Saturday, 28 December 2013

War at peace

"If you give me a ride, I will probably not kill you" read the lines on a cardboard on the sides of Interstate 40.

Hitchhiker alert! exclaimed Anna, a lonely traveler on the long, straight never ending roads of the wild west.

Basil, the stranger promptly thanked the driver for her risk taking endeavor and started with the customary small talk. After a few monosyllabic replies from Anna, the bookmarked copy of "War and peace" swiftly grabbed his attention. 

It was just the first chapter, and for reasons known to him alone, he started reading it aloud.

Prince Vasili always spoke languidly, like an actor repeating a stale part. Anna Pavlovna Scherer on the contrary, despite her forty years, overflowed with animation and impulsiveness. To be an enthusiast had become her social vocation and, sometimes even when she did not feel like it, she became enthusiastic in order not to disappoint the expectations of those who knew her...

Basil, cutting into his own reading: See, this is what I don't understand! Why create an image and then try to hang on to it, though you don't feel like it?!

Anna: Excuse me?!

Basil: Anna Pavlovna's character in this scene. Why does she have to do things she doesn't want to do?

Anna: Because we create those images for a reason, guided by our motives. Sometimes selfish, sometimes not. As long as we are in the pursuit of those motives, "not feeling like it" is just a brick in the wall.

Now, if you allow me to drive....

Basil, cutting in again: I still don't get it! Won't you be cheating yourself and others? Don't you see this as a passive form of lying?

(So much in Anna's eyes to say, if only he paid a little attention)

Basil, continuing: I would be so much more happier if people would just as be with me as they felt like it!

(Sound of brakes and a sudden halt)

Anna: Can you please get down from my car?

Basil: Why, What happened?!

Anna: Nothing, I just felt like it. 

As the Interstate 40 became home to the cardboard sign again, the pages from the novel in the car flipped back and forth...

The subdued smile which, though it did not suit her faded features, always played round her lips expressed, as in a spoiled child, a continual consciousness of her charming defect, which she neither wished, nor could, nor considered it necessary, to correct.

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