When I went to the capital, I always took the earliest train back home, not telling the Witcher I had been there at all. Once, in an impulse, I went looking for him at the institute, but found his lab empty. In a twinkle of my old playful spirit, I hid a note in one of his journals. It said “Lily was here” and had a cat and a flower drawn next to it. He found it some days later and complained that I had not told him about being there. I replied that I had told him about my exam and he should have known it was at the capital. Though this was true, the fact remained that I had not pointed it out on purpose.
He visited me shortly thereafter. I honestly do not remember any details from this day – his visit was nothing special to me, just another one of my friends coming to see the baby.
I had convinced myself that our time together had been a mistake. That he had just been one more butterfly in my net and I had taken a fancy in him that was over now. It put my bad conscience at ease.
In June there was a big meeting at our institute. He did not attend it because he had some important measurements to run. I left early and ran into him in the passageway outside the door. We were alone there, since everyone was still in the lecture hall. We briefly stood there in silence, both of us not really knowing what to say. It gave my heart a sting. I made an excuse about being in a hurry and left.
About that time I started my next project in fixing the Knight’s life: making him finish his digree. It was an enormous effort and I often got very angry with him finding all sorts of excuses to procrastinate. I sacrificed a publication just to have time for his work and still it seemed like a neverending story. For the months to come I invested the major part of my free time in this undertaking, helping him do research, proofreading his texts and sometimes rewriting them myself.
In summer the Witcher and I started writing about a video game I was playing together with my daughter on my old Gameboy. From then on, our conversations got more frequent again. We never resumed our breakfasts together, but exchanged some texts every day.
At the end of August I registered at okcupid. I know, it is a dating website, but I stated clearly that I was only looking for friends and pen pals. I was fed up with only meeting other moms, most of which had nothing in common with me except for the one obvious thing. Letting go of the Witcher had left a hole in my life, a need for a friend as close as he had been before things went wrong. Yes, I always had the Dragon, a Chinese girl who’s been my best friend since our time at university, but to be honest there are things I feel I can not talk to her about. I’ve known her for years, she is great for having fun and I love her very much, but sometimes she is just too dominant, too pushing and too energetic – yes, too energetic even for me. She was witness at my wedding and will always have a special place in my life, but I needed something else.
Maybe it was also more than coincidence that okc was the one site I had found the Witcher’s profile when I first looked for him on the internet.
I needed distraction while going through a hard time. My mother was in a very bad condition and I knew that there could only be some weeks left. In the end, I were not weeks but days.
“Do you think me a bad person for not being sad.”
“Actually, when I arrived at the hospital ten minutes too late and saw my cousin shaking his head, with tears in his eyes, I felt so relieved.”
“Over the past few weeks I’ve spent every evening at the hospital. Sometimes I went from feeding pureé to my daughter directly to feeding pureé to my mom, wondering if my daughter would be doing the same for me one day.”
“But during the last days she was even unable to swallow anything, she could not raise a hand and least of all talk and her feet were already cold and blue.”
“I think it’s hard to imagine if one has never seen anything like it.”
“No, I never thought you a bad person. You don’t need any justification for how you feel. Also, I did not know it was that bad towards the end. I can imagine that it comes as a relief to you, not having to watch her suffering anymore.”
“Well, I just wanted you to know.”