of your pathetic and surreal life surrounded by painful regrets: “I should have to”, “I could have to”… This will be your punishment for my crime, it is supposed to make you stronger.
So, right from the moment I won’t be here anymore, you can start to free yourself. I know you’ll succeed: it may take you from three to four hours, perhaps a little longer. After that, you can leave or stay. You’ll finally have to decide!”
Is Mauro really intending to end up his life? Or is it just a game plan? What will Serena do?