“You know, I have no clue what to do.”
“All I can do is tell you that I like you very much and don’t want to lose you. Especially not over something that has not happened yet.”
“Believe me, if you wouldn’t mean so much to me I would be gone already.”
“You could destroy my marriage in a whim. Normally I would try to get rid of you as soon as possible.”
“Why should I do that? I want you to be happy and destroying your life seems rather counterproductive.”
“Some people just want to see the world burn.”
“But I don’t deem you one of them.”
“And I need you. I desperately need you as counterweigh to my moods and irrationality. Even though this means that you often have no clue how to handle me.”
“Indeed, an instruction manual would be useful.”
More than once I was sure about kicking him out of my life. It was the reasonable thing to do and was always followed by a short period of feeling strangely light and free, only to realize afterwards that “light and free” also meant empty inside, mostly ending in profound sadness by the next evening. Still, I fought the battle again and again.
Then came the January meeting when I just had nothing to do in the morning and called him out for breakfast. We had a surprisingly great time together. It was like in our old days, sitting next to each other at the meeting, playing our riddle games during lunch break. After the talks he walked me to the technical university, where I was to meet a student of mine and when we said good bye he held my hands longer than necessary and looking in his face somehow I was sure that I was not over for him.
During the first month of this year the Red Queen was giving me hell with her sudden outbursts of anger mixed with lingering grudges directly aimed at me for small misunderstandings or misinterpreted jokes – all the while she was allowed to make fun about anything and anyone, making it impossible to judge when fun was appropriate and when it would cause her to explode. I was already on the verge of breaking down because of important wrinting I had to do for the White Queen, so one day I just broke down in tears in the office, right before the Red Queen. Say about her whatever you want, but she is a great soother. She got me outside and gave me a cookie and talked to me about what was bothering me. We sorted out some of the previous misunderstandings that day. I don’t think she chooses to hurt people. She just does. I had to learn the hard way to emotionally stay away from her.
Two days after my breakdown I packed my stuff, kissed my baby good bye and made my way to the hotel in the mountains, the very same one where I met the Witcher. The meeting there is held every second year and we had made sure we were both invited – having advanced from listeners to lecturers.