A car had driven up. It was unusual, because hardly anyone got lost here. There were always more and more who said goodbye to the hustle and bustle and wanted to go to the seclusion. It had its own charisma, the Waldviertel, with its vastness and abandonment. Of course, there were cities, but also many small villages that gradually became extinct. There was no work and no future. No way to feed the family. No view. Maybe that some took the strain and commuted, but more and more did not want that anymore and settled down where they found work. The old ones stayed behind. Maybe there was another food market in town. Then you were lucky. Many locked up because the owners were too old to keep it up and the children did not care to take it because it did not earn enough, too little to live off the merit. Then the elderly, who were not mobile, got their food from the landlord. He often jumped in to close the gap left by the closure of the food market. When the innkeeper drove to the hypermarket, he took the things with him. Flour, sugar, rice. They did not need much anymore, the old ones. Most of them had their vegetable garden behind the house and got on piling and preserving. Create supplies for the winter when there was nothing to reap. But the knowledge was gradually lost. It died away with them. A once self-evident knowledge with which also a piece of independence died. At some point, the landlord had to close its doors. No more guests, or way too few. Then there was nothing left in the village but old people, now reliant on their relatives to come and provide them with the essentials. If they were fortunate to have relatives who cared.
There was a car driving up. Maria and Uwe dedicated themselves to the stable work. They only noticed it marginally. It was not important. They did not expect anyone. Only when they left the stable and went back to the house did they realize it. Maria could hardly believe it, but when she entered the house, she saw that it really was.
“Hello, Maria,” the owner of the car turned to her directly, accompanying her words with a disparaging look, “What do you look like?”
Maria’s mother sat, as always, on the far corner of the wooden bench, scrupulously trying to get in touch with as little as possible.
“Hello mother,” replied Maria scarce, who was anything but pleased by this surprising visit, “I look like what you look like when you do stable work. This is generally not done in a costume.”
“Stable work?”, Maria’s mother exclaimed, apparently not having to make an effort to give the word a taste of the indecent, “But that’s not work for an educated woman. Such work is done only by the lowly people. ”
“Stable work is a respectable job,” Maria explained casually, “There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Of course it is not indecent,” said Maria’s mother, “but it’s still nothing for you. Why did I let you learn so much, you mean? That you then end up as a stable boy, certainly not. ”
“No, not for that, but to marry a doctor, at least a doctor, should not it be a professor or anyone else important or representative,” said Maria succinctly.
“Yes, and that was just that you have a future, a good life, and all the amenities that belong to a scion of our family,” said Maria’s mother, who was convinced that her daughter understood her, “Well I can assume that you are only here for a while holiday and then go back to normal.”
Maria’s mother was about to leave, but her daughter’s answer made her sit down again, fainting.
“No, I’m not on holiday here, but I’ll stay here and spend my life here,” said Maria factually.
“But you cannot do that,” it said convulsively from her mother, “you cannot do that to me.”
“Dear mother, what is mothers wanting for their children?” Mary asked abruptly.
“That they have a good life,” said Maria’s mother, but her answer wavered.
“Exact, and that they are happy. Here I have found my luck and a good life,” said Maria calmly.
“No, that’s not right. That cannot make you happy and it’s not a good life, “said the mother angrily,” you will leave this place after Christmas and resume your old life, otherwise …. ”
“Otherwise what?” asked Maria, a little amused. Had she ever hoped her mother would understand her, she should have been disappointed, but she had never had that hope, “Look,” and her tone sounded very soft and conciliatory, “Everyone has its own idea from a life, from where someone feels good and at home, from happiness. Mine is here, and if you do not understand that, then I can understand that, but you could at least respect it.”
“Of course, everyone can have its own ideas, but that does not change the fact that they’re mine,” Maria’s mother said energetically, “and you’re my child, I’ll know what’s good for you.”
“Yes, I am your child, and it will always be like that. There’s nothing you can do about that, but I’ve grown up now and made my own choices,” Maria explained, “and you have to respect those choices, even if you do not like them. ”
“I’ll disinherit you,” Maria’s mother said.
“Do that,” said Maria, shrugging.
“You are no longer my daughter!” she screamed, forgetting all composure.
“This is very sad,” Maria said unperturbed, “But I cannot change that either, and that’s your decision. I will respect it as I respect you, in spite of everything, and I forgive you, for I know how much you are covered by the fog.”
“But I will never forgive you!”, pushed Maria’s mother still after.
“That too is at your discretion,” said Maria. “It is sad, but it is how it is.”
Angrily, Maria’s mother stormed out of the house and roared away. Maria watched the car pensive, even when it was long gone.
“It’s good that you forgive her,” Magdalena said, breaking the silence.
“It’s good for myself, for unforgiving bothers me and clouds my mind, makes me unfree,” said Maria. “Forgiveness means leaving behind a burden and being able to move on free and unencumbered.”
“If you forgive, then let it happen and never think about what happened, at least not in the grudge, because then forgiveness is just an empty phrase,” said Uwe, “And above all make the one whom you forgive, not your debtor, for you are transforming the forgiveness of a selfless act into a service for which the other must be grateful. That’s how you make the other one small.”
“No, I will not, because it’s not about merit, but about the possibility of a strained relationship to make an unloaded, almost put her back in the pristine state of innocence, as if you start from scratch.”
A new beginning, a new life. Maybe even Maria’s mother would understand at some point, but until that was the time, the shuttle would add a few rows to the web image of life. And it was the evening of the twenty-second Advent.