“Don’t you hate her, the underhand, deceitful back- stabber!”
“Don’t talk of her that way! No, I don’t hate her. Why should I?”
“Do I have to tell you why?! !!”
“Why are you so livid with her?”
“I just don’t understand you! How can you take it so lightly?!”
“I can take it lightly because I know why she did it. She really had no other choice. What else could she do?”
“Oh, I have no patience with you! You must surely be the world’s biggest fool!”
“I am neither a fool nor a saint Roma. I am not saying I wasn’t hurt when I found out. But on mature consideration lasting a restless fortnight, I have come to realize that she is not to blame. Knowing her circumstances and condition, she did the best.”
“Yes, she did her best! And because of her so called best, you are now destitute! What will you do? How will you….?”
“Live? I’ll live. It won’t be easy, but I’ll live. I’m a survivor, you know that!”
“Yeah, you are a survivor indeed. And an emotional fool to boot!”
“Look, let me explain a few things to you. I know you will not see things the way I see them, at least not now. Maybe someday the words I say now will seep into you and connect up. I don’t know. I can only hope they will. Don’t agree with me, but please listen to what I have to say.
“For eight years she worked for me- with me. Eight years Roma! The best, most productive years of your life, dedicated to a cause that can only be called an obscure long shot. You know how difficult it was for me to arrange financial backing for our project, don’t you? I mortgaged my house until no one would give me a single rupee on it. Three years ago, I ran out of money. I had no avenues left open. I gave up on my dream. I begged her to abandon the project. She didn’t leave. She stuck by me, encouraged and cajoled me to keep trying. After nearly three months, we finally found a sponsor.
“I know all that, but…..”
“Please let me finish. She had to have something to show for her eight years of dedication and labor, can’t you see that? If she took our long awaited breakthrough and sold it to the highest bidder- if she cut me out of it and claimed the work solely as hers- how can I blame her? The research would have died three years ago if she hadn’t stood by me when I was scrambling for funds.
“It was her grit and tenacity that kept the work alive. It was she who nurtured it, gave it life. Can I- should I- grudge her something she kept alive when I had given up on it? To me it was already dead. I had reneged on it. What right have I to be possessive about it? But for her, there would have been no breakthrough at all. I am only happy that the world will benefit from my work for as long as it exists. The satisfaction of having successfully achieved my dream is more than enough to take me through the rest of my life.”
Even an obvious fabrication is some comfort when you have few others.
~ Margaret Atwood
“And what about the rest of it Avi? Are you going to pretend that your feelings for her were purely professional?”
“My feelings for her were no one’s business but mine. What was never confessed will never attain the flesh and bones of reality. That’s how it will remain. With the right of a friend, I forbid you to refer to it ever again.
“Now you’ll have to excuse me. I must go and and clean out the offices. A janitor isn’t supposed to hob- nob with the bosses. (smiles) And yes, thank you for getting me this job. You are a good soul. God bless you.”
We tell ourselves stories in order to live. ~Joan Didion