Mary of Martialis had still slept deeply, but the sounds of her surroundings were pressing in her dreams. The storm that swept around the house with unrestrained fury and the constant crackling of the snow against the windshield. She was again the little girl who was sitting in her room on the window sill, watching the hustle and bustle of the window. The snowflakes had appeared to her like dancing little elves, dressed in blossom-white dresses, a tiny little cap on the silvery hair, and covered with ivy dust all over. Countless little bells. There she sat, waiting for Peter Pan to fetch her, away from this place of misery and neglect in a land of freedom and possibilities, to Nimmerland. From time to time this memory dared to turn into her dreams, but in her life she had already finished dreaming. A child was allowed to do that, but she was now grown up, with both legs in life, while she did everything that she could not grow. Carefully she circumcised every instinct, which was only to grow in a direction that seemed suspicious to her. Your self-control was all-embracing, because to achieve something you have to concentrate 100% on it and leave everything else out of sight. And their goals were so simple. This was also true of the little girl in her dreams, who wanted nothing more than the quiet little happiness of the affliction. But she always thought it was money.
If she had enough money, then everything would work, then happiness would set itself completely by itself. If necessary she could buy it. A new handbag makes you happy. New shoes make happy. At least a bit. For more luck, there would have to be many handbags and many shoes. So she shook off the little girl as fast as she could, as if it were in her way. Perhaps one more look at the dancing elves, who swayed to a soft melody and sprayed the glittering elf dust.
„Why were they so generous with it?“ Maria asked each time, „You have to pay attention that it does not go out. Because without ivy dust they could not fly.“ It was not important. What counted was that the children believed in them, for without this faith they would have to die. Just as man ceases to exist when there is no one else who thinks of him. The apparent happiness that Mary sought in things was, in truth, in the habit.
Suddenly an unpleasant sound mingled in her dream, tore the light, soft melody, so that she fell to the ground, while the elves forgot their dance and flounder wildly. Irritated, Maria looked around, slowly leaving the dream, as if seeing would help in hearing. Blinking, she looked out of the window before the dusk was fighting through the snowstorm to give a little light. At last she recognized it, this high, shrill sound. It was the cock.
„And that in the middle of the night,“ she thought angrily, „how late is it?“ She groped blindly beside her bed on the nightstand when she remembered that her cell phone was still in the car. And the car that lay buried under a snow wave somewhere out there. Not just her cell phone was there. Also her laptop and all the other things she needed most urgently. How could she hold out here in this wilderness, without a cell phone, without a laptop? How was she to be able to survive without contact with the outside world? At that moment, she was sure that she would be slowly and painfully carried away by deadly boredom, here at the end of the world, between nothing and precisely nothing. No one would notice. At some point they found their car. Perhaps in the spring, but then every salvation would be too late. For more than a day without electronic support, that was already too much. She seemed to have to accept this. But the next moment she was back. She did not have to accept, but tried everything possible. Then she could still give up.
Energetically, she swung her legs out of bed and slipped into the cuddly house-slippers that had given her grandaunt to her. The room was small but cozy. Much was not necessary. A bed, a box, a bedside table, a chest of drawers. Made of solid wood. For many decades, these furniture had probably already lasted, and as far as no human hand applied, they would probably be many more. It was simple and humble, and yet it was not the poverty that she knew and fled.
Poverty is the abandonment. Simplicity is the will to leave space for the togetherness. As much as she refused, or at least tried to resist, a small plant of well-being was already germinating in her. Hidden so that she could ignore it, but it was there, inevitable, as if she had no choice.
Maria left the room and entered the living-room, which was dominated by the large fireplace. A funny fire was already pounding in, filling the room with warmth. Her grandmother sat on the corner seat and invited Maria to sit down with her.
„Good morning,“ she said, smiling, while she put a cup of steamed coffee in front of her, and a bowl of something like a muesli, „Have you slept well?“
„Yes, thank you,“ Maria replied shortly, „What time is it then?“
„Six o’clock about,“ her grandaunt said. Her gentle blue eyes were resting on Mary, with a narrow face, which was probably marked by age, but which nevertheless exuded vitality and a sense of vitality. The silvery-gray hair she had strictly combed back and tied into a knot. Silence reigned in the room, which was broken only by the crackling of the fire and the zeal of the snowstorm, silence, which had driven Maria to despair at any other place. She could say anything but did not have to. Here she had nothing to do for a long time.
The day lay like an open book in front of her, without any pretension. With astonishment, Maria noticed that it did not make her nervous or twitchy. She took the coffee cup in both hands. It was one of those painted enamel cups, which she had already known from childhood days. Slowly the memories came back, the memories of so many indescribable days that she could spend here.
„Aunt Magdalena,“ she finally said, after she had enjoyed the first sips and felt the warmth flow through her, „Why did you invite me?“
„Because I wanted you to be there,“ Magdalena said briefly felt that it was too little, so she added, „A few years ago my husband died. Not unpredictable. He was 97 and the heart became weak. One morning, it was a couple of days after Christmas, he took me by the hand and we went for a round together. This morning he took leave of his home and me, before he slept quietly and no longer awoke. Since then, I have managed the farm alone, and more and more your image has appeared in me. You were such an inquisitive, cosmopolitan little girl, at that time, in the summer you could spend with us. It was for me one of the most beautiful summers I remember. And in my life there were many summers. As much as I wish you could stay, you had to leave, because this autumn you came to school. It was a sad farewell when your mother repeated you. “
„But why now?“ Maria asked persistently, feeling like the images of this summer came to life again. It really seemed to be a happy summer.
„Because I knew it was time. Maybe it was just a clue, but it’s nice you’re there,“ said Magdalena.
The memories led her to the day when Mary was taken away into domestic activities, where she baked and cooked, decorated the room for the coming festivities, so that she did not feel the time and also the absence of things from which she hitherto thought that she absolutely needed them, and while she devoted herself to these activities with firefighters, the little boat was set on the weaving frame to add a new series to the image of her life, and it was the second day of Advent. It was the beginning of a road, as far as it could be seen, a narrow path that branched off from the main road, which had dominated the picture so far, straight and stringent. Where did it lead?